Game time is fun, but for bigger fun, you need bigger games. You may have seen those giant outdoor games made from ordinary board games. These are perfect for the kids to play with all summer or for pulling out for a summer party. But buying them can cost hundreds. Fortunately, you can make these jumbo games yourself without breaking your budget.
You may have some of the supplies for these games lurking in a corner of your garage or basement, which will make creating them even cheaper. But if not, most can be found at your local hardware or craft supply store, the latter of which often has 40% to 50% off coupons on their apps or newspaper fliers.
Twister: This one is super easy. Get some spray paint in red, green, blue and yellow. Use a pan, paint can or other round object to use as a template, then trace it on cardboard, and cut it out. Use the remaining cardboard as a stencil and spray a row of six circles in each color on the grass. You may have to spray the circles a few times to make it the color bright enough. You can also change up the traditional colors and create a Twister game based on a wedding theme or a favorite sports team. Don’t worry, this won’t be permanent. The grass will grow and you’ll mow it off eventually. You can use an original game spinner if you have one, or if not simply write the color names slips of paper or card stock. Put the slips into hats: One hat will have 4 slips of paper (red, blue, green, yellow). The second hat will have 4 slips of paper (right foot, right hand, left foot, left hand). For each turn, the player will draw a slip from each hat.
Tic Tac Toe: This can be done in a few ways. First, the board. Use duct tape to tape a large tic tac toe board directly onto the lawn or use a large flat sheet and tape your board onto the sheet. The second method will allow you to simply the game up when you’re finished playing. If using a sheet, put a small rock onto each corner to prevent it from blowing around. For your Xs and Os, use 10 frisbees in two different colors (5 of each); if you want, use a thick marker to draw large Xs on 5 and large Os on 5. You could also use 10 bean bags in two different colors as well.
Pick Up Sticks: Check out the instructions here. You can stick with traditional yellow, green, blue and red colors or choose your own combination — just be sure to make one black one. If you have forgotten how to play, check out these simple rules.
Checkers: For your board, get a large blanket or flat sheet and spray paint your squares. Ideally, half will be white and half will be black, but it’s your game, so do whatever colors you like! For your checkers, you can use plastic plates (either inexpensive ones from the dollar store or heavy-duty disposable ones) or frisbees. If you can’t find them in the colors you want, spray paint works great.
Kerplunk: Head to the garden center to create this fun game. I found two different versions you can make, depending on how handy you are and what items you may already have on hand. The first uses tomato cages and the second uses chicken wire.
Connect Four: We’ve all played this game for hours with our kids, right? Now you can make a giant version to play outside. The kids will love playing with the oversized discs. The project requires some skill with tools. You could use scrap 2x4s for the stand. Search for scrap plywood to use for the discs, as long as they are all the required width so they rest on top of each other.
Bananagrams: This game is even educational for the kids. Here are some detailed instructions, including how many squares of each letter you need. These instructions use masonite, which is fine, but you could also use four 4’x8′ sheets of luan, which cost about $14 each. You could also use cardboard or check out freecycle or Craigslist or any of your local online yardsale sites for folks giving away old floor tiles, which would work great. Just don’t get tiles that are too large — the game could get quite heavy.
Jenga: Who doesn’t like the challenge of Jenga? These instructions make creating a giant version a snap. To save some cash and time, you can skip the painting, but it does make it look nice.
Dominoes: Whether you want to play a game or set them in a row and knock them down, this oversize set will work. Here are some simple directions that include sizes and numbers of dominoes with each dot pattern. But I noticed a couple of things: First, the directions call for two paint colors; since dominoes are usually one color, you can save some by buying just one paint color. Also, the directions recommend buying felt and an extra piece of wood to create the dots and middle dividers, but here’s another option of creating a template instead.
Plinko: Kids of any age can play this game, and it isn’t difficult to put together. Raid the scrap pile for materials. The landing spots are numbered, and each player adds up his or her score. The object is to have your discs add up as close to 21 as possible. Players alternate turns, and the first one to hit 21 wins.
I think these games can offer endless summer fun. Do you have any favorite games that could be jumbo-sized?
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