Happy weekend! I’m bummed I missed Thursday’s blog post, but I got so caught up in packing for school that I just didn’t get a chance to write and publish it. Regardless, I was planning on straying from my usual fashion content today anyways to share a “bonus post” about the backyard party I threw for my family a few weekends ago! With Covid and everything, there’s no denying that this summer has been a little less ~fun~ than usual. Back in May, my parents and I decided to do one fun/interesting/unique thing each day for the entire month in order to spice up quarantine life, so I wanted to do a little reprisal of those quarantivities and host a backyard party.
For those of you who don’t know, I lovvvve parties and party planning. I actually used to want to be a wedding planner, and when I was younger, I’d spend the summers planning intricate themed birthday parties for myself (even though my birthday isn’t until late fall). That’s how much I love parties. So I figured, what the heck, I’m going to plan a backyard party just for my family—Covid safe—for some extra summer fun. And the best part? It was completely FREE! I only used materials I found throughout the house. So while there were no cute decorations and the photos aren’t much to look at, I wanted to share the awesome experience anyway, in case anyone else wants to have some safe, Labor Day fun or plan something for their family before fall weather creeps up on us.
One of my favorite bloggers, Lee from LegaLee Blonde, hosted an at-home carnival date night for her and her boyfriend, which is where I got the idea to host a little backyard bash for my own family. While I initially wanted my party to be carnival-themed like Lee’s, it ended up morphing into a combination of just regular backyard games and a few carnival-like activities here and there. But eh, whatever.
I started with a classic carnival game, ring toss. As you can see, all I used for this game were some water bottles, a plastic container to hold them together, and 3 equally sized rolls of masking tape to be the “rings”. I also considered using some washi tape roles as an alternative. I added a little piece of masking tape on the grass a few feet away to be the throwing line.
Luckily, we had two outdoor tables in our garage that I set up in the yard for the games. I also found a magnetic dart board in my brother’s room, so I used string to tie it up in a tree (you can see my brother, dad, and the dart board in the background).
Jenga and “Guess How Many is in the Jar”
While not carnival related, I decided to bring out our Jenga game for a little fun. Have you have ever played the jumbo, lawn-size version of Jenga? It’s a blast! Albeit, very loud when all the wood blocks topple down. I also found a huge bag of chocolate kisses in our kitchen (I think they’re from Christmas—yikes) which I counted and put in a cute jar. There were 105, and my mom’s guess was the closest at 103!
Lawn-Size Tic Tac Toe
I came up with this idea entirely by myself, but I just used masking tape and two different types of cones—one for the Xs and one for the Os—for a lawn-size tic tac toe game. All you needed was six of each cone, but you could use anything as the pieces—different size rocks, water bottles, etc.
Ball Bouncing Game
This game was kind of a combination of carnival games. We had this big metal bucket in our garage, and I wanted to use it for one of those “pick the rubber ducky” sort of games, or really any game that involved water. But considering that I didn’t just have 20 rubber ducks lying around, I nixed that idea. Instead, I filled the bucket halfway with water, put red solo cups in it, and put a few pebbles in each cup to keep them upright. Then, each person had five ping pong balls per turn, during which he/she had to bounce the ball off the table and into one of the ten floating cups (see below). It was actually pretty difficult because the wind was blowing the cups around and they wouldn’t stay up straight. But very fun nonetheless!
The next activity was a photobooth, which may have been my favorite! We took so many hilarious family photos. I dug through our Halloween costume box and pulled out all the hats, headbands, necklaces, sunglasses, etc. for us to try on. I then set up my phone in my tripod so we could all be in the photos together! For a craft project, it would also be fun to use chopsticks and construction paper to make handheld lips, mustaches, etc.
Frisbee Golf Course
To get really creative, I put together a little two-hole frisbee golf course in our yard! I discovered two hanging plant baskets in our garage that weren’t being used, so I decided to tie them up into two different trees. But since they were very hard to see, especially from far away, I added orange cones beneath them. I wasn’t sure if the game would work, but our frisbees actually fit quite well into each of the “holes”! Even though there were only two baskets, a whole game consisted of throwing to the first basket, throwing to the second basket, redoing the course backwards, and then throwing from the starting point all the way to the second basket (a much farther distance).
Lastly, we finished the night with a good old-fashioned egg toss. It just can’t be beat! There were five of us, so I took pictures and dramatically said, “1, 2, 3, THROW!” each time as the two pairs faced off. Ultimately, the egg splattered on my brother’s arms! But I was impressed by how long the pairs made it.
I had a huge list of potential games we could play in the yard, but I ultimately settled on these 9 activities (which, as it turned out, was plenty). If you search “carnival party” on Pinterest, the game possibilities are endless! Below is a list of some of the other things I considered for our party:
- Limbo using a non-dangerous gardening tool as the pole
- Water balloon baseball—it’s just like what it sounds
- Balancing ping pong balls on a golf tee and seeing who can knock them off the fastest by shooting tiny water guns
- Bag toss of some sort—either a makeshift version of Cornhole or using hula hoops (or other ring-shaped objects) as holes to throw the bags into
- Food! My family had eaten dinner right before this party, but otherwise themed foods would have been a really fun addition—caramel apples, cotton candy, popcorn, etc.
- Another thing that would’ve added to the night would have been prizes—I love a good competition! But since this party was completely free of cost, I didn’t end up buying any dollar store trinkets to give away.
I had told my family I was planning a party but that it was a surprise as to what it would entail, so I had really been building up the event for weeks. When the night came and I started setting everything up, I was really nervous the whole thing would be lame! But I was wrong. The party turned out to be SUCH a blast and everyone had so much fun. We laughed, we took goofy photos, we listened to good music, and most importantly, we spent some quality time together. I know the summer is basically over now, but we still have some hot weather left to enjoy. I think this activity (or variations of it) would be really fun if you’re stuck at home this semester and longing for something unique to do with your family (you know, to get off your couch and turn off the Netflix). I really can’t recommend it enough!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and that it got your creative juices flowing. I know it’s not like my usual content, but the at-home party was just too fun not to share. Enjoy your holiday weekend and stay safe, everyone!
Miles of smiles,