This Monday is Memorial Day and while I hope we're all using the day to remember those who have served our country, that doesn't mean that we can't also use the day off as a good excuse to enjoy time with our families! Most people will be grilling and playing that old favorite, cornhole. But maybe you're kind of tired of playing the same old games at every family function? Why not mix it up a little? And why not take advantage of this warm weather and get a little messy? PawPaw can always hose you down afterward. In each of the game titles, I've included the link to find instructions for pulling each game off seamlessly.
Wet & Wild
These games might be a little intense for the little ones, either because of complexity or just a higher risk of someone with low motor skills hurting themselves.
1. Sponge Launch
I found this game on a page with tons of other fun games, but I thought this one looked like the one my family would be most likely to try. The basic concept is so easy. You get two three-person slingshot launchers, set up teams on opposite sides of the yard, and try to shoot soaking wet sponges at each other. The fun only stops when you want it to, because you can always reload your "ammo" by soaking the sponges your enemies have already thrown.
2. Giant Jenga
Oh yes. This is definitely a thing and, better yet, you can make your own! Make sure to sand down the ends so you don't wind up with splinters and so that the pieces slide out of their spaces more easily, but it's serious fun. Just make sure that you really do yell Jenga when you win, because you'll need to step back when it falls.
3. Paint Balloon (D)Art
Have you ever seen the movie The Princess Diaries? Do you remember the scene where Mia's mother (an artist) is making art by popping paint-filled balloons with darts? This is exactly what we're suggesting you do. You'll have such a blast throwing darts and making a mess, and you'll wind up with something that looks pretty cool. In fact, if you'd like to make this better for the little ones, too, you can just have them pop the balloons up close.
Messy & Mild
These games are definitely crowd pleasers for all ages. You might get a little messy, though, so old clothes only, please!
4. The Paint Slide
A slip-n-slide is a summer classic, but maybe you're looking to shake things up this year. Just add some colorful tempera paint to the slide instead of soap! It's usually pretty cheap to find at any craft store and kids seriously love being allowed to get messy.
5. Kid-Friendly Obstacle Course
Martha Stewart has an amazing post about how to set up an obstacle course for kids in your back yard. Of course, if you want to make it more challenging for older kids and adults, feel free to let your imagination run wild. Just be sure to put safety first.
6. DIY Giant Memory Match Game
As a kid, I loved the game Memory, where you matched the cards to their twins. So why not make your own giant set of Memory matching cards to use all over the lawn? The instructions are so simple and you can even get the kids to help in making the cards as well as in playing. Plus, this game travels so easily so you can make it now and bring it to every family function from now on.
7. Squirt Gun Races
This is a pretty basic concept game for kids. It's very similar to those carnival games where you use your gun to shoot water at the target to make your little racecar finish the race first. Except this is much simpler to make yourself. All you need is some string, plastic cups, and (of course) squirt guns. If your kids find it too easy, make them shoot for the bottom of the cups or make them swim across the pool and shoot for added difficulty.
8. The Hose Head Game
This is truly the silliest game I found, but it's fun for kids of all ages. The basic premise of the game is that everyone takes a leg of a pair of stockings with a sock in the end, which they put on their head. Once the game starts, everyone starts running around trying to pull the stockings off of everyone else's head. The last person with their hose on their head wins.
9. The Wilderness Explorer Scavenger Hunt
For families who are Disney fans, here is a super fun scavenger hunt for you and the kids. They have a free PDF you can download. And you can even buy the "Ellie Badge" from the Disney Store here as a prize for finishing the hunt.
10. Glow-in-the-Dark Bowling
Just because the sun has set doesn't mean that fun has to stop. Night bowling is such a fun activity for the family, and so easy to make. It's seriously just water bottles, glow sticks, and one of your kids' toy balls. That's all you need to have a late-night bowl-a-thon! Plus, the kids love staying up with mom and dad after dark.
So what do you think? Is your family adopting any of these games for your Memorial Day party? Let us know!