75 Eco-Friendly Cheap Ideas For A Fun Backyard Field Day This Weekend

Ever since E and I started dating over seven years ago, we always have pushed ourselves to find cheap and fun things to do during the weekends. Especially ones that we can do during a no-spend weekend. Now with a baby in tow, we've had to come up with more creative ideas we can do during nap time. Lately, we've been building forts, playing video games, and more recently, did our own back yard field day! One of my goals for a backyard field day was to make it as eco-friendly as possible. Meaning no water balloons of avoidable plastics. We love to play! We find it gives us the mental health break we need to truly show up our best in our daily lives. For more on the importance of playing as an adult, listen to this podcast episode:

Recently, I woke up one morning to a beautiful day, and I REALLY wanted to do a field day. So I scanned our house to see what objects we could integrate into a field day of our own. This allowed us to keep the waste down with unnecessary plastic.. I shared clips of our field day on Insta-stories the day we did it, but you all requested the full video and breakdown! So before I share my 77 ideas for your own backyard field day, here's exactly what we did, plus a live run through the obstacle course relay.

Eco-Friendly, Cheap & Free Weekend Fun: DIY Back Yard Field Day

*We did the race a couple of times, so the live footage is a combination of the best of each obstacle (hence my different outfit towards the end)

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DIY Field Day Events:

We planned three events in total: an obstacle course relay race, a treasure hunt, and “Dance AND…” competition.

* We only did the first two, and then spent the rest of the day jumping in the pool and playing Mario Kart

The 8 obstacles in the relay race we did included:

  1. Spinning around a yoga mat 10 times (we didn’t have a baseball bat)
  2. Cross dressing in 4 items from the other persons closet
  3. Hop jumps between the baskets
  4. Balancing an egg on a spoon under a wire and then to the next station
  5. Spin 10 times around a yoga mat
  6. Tossing station: Get 2 tennis balls in the buckets
  7. Go from laying down to sitting while balancing a half a cup of water on forehead without hands
  8. Flip your cup to an upright position
  9. Chug glass of water while balancing on one foot and doing a bicep curl with the other arm

Now if you want even more ideas for what to include in your relay race of field day events, check out this epic list!

List of 75 Eco-Friendly Cheap Ideas For A Fun Backyard Field Day This Weekend

*Note you can do way more than this, but we opted to skip the water balloons and choose alternatives to plastic whenever possible.

  1. Fishing Hole: Secure paper clips on the back of paper fish cut outs. Then attach a string to a pencil with a magnet at the bottom to create your “rod”. Whoever catches the most fish wins.
  2. Bobbing for apples
  3. Obstacle Course: Get creative with your obstacles. Combine crawling, jumping, agility, spinning, etc. Even other items on this list can be incorporated!
  4. Popcorn Toss Parachute: Hold a piece of fabric tight, and popcorn items on it. Whichever team drops their item(s) first loses.
  5. Sack Race: Use burlap sacks or old pillow cases (king size for adults)
  6. Three-legged Race
  7. Treasure Hunt: Give each team a set of clues, whoever gets to the end first wins.
  8. Hide ‘n' seek: Either with people or with specific objects
  9. Tug o' war: Make it even more fun by doing it over a pool of water or mud! Remember, safety first!
  10. Egg Toss: Pair off and line up across from one another. Toss their egg, then take two steps back to increase the distance from one another at each round. Continue until there is only one team left.
  11. Wheelbarrow Race
  12. Castle build: Split into two teams and race to build the best or tallest castle/tower using whatever items you choose.
  13. Fifty Yard Scream: When the moderator says go, everyone starts screaming and running. Players can only run as long as they scream and are only allowed one breath. So once they stop screaming they have to freeze. Whoever runs/screams the furthest, wins.
  14. Pancake Flip: Using a frisbee or tennis racket, players must try to flip their “pancake” (aka bean bag with both sides marked so you know when it's actually flipped). Players have one minute to see how many times they can flip their pancake.
  15. Hula Hoop Marathon: Whoever keeps theirs up the longest wins
  16. Marble Toes: Basically play a game of jacks, using marbles and your toes instead. Players bounce a ball, and then try to pick up as many marbles as possible using their toes and then catch their ball before it bounces a second time.
  17. Ping Pong Ball Blow: Using a silicone straw, players must blow on their ping pong ball to move it through the course without going out of bounds and crossing the finish line first.
  18. Plunger Challenge: Like suck and blow but with a plunger and ball. Have players move the ball down the line by passing it between plungers. Each time the ball hits the ground it's a point. The teams are timed, and points are added for each second it takes a team to finish longer than the previous. For instance, Team 1 finishes in 30 seconds and dropped the ball 10 times, and Team 2 finishes in 35 seconds and dropped the ball 15 times, so Team 1 has 40 points and Team 2 has 50 points. The team with the lowest points wins.
  19. Pass the ball: Same idea/rules as the above Plunger Challenge, only using a ball and your bodies (no hands).
  20. Cross Country Run: You can incorporate objects to pick up or selfies to take along the way or base it off distance and speed
  21. High Dive without diving: Standing on a chair, use a clothes pin as your “diver” and have it dive into an empty bottle. Whoever gets the most wins
  22. Stand and Run Long Jump: See who can jump the farthest
  23. Jump the Creek: Create a “creek” using a slip and slide mat. Fill it with water, shaving cream, etc. See who can clear it without getting wet or touching the “creek”. If you can't adjust the width of your “creek” adjust the height using pillows, pool noodles, sprinklers, etc.  T
  24. Ring toss: if you don't have steaks to toss the rings onto, tie pool noodles upright on the back of chairs.
  25. One Hundred Metre Dash
  26. Toe-to-toe race: Race by placing the heel of one foot against the toe of the next. The first one to the end of the track and back wins.
  27. Basketball Free Throws: Taking a step back after each free throw is cleared.
  28. Basketball Speed Bumps: This requires two teams. Each team gets a basketball. Player 1 from each team shoots until they make it, then they go to the back of the line. Repeat this with each player. The first team to get Player 1 back to the front of the line wins.
  29. Blind Man Volleyball (BMV): String up a rope to two poles and throw a parachute or tarp over it (You can also use a volleyball net) to play a game of volleyball where you can't see the other team.
  30. Bowling Bash: Set up 20 to 30 bowling pins. (Old soda bottles filled with an inch of sand work too).
  31. Croquet Golf
  32. Frisbee Golf: Using a hula hoops, cones, and a small swimming pool (or other obstacles of your choice). Put a hula hoop next to each cone. The pool and other obstacles of your choice are hazards. If the frisbee lands/touches those, it's negative 3 points. Each toss your frisbee does not make it in the hoop counts as a point. The person/team with the lowest points wins.
  33. Frisbee Toss
  34. Kickball Play
  35. Sploosh: Basically volleyball with large sponges. You'll set up a large bucket of water on each team's side of the net. You can use as many sponges (aka balls) as you'd like. Player's soak their sponges, then throw them over the net. If you hit a player they are out. If the player catches your sponge, you are out. Basic volleyball rules apply. Once the team receives the sponge, they must dunk it in water before they can lodge it back over the net to the other team.
  36. Ball Hug Race: Place a ball between your knees and race to the opposite line and back again. You can also do this in partners, where you have to hug the ball between you two and complete the race of obstacles.
  37. Beach Ball Carry Race: Partners carry a beach ball without using their hands. If the ball drops you may use your hands to put it back in place, but while in motion you may not use your hands. If you want to play in teams, once the first pair gets back to the start line the next pair from your team goes.
  38. Clothes Relay: Each team gets a set of clothing, the first player dresses up in it, runs the relay course, then undresses and hands off to the next player on their team. Cycle repeats until all players of the team have completed the race.
  39. Cotton Ball Race: Put a bunch of cotton balls in a bowl. Put vaseline on your nose. Bob for cotton balls with only your nose, then run to the other side of the course to the empty ball and remove the cotton balls. Hands are optional.
  40. Egg & Spoon Race: You can substitute an egg for an apple, marshmallow, ping pong ball, or potatoe. You can substitute chopsticks for the spoon.
  41. Penne Relay: Pasta is optional. If you do want to use pasta use raw uncooked penne. If you want to skip the pasta, use finished toilet paper rolls without the TP on them, or cut an empty paper towel roll. On each penne or roll, you'll write a word or letter. Set up the penne or toilet paper rolls at a distance so they will have to run to the pile where they will pick one up, and put it on a string and have to slide it back down to their teammates. Once the team has gotten the penne/roll, the next member runs out and repeats. Once the team collects all of the penne/rolls they must assemble the phrase.
  42. Pizza Box Race: Using pizza or regular boxes, get at least 5 if it's one person, or 10 if using teams of 2 or more. You must transfer your boxes from point A to point B one at a time. Stacking them as you reach point B. Once all of the boxes are at point B, you or two of you must race the stacked tower back to point A without dropping any boxes.
  43. Soaking Wet Sweatpants Relay: Literally exactly what it sounds like. Get a pair of sweatpants, soak them, and then have players put them on while completing the race. If working in teams, have the person take the wet pants off, hand them to the next player who resoaks them and so on.
  44. Sponge Soaker Relay: You'll need two buckets, one full of water, one empty, and a sponge. Soak the sponge in the bucket of water, line your teammates up in a line. Each person passes the soaking sponge via the top of their head. The last person in lines drains the sponge into the empty bucket. You repeat this for a fixed time period. Whichever team has the most water in their originally empty bucket wins.
  45. Squirt Bottle Race: Use a squirt bottle to blast a ping pong ball across a finish line.
  46. Water Bucket Relay: Start with a bucket full of water, and one empty. Using a cup, (you can poke a hole in it to make it more challenging), members take turns filling their cup up to transfer water from the full bucket to the empty bucket. Whichever team transfers more water in a fixed period of time wins.
  47. Water Shoot Out Relay: Using a high-power water gun, kids try to knock a foam ball off a cone some distance away. For older kids, have teachers or a parent squirting a stream of water back at the kids – they’ll try to squirt the adults defensively and will have a harder time completing their task. Start with the filled water blaster some distance from the starting point in a hoop on the ground. Kids have to run to get their ‘weapon’ and then replace it in the same hoop – refilling before putting it back.
  48. Waiter Race: Not using your hands, player must load foods onto serving tray, then can carry the tray with one hand (balancing it by holding underneath), to their teammate set up at a distance who must then take the food off the tray without using their hands, while hte other person still balances the tray with one hand.
  49. Melt the popsicle find: This game needs to be prepared in advance. Using large popsicle molds, or some other mold (cake tray can work too), freeze a coin in the center. The bigger the mold the better. The team to get their coin free first wins.
  50. Skeeball Buckets: Start by tossing a ball into the closest bucket, repeat for the next closest bucket and so on until they’re aiming for the last and farthest bucket.
  51. Football/Frisbee Target: String up several Hula Hoops at different levels and assign a point value to each hoop. Players can toss a frisbee or a football through the hoops to earn points. Frisbee's are worth more since they are harder to throw. You can either do this as a timed event, or fix the number of tosses players are allowed to do (e.g. each player gets 4 tries, whoever scores the most, wins).
  52. Froggy Finds a Pad: Turn some frisbee's upside down (or use paper plates or something else “lily pad” shaped). Each player is given five beanbags (or something else to represent a “frog”). Have players toss their frogs onto the lily pads. You can give more points for the frog being fully on the lily pad (partial points for partial lands), and higher points to lily pads further away.
  53. Target Toss: Using sturdy buckets (think 55 gallon drums), arrange them in a triangle formation. Gather as many tennis balls as you can get. Have the teams take turns, set a timer, and allow the entire team to throw all the balls as a free for all. Whichever team gets the most balls in the buckets in their time frame wins.
  54. Dunking Booth
  55. Dirty Squirts: Getting into teams of two, tie the partners together back to back. Blindfold one partner, and give them a squirt bottle (exercise bottle, ketchup bottle, dish soap bottle, whatever squirts). The other partner must try to guide them to “attack” another team on the field, by telling their partner to squirt when in range of another team. You can make this more fun by filling the squirt bottles with ketchup, colored soaps, powder, syrups, etc. or just use water. Whichever team is the cleanest wins.
  56. Animal Tag: One player is “it” and a moderator chooses an animal everyone must imitate. All players then act like that animal while trying to not get tagged. The moderator chooses a new animal every 15 seconds or so to keep the pace fast.
  57. Balance Beam Walk: Have players place an object on their head to make it more challenging while going across a balance beam course.
  58. Bean Bag Challenges: See who can complete the list of challenges the fastest. Throw your bean bag in the air and…
    1. Turn around, and catch it again.
    2. Backwards over your head and try to catch it behind your back. 
    3. Clap your hands once, and catch it. Now try clapping your hands twice, then three times, and so on.
    4. Clap your hands under your right leg before catching it. Now try with your left leg. Now clap behind your back.
    5. Jump, and try to catch it. Then twice, then three times! 
    6. Do a burpee and try to catch it. 
    7. Catch it with your eyes closed! 
  59. Crabby Cage Ball: Create a “court” using either a basket ball court, or just make a circle in a field. Divide your court down the middle. Set up goals on opposite sides of the court. Have players split into two teams and try to score against the other team, but they can only crab walk.
  60. Shoe Kick: Loosen your shoe and from a starting line, see who can kick their shoe off the farthest.
  61. Sneaker Hunt: Now that all your sneakers are off, gather them in a pile, and see which team can get their sneakers back on first.
  62. Sweep It: See who can sweep an object through an obstacle course the fastest.
  63. Watermelon roll: See who can roll a watermelon through an obstacle course the fastest
  64. Tarp flip: This only works if you have a good number of people on each team; if you only have a few people on each team, use a very small tarp to make it challenging. The team must flip their tarp completely upside down, without anyone touching the lava (ground).
  65. Paper castle: Using only newspapers and tape, the team must build a geometric castle that fits their entire team. Bonus points awarded for speed.
  66. Watermelon Seed Spitting: See who can spit their watermelon seed the farthest.
  67. Eating contest: see who can eat the most watermelon (or other food of choice) the fastest
  68. Balance The Cup: Lying on your back, put a cup half full of water on your forehead and go from lying to sitting without using your hands
  69. Amoeba Tag: One person starts as “it” and must try to tag others without using their hands. If tagged, you become “it” as well and try to tag others without using your hands. The winner is the last person not tagged
  70. Freeze Dance: Everyone dances until the music stops, if you move you're out
  71. Musical chairs
  72. Dance And competition – or Copycat dance: One person starts with a dance move, the next person copies it and adds on to it, and so on until someone messes it up
  73. Limbo
  74. Hula hoop relay: Set up a relay course with obstacles using only hula hoops.
  75. Chugging contest: See who can chug the fastest. Make it more challenging by balancing on a foot, jumping up and down, etc.
  76. BONUS: Do all of the above in Reverse! Create a relay race with different obstacles, only players have to complete it while going backwards.


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