Last weekend we threw a big ‘ol bash for the 4th of July. One of our family friends proclaimed, “What a GREAT party!! An All-American backyard barbeque!” It’s true – we all had so much fun, both kids and adults. I think one of the reasons that everyone truly enjoyed themselves was because we had so many different activities for the little ones to hop around to. They were never bored and never without something fun to do.
Check out these ideas for your next backyard party! They range from cheap and cheerful to a little pricier and involved. Keep in mind, it has taken us years to compile all of these bigger items. We have taken advantage of Black Friday sales, clearance deals, etc to add to our collection!
1. Bubbles! A timeless classic – everyone loves bubbles! Kids love to blow bubbles and they love running this way and that in an attempt to pop them. Pick up bubbles at your local dollar store and put them out at your next party. We put our bubbles in a basket and hung that on a garden hook in the backyard.
2. Play-Doh Station – Play-Doh often goes overlooked as party entertainment. But here’s why it’s perfect for an outside BBQ… it’s OUTSIDE (no mess!), it truly occupies the kids for long periods of time and it needs no prep work – just open a jar and you’re on your way to FUN. We took a bunch of Play-Doh jars (the deals and coupons that run from time to time on the MEGA PACK of Play-Doh would work great for party stock-up). I placed them in a dollar store bin and we designated an entire table as the “Play-Doh Station.”
The kids had so much fun and even made us silly animals that doubled as table decor.
3. Hula Hoops – Another dollar store find! Pick up several hula hoops and throw them in your yard. Kids will gravitate towards them and have lots of fun!
4. Water Station – If your backyard BBQ is taking place during the summer months, chances are good the weather is hot. July is usually a scorcher around here (this year we lucked out and the 4th was actually pretty cloudy and a bit cooler than normal).
We had so much fun setting up this awesome water station. It was used all party long by kids of all ages. First we picked up a big water tub at Tractor Supply Co. The funny thing, is that we actually needed a new water trough for the horses. So Bob picked up this huge 100 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank and before we put it in the barn, we used it for our party. You could certainly just use any buckets you have around the house.
We picked up 5 water shooters from Dollar Tree and stocked the rest of our station with NERF Super Soakers. The hit of the water station were these Nerf Super Soaker Zipfires! You get 3 guns in a pack. They were the perfect size for some of our youngest guests and the older kids had fun carrying two at a time.
5. Sports Equipment – Several years ago we picked up a Little Tikes sports sampler set that came with all kinds of toddler/kid-friendly sports equipment. We like to set these different games up around the yard and the kids rotate from one thing to the next.
6. Glow Sticks – Because well, THEY’RE FUN! I grabbed about 5 packs of glow sticks from the dollar store (you get 8 for $1 at Dollar Tree). Not only did they kids love wearing these as the sun went down, I took a whole bunch and threw them into the pool. Several of the kids braved the chilly water to take a nighttime swim. These glow sticks sank to the bottom and became the perfect diving sticks!
7. Campfire Treats – Do tasty treats count as “activities?” Heck yes, they do! Especially when they require some assembly in order to enjoy. I had all of the necessary ingredients for classic S’mores and then I put together some “campfire cones” and had additional ingredients on hand for kids to make their own. (Campfire Cones are simply sugar ice cream cones filled with melty yummy snacks like mini marshmallows and chocolate chips.)
8. Water Table – We picked up a water table at the last consignment sale. It was a total STEAL at just $20 and is wonderful to have on hand for the toddler crowd. We filled our water table with water and on this occasion even included some extra ice from the cooler. Landon loves to play with his various sea creatures and other bath toys.
And though they aren’t super cheap, I need to mention these other two incredibly fun investments that we have made along the way. They provide HOURS of entertainment!!
9. Outdoor Bouncer – We purchased the Little Tikes Jump n Slide Dry Bouncer when Lily was just about 2 years old. This bouncer has made an appearance at every birthday party or BBQ since then! The kids literally spend hours upon hours playing in it.
I know some families who pool their money and purchase these bouncers together. They then share the bouncer across birthday parties and other events.
10. Outdoor Movie Screen – Last fall we caught this 120-Inch Portable Outdoor Movie Theater Screen on Lightning Deal during holiday deal season. It was a purchase that we had considered for a few years and we took the sale as a sign to go ahead and buy it.
We used the screen with a projector, DVD player and speaker that we already owned. As the sun went down, we put Wreck-It Ralph on the big screen and the kids spread out their blankets and chairs. We popped popcorn and the kids had a blast watching the movie while the adults watched from the patio, enjoyed the fire pit, etc.
More Summer fun you might enjoy…