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How-To: Make Yard Games Out of Leftover Wood

Summer is nearly upon us, and the 80 degrees days are getting us excited for being outside as much as possible. In the spirit of summer, if not quite the actual season yet, we present the top four games you, your kids and neighbors can build and play together. These might actually be the best reasons to hold onto the leftover wood from when your deck was built or renovated (recycling can be a lot of fun)!

1. The Backyard Word Game
Letters on the ground
Enough with the wimpy Scrabble game you’re used to, super size it and make it more fun for everyone.

You can keep this project simple or get complicated with it. All you really need to make it happen is some flat, heavy material that will work with paint – wood, tile, heavy cardboard, pretty much anything will work! Cut the pieces to be roughly the same size, making sure they’re oversized for fun and readability. Print out large letters on your printer and use an exacto knife or other razor to cut them out, then use the paper as a paint stencil. Grab your pain roller and get to work, you’ll need this many of each letter – E x 10; A x 8; R x 7; I x 7; O x 7; T x 7; N x 7; S x 5; L x 5; C x 5; D x 4; U x 4; P x 3; M x 3; H x 3; G x 2; B x 2; F x 2; Y x 2; J x 1; W x 1; K x 1; V x 1; X x 1; Z x 1; Q x 1.

That’s the basic setup, but you can also turn these into connecting tiles, build letter holders and even game boards if you’re feeling particularly ambitious!

See more here.

2. Giant Kerplunk
Old woman having a game
Remember this game? Now you can build it yourself. It’s kind of ridiculous, but it will definitely make for a lot of good times. As opposed to the backyard word game, this one will probably require a trip to the hardware store if you don’t have extra wood around or the right tools for the job.

Check out how to build it over at This Old House.

3. Yard Twister
colorful circles in the ground
This one’s super easy. If you’ve got some spray paint and a yard, you can build your own game of Twister that doesn’t require the silly plastic mats. Spray paint a 5 by 4 column with one color in each column, spacing each circle about a foot apart. While you let it dry create your own spinner using a piece of cardboard or foam core material, a piece of plastic and a tack. Simple, fun and the whole thing will take 10 or 15 minutes to put together. This one may at best help you use one piece of leftover wood for the spinner, but it’s neat purely for its simplicity!
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