By: Annie Pilek, Director of Recreation and Entertainment, Mohonk Mountain House
Summer is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy classic backyard lawn games with friends and family. Whether you’re throwing a neighborhood barbecue, hosting an outdoor wedding, or organizing a weekend play date, these classic lawn games (with a twist!) are sure to be a hit!
Below are our favorite DIY lawn games that are super easy to make and can be adapted to fit a variety of events and age groups.
Classic Bottle Toss
DIY Instructions: Collect eight glass bottles and remove their labels by washing with warm, soapy water. After drying, choose two colors (one for each team) and paint the inside and outside of each bottle. You can use spray paint for a fast and easy application or craft paint, which may require a few extra coats. Let the bottles dry upside down on newspaper to allow excess paint to drain from the bottoms of the bottles. Cut a medium size rope into eight equal pieces and tie each piece into a hoop. Once bottles are completely dry, stand them up on a hard surface or place them in a crate for stability. Mark a line for players to stand behind and have them toss the rope hoops around the bottle necks. The team that rings the most bottles wins!
Tree Trunk Tic-Tac-Toe
DIY Instructions: Slice a tree trunk into a roughly 1-inch thick segment (or purchase a piece of wood at your local craft store if you don’t have an ax handy!). Use a ruler to draw a large tic-tac-toe grid on the center of the trunk. Go over the pencil lines with a black permanent marker or craft paint. Collect eight small rocks with smooth surfaces and rinse the dirt and dust off with warm water. Once rocks have dried, separate into two groups of four. Paint four of the rocks like a ladybug using red, black, and white craft paint. Let paint dry thoroughly between coats. Paint the remaining rocks to look like bumble bees using yellow, black, and white craft paint. This version of tic-tac-toe is a perfect sit-down, intimate activity for young kids.
DIY Instructions: Use a paper plate to trace and cut a circle out from the bottom of a large pizza box. Purchase four bottles of washable spray paint (or spray chalk) in red, blue, yellow, and green. Find a large open area on your lawn and use the pizza box cutout as a stencil and a long piece of string as a guide for your rows. Spray paint a row of eight red circles, roughly two inches apart, followed by a row of blue circles, green circles, and yellow circles. If you have the original game of Twister lying around, you can use the spinner to dictate the next move. Otherwise, people can simply yell out random colors and body parts – “left leg, yellow!” – “right arm, blue!” The paint will wash off the next time it rains, or you can use a hose to clean it up once you’re finished playing.
Alice in Wonderland Croquet
DIY Instructions: Purchase 3-4 plastic flamingo lawn ornaments and drill a large 2-inch hole at the top and the bottom of the body (large enough to fit a wooden dowel through). Slide a long wooden dowel through the two holes and secure with wood glue. Drill a 2-inch hole in the surface of a shorter, thicker dowel (this will be the mallet head). Stick one end of the long dowel handle into the mallet head and secure with glue. Once glue has dried, paint the mallets in whimsical colors and use coated or white-painted wire to make the hoops.
DIY Instructions: Start by cutting several 2×4 boards into forty-eight 10 1/2 inch pieces. You can cut the boards yourself with a saw or you can ask your local hardware shop to cut them for you. Once your oversized jenga piece are cut, sand them down thoroughly so the edges are completely smooth. Any deep knots or rough edges will make it more difficult to slide the pieces out when you’re playing the game. You can paint the sides for a pop of color or use different colored stains to add contrast while maintaining a natural finish. Once the blocks have dried completely, stack the pieces, three across, alternating the orientation with each layer.
DIY Instructions: This last game is designed for the beach but can be played anywhere – your backyard, a campsite, or picnic in the park! Start with a simple white beach mat as the game board. Using a ruler and pencil, draw a large 8×8 grid across the mat. Using gold paint, fill in every other square to create the checker board pattern. Collect 10 shells of similar color, shape, and size to represent one player and another set of 10 shells to represent the other player. Keep the shells in a small drawstring bag or wooden box and you’ve got an on-the-go outdoor game that you can throw in a backpack!
Come Play at Our House!
These games were inspired by many of the outdoor games we offer on our own lawn at Mohonk Mountain House. Guests can enjoy Giant Jenga, Four in a Row, Checkers, Ker-Plunk as well as corn hole tournaments, capture the flag, and glow putting on our putting green. Check out our Daily Activities Schedule to see what games we have going on this week! Most games and activities are included in your overnight stay or your day visit as a day spa or dining guest.