5 Fun Outdoor Games for Camping and Backyard Cookouts

Summer’s here and with more people staying close to home or social distancing outside, we’ve got some ideas for keeping family and friends entertained. Buy or DIY these 5 fun outdoor games for backyard camping and cookouts!

Outdoor Jenga

Outdoor Games - Playing Outdoor Jenga With Kids

The jumbo version of this classic game is better outside. Buy a ready-to-go or follow these instructions to make your own.


  • 4 2×4 boards (Each board should be 8 feet long.)
  • wooden crate


  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • saw (handsaw or circular saw)
  • sander


  1. Measure and mark 7.5-inch sections on each of the 2×4 boards. (You should have 48 sections total)
  2. Use a saw to cut the 48 sections from the boards.
  3. Sand all the cut edges of the wooden pieces.
  4. Store the cut pieces in a wooden crate. When it’s time to play the game, you can turn the crate upside-down and build your tower on its flat surface.

To play: Assemble the wooden pieces like a traditional Jenga tower. Each level of the tower should have three pieces. The wooden pieces of each level should be perpendicular to the ones below them. Divide players into two teams. Take turns removing one piece at a time from the tower. The goal is to keep removing pieces without making the tower collapse. If a player from one team causes the tower to fall, the other team is the winner.

Mini Golf

Mini golf is a classic family vacation game you can easily recreate in your yard. Buy a or a . You can also design your own mini golf course using household items. Here are some ideas:

  • sprinkler or kiddie pool = water hazard
  • sandbox or landscaping gravel = sand trap
  • paper towel tube = tunnel
  • aluminum cans = hole
  • cardboard boxes = tunnel
  • toys or patio furniture = obstacles


Backyard Games - Playing Kubb Outdoors With Friends

According to legend, Kubb is a game that was invented by the ancient Vikings. (That’s why the game is also called Viking Chess.) While it’s not hard to imagine the Vikings inventing a game where they have to throw things, it may simply be an imaginative origin story. True or not, it’s fun and it’s perfect for the backyard. You can buy a or follow these instructions to make your own. (And the rules are a little complicated so here are some diagrams to help.)


  • 1-inch dowel (6 feet long)
  • 1/2-inch dowel (4 feet long)
  • 1 4×4 board (8 feet long)
  • Paint or duct tape (optional)


  • saw (handsaw or circular saw)
  • sander


  1. To make the throwing sticks, cut the 1-inch dowel into six 12-inch pieces.
  2. To make the stakes, cut the 1/2-inch dowel into four 12-inch pieces.
  3. To make the blocks, cut the 4×4 board into ten 8-inch blocks and one 14-inch block.
  4. Sand the edges of the blocks and dowels.
  5. Decorate the 14-inch block so that it looks different from the rest. It’s called the “king block” so some people cut the top of the block to look like a crown or paint a crown on it. You can also just wrap a strip of colored duct tape around the top.

To play:

  1. You can play Kubb in a smaller space if necessary, but the ideal size of the playing field is 16 x 26 feet. Use the stakes to mark out the playing field.
  2. Place the king in the center of the playing field and line up five blocks on each baseline at opposite ends of the playing field. Divide into two teams, with each team standing at either end of the field.
  3. Team 1 goes first. Each player throws their throwing stick at the blocks at the opposite end of the field. The goal is for each team to knock down as many of the opposing team’s blocks as they can.
  4. After Team 1 is finished throwing, Team 2 picks up any blocks they knocked over. Then Team 2 throws the blocks into the playing field (they have to pass the king).These are called field blocks.
  5. Team 1 places the field blocks upright. (If a field block hit another field block when it was thrown, they must now be stacked on top of one another.) Then it’s Team 2’s turn to throw their throwing sticks. They must knock down all the field blocks before hitting any of the baseline blocks. (Any baseline blocks that get knocked down before all the field blocks get knocked down must be placed upright and don’t count.)
  6. Now Team 1 picks up any blocks that were knocked down and throws them into the field (but once again, they have to pass the king). Then Team 2 stands up the field blocks. If Team 2 didn’t knock over all their field blocks, Team 1 now gets to throw their throwing sticks from behind the field block that’s closest to the king.
  7. Play continues following this order until one team knocks over all the other team’s field and baseline blocks.

Bean Bag Ladder Toss

This is a great all-ages game that uses minimal supplies—and requires minimal skill to play!


  • scissors
  • paper or card stock
  • marker
  • tape
  • ladder
  • bean bags (a few for each player)


  1. Use scissors to cut out squares of paper or card stock that are about 6 inches wide and 6 inches long. You’ll need a square of paper for each step of the ladder you’ll use.
  2. Write a point value on each paper square.
  3. Set up a ladder and use tape to attach a paper square to each step. The paper should face out so as you look at the ladder you can read the point value.

To play: Divide into teams or play one-on-one. Each person should throw the same number of bean bags. Take turns throwing bean bags at the ladder and getting as many points as you can. (Players can throw bean bags between the steps or try to land them on the steps. Decide which version you’ll play before you begin.)

Yard Yahtzee

Backyard and Outdoor Games - Yard Yahtzee

Turn another well-known tabletop game into a yard game. Buy a or make your own.


  • 1 4×4 board
  • craft paint
  • 1 gallon bucket


  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • saw (handsaw or circular saw)
  • sander
  • round foam brush (sometimes called a “pouncer”)


  1. Measure and mark the 4×4 board into five 4-inch sections. (There will be leftover wood.)
  2. Use a saw to cut the pieces. Then sand the edges and corners.
  3. Use craft paint and a round foam brush to decorate each block to look like a die. Look at a regular die to make sure you put the dots on the correct sides. Let dry completely.

To play: Follow traditional Yahtzee rules. Can’t remember how to play? Brush up on the rules here.