Labor Day is right around the corner. With no work in sight, it’s a perfect time to bail on your daily commute and have a blast in your backyard instead.
But the holiday brings along with it some not-so-sunny news — it marks the traditional end of the summer season. To help observe the occasion, we complied six do-it-yourself backyard games you can play before the season shifts and you’re stuck indoors.
Wave goodbye to the commonplace bean bag toss and horseshoes, and say hello to lawn memory matching games and backyard bowling. Here are a few games and activities to add to your Labor Day festivities using supplies you already have from around the house.
Since camping season is winding down, you won’t mind snagging one of your tarps from storage and turning it into a backyard game. HGTV suggests to lay out your full tarp on the yard and cut out a plate-sized hole in the center. Once the circular shape is cut, use a durable paint to outline the hole and paint three additional rings around the hole (about 4 inches apart) — it should resemble a large target. Instead of tossing a ball or bean bag, fill up a bucket of water balloons. Hang the tarp upright, from two nearby trees, grab a filled water balloon, and get tossing. For an added challenge, use a spoon to catapult the water balloon at the target, away from other people or windows. Aim for the hole in the center, which will land you three points. If you hit one of the outer rings, you score one point.
Head to your recycling bin and pull out six 12-ounce plastic soda bottles — they’re almost perfectly bowling-pin shaped. Parents magazine recommends removing any labels and filling the plastic bottle with water and a few drops of food coloring. Each pin should have its own color. Now that you have six pins, line them up in a triangle shape with three in the back, two in front of that, and one in the forefront. If you want a full pin set, go for 10 pins, and line the four additional pins along the back row. From there, you’ll want to locate an ideal “alley”: It could be a flat surface in the backyard, a nearby sidewalk or your driveway — but if you use the driveway, make sure to be careful and let any drivers in the house know you’ll be there. Grab a soccer ball or basketball, and see how many you can strike. If you don’t have any plastic bottles, grab a few cans from the recycling bin and set up the same way.
To keep the creative little ones busy for hours, make your very own backyard chalkboard to secure to your fence. According to Apartment Therapy, you’ll need your ideal board size of plywood and chalkboard paint (either spray or brush on). You can likely get both at your local hardware store. Just brush or spray on the chalkboard paint, let it dry and mount it on your fence at kid height. Use a drill and plenty of amble-size screws to attach the chalkboard securely to your fence. Put a bucket of brightly colored chalk, a rag and a bucket of water for cleanup nearby and watch them create an outdoor masterpiece.
Wear the little ones out with a backyard obstacle course, says Martha Stewart Kids. Use safe objects you have lying around, such as swim noodles, hula-hoops, chairs, cones, rope, and hoses. Gather up the adults and get creative with the course — keeping safety in mind. Then watch the kids work up an appetite.
Looking for a fun way to entertain game lovers of all ages? Studio DIY suggests that you make oversized cardboard or cork tiles for an outdoor memory game set. Leave one side blank, and have fun painting matching images on the other sides of the tiles — get creative. You’ll need about 10 pairs of tiles with simple summer images — think two pineapples, two pairs of sunglasses, two suns, etc. If you’re hosting artsy guests, they can even help paint the game images on the tiles, and then play with the set they helped create.
After a packed day of playful outdoor Labor Day activities, it may be time to wind down with a movie. Soak up the final days of summer by watching your favorite flick outside, says We Lived Happily Ever After. Hang up a large white sheet and project it off the side of the house or by using two sturdy poles. Set up the projector, and don’t forget the popcorn.