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8 Best Cookout Games Ideas For Your Backyard Bash

8 Best Cookout Games Ideas For Your Backyard Bash

Competitive active game - boy jump over obstacles
Competitive active game - boy jump over obstacles

Tired of playing the same old boring games each season? These outdoor cookout games provide a great addition to any backyard party, cookout, or even if you just want to have a fun evening playing games with friends. These games aren’t confined to the backyard. You can also take them on a camping trip, picnic, or as a quick activity in the park. 

Eight Best Cookout Games

You could play a simple game of croquet or badminton or go lawn bowling. These are the traditional yard game activities that one can do in their backyard. However, if you want to spice things up for your next backyard bash, you may want to go big or go home.

1. Giant Jenga

Jenga is everyone’s favorite game. Most of us play it indoors on a small scale and delight when our opponent topples the tower over. What if you could play this game on a large scale? Also, what gigantic fun could you have playing it outdoors?

Giant Jenga is suitable for people of any age. This fun game contains 54 tumble tower blocks with the dimensions of 6” x 2” x 1.3”. While the dimensions may seem a little small, what begins as two feet can easily grow to four feet once people begin playing it. 

This set comes with six marked blocks and an extra die that allows players the flexibility to create their own rules by incorporating them into the party game. 

You could purchase the game. However, if you love to use your hands, you could make it as well. You could use wood, or to be on the safer side, foam products. Furthermore, you could create a massive tower to amaze your guests and do a gigantic game theme. The possibilities are endless.

To create it yourself, cut out timber blocks into Jenga pieces, sand them, and put a finishing coat on to seal them. While finishing them may take time, the outdoor fun is worth the effort. 

2. Jumbo Chess and Checkers

Continuing with the theme of giant games, this set comes oversized. For something more cerebral, you can play two games in one: chess and checkers using the removable bases. If you buy the game, the pieces are six to ten inches in height and come with a stable, durable mat. The mat is 70” x 62” and has a waterproof backing. 

This is another one that you could also make on your own or buy the pieces separately.

3. Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt

Fun for all ages, you can easily keep guests busy while engaging in a scavenger hunt. If there are a lot of small children, this game can keep them entertained for hours as they look for tiny toys, candies, or chocolates hidden around the backyard.


You can make it more challenging by offering clues that need to be decoded to advance to the next level. This game will test skill, knowledge, and problem-solving capabilities. See which group or person has the talent to make it right to the end to receive the grand prize.

For adults, you can add a trivia component to make it more like Amazing Race. You can involve everyone or just leave clues in several different locations. You can dress up stations indoors or out to suit various places across the globe, and set up puzzles, obstacles, or food challenges that need to be conquered. The only limit is your imagination.

4. Human Pinata

The only materials required are snack-sized candies, glue guns, and old t-shirts. Begin by making the shirts using a glue gun to attach the candy. Have some guests put on shirts to become human pinatas as others chase them around the backyard attempting to grab candy. The sweet reward motivates people and makes for a hilarious game. 

5. Human Ring Toss

Human Ring Toss

This backyard game is a large version of a classic game. To play it, all you need are four inflatable donuts or pool tubes per person and a great deal of air to inflate them. Be sure they can easily fit around the middle of most of your guests. The best size tends to be 36 inches.

This game involves two people standing several feet away from each other. One person will throw the inflatable donuts, while the other person acts as the partier (the peg it goes around). The person who is the peg will need to place their hands together and over their head to catch the rings while the other individual throws them.

The added challenge to this game is that the inflatables are so lightweight that, depending on the weather, you may need to account for wind resistance. You will quickly learn who has the best tossing skills. 

6. Life-Size Foosball Table

If you are entertaining a large group of guests, there is nothing more fun than creating a life-sized foosball game. The game itself is incredibly interactive, fun, and entertaining. It is a game for all ages, and everyone can participate.

While this may not be the cheapest backyard game to create, it is the most fun. Most people construct the outer edge with plywood or wood sheets. Some may do some latticework as well. You can choose any material that provides the border for the “table” so it doesn’t easily fall. You may need to tether it to prevent it from falling over as the ball moves. 

Next, you will need seven pieces of rope that extend across the table for each of the players. It may be best to cover the rope with something to prevent friction as the players will be handling it. Two people on each end will be the goalie while the others will be the players.

Players can only move from side to side on the table and kick the ball to each other to score a goal. The team with the most goals wins.

7. Capture the Flag

This classic game never gets old. People of any age can play as this game will test your skills, ability to strategize, and problem-solving capabilities. Not only can this game be played during the day, but there is a glow-in-the-dark version as well for nighttime play.

There are many ways to play the game. You can purchase it and use the wristbands to tell who is out. The box game comes with territory markers as well. To make it yourself, you can tape pieces of paper to each person’s hip. To get them out, other players need to remove one of the pieces. 

You can also use laser tag gear that will immobilize those who are hit or grab glow sticks that are worn on the player’s bodies. 

The first one to capture their opponent’s flag wins. 

8. War

War

The goal of this game is anything but war, hopefully. To play, all you need is to establish at least four different teams (although you can have as many as you would like) and purchase swords/battle gear. 

Each team represents a country with its own diverse needs and goals. Establishing peace with each surrounding country is the ultimate goal; otherwise, war results, and your opponents can overtake you. Each team receives different scenarios on cards for goals that they must meet to win. For added fun, you can make a cheat sheet of different countries.

Each country will have to compromise with each other to achieve peace. If you cannot peacefully resolve things, war may break out, and you could be invaded. Watch out for allies, though, as you may quickly discover you are in over your head. 

This outdoor party game is fun as you can make your own rules for engagement, and it emphasizes the value of cooperating.

Take Your Outdoor Games to the Next Level

These cookout games will provide hours of fun, entertainment, and, for many of them, strategizing. There are games suited for all ages, and you can play them while noshing hamburgers and hot dogs at your next outdoor gathering. Sometimes, the adults have more fun playing kids’ games than the kids themselves. 

Take a walk down memory lane or try something new this year with these backyard games. Your guests will enjoy them, and many of them are spin-offs of popular party games made life-sized.

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