SoGAL’s Super Fun, Oh So Easy, Low Cost/No Cost Summer Party Games!
Summer means BBQs, parties, and backyard get-togethers! I am such a ham when it comes to outdoor games; I Love them. All of them and any of them! …and as far as I’m concerned every party or get-together needs a game or two (or six or ten….) This is a list I just made up thinking about some of my favorites. Many of these are games I’ve been playing since my mom taught us as kids and others are games I picked up along the way planning events and parties. While I could write about games for days, this list is made up of some old fashioned favorites and others with a twist… but all of them are oh so easy, tons of fun, and super inexpensive! A lot of them can be done at no cost using things you probably already have around the house! Many of them can be morphed a bit to cater to different age groups. So take a look and get creative, who knows, these ideas might even inspire you to create a brand new game of your own!
Ol’ Fashioned Sack Races!
You can buy cute, themed sacks on Amazon or at most party stores OR think on the fly and grab 4 pillowcases, burlap sacks, or even garbage bags! Make clear Start and Finish lines. Designate a person to announce and another (or 2 or 3) to judge. It’s best to have races for each individual age group to keep things fair. Pass out hand clackers, pom poms, or whistles to encourage onlookers to get involved! If all of the kids are the same age, you can also consider an elimination series to yield First, Second, and Third place winners. You can do the races in rounds and set up simple obstacles, blindfold the older kids, or even have them try it backwards! This is an age old game that is loved by “kids” of every age!! Ready, Set, Go!
Have your Donut and Eat It too!
Ahead of time, tie various lengths of string to a tree or other overhead structure. You will want an area with plenty of room. When you are ready to play, you will tie a donut to the string. Each Player will need to hold their hands behind their backs and eat the donut from the string. The first player to eat the entire donut (without it falling on the floor/ground) wins!
It’s a little Dicey
All you need to do in this game is to balance a stack of dice on a popsicle stick held in your mouth. No problem, right? You have one minute to build a tower of six dice on the end of a popsicle stick. The trick here is that the popsicle stick must be held in your mouth. Don’t have dice? Life savers, cookies, or candies can work too!
That’s My Hot Button
This is a great game for the littler ones at your BBQ or party. Played inside or outside, the group sits or stands in a circle and holds their hands together in front of them. One person takes the button and goes around the circle, pretending to put the button in someone else’s hands. They actually deposit the button in one person’s hands, but then continue the rest of the way around the circle, pretending to put it in everyone else’s hands. Then going around the circle, each player tries to guess who has the button now. Before each person’s guess, the group asks together, “Button, button, who’s got the button?” Then the player can state their guess. Once the player with the button is finally guessed, that person distributes the button during the next round. Because a button is used in this game, be sure that all the kids playing are old enough so as to not choke on the button OR substitute a larger item that can still be concealed in the hand. In another version of this game, one child stands in the middle of the circle, and the button gets passed around the backs of the rest of the group. Those without the button pretend to pass it. When the passing stops, the player in the middle has to guess as to who actually has the button.
Orange you gonna pass that? Aka Pass the Orange aka Chin to Chin
In this game, you will select teams, each with an equal number of players and have them line up. Each team gets an orange. The first player on each team places the orange under their chin at their neck and the team must pass the orange from player to player, chin to chin, neck to neck without using their hands. If the orange falls, it goes back to the player who dropped it (or you can make it really difficult and decide they have to start over. Either is fine just make sure the rules are stated when the game begins.) The first team to make it all the way down the line wins!
Players begin on chairs. You select an MC for this game who will remove a chair in each new round or you can have someone new remove a chair each round. As chairs are removed one at a time, players must balance themselves to remain standing. The team who stands the longest without the chairs wins this challenge. This is a great game from tween to adult.
Watermelon Card Ninja
Players need to throw 1 to 3 playing cards about 6 feet away such that they get stuck into a watermelon. It’s A LOT harder than you think!
Mega Bubble Challenge
The player is given bubbles and has to blow bubbles and move one across the room by blowing on it. The game is won when the player gets one bubble from point A to point B and through a large ring, like a hula hoop. This is not as easy as it sounds as you have keep blowing bubbles until you have one that is dense enough to move across the room/area. If the bubble is blown to high in the air, it cannot be controlled and more bubbles must be blown. This game is best with older children and does NOT work well in windy conditions.
Team players must run and pass an egg on a spoon through a small obstacle course in a relay style. The team that finishes first, wins!
Watermelon Seed Spitting contest.
Each player is given a hunk of watermelon and a bowl set up at a designated length away, Time each player and the one with the most seeds in, wins!
Parachute Pop and other great parachute games
A parachute is a great purchase for any one with littles who likes to have parties or outdoor get-togethers, There are so many different games you can play with the parachute and they can often be customized to cater to a variety of ages! Here are a few of our favorites:
- Parachute Pop: Have the kids each grab a handle and then place several small beach balls or other balls on the parachute. Have them move the parachute to keep the balls popping! For older kids, assign each child a number and use only 2 to 3 balls. Only the child who’s number has been called can pop the parachute to keep the ball from rolling off and then he/she calls out the next number to keep the balls on the chute as long as possible.
- Parachute Please : Lift the parachute high overhead. The first designated caller yells a child’s name and a command (hop, skip, jump, one legged, etc.) and the child must do this all the way to the other side before the parachute touches him her. It’s then that child’s turn to yell out the next command for the child whose spot they hopped skipped, etc jumped into. Set boundaries of the choices of commands or the kids might get a little silly!
- It’s Shoe to me: Each child takes off one shoe and throws it under the parachute. Have a parent or an older child pick one child to start and call out their name. He/she then has to run under the chute, find their show and get back to their spot before the crowd counts to 10! That child then decided on the next name to call and this continues until each child has retrieved their shoe
- Change Up: The caller yells out pre-assigned numbers, colors, etc, and those children swap places under the chute before it falls, and run to an empty space.
- Merry-Go-Round: Children turn their bodies sideways and hold the chute with one hand. They then walk around in a circle, making a “Merry-Go-Round.” Select a song to sing that repeats a word or verse. Every time they sing that word or verse, they have to change direction!
- Parachute Volleyball : Split into two sides of the parachute. Add a beach ball to the chute. One side tries to knock the ball off of the other side. The side that knocks it the other team’s side wins. If a team hits it off on their own side, the other team wins. Proceed in rounds to play to 3, 9, or 11 points depending on age.
This challenge is a Minute to Win It game. The object of the game is to unwind an entire roll of toilet paper, mummy style without tearing it. The child must hold on to the end of the toilet paper and spin around, unrolling the toilet paper, wrapping it around themselves, mummy style. If the toilet paper tears, it is game over.
Break the kids into teams. Get an adult or older child to be the mummy and sit them in a chair. Each team gets a roll of toilet paper and some supplies (optional) to decorate the mummy. Assign an amount of time or play a song. The teams then have to wrap the mummy and decorate them before the time or song ends. Have the other guests vote on the best mummy! Then make clean up a game too! Give each team a trash bag and the first team to clean up all of the toilet paper first, wins!
The Lifesaver Pass
Break into teams of at least 6 people each and line up. Each player gets a straw and puts it in their mouth. They must pass a lifesaver down the entire line on the straw without using their hands. The team to do it quickest wins this challenge.
Red Solo Cup
Break into teams. Each team gets 2 large buckets of water (one at each end of the “course”) and each player gets a cup. Players must fill a red solo ½ full with water and balance it on their head and walk a designated course before tagging their next teammate in this relay style game. If the cup falls, they must go back and start over. The first team to complete the course wins.
Old Fashioned Egg Toss or Water Balloon Toss
Teammates toss an egg or water balloon to each other moving one step back with each successful toss. If the egg or balloon break on you, you are out! Last team standing wins! Be prepared to get messy!
Teams choose their best “hoola hooper” and the music begins. Hooper who can last the longest wins!
Simon Says Silly Dance Off
Select a caller and person to act as your “DJ.” A voice activated speaker can work well too. When the music starts, children begin dancing and are then told to incorporate silly moves into their dance in a simon says format. The last child dancing wins. You will need a few spotters/judges for this as well.
Defying Gravity Balloon Relay
Challenge each team to defy gravity by keeping 3 balloons in the air at the same time by gently tapping them. Time this and add a balloon to each round eliminating teams that let the balloon touch. The last standing team wins. (This game works best in enclosed areas without wind.)
Make a scavenger hunt list ahead OR select a caller to call out random items that can be found around the yard or party (a pebble, a leaf, a quarter, something shiny, something smelly, a sock with a hole in it (all socks have holes btw,) a lipstick, a purple shoe, get wacky and clever!
Glow in the Dark Ring Toss
You wil need to purchase a can of white spray paint or primer, glow in the dark spray paint, and a tube of glow necklaces for this game. Ahead of time, spray 2, 2 liter soda bottles with a layer of white paint or prime. Let dry. Then apply a couple layers of glow in the dark spray paint. Allow to dry and then let the bottles “charge” in sunlight or artificial light for several hours. Test. You might need a few coats. When you are ready to use them, fill them with water and place them at a desired distance apart (be mindful of difficulty according to the age group who will be playing.) Each player gets a designated amount of the glow necklaces and will try to ring the bottle. Note: You will also have plenty of paint left over for lots of other fun projects!
Divide into 2 teams. Each team needs an empty 2 liter soda bottle and an empty bucket, a large bucket filled with water, and a plastic cup. Place the soda bottle in the empty bucket and place it about fifteen feet away (this can vary depending on your age group) from the bucket that is filled with water. Give the first player on each team the cup. When the caller yells start, each player will fill their cup and run down to the other side to fill the soda bottle then run back to pass the cup on to the next player. The first team to fill their soda bottle with water wins! (Make sure the water bucket has plenty of water. The soda bottle is placed in an empty buckets so it does not fall/blow over and because there will be spillage! )