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Our family just made a set of DIY Backyard Games, and I couldn’t wait to show them to you. The kids have already been having a blast playing with the Yard Dominoes, which double as a GIANT Jenga-inspired stacking game. This yard games set also includes a Ring Toss game and huge Tic-Tac-Toe board. If your family is excited about getting outdoors this Spring and Summer, you’ll definitely want to make this backyard games set so be sure to pin this post!
Free Plans for DIY Backyard Games
I found the plans for these backyard games on Science Fair Central — have you heard of this website? The Home Depot and Discovery Education joined forces to create this free resource, which is a treasure trove of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (or STEAM) projects you can do with your kiddos. The ideas found on Science Fair Central include hands-on investigations, field work, and encourage kids to participate just as would real scientists and engineers.
The Home Depot built Science Fair Central to give teachers, students and families the tools they need to take projects to the next level. There are lots of ideas to help bring STEAM power to classrooms, but I love that Science Fair Central takes it a step further by offering a collection of Family Activities found under the “Parents” tab. These projects provide learning opportunities the whole family can work on together, including younger siblings who can watch and absorb info along the way. In fact, if your family is anything like ours, those younger ones will have some pretty big ideas of their own.
Science Fair Central provides learning opportunities the whole family can work on together, including younger siblings.
As a homeschooler, I checked out both the tab for “Teachers” and “Parents” and was impressed by the detail in each of the activity plans. There are so many projects I want to try with my crew, but to start off, we decided to create this set of backyard games from an activity called Big Fun Small Space.
Also don’t miss the Parent’s Tip Sheet (found at the bottom of the page) with great advice on how to allow your kids to “take the wheel” on a project while still providing appropriate supervision and guidance — this can be an incredibly difficult balance to strike and there are some smart tips.
As the plans suggested, we held a family “team” meeting to discuss ideas and who would do what. The kids were pretty adamant that they get to be the ones wielding the cans of spray paint LOL!
Next we headed to The Home Depot to collect all our supplies. Absolutely everything we needed for making and storing all these backyard games was available in this one stop! Also if you don’t have access to a saw, you can even get The Home Depot to help you cut down the 2×4 lumber.
We are lucky enough to have a miter saw, and so Rockwell helped my husband measure and cut out the 54 wood pieces for the dominoes/stacking blocks. I think the most labor-intensive part of making these backyard games was sanding these wood pieces. Once the kids were tired of sanding, my husband and I used an electric sander to finish this part off.
The girls worked on measuring and cutting the rope, making rings for both the Ring Toss and Tic-Tac-Toe backyard games.
Then the kids had their chance to spray paint. Modette quickly claimed the can of pink spray paint, used on half of the rings. Unfortunately four-year-old Rockwell had a tough time holding down the trigger. The older girls had more painting stamina and were able to do the black coat on all the wood blocks as well as the PVC pipe and caps for the Ring Toss.
DIY Backyard Games: Giant Dominoes & Stacking Game
Once the black blocks were dried, we painted domino dots on about half of them. I created this free printable domino template to help us paint the correct dot combinations. To create consistent-shaped dots, we used a foam paint roller as a stamp. Also I didn’t realize I could buy acrylic craft paint at Home Depot, BUT YOU TOTALLY CAN! It’s right there in the section with the latex house paint.
I think the blocks are probably the kids’ current favorite. If you stack up all the blocks you can play a giant block-stacking game. They have always loved tabletop Jenga, so it’s not really surprising that they are crazy about this giant set. Also my gymnastics-obsessed younger two have decided that the yard dominoes create a perfect balance beam, that changes shape each time you play!
DIY Backyard Games: Giant Tic-Tac-Toe & Ring Toss
We used a canvas drop cloth and duct tape to create a giant Tic-Tac-Toe board. You play with the rope rings instead of Xs and Os. You know how when you play Tic-Tac-Toe, the winner draws a line across his three-in-a-row? The kids decided that when playing the Giant Tic-Tac-Toe, they lay down across the winning row when the game is over. Piper even laid across the board in a “C” shape for a cat’s game.
The kids are having fun with all our new backyard games. Several of them have even beat Dad at the Ring Toss game, which you play using the same rings as Tic-Tac-Toe.
For the complete instructions on how to make this Backyard Games set, be sure to visit Science Fair Central.
Want more ideas for entertaining your kiddos this summer? Check out my Ultimate Boredom Buster list. I’ve read about a million of these lists all around the web, but too many of the suggestions made me roll my eyes or dread the day the kids picked that one. My list has the most practical, mom-approved ideas.13