After a long and stressful year of lockdowns, you might be feeling a little stir crazy. And you’ve probably been encouraged to stay indoors longer than you’d hoped.

You and your family might be running out of ways to entertain yourselves indoors. But while it’s safer to keep the fun inside there’s nothing wrong with mixing it up just a bit. All you need are some comfy shoes (or slippers) and your favorite hot beverage.

Even though malls and other large gatherings are off the table, you can still enjoy the outdoors while being safe and responsible. Below is a rundown of fun yard games and activities to take your family fun to the next level.

Build a Backyard Movie Theater

Getting cozy on the family couch to watch your favorite holiday movie is always fun. Try mixing things up with an outside viewing and enjoy some of the benefits of winter weather.

Building your own backyard movie theater is a simple way to watch your favorite films. And luckily for you, the hardest part is figuring out what materials to buy!

Materials

  • Projector
  • Projector screen
  • Speaker
  • Media player
  • Extension cord

Directions

  1. Even if you plan to watch movies on your laptop, you’ll need to get a projector. Depending on the quality, you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars or more.
  2. You can try projecting films on the side of your home or a solid garage door. Or, you can purchase a projector screen.
  3. Don’t forget to invest in some high-quality outdoor speakers!
  4. You’ll need an HDMI or USB cable to connect your laptop, phone, or other media device to the projector. Depending on the device, you may be able to connect through Bluetooth.

You can grab a large blanket and watch on the grass picnic style or furnish an outdoor couch or chair with your favorite pillows. Don’t forget the popcorn!

Play Outdoor Jenga

Jenga is a physical and strategic game of skill. Players stack 54 pieces of wood (no more than 3 pieces wide) and take turns moving them one at a time from the bottom to the top.

It sounds easy, but once you get going you might notice the structure getting wobbly!

The idea is to keep piling up the blocks until the entire structure falls — hopefully by a member of the other team! Whoever lands the blow and knocks the tower over is the loser.

Jenga is a good game to play indoors, but what about in your backyard? Take a look at this over-sized version of Jenga that’s even perfect for beginning builders.

Materials

  • Electric or manual saw
  • Sander or sanding paper
  • 6 pieces of 8 feet 2 x 4 boards

Directions

  1. Use your saw to cut the boards into 54 10-1/2” pieces. Using a hand saw is OK, but it’ll take longer.
  2. Avoid splinters! Use a 180-grit sander to smooth out the edges and get rid of loose pieces of wood.
  3. If you’re keen on waiting, try adding some fun paint colors and a wood finish. Note: you’ll need an extra 2 to 3 weeks for the wood to dry.
  4. Grab the family and have some fun!

Create a Hot Cocoa Station

Most people stay inside during the winter to beat the cold. And although snow means lower temperatures, it also provides the opportunity for cozy winter activities.

A hot cup of cocoa is a nice and comforting way to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors during the wintertime. Here are some easy steps you can take to host a socially distanced backyard cocoa bar for your family and neighbors.

Materials

  • Cups or mugs (make sure to grab reusable ones if people order to-go!)
  • Straws
  • Stirring spoons or sticks
  • Your choice of toppings (like whipped cream and crushed peppermint)
  • Cocoa (homemade or from a packet)
  • Table and chairs

Directions

  1. You’ll first need to figure out the overall look of your cocoa bar. Feel free to use a tablecloth and cups and bowls for utensils and toppings.
  2. It’ll be easier to prepare the cocoa ahead of time and serve when ready. Otherwise, you can heat the water using an electric kettle. Note that you’ll need a nearby outlet and power cord.
  3. If you plan on staying outside for a while, keep drinks warm with cups with lids or in a thermos.

Host a Decorating Contest

Who says you can’t get the neighborhood involved in socially distanced outdoor fun?

If you’re looking to build community this year with your neighbors, try a holiday-inspired outdoor decorating contest to keep you safe while interacting with others.

If you live in an apartment complex, you can try a window or balcony decorating contest and show off with the other neighbors without

Suggested Materials

  • Lights
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Balloons

Directions

  • This all depends on the theme!
  • Snowmen and wreaths are great ideas, especially if you live near the snow. And just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean you can’t hang outdoor lights.
  • Design your contest after one of the winter holidays or events like Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, or even Draw a Dinosaur Day!

Looking for More Winter Fun Ideas?

Staying inside doesn’t have to be boring. And the weather doesn’t have to get you down either! From small neighborhood gatherings to backyard fun with the family, the winter still has much to offer.

Social distancing is expected to last through 2021. Even though staying indoors is more important than ever, that doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit! Make sure to safely stay connected with family this year.

If you’re feeling inspired to bring your neighborhood community together this year, check out these fun projects that you can do while social distancing >