DIY Lawn Games for the Labor Day Weekend
One of the worst things about the summer is how quickly it goes by. Before you know it the days start getting shorter and Labor Day is just around the corner. What started as a holiday to honor the contributions of the working class, has over-time become the long weekend marking the end of summer. Here at PartSelect, we don’t let this weekend go to waste - we take full advantage of the remaining summer days by celebrating Labor Day weekend in style, with camping, swimming, and cookouts galore.
Whether you’ll be the one having the party or the one attending, lawn games are a must for an ultimate end of summer celebration. Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you run out and buy all the Bocce Ball’s and beanbags you can find. There’s no need to spend more than a few dollars when you can make so many awesome outdoor games all on your own. With the money you’ll save, you even might decide to build them all - how cool would a backyard full of lawn games be?
Read on for the DIY instructions for all your favorite games!
You only need a few things to play this party favorite, so building it is a cinch. If you’re looking to do it as cost efficiently as possible, the directions using PCV piping are the ones you’ll want to follow. We prefer our Ladder Golf to be a bit more durable so we use wood, but keep in mind that this method can be bit more costly.
Things you’ll need:
- 6 Dowel rods
- 12 1x4’s (lumber)
- A screw driver or some other method to attached the dowels to the sides of the ladder
- 16 Golf Balls
- Nails, hammer, measuring tape
- Outdoor spray paint
The final product will look something like this:
If you need some help figuring out exactly how things go together, this site has the best directions we’ve been able to find – Ladder Golf Plans. Before you know it, you’ll be kicking back and enjoying a game, just like that guy.
Think Ker-Plunk on steroids and you’ll have a pretty good idea what Shiskaball is. This one is actually new to us but rest assured we can’t wait to play. We’re not even going to attempt to try and tell you how to build it though, mostly because This Old House already has directions that are far superior to any we could give. Be warned, construction of Shiskaball will require a lot of effort but the end result will be well worth it we’re sure.
Washer toss is one of those classic games that are a part of all the best summer parties. The best thing about it is its simplicity - you’re really just tossing an old washer in a box! That said, simple doesn’t mean it’s not fun! This easy to build game provides hours of entertainment for people of all ages.
The materials you’ll need to build a game of washer toss are:
- 4 - 16 inch 2x4
- 4 - 13 inch 2x4
- 8 - 1/2 inch washers, or any size washers that suit you
- 2 - 3 inch PVC couplings
- 2 16 inch squares of plywood. I used 3/8 inch. Use what you want.
- wood screws (for the base, I used 6 X 3/4 and for the frame itself I used 2 X 8)
- maybe wood putty
- sand paper
- paint (if you want)
Clearly these puppies are not of the homemade variety but the ones you make on your own will look very similar.
For a little extra guidance about how it all goes together, check out these step-by-step directions from Lifehacker. One quick suggestion we would make is to add a piece of string (about 20 ft long) to each box, so that when you spread them out you know just how far to go each time!
Have you ever sat around 54 wooden blocks stacked in rows of 3’s, strategically pulling blocks out one at a time, waiting for the tower to fall over so you can throws your hands in the air and yell “JENGA!” Well if you answered yes, you’ve probably played Jenga and chances are you’re a good player too!
To make a DIY outdoor version for this Labor Day get out some 2x4’s and cut them into approx 10 ½ ” long pieces. Once you have 54 pieces, sand them up a little, stack ‘em, and challenge everyone to a match! Check out the people over at The Kid Collective enjoying a game.
Kubb (pronounced Koob) was played by the Vikings over 1,000 years ago. The playing pieces are made out of 4x4 lumber and wooden dowels, cut to size and sanded smooth. It may take a little time making the pieces for this game but they should last a while especially if you slap a wood weather sealing product on them.
- There is one “Kung” or king piece. The king piece is 4”x4” cut twice as long as the rest of the pieces, 16’ long. To be extra fancy you can even carve a crown at the top of the piece!
- 10 “Kubb” or chopping blocks. The Kubb are 8”, 3”x3” timber blocks
- 8 “Kastpinnar” or casting pins are 12.5” long and made from 2” dowels
- 4 “Hornpinnar” or corner pins are 12” long and made from ½” dowels
This game can take a few rounds to get the hang of but can get quite competitive and of course can be a lot of fun!
To play, place the 4 corner pins or “Hornpinnar” to establish the boundaries of the game. Place 5 Kubb at each end. The King is placed at the center. Opponents stand at each end with the 5 Kubb in front of them. By tossing the casting pins opponents try to knock over each other’s Kubb. For the full standardized rules of Kubb, take a look here.
Bocce Ball is an ancient accuracy game that is easy to play for all ages. All you need is 8 balls or “boccia” (4 for each team), one small ball called the “pallina”, and a little bit of luck or bowling skills.
Find a flat and level spot in your yard - if you want to get technical, a regulation bocce court is 76 feet long and 10 wide but you can really play anywhere.
Throw the pallina somewhere into the court. The object of the game is for each team to take turns bowling one boccia at a time trying to get as close to the pallina as possible without touching it. When all 8 balls have been thrown, the team with the closest ball gets one point for each ball that is closer to the pallina than their opponent’s closest ball.
If 2 balls are tied for distance, no points are awarded. Play as long as need be until a team reaches a score of 16 points.
The international sport of horseshoe pitching evolved from the second century Grecian game of discus throwing. Today horseshoes is played with stakes in the ground approximately 40 feet apart and 2 horseshoes per person or team. Most games are played to 21 points and the winner must win by 2.
We bet you can guess what you’ll need for a game of horseshoe:
- 4 Horseshoes
- 2 Stakes
Place stakes around 40 feet apart, challenge an opponent and you’re off!
Points are scored as follows:
- Horseshoe lands within 6 inches of the stake – 1 point
- eaner - the horseshoe literally leans on the stake - 2 points
- Ringer - the horseshoe completely encircles the stake - 3 points
Easy Yard Games for Kids
Work together to hit a moving target and build your soccer control skills and team work. All you need is four to six players, a soccer ball, and a foam ball.
- Divide players into two teams. One team is Team Planet with the soccer ball and the other is Team Asteroid with the foam ball.
- Team Planet dribbles the soccer ball around making passes with each other while Team Asteroid throws their foam ball to try to hit the ‘planet’.
- Team Asteroid players are not allowed to take any steps when they are holding the foam ball/asteroid. They must move around making passes to get close enough to the planet for a shot.
- When the asteroid (foam ball) hits the planet (soccer ball), the teams switch roles. The first team to get 5 points wins the round.
DIY Miniature Golf
Ever saved the sturdy cardboard tubes that Christmas paper comes in because you knew they could be used for something? Great! For this game you can make everything, even the clubs, turning the preparation for this miniature golf game into an entire craft activity, in and of its self!
To make the golf clubs use the empty wrapping paper tubes with a sturdy cardboard cut-out for the head of the club. To brighten them up paint the different clubs different colors.
Use whatever you can find in your recycling to make the “holes” just place cans, milk/juice cartons or paper cups on their side. Use plastic golf balls or ping pong balls for the ‘golf ball’.
For the rest of the course be creative and make ramps with angled cardboard. Fold the edges of the card board up to create walls so the ball will stay on the ramp. Make tunnels by removing the bottom of used cans or by cutting both ends off a 2litre pop bottle. To make the tunnel even longer get out your duct tape and secure together bottles or cans of the same shape.
(Picture compliments of www.highlightsteachers.com.)
If you have a sand box in your yard, build the golf course around it and use it as a sand trap. Have a kiddie pool? That’s perfect for a mini-golf water hazard.
Once you’re done, play round after round and make modifications to increase the difficulty as you go. This course never has to be the same twice, have fun!
Pick-up sticks may have taken a wayside to video games and computers, but those of us who grew up playing will agree that it holds a certain special spot in our hearts. Pull your kids away from the lure of the TV this Labor Day weekend by building them their very own set of pick-up sticks - a DIY project so easy they might even be able to do it on their own!
The only thing you’ll need for this game is:
- 50 Bamboo sticks, wooden skewers or dowels (you can always play with less)
- Paint, spray paint or colored duct tape
Once you’ve chosen the material for your sticks, grab some paint or tape and get to work on assigning a color value to each one. Ideally, you’ll want:
- 2 sticks worth 25 point
- 12 worth 10 points
- 12 worth 5 points
- 14 worth 2 points
- 10 worth 1 point
Give each value its own design, drop the sticks in a pile, and you’re off! Players take turns removing sticks without touching or moving any other stick – a turn continues until this happens. The player with the most points according the value of their sticks at the end of the game wins! The Giverslog.com has a great, kid-friendly tutorial if you need some more help!
As you can see, some of these DIY games require a bit more effort than just running to the store, but the extra TLC that goes into building them only adds to the fun. Whether you make one or all of them, we’re sure they’ll be a great addition to any Labor Day celebrations, this year and for years to come. We’d love to see your work too, so if you have chance come share your homemade games on our Facebook wall.
From everyone at PartSelect, we wish you an enjoyable, safe and sunny long weekend!