DIY Outdoor Games

We spent last weekend in Pennsylvania enjoying family, friends, food and fun. My sister’s in-laws hosted the event and did a great job arranging activities for over 30 people.

DIY outdoor games

They are the ones responsible for the dunk bucket, as well as putting together several other yard games.

Dunk Bucket

Many people have asked for the dunk bucket instructions. My brother-in-law just kind of made it without writing down instructions.

Here is a very basic version of how to build a DIY Dunk Bucket:

1. Take some wood and cut out a target
2. Take wood and cut out base for 5 gallon bucket
3. Use hinges to attach bucket to tree and to attach target to tree
4. Use washers or some other mechanism to hold bucket up
5. Use piping as a delivery method to fill the bucket
6. Buy/find tennis balls
7. Sit person in front of bucket
8. Throw ball at target (repeat if necessary)

Also, a reader sent the following instructions:


  1. Take some wood and cut out a target
  2. Take wood and cut out base for 5 gallon bucket. Make sure the bucket is well attached to the bucket platform or base.
  3. Use hinges to make bucket and target move sideways and attach bucket and target to tree or fence.
  4. Use washers, doorknob or some other mechanism to hold bucket up. The knob will be pushed behind rim of the bucket closest to the tree/fence.
  5. Use piping as a delivery method to fill the bucket. Attach to tree/fence.
  6. Sit person in front of bucket and throw tennis ball at target (repeat if necessary).


You can also purchase a pre-made Dunk Bucket (or Tank Dunk) game here!

The homemade corn hole game.

The cornhole game was pretty easy to make with some wood, paint, and a sewing machine. This game was a huge hit with everyone at the event. My arm was sore from playing too many times one afternoon.

You can also purchase a pre-made Corn Hole Game here!

Ring Toss

This game is really fun for little kids. This was a wooden box with a coffee can screwed to the bottom of box. We used washers for the rings. I almost beat my brother in this one, but not quite.

You can also purchase a pre-made Ring Toss game here!

We also played Hillbilly Golf.

This was the one game they didn’t make themselves because it was cheaper to buy the kit. I have included a link for those DIY people out there if you are interested. It looks like it would be easy to make if you were so inclined.

You can also purchase a pre-made Hillbilly Golf game here!

My sister’s in-laws did a great job with these activities. The dunk tank was made the biggest splash with the kids last weekend! If you look close at the next two pictures you can see the tennis balls that were thrown at the target.

Hosting a great party doesn’t have to be expensive! Try a few of these homemade games to stay under budget and have a great time!

More fun family ideas to check out:

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  1. OH GOODY….I’m going to send your link to my dad and see if he can figure it out. Did I see The Washer Game? We LOVE that game as well, we take it camping with us. It looks like you had a great time!!!

  2. Wow – it looks like tons of fun!! We had a great holiday too. Sad it is all over. Might check into the hillbilly golf if we ever get our backyatrd fixed;

  3. That last photo is excellent!

  4. These games are awesome! What fun! I love the hillbilly golf.

  5. It looks like you all had a wondeful 4th weekend! That dunk bucket sure looks pretty refreshing (if we could find cold water anywhere) to someone living in the Sonoran desert, lol!!

    Great pictures!
    Have a lovely weekend,

  6. These look like so much fun!!!! I bet they’re great for b-day parties too!!

    I grew up calling corn hole toss ‘bean bag toss’. I hadn’t heard it called the first one until May of this yr when our church had a tailgate party after service and they set up some games. I’m originally from Mich and I had never heard it called that until then.

    I’ll have to check out the hillbilly golf link. Our family would love this!!

    Thanks for sharing,

  7. Oh, that ducking bucket looks fun! What a surprise!
    And I saw the tent trailer. We had one of the biggest you can buy for years and years. It’s gone now…worn out completely by our crew and then the folks who borrowed it and our grown kids who borrowed it. Is that one in the picture yours?

  8. What a blast. The dunk bucket looks like it was lots of fun. Hopefully you didn’t have to sit under it though.

  9. That looks like one of the best parties. I would LOVE to get the how to make the dunk bucket. I hope you summer is as fun as all this.

    Blessings and ((hugs)) in Him<

  10. Danielle says:

    I am throwing a graduation/40th party for my son and hubsband. I love the dunk bucket. Is there a link to how someone else could make one? Awsome idea!

    • Sorry, we don’t have a link for the dunk bucket. I’m sure a search will turn up some similar results though. Hope the party goes well!

  11. Was wondering about the dimensions of the washer toss game.. Trying to be crafty for Christmas!!

  12. Michael Hall says:

    Do you have anything on how you built the dunk bucket? Are you using a magnet to hold the bucket to the target? If so what type? I want to do this for our block party.. Thanks!

  13. Anita Carpenter says:

    Do you have instructions for how the dunk bucket works?

  14. MIke Owens says:

    I figured out the dunk bucket.
    1. I used gate hinges, 2 large ones the bucket sit on and 2 small ones as the lever/target.
    2. I attached them to a 10 foot x 6 inch treated lumber instead of to a tree or something. I made a base for this and then attached the top to a basketball hoop rim with wire and 2 eye hooks. This allowed me to move the lever around a bit to get the right spot.
    3. The bucket is attached to a piece of wood. I used a lag bolt but it ripped out. Next I used a carrier bolt with washers on both sides and added a piece of 1×2 under the platform to spread the load. This bucket/wood is attached to another piece of wood with the bulky gate hinges. Make sure they can drop all the way down. Screw the piece of wood to your 2x6x10.
    4. The key to the target is that there is something on that that holds the bucket up. Take a long piece of wood, say 4″ x 30″ or so. Cut off the bottom 12″ and then attach back with 2 small gate hinges. Again make sure they can rotate fully. Screw this onto your 2x6x10 above the bucket in the raised position. You want this target board to rotate forward, and then you will add something to hold the top of the bucket. I tried a drawer knob but it was not robust enough. So I changed to a carrier bolt with washers. The washers go over the top of the bucket lip and essentially hold it up.

    I put a plastic red plate at the top as the target. You have to hit it a bit hard, nerf footballs work best for mine. When you do, it pushes the target board back, moving the washers up and then with nothing to hold the top of the bucket the bucket drops. We only fill the bucket a little, it’s enough!

  15. Most parks will not let you nail to the trees, In that I think they are correct, To much damage to the trees if all camper nailed stuff up, Find someother way to set up games.

  16. Thanks for tips to make this!!!

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