This summer, host a backyard barbecue your guests will never forget. From party games to decorations, your yard will be transformed into the barbecue destination! DIY novices and experts alike can find amazing ways to prep for a party on any budget.

Homemade Lawn Twister

To make your own Twister board, spray paint circles directly onto your lawn. Use an old spinner from the game, or call out your own random combinations. Be sure to allow time for the paint to dry so your barbecue guests don’t stain their clothes and shoes!


Flower Pot Utensil Holders

Even the most DIY-challenged party host can make these simple utensil holders. Decorate flower pots with the names of each utensil. Place at the end of the buffet, and ta-da! 


Decorative Bug Repellent

Nothing ruins a party faster than flies. Protect your guests with these small, decorative lemon and clove pieces. Slice a lemon in half and sprinkle with cloves. Place it in a little glass or candle holder and use as a centerpiece.


DIY Fruit Fans

Ensure your guests will be kept cool on the summer’s hottest days with a paper fruit fan. Although this craft is fun for kids, it does require adult supervision (and a drill). With some popsicle sticks and paper, this project is totally customizable and creative. 


Water Balloon Cooler

Instead of filling your cooler with ice, fill it with water balloons! Freeze the water balloons and put them in the cooler with assorted drinks. When the ice melts,you can have a water balloon fight. (Just be sure the balloons are completely thawed first.)


S’mores Bar

Allow your guests to play master chef and concoct their own s’mores creations! Put out an assortment of cookies, chocolate bars and other fun toppings like peanut butter and cookie squares. Encourage your guests with more options, such as caramel squares for filling and saltines (or other salty snacks) for the top and bottom. Arrange all the ingredients on a table for an easy and functional decorative feature. The messier, the better–hand wipes recommended.


String Lights

To keep the festivities alive after dark, line your fence with string lights. Put out-of-season holiday lights to use by stringing them along the fence, atop the tent or down the stair railing. This will ensure you and your guests safely find your way across the yard and up the stairs after the sun sets, while making the backyard glow!


Wine Bottle Tiki Torches

If you want to keep the bugs at bay without making holes in the yard, make these tiki torches out of old glass bottles. With a few supplies from the craft store and citronella torch fuel, these will make any backyard party feel more sophisticated.


Backyard Racetrack

To keep the little ones busy at your next shin dig, build this easy and super entertaining racetrack. First gather bricks, then draw dashes in white outdoor paint (or white chalk for a noncommittal racetrack) to make a road. Arrange the bricks however you like in a kid-friendly area of the yard and let the races begin! Leave out a selection of toy cars, or ask guests to bring their favorites with them.


Sunscreen and Bug Spray Station

Keep your guests protected with an easy sunscreen and bug spray station. Hang buckets on a fence or stick them into the ground and fill them with bottles of sunscreen, bug spray and other necessary outdoor products. Guests who might have forgotten these products or need to reapply will thank you. Bonus? You can get rid of all those almost-empty bottles lying around.


Sand Bucket Snacks

For easy serving by the littlest of party guests, serve pre-dinner snacks in a sand bucket with a shovel. The shovel makes single-servings easy and keeps everyone’s hands from touching the rest of the food.


Glow Stick Tic-Tac-Toe

Make this fun backyard game that will illuminate the yard after dark! Using a pack of glow sticks, connect enough sticks to make four straight lines of the same length. Cross them to make a board, then connect more glow sticks in circles of two different colors to create game pieces.


Foot Washing Station

To avoid bringing outdoor messes indoors, place one of these foot washing stations  in your yard, near a door or driveway. To do this project yourself, purchase a salt box (or buy a shallow tray and drill holes in it) and fill it halfway with gravel. Fill the rest with river stones and place away from grass or the water leaving the station will create mud! 


Pool Noodle Luminaries

Make a backyard pool dazzle with these pool noodle luminaries. Cover the bottom of an LED tealight with plastic wrap and cut a pool noodle to the correct height. Place the candles in the pool (or a small bowl of water if you want to use this craft as a centerpiece). If the night is warm, you and your guests can swim in the illuminated pool; if not, enjoy the lights from the yard.

More Like This:

12 Summer Drinks to Make with the Kids

Unique Places to Host a Birthday Party

How to Throw an Incredible DIY Lego Party