Let the Fun Begin With These Great DIY Games!

6 Materials
1 Day

These ideas for DIY games show that entertainment doesn't have to come at a high price. These DIY outdoor games are as fun to build as they are to play, and I've found that each of them can appeal to people of all generations. If you're looking for a new form of outdoor activity, then why not try one of these summer garden game ideas?

Flamingo Ring Toss

Tools and Materials

  • Dive rings
  • Bucket
  • Sand
  • Flamingo

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

I opted for a pack of 6 dive rings to use in my flamingo ring toss - the more colorful the better! I chose a bright green bucket to provide a sturdy base for my flamingo, while making sure I had enough all-purpose sand to fill the majority of the bucket.

Step 2: Assemble the Game

I poured the sand liberally into my bucket, so that it filled around three-quarters of the container. This stops the flamingo tipping over when the rings start being tossed in its direction. Once the base was ready, I planted the flamingo into the middle. 

Step 3: Enjoy

Once the flamingo is secure in the bucket, you're ready to start trying to toss the dive rings onto its neck. It doesn't have to be a flamingo, although I like its summery pink color. You might find another plastic animal that does the job - the neck of a giraffe is readymade for a ring toss.

Finished Project:

Giant Dominoes

Tools and Materials

  • Spray paint and primer
  • Wooden blocks
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Domino template
  • Pen

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

I collected together equally sized wooden blocks to form my domino tiles. I opted for a bright blue base paint for my dominoes, to contrast sharply with a white. I created a domino template that fit with the wooden blocks, and laid down protective plastic sheets before I began painting.

Step 2: Paint 

I sprayed blue paint and primer on each wooden block, before leaving to dry. I then placed my domino template over the block. The template is formed of 3x3 dotted grids on either half of the block, so you can use the same template for each domino. I marked on where the dots should go, then used a circular stamp to create those dots.

Step 3: Enjoy

I completed enough of these tiles to make a full set of dominoes. Giant dominoes is a DIY outdoor game that requires a bit of space, as you're never quite sure which direction the game will go! I love seeing a game of dominoes slowly taking over my entire garden.

Finished Project:

Giant Checkerboard

Tools and Materials

  • Terracotta saucers
  • Spray paint and primer (two different colors)
  • Ruler
  • Fabric
  • Tape
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

I gathered several terracotta saucers for my checkers. The size of the saucer will determine the size of the piece of the fabric that forms the base for this DIY board game. I also had a ruler ready to go, as precision is key to making an attractive giant checkerboard.

Step 2: Paint the Checkers

I began making this DIY game by painting my checkers. I laid down protective plastic, then spray painted my terracotta saucers. I used two different colors of paint to represent the two different teams in checkers - I went for blue and red so that there was a strong contrast.

Step 3: Tape Off and Paint the Board

I measured out the ideal size for each square on my checkerboard. I marked out the board on my piece of fabric, then taped around the areas I needed to paint. I opted for white paint to cover half of my squares and let the fabric account for the rest - this cut my painting workload in half!

Step 4: Enjoy

Once the paint is dry, the giant checkerboard is ready for action! I love how well checkers works as a giant DIY outdoor game. It's a game that appeals to all ages, while the charmingly colorful design means the board plays its part in contributing to your summer garden vibes.

Finished Project:

Lawn Tic-Tac-Toe

Tools and Materials

  • Rope
  • Pen
  • String
  • Knife
  • Pipe connectors
  • Glue
  • Wood
  • Stencils
  • Spray paint

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

I found a length of the rope that I could fashion into the tic-tac-toe board, then I prepared two stencils to form the shapes of the game pieces. I opted for hearts and crosses, but you could use any combination of shapes for your DIY game. 

Step 2: Cut the Rope

I worked out how long my various pieces of rope would need to be in order to form my tic-tac-toe board. I tied a piece of string to mark the places where I needed to cut the rope, then I used a knife to make a clean cut in the rope.

Step 3: Paint the Pipe Connectors

I painted pipe connectors a nice shade of bronze, which made them appear a similar color to my rope segments. This gives the tic-tac-toe board the appearance of one unbroken piece, rather than lots of smaller pieces joined together. I slotted the rope pieces into the pipe connectors, using glue to hold everything in place. 

Step 4: Cut and Paint the Game Pieces

I used stencils of a heart and a cross to sketch out my game pieces on large and thin pieces of wood. I cut out each individual piece, then painted my shapes so that they had a lovely rusty color to match the rest of the lawn tic-tac-toe.

Step 5: Assemble and Enjoy

To begin playing this DIY outdoor game, lay down the rope squares that form the game's board. The game pieces should fit nicely into the squares. I called this 'lawn tic-tac-toe', but this is a game that you can easily bring inside if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Finished Project:

Sprinkler House

Tools and Materials

  • PVC pipes
  • Pipe connectors
  • Hose
  • Pool noodles
  • Sponges
  • Screwdriver
  • String

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

I collected together lots of PVC pipes to form my house. You can make your sprinkler house as expansive or as small as you want – just make sure you have enough pipes! I also gathered lots of different colors, shapes, and sizes of sponge, to ensure that my sprinkler house would look summery.

Step 2: Join the PVC Pipes

I constructed the framework for my sprinkler house by joining together the PVC pipes. This is a job that may require more than one person to help to keep the structure stable, although the pipes should be easy enough to slot together.

Step 3: Attach Pool Noodles and Sponges

I used a screwdriver to poke holes into the pool noodles and sponges, then ran string through the holes to allow me to attach them to my PVC pipe structure. You can add sponges at all levels of your sprinkler house, and you may want to incorporate novelty sponges to add another layer of fun. 

Step 4: Join the Hose

This is the part which turns your spongey house into a sprinkler house: connecting the hose. I attached the hose so that the water can flow through the PVC pipes. I made it so that the water could exit from the middle layer of pipes to soak those of a certain height, but you can set up the sprinkler anywhere in your DIY game.

Step 5: Enjoy

The sprinkler house is much wetter than most DIY outdoor games, which makes it a firm favorite in my garden on those scorching summer days. Whether running through the sprinkler house or playing with the different types of sponge, people of all ages can enjoy this refreshing construction. 

Finished Project:

Giant Lawn Kerplunk 

Tools and Materials

  • Tomato cages
  • Cable ties
  • Plastic
  • Spray paint
  • Pipes
  • Plastic balls

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

I collected three tomato cages to form the structure for my DIY game of Kerplunk. I found a thin piece of plastic that I could use to cover the cages, while I located several pipes and balls to form the gameplay elements of Kerplunk. I also acquired several plastic cable ties.

Step 2: Attach the Tomato Cages

I slotted together three tomato cages, then used plastic cable ties to hold them all in place. I found that tomato cages work really well for this type of DIY outdoor games, but you could use any sort of wire basket that can ultimately be filled with balls and pipes. 

Step 3: Cover with Plastic

I used a thin sheet of plastic to wrap around the tomato cages. I punched a hole through the plastic where it rested over pipes, so that I could loop cable ties through to keep the covering in place. The plastic should cover the top two-thirds of the cages - this will stop the balls from escaping out of the sides.

Step 4: Paint the Pipes

I found lots of pipes that would comfortably slot through the bars of the tomato cages and reach to the other side. I cleared a large area to work in before I spray painted these pipes with a variety of colors, as spray painting is a notoriously messy task. 

Step 5: Assemble the Game and Enjoy

I layered the pipes in the bottom third of the tomato cages, stacking them until they reached the plastic covering. Once the pipes were in place, I poured in the plastic balls. You don't often see Kerplunk in gardens, so this DIY outdoor game is a treat for young and old players alike. 

Finished Project:

All of these ideas for DIY games can be adapted to the size of your garden or the size of the players. I love how these games bring the family together for some simple but effective entertainment, particularly in the summer months. Can you think of any other classic games that would work well in this format? Let me know in the comments!

Resources for this project:

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  • Sharon Sharon on Jan 16, 2020

    Awesome, worth a try, inexpensive to

  • Rachael Rachael on Jul 23, 2020

    I love to sprinkler house lol you should sell that, as a consumer I'd buy it but im not sure if my family would trust me to make it lol