Fourth of July games are a tradition in my family. Any easy way to involve everyone outside, while also celebrating the holiday, is exactly what I’m in the market for this time of year. And that’s why I rely on 4th of July games.
If you’re the same way, I hope you’ll use some of my best game ideas. Maybe they will save you some time figuring out how to entertain your people before the fireworks go off. Because, let’s be honest, a lot of the purpose of Fourth of July games is keeping the kids occupied. But it’s nice when the games don’t suck, too.
I’ve got a few Fourth of July games you can make yourself, along with a bunch that you can buy on Amazon. So, there’s something here for you, whether you’re crafty or not!
Also, be sure to check out the best Fourth of July deals. This is a great time of year to buy summer stuff at a discount.
And hey, be sure to download the KCL app to stay up to date on current deals all day, every day.
1. A scavenger hunt is one of the most active Fourth of July games.
This one is so easy it’s mind-boggling. Gather up a bunch of random items. They can be Fourth of July themed (like red, white, or blue items only), or they can just be things you have laying around. Hide them in the yard or in the house.
You can either make the checklist cards yourself or download them from sites like Etsy to save time. It should be pretty easy to find something for less than $5 to print. Give your participants 30 minutes to locate items. The first person who returns with all of the items checked wins.
2. Hide American flags around your house.
If a full-fledged scavenger hunt isn’t in the cards, level it down a bit by stashing one or two dozen mini American flags around the house (and the yard!). Set a timer and then watch as chaos ensues. Whoever collects the most wins a prize. I highly recommend dollar store prizes.
3. Make one of your Fourth of July games include cooling off with a water balloon toss.
Chances for sunshine during your Fourth of July games are generally good, so your guests probably won’t mind getting a little wet. Enter the water balloon toss or water balloon fight, depending on how crazy you want things to get.
For the balloon toss, participants partner and line up facing each other. Each person lobs their water balloon to their partner, and once that’s done, everyone takes a step backwards. If a balloon drops on the grass, that team is out. Repeat until only one team is left standing. They get a prize.
Unless you hate yourself, buy the rapid-filling, self-sealing water balloons. Trust me, they’re worth whatever money you’ll spend. Plus, they typically go on sale around this time of year.
4. Use water balls for a fight if you’d rather avoid broken balloons in your grass.
This is basically a water fight, but with “reusable” balloons. OK, they’re like plastic, sponge balls. But the set comes with three colors (red, white, and blue), and a bucket to soak the balls for a “re-load.” Best part, of course, is no broken water balloons all over the grass.
5. Make Fourth of July BINGO cards using construction paper and stickers.
BINGO is a great boredom buster, especially for larger groups. Use either online printables or make your own with construction paper and Fourth of July stickers instead of numbers. If you go this route, be sure to space the boxes so your stickers fit in each box.
- Distribute a card to each player.
- Designate someone to call out an item (i.e. blue balloon).
- Players will look to their cards for the picture.
- Whoever gets five in a row wins.
6. Gather your friends and family for an old-fashioned baseball game.
Is there anything more American than baseball? OK, yes, there’s apple pie, and a few other things. But baseball is a timeless sport that’s one of the best Fourth of July games. Get the kids and adults involved and play a couple of informal innings. Dollar Tree should have a cheap Wiffle Ball set for sale.
7. Host a potato sack race and buy bags decorated in stars and stripes.
A potato sack race is a classic party game, so why not include it in your Fourth of July outdoor plans? Pick up an 18-pack of patriotic potato sacks on Amazon. These come with medals, head boppers, and headbands. All you have to do is get your teams in place and watch them hop (but mostly trip, amiright?) toward the finish line.
8. Play a few rounds of cornhole.
Cornhole is the Fourth of July game for kids and adults. You can go cheap and easy with a portable cornhole set, or get fancy with a distressed wooden cornhole set. Keep score, or just toss the bags for fun. Nobody is judging!
9. Make a red, white, and blue candy guessing game.
Use your favorite candy in order to create a guessing game for kids and adults. Fill a clear jar and ask everyone to write down how many pieces of candy they believe to be in the jar. If you want to make it more challenging, mix different sizes and types of candy. The candy can be unwrapped because I doubt the winner will want to share anyway. Just kidding. This is your call. Wrapped or unwrapped.
10. Play a Fourth of July game of I Spy.
I Spy will definitely keep your guests busy and minimize screen time for kids. You can play the old-fashioned (verbal) way where someone picks an object within view. Considering you’ll probably have holiday decorations up, this is a natural way to keep the game on theme.
But you can also do a quieter version just for kids. Download free printables (here’s another one), and pass out coloring crayons or pencils. I recommend having a few different printables on hand in case they finish early and need more to do.
11. Turn your backyard into a frisbee toss area.
For kids, set up empty pop cans on a folding table for them to knock over. You’ll need to space the cans out or set one up at a time unless you want to play frisbee bowling. Which honestly sounds legit, too.
12. Set up an American flag relay.
All you need for this activity is two large buckets, sand, and small American flags. Choose a start and finish line, then place one bucket at each. Divide participants into two teams so they form two lines at the starting line.
When you say, “Go,” the first person in each line runs to the bucket, grabs a flag, and carefully races back to their line for the next person’s turn. Repeat until the quickest team wins.
13. Organize a tug-of-war contest for younger kids.
Tug-of-war is a cheap, simple, and fun activity that needs very little supervision or instruction.
Create two teams of kids on opposite ends of the rope, and form three knots in the middle of the rope. Each team pulls as hard as they can until they get the flag across the midline.
Some stores even sell tug-of-war water sets. Another tool in your bag of tricks to cool the kids off on a hot Fourth of July day.
14. Add a hula hoop contest to your list of Fourth of July games.
Pick up cheap hula-hoops at Walmart or Dollar Tree. Put on some lively music and see who can keep the hoop suspended and twirling around their hips the longest. Another version of this game that could be fun, especially if nobody is very good at hula hoops: treat it more like musical chairs. Play short clips of music, and when the music goes off, the people still hula hooping advance to the next round until there’s a winner.
15. Tape lines on a tarp or shower curtain liner and play frisbee tic-tac-toe.
Say hello to this cheap Fourth of July game that you can make yourself. First, pick up a cheap shower curtain (check your dollar store, too!) and some frisbees. Next, use duct tape to create the grid lines, and you’re all set.
Related: Check out all the cool ways you can repurpose shower curtain liners.
16. Paint letters on cardboard squares to play giant outdoor Scrabble.
Who doesn’t love a word game? To do outdoor Scrabble, keep in mind you’ll need more than the alphabet. Plan on multiples of vowels and certain popular letters like R, S, and T.
Here are the exact amounts of each letter in a Scrabble game, along with their face value points. Use this as a guide for your game. I doubt you’ll need as many of each letter unless you have a huge backyard, but you can see the ratio of letters at least.
Make cardboard squares out of empty diaper boxes or Amazon boxes. Don’t forget to recycle the letters when the game is over.
17. Assemble a giant tic-tac-toe game in your backyard with wooden letters.
To get crafty with this one, you’ll need four wooden Os, four wooden Xs, red and blue spray paint, painter’s tape, star paper punch (or an X-acto knife and stencil to make painter’s tape stars), wooden dowels, and a clothesline.
First, use the painter’s tape to create stars and stripes on your wooden Xs and Os.
Tap wooden dowels into the ground, and tie clothesline rope onto them. The dowels will save you from having to readjust the rope each new game.
Check out more cheap and fun backyard games for kids.
18. Cut 4×4 posts into dice for a giant backyard game of Yahtzee.
Yep, it’s another board game, but ginormous. To make a huge backyard Yahtzee game, you’ll need to create five wooden “dice.” Do this by cutting a 4×4 wooden post every 3.5 inches so they’re uniform. Sand until smooth. Then use a paint marker to draw the pips (those are what the black circles are called) onto your new wooden dice.
If you’re an overachiever, go ahead and paint your dice, but it’s not necessary.
19. Aim foam finger shooters at a target to see who hits the bullseye.
Discount and dollar stores have aisles and aisles of stuff that you really don’t need. But “need” and “want” are not the same thing. If you’re like me, these doodads find their way into my cart more often than I want to admit.
Case study — foam finger shooters. Now, if you can’t find these at a dollar store, Amazon carries them, too.
Consider marking the ends with a bit of paint — different colors for each child — so they can tell who got closest to the bullseye!
20. Play Fourth of July games with decorated cans and socks filled with rice.
This Fourth of July game one only requires a few items: empty cans, rubber bands, socks, tape, and rice. I imagine you have all of that lying around the house.
To start, fill a couple of small socks with rice and tie the ends with rubber bands and patriotic ribbon. Then cover six empty and cleaned 15-ounce cans with red, white, and blue duct tape. Make sure the tape covers any sharp edges.
Next, set the cans up in a pyramid shape and let the kids toss the rice bags at the cans from several feet away. Whoever knocks down all the cans within two tries, wins.
21. Turn dollar store pool noodles into a backyard obstacle course.
If your goal is to tire out your guests (OK, and by “guests,” I mean the kids), this one has your number. You’ll basically be creating an obstacle course out of dowels and pool noodles.
Stick two wooden dowels into the ground halfway in order to create an arch when you slide the two ends of the pool noodle on top of each dowel. Give the kids a soccer ball to dribble between the arches, or just let them army-crawl through the course.
Same as other items you’ll need, just pick up pool noodles at the dollar store or Walmart.
22. Strike up a card game for kids and adults.
My family enjoys a healthy competition in the form of card games like gin rummy, UNO, and more during our Fourth of July parties. Cards rock because they’re cheap to buy, and you can set them up on any sturdy surface from tables to a patio. Although if it’s windy, you may need to play inside.
23. Assemble a patriotic bowling game outdoors.
Why not bowl outdoors? Amazon sells giant inflatable bowling sets that are perfect for an outdoor Fourth of July party. The pins reach up to 18 inches, and the ball is 28.5 inches tall. Just set the pins up and then watch the kids knock them down.
24. Hand out a Fourth of July word search game.
Here’s your loved ones’ chance to put their search skills to the test. Just download a free printable Fourth of July word search and print as many copies as you need. Be sure to find one with easy words for kids and also more challenging searches for adults.
25. Buy Giant Jenga and instigate some Fourth of July chaos.
By now, you’re probably seeing a theme in my list of Fourth of July games. Board games converted to outdoor games and turned huge. Jenga is a blast, and you can buy an off-brand version that’s four feet tall! It’s a little spendier than other games I’m suggesting, but it’s one you can play all year round, outside and inside.
26. Play ring toss.
Ring Toss is a classic outdoor game. To play, mark off a line for players to stand behind. The first player tosses a ring at the wooden pegs, aiming for the highest point value. The second player does the same. Repeat until you’ve tossed all the rings and tally up who got the most points.
27. For smaller groups, play Hook and Ring Toss.
This hook and ring toss game is for two players, but who says you can’t get a tournament going? Each player gets a chance to swing the ring so that it lands on their hook. And each time someone succeeds, they get to move the whole board closer to their side. Whoever moves off the ladder first, wins.
28. Play a game of lawn dice.
Use a rope to cordon off a circle in your yard, then have players stand many feet back. Each player gets to throw the dice, aiming for the circle. At the end of each turn, tally up the value of the dice for each player’s points. Keeping track of points is similar to how you’d do it for a card game. Keep adding points each round and play up to a certain number (like 100).
29. Outfit the kids with body bumpers and prepare to laugh.
Need an unplanned form of entertainment for adults and sheer fun for kids? Inflatable bump and bounce toys fit over the body, with holes for your arms to stick out. I’m sure the kids can come up with a game to play while wearing them, but mostly they’ll enjoy running into each other and bouncing off. You can find these in adult sizes too, but they’re spendier.
30. Set up a game of Yard Pong for kids and adults.
To play Yard Pong, you’ll set the buckets into two sets of pyramids facing each other. I’d fill them with a little water so they’re stable. Each player tosses the tennis ball into the other player’s buckets and whoever makes the most “buckets,” wins.
31. Play a good, old fashioned game of catch.
But with Velcro. This toss and catch game comes with those Velcro paddles to make catching the ball easier. It’s another easy way to keep kids occupied and active. Plus, you can use it all year round.
32. Buy a Bocce set for adults who want to play a yard game.
Bocce is a reliably entertaining outdoor game perfect for Fourth of July. You’ll need a pretty big yard, but if that’s you, I recommend you go for it. The object of the game is for each team to get as many of their balls as possible close to the “jack” ball in order to be able to score in that frame. There are a few more rules, and the game comes with full instructions.
33. Break out the board games if other options fail.
I keep an eclectic stash of board games for when the weather puts a damper on my outdoor holiday parties. For groups with adults and kids, I lean toward kid-version games to be sure everything is family friendly. A couple fun ideas for groups are Charades for Kids and Apples to Apples Junior.