Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries
Serving Greater Cincinnati

Get Your Kids Outside with These Fun Game Ideas!

It happens so fast “” as summer days dwindle, kids can sometimes be lured to the screen and forget the ” adventure awaits” approach to the first days of vacation. For parents, now is the time to deploy your last-ditch plan to convince them that playing outside can be exciting and fun!

We have plenty of ideas for you to create your own outdoor games that can be easily prepped using Goodwill thrift store finds.

Keep it Simple

The key to great outdoor games is to keep it simple. There shouldn’t be a lot of work on your part to assemble it ““ and the rules of the game shouldn’t be complicated either. That way kids can pop in and out of a game without missing a beat!

Human Ring Toss

Every game is more fun when you become a prop! In this version of a ring toss game, the kids play an active role as the ” target.” You can either use donut-shaped pool floats or hula hoops for rings. The players stand in two parallel lines and set the timer for just a few seconds. One side tosses the rings to the player directly across from them, and the players who land the most rings win!

Bean Bag Toss

You can do a lot with some old bean bags! This game is about tossing the bags toward a target in order to win points. There are several ways to create a game, including using an old thrifted ladder. Just tape cards with point increments to each rung, and when your bag is tossed in an opening between rungs on the ladder, you win the number of points listed. There’s no need for fancy boards!

Outdoor baskets from Ohio Valley Goodwill
Outdoor baskets from Ohio Valley Goodwill

The same game can be played using large bowls, baskets, or plastic containers and buckets of different sizes lined up next to one another. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you could even make your own bags using repurposed fabric from Goodwill and dried beans or corn kernels. Kids and adults alike love bean toss games, so remember this idea for future barbeques!

Backyard Bowling

The possibilities for creating an outdoor bowling game are truly endless. All you need is a ball and something to knock down!

When you’re shopping at Goodwill retail stores, look for small plastic cups or containers that can take a hit “” and remember that weight and heft matter. You don’t want anything that will fall over too easily, but if it’s too heavy in comparison to your ball, the game will be impossible.

You can use a sidewalk or paved driveway as a ” bowling alley” or just play the game in the grass. This game is especially fun for younger kids.

Invite the Neighbors!

There are no more excuses for complaining of boredom. Invite the neighbors, and your kids will remember your games as the highlight of their summer. You’ll also earn bonus points with the neighborhood parents, who will be forever grateful that you helped them pry their own children from their screens!

cornhole game from Goodwill
Cornhole from Goodwill

Use these game ideas “” or come up with your own “” and find your nearest Ohio Valley Goodwill store to start planning the ultimate end-of-summer backyard bash. Ohio Valley Goodwill has an ever-changing selection of gently-used sports equipment, games, and kids’ toys, and you may even find some pre-packaged outdoor games if you’re lucky!

Shop at Make a Difference at Goodwill
Shop at Make a Difference at Goodwill

Remember, when you choose to shop at Goodwill, you’re helping job seekers in your community achieve personal and vocational success. Thank you for supporting Goodwill’s mission!