Top 10 Backyard Games & Ideas to Beat the Dog Days of Summer

By Jen Plym from

If you’re anything like my family, you’re in the throes of the end of summer. The only way you truly know you’re in it is when your kids repeatedly whine “Mom, I’m bored, there’s nothing to do…” about 50 times a day.  Meanwhile, you just got home from your self-induced mom uber (why didn’t we invent that??) after carpooling them to and fro any and every sports and day camp you could sign them up for.  Regardless of your best efforts to entertain your little ones, they end up “bored” just as soon as they step foot in your house. 

Have no fear, we bring you the Top 10 Best Backyard Games & Ideas to Beat the Dog Days of Summer, because that’s how we roll!

1 - Disc Golf

This is the best game ever for all members of your fam, especially the dads! Disc Golf was invented in 1976 and has been a backyard staple since the very first day.  You may want to check out your town’s best disc golf spots as well, you’ll be surprised how many fun parks that have a course specifically designed for disc golf.

2 - Set up a Zip Line or Slack Line

Zip lines and slack lines are such a hit for kids interested in a fun adventure in their very own backyard.  Set this up in between two trees and you’re all set.  You have several options to choose from, even LED swings and ninja courses so your kids can channel their inner America Ninja Warrior.

3 - Movie Nights & S’mores

This is a hit for all ages and if you host a movie night, you can bet most of the kids in the neighborhood will join the festivities.  All you need is a sheet, projector, computer and a movie – it’s easy peasy!  You can find step-by-step instructions here.

4 - Spikeball

If volleyball and foursquare had a baby, they would deliver spikeball.  And thanks to our friends at Shark Tank, there is a new official Spikeball game that is taking our country by storm.  Set this up in your backyard and your kids will be entertained and competing for hours on end.   Pinkie swear.

5 – Kickball

Good ‘ole fashioned kickball could be the easiest set up of all times.  All you need is a ball and a backyard.  Done.

6 - Corn Hole

This is always a goodie!  You can set this up in your backyard on any day and the level of competition will be amped up for all ages. 

7 - Ghosts in the Graveyard

This is hands down my kids’ favorite night time game to play. GITG is super fun to play at night and kids will play until all hours of the night if you let them.  For a complete list of rules, click here.

8 - Host a Basketball Championship

Either in your driveway or on your trampoline, basketball is fun for all ages and for boys and girls alike. 

9 - Chase Fireflies

This may sound silly, but my kids often forget about this summer treat that disappears just as soon as it arrives.  This and chasing rainbows after an afternoon summer storm.  I like to think of it as a reminder to slow down, unplug and get outside and enjoy nature.

10 - Trampoline Contest

Actually, if you purchased this in the beginning of the summer, your kids would never be bored and you can just eliminate ideas # 1-9! Because guess what? Your house will forever be home base for the entire ‘hood if you own a Springfree trampoline.  So you better load up on snacks and drinks and fill your outside fridge and enjoy the permanent neighborhood party in your own backyard.

Happy Dog Days of Summer!


Jen Plym, Founder,

Jen Plym is the mom of four active kids from elementary school to high school. She and her best friend started Charlotte Smarty Pants as a daily blog in 2007 before social media even existed. With Jen’s leadership and vision, CSP now engages thousands of Charlotte parents each month and has become the ultimate parenting resource for the Greater Charlotte, NC community. 

Jen’s passion is connecting Charlotte parents with each other. She is committed to opening the communication lines between all parents and truly believes that when everyone is talking to each other, big things can happen.  

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