With the sun shining just in time for a school holiday scorcher, new homes builder Miller Homes has listed five affordable, DIY garden games for the whole family to enjoy with the kids.

With the July summer holidays approaching, Miller Homes has compiled the games with affordability in mind, so parents don’t have to worry about extra costs when keeping little ones entertained. 

This comes as households with two children are hit with inflation of 13%, well ahead of the current national rate at 9.1%, making big summer days out even more expensive. 

Games include an outdoor spin on “the floor is lava”, a water balloon piñata, and noughts and crosses with nothing but rocks and chalk. 

The five games are: 

1 – Garden Pairs

A garden game like this one encourages creativity and helps kids to use their memory, with nothing but card and colouring pens needed.

With the aim of the game being to pair up matching cards, you can make the game exciting and summer-themed by drawing palm trees, dolphins or the sun onto the cards, or even your favourite superhero or film character. 

For this game you will need: 

  • 24 A4 pieces of card. 
  • Colourful pens of your choosing.

How to play 

  1. Draw 12 different images onto 12 pieces of card, and then replicate them onto the other 12. 
  2. Lay out your tiles face down randomly in an even square. Take it in turns to turn over one card and then try and guess where the other matching card is, before turning them back over if you get it wrong. 
  3. The winner is the person who collects the most pairs once all of them are turned over! 

2 – The Floor is Lava 

This is one game we usually associate with being indoors but, you can easily play the floor is lava in the garden. Give your kids a starting point and an ending point that they have to get to without touching the floor – and stand back and watch (or get involved, too) for hours of entertainment. 

For this game you will need: 

  • Nothing but any furniture you have! 

How to play

  1. Set a target distance for your kids to get to, without touching the floor. 
  2. They can hop across furniture, or even cycle a bike to get there, but they cannot touch the floor. Or maybe on a hot sunny day, you could turn the sun into lava, and they can only walk through areas that are in the shade. 

3 – Bottle Ring Toss

If your family is competitive, this game can get everyone involved! It’s simple, cheap and you can get most of the equipment from your recycling bin. It could also make for a fun party game if you have others around. 

For this game you will need: 

  • Nine bottles – ideally glass, or if you don’t have bottles, you could place sticks into the ground.
  • Rope, tied into four separate rings. 

How to play

  1. Place the bottles in a three-by-three pattern on the grass.
  2. Set a distance between the bottles and the throwing line to make sure the game is as much of a challenge as possible. If you find it’s too easy, try increasing the distance from the throwing line. 
  3. Take turns throwing the rings onto the bottles, taking four turns each. 

4 – Water Balloon Piñata

A water fight is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day, but what if you combine a water game with a popular party game – the piñata? 

This is a simple game – all you need is water balloons, water, string and a stick to pop them to bring on squeals of laughter from your young ones. 

For this game you will need: 

  • As many water balloons as you want. 
  • Water.
  • String.
  • A stick.

How to play

  1. Pour the water into each water balloon – enough to make them heavy, but not pop…yet. 
  2. Tie your string from one end of the garden to another – whether it’s your fence, window sill or washing line.
  3. Secure each balloon, and then tie each balloon to the string. 
  4. Take it in turns to walk underneath each balloon and attempt to pop it with the stick. Just make sure it’s a warm day!

5 – Noughts and crosses

A classic game, this is perfect for children of all ages to get their brains thinking while on summer holiday. 

For this game you will need: 

  • Large stones.
  • Sticks or paper.
  • Paint or chalk.

How to play: 

  1. Find nine reasonably sized stones in your garden – the bigger the better. 
  2. Draw an X or O on opposite sides of the stone, with either chalk or paint. 
  3. Line up six sticks into the classic noughts or crosses lines, and you’re ready to play. 

Anne Marie Britton, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Miller Homes, said: 

“This year, families might feel that their finances are more squeezed than ever before, with parents searching to find affordable ways to keep their kids entertained, while also being faced with rising costs for food, petrol and childcare. 

“The school holidays are a time to reconnect and have fun together as a family and this doesn’t need to break the bank, sometimes the most memorable days are spent doing simple, fun activities. To try and provide some inspiration for the weeks ahead, we’ve created a series of easy garden games – not only will you have fun as a family for hours, but you’ll save money and not even have to leave the house.”

Readers can find more information about the garden games here: