The Backyard Games for Summer Fun

boy playing in sprinklers

Take full advantage of Seattle’s good weather this summer by playing fun games with your kids outdoors.

Encourage everyone in your family — big and small — to get outside and play with fun outdoor games. Getting outside and being active can help you make your patio and backyard into an outdoor escape that’ll brighten everyone’s mood.

4 Health Benefits of Playing Outdoors

Research shows that outdoor activities boost both mental and physical health.

Increases Attention Span

Studies have shown that exposure to everyday green spaces appears to increase the attention span of children, especially those who have Attention Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).  

Increases Vitamin D Levels

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, vitamin D can contribute greatly to things such as bone strength, heart disease prevention, and diabetes prevention. Sunshine offers a natural source of vitamin D to improve these health issues. Furthermore, vitamin D is a natural mood-lifter. So it can help your whole family not only be healthier, but feel happier!

Kids outside during the summer

Reduces Stress

A 2014 study revealed that green schoolyards reduced children’s stress levels and increased their resilience. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado and educators from Maryland and Colorado. The overwhelming consensus was that lush playgrounds (playgrounds with trees and bushes) offered kids peace and a mental escape from the stressors of daily life and the classroom — an escape that was critical to their development.

Improves Vision

A 2012 study published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that kids who played outside reduced their risk of developing myopia (aka nearsightedness).

7 Backyard Games for the Whole Family

This collection of games can be enjoyed by those young and old. All you need is a good attitude!

Water Balloon Catch

This classic game has been a hot-weather favorite for years. Pick partners. Position each partner so they are facing once another, creating two perpendicular lines, spaced just a couple of feet apart. Toss the balloon back and forth, taking a step back with each toss. The pair that achieves the furthest separation before their balloon breaks is the winner.

Alternative: Make is a group game. Start in a circle with two feet separating each person. Toss the balloon counter-clockwise. Each time the balloon has made around the circle, have everyone take one step back. See how far apart your group can get!

Giant Chalk

giant chalk

You might need to move from the backyard to your driveway for this one, but if you have a kid who loves to draw, giant chalk is sure to be a hit. You can buy a collection of big chalk on Amazon for cheap and then send them out to create a mural.

If you want to take it up a level, consider taping a design on your driveway with contractor’s tape. Encourage your little to fill in the sections. Then pull up the tape and reveal their masterpiece.


Also known as beanbag toss, this family-friendly game has become a favorite for any outdoor gathering. All you need is two cornhole boards (two pieces of plywood tilted at an angle with a hole cut at the higher ends, near the center of the board) and beanbags.

Kan Jam

This game is relatively new to the outdoor game world. It uses a frisbee (or disc) and a garbage-can sized container. (You could DIY your own by cutting a hole in a tall box.) Points are scored by throwing the disc into the opening at the top. If a player throws the disc through the special slot, the team instantly wins!

Freeze Tag

This game might be difficult for less-mobile members of the family. Encourage anyone who is unable to play, to be cheerleaders! But for the families with really rambunctious kids, freeze tag is the perfect solution. One child is “it” and is responsible for running after and tagging the other players. Once a player is tagged, they are “frozen,” meaning they can’t move. They can only become unfrozen by being tagged by an unfrozen player.


Join the tie-dye craze. Invite your kids to decorate their own shirts or tank tops with fun splotches of color. This activity can be VERY messy though, so make sure to do it away from your nice patio furniture.

Sprinkler Dash

This is for those particularly hot days. Set up a sprinkler in the middle of your yard. Then, see who among you can run from one side of your yard to the other without getting wet.

Have fur baby at home too? Discover simple ways to make your patio dog-friendly.