Summer is officially here! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to soak up some sun and hang out with friends and family. What better place to do that than in your own backyard?

We’ve got some cheap and fun backyard ideas to help you create a sweet space and throw some epic get-togethers!

 

1. Use spray chalk to create a giant tic-tac-toe board.

This won’t hurt your lawn and it’ll wash away with your hose or a good rain. Use frisbees for the Os and boomerangs for the Xs — or you can just use a marker and paper plates!

You can get spray chalk for around $12.00 for a three pack at Target.

 

2. Or, use spray paint to make giant Twister!

Once the paint dries it’s less likely to rub on your hands than chalk. The paint shouldn’t hurt your lawn, but it will stick around until it grows out, so be aware. The more people can play the bigger you make it!

 

3. Have a s’mores potluck party.

Is there anything more “summer” than a s’more? Take it up a notch by throwing a little bash. Have everyone bring a different candy — Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are THE best — and then let everyone get creative.

Need a firepit for the occasion? We have the best deals for you.

 

4. Raise some butterflies!

Get yourself a butterfly garden set from Amazon for around $20.00 and raise real live butterflies from caterpillar to adulthood! Setting them free is actual magic — for you and for the kiddos.

 

 

5. Then, make a butterfly garden with flowers and fruit so they stick around!

You can start by planting flowers that butterflies love — particularly milkweed, zinnias and daisies — to attract them to your garden. Then set out some cut fruit like oranges, grapefruit, kiwis and strawberries. They’ll be especially attracted to fruit that’s almost spoiled.

Voila! A summery butterfly garden in your own backyard!

 

6. Create a pool noodle obstacle course with duct tape and tent spikes.

via HGTV

Pool noodles and duct tape are all you need to create an age-appropriate obstacle course for any get-together.

Create a noodle tunnel by putting tent spikes into the ground just across from each other then pushing the noodle over the top of either spike.

Duct tape the ends together to form circles for little feet to run through. Stand them straight up — using those tent spikes again — and have runners weave in and out of them. Get creative and have fun!

 

7. Build a Nerf play station with cardboard and plastic cups.

I use a combination of cardboard boxes with plastic cups hanging inside and more cups on top with different point values drawn on with a Sharpie.

You can also purchase some sweet Nerf target sets to mix it all up.

 

8. Have a movie night under the stars by renting a projector for free from the library!

Set up a projector — some libraries rent them if you don’t own one — and hang a white sheet on your fence so you can see the movie.

Fill an inflatable pool with blankets and pillows, get your popcorn, and enjoy your flick.

 

RELATED: 15 Crazy Things You Didn’t Know You Can Check Out from the Library

 

9. Build a fairy garden from a birdbath.

If you’re crafty you can make them out of tree stumps or cut firewood. You can also use a birdbath or birdhouse. Or you could just buy one for $13.99 on Amazon and assemble it. No matter how you make it, a fairy garden is a guaranteed bit of magic in your backyard.

 

10. Create your own private splash pad with a tarp and a sprinkler.

This is great for younger kids, but older kids will love it too, I promise. Lay out a clean tarp and place your sprinkler right smack in the middle. Toss some beach balls and water toys on the tarp for extra fun.

If you want to give it a boost, connect PVC pipe in an arch, drill holes throughout and attach it to a hose to the bottom. Who needs to venture out of the neighborhood for a splash pad?

 

 

11. Plant sunflowers in a circle for the BEST summertime fort.

This will take some planning in advance, but it’s totally worth it. Plant your sunflowers according to the seed packet directions — make sure they’re in an almost closed circle. You want to leave enough room when the sunflowers are fully grown to be able to walk through. Once it’s all said and done, your kids — or you — will have a living fort!

TIP: You can score sunflower seeds for $1.20 a packet at Home Depot, or you can check with your local library to see if they have any for free!

 

12. Wait until after dark and play some glow-necklace ring toss.

Fill a few water bottles half full, and pop a couple of dollar store glow sticks inside so you know where to toss your necklaces. Easy and super fun!

 

13. Cut 2x4s to make giant backyard Jenga.

You can actually have any wood you buy at Home Depot cut to your specifications for free! If you want to do it yourself then you’ll need a circular saw and this tutorial from The Idea Room.

Either way, you’re in for a good time!

 

14. Use pallets to make an Instagram-worthy picnic table.

This is seriously the easiest ever. Line up as many pallets as you need to accommodate your guests comfortably. Cover with linens of your choice, toss down some comfy pillows to sit on, and then set your new fancy picnic table to your liking.

 

15. Hang a chalkboard on your fence and get even more use out of sidewalk chalk.

This is maybe one of the easiest things you can do to make your backyard space more enjoyable. Buy a chalkboard and use some screws to secure it to your fence. Kids love it, obviously, but it’s really fun for adults, too! You can also use it for keeping score during any backyard games!

 

 

16. Hang water balloons from a tree and hit them instead of a piñata.

If you’re planning a backyard party in the heat of summer then this game is a must. We also have 24 brilliant backyard party ideas if you can’t get enough outdoor fun.

 

17. Use an inflated kiddie pool as a cooler for your next get-together.

You can fill water balloons up and freeze them instead of ice if you want a colorful display!

 

18. Have an outdoor feet-washing station to keep mud and sand out of your house.

via HGTV

I love that my kids want to play in dirt and mud — but I don’t want that mud or dirt anywhere near my house. Enter a feet-washing station.

You can either purchase a salt block pan (it has built-in drain holes) or build a box with some cut 4x4s, then add some river rocks. Have anyone with muddy feet stand on the rocks while you hose them down.

 

19. Cut 4×4 posts into dice for backyard Yahtzee.

Cut your post every 3.5 inches to create uniform “dice” — you’ll need 5. Then use a paint pen to draw the pips (those are the black circles) onto your new wooden dice.

Make sure you sand them down. You can even apply a coat of stain if you’re feeling fancy.

 

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