Summer is a great time for outdoor games and activities, from the classic Slip ‘N Slide and tug of war to Twister and a water balloon toss. These games can also make for an exciting backyard olympics. Here is a list of summer games—play them separately or combine them for a backyard competition. When opting for the backyard olympics approach, plan in advance and make DIY team t-shirts.
How to start
Find a wide space such as a backyard or a less frequented public park. Divide into teams; the more people, the more fun. This is best done in four teams of two, but can reach up to four teams of four, unless there’s more space; in that case, the team possibilities are endless. Once teams have been picked, decide on a team name and write each team name on a large board, either a poster board or whiteboard. Make sure to plan out a prize for the winning team; for example, making the other teams follow through with a dare.
There are four games total, and each game is played at least once by all team members. The competition is divided into two teams of two who will face off against each other. The winner of the first set and second set will play the game again to determine a final winner for games one through four. Don’t forget to assign a referee!
Whichever team wins the final face-off for game one will be recorded on the board. Repeat rules for games two, three and four. Whichever team wins the most games at the end, wins the backyard olympics.
Set 1: Team 1 vs Team 2
Set 2: Team 3 vs Team 4
Final Round for Game 1: Winner of set one vs. winner of set two
The winner from the first set will compete with the winner from the second set to determine a final game winner.
For the competition, there will be four games total. The ones chosen here can be subbed for whichever backyard game desired.
Game 1: Tug of war
This is a classic and extremely fun game. For this purpose, the tug of war is going to be specifically one-on-one. Take a long rope, preferably thick, and lay it on the ground in a straight line. Each member from each team will compete against an opposing member. The end goal is to get a majority of the rope on one side. Tally up how many members won from each team within each set. The winners from the first set and second set will move forward to the next round of game one.
Game 2: Relay race
Choose an appropriate distance for the relay. Once distance has been assigned, fill two cups of water to the brim. The goal is to walk as fast as possible without spilling any water. Each member will pass off their water cup to the next member on the team. Whoever reaches the finish line fastest without spilling their water wins. The cup has to be ¾ of the way full in order to remain qualified. The relay team who wins in their set will move to the next round of game two.
Game 3: Paint balloon dodgeball
Fill each balloon with whichever paint color preferred. For this game, each team will have a total of 10 balloons. The goal of the game is to dodge the incoming paint balloons. The team with the least paint on them will move on to the next round of game three.
Safety note: Only throw the balloons below the head.
Game 4: Twister
This is another one-on-one game. Each member will compete against the opposing members in their set. Spread the mat on the grass and have the assigned referee spin and call out the combination. The goal is not to fall. The first to fall or place their elbow or knee on the mat loses. Keep track of how many team members in each team win within their set. The winning team from each set will move on to compete in the final round of game four.
Tally up which team won the most games. The winning team is then to be awarded with a prize.
In case of a tie, the referee will choose which game the tied teams will play. Each team will pick one member to compete for the final win.