The 8 Olympic-Themed Backyard Games You Can DIY With Pool Noodles

The 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics are around the corner, and we can't wait to marvel once again at the capabilities of Team USA stars like Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky, Sha'Carri Richardson, and Kevin Durant, just to name a few. All the attention may be on Paris since France is hosting this time, but we have some Olympic-themed games that you can DIY to bring some of the action right to your backyard. From javelin throw to obstacle courses, these eight pool noodle-based ideas will make your backyard a way more exciting place to compete than the River Seine.

We've shared some of our favorite pool noodle DIYs in the past and continue to supply you with ingenious hacks that you might have never thought of because pool noodles are always there to help around the house. In addition to their versatility, they are affordable, safe, and easy to use, making them a great tool to create these games and have some fun outdoors. Not all of these suggestions are for official Olympic games, but with a few friends and some imagination, you can throw your own summer games in your own backyard.

1. Javelin throw

Take five or six pool noodles, make them into circles, and tape them together in the layout of the Olympic rings. Next, tape the pool noodles to two vertical noodles or sticks pushed into the ground. To get more into the spirit, tape them together in the layout of the Olympic rings and choose the same colors or wrap the ones you have in duct tape with the colors. Now, you have your targets to throw pool noodle javelins through. Let all the players take turns trying to throw them into the holes. The winner is whoever can get the most.

2. Bean bag toss

Don't have scrap wood to DIY a cornhole? You can still play bean bag toss by placing the Olympic rings you've made for the javelin throw on the floor. Set a starting line and have everyone take turns throwing the bean bags into the holes, whether as individual players or as teams. We like this idea because you can also DIY the bean bags if you have basic sewing skills. Just sew two square pieces of fabric together with a small opening, fill the pocket with the same amount of filler, and then sew it shut.

3. American football

To make a football goalpost, you'll need PVC pipes, joints, your pool noodles, and glue. The pipe measurements should be 5 feet for the base pole, 2 feet for the horizontal poles that make the T, and then 3 1/2 feet for the vertical poles that go on top. Use the pipes to recreate an American football goal post, attach them with the joints, and slide on the pool noodles. Insert a stick or dowel into the ground and place the structure on it. Now you have a nice goalpost to play football and practice throwing.

4. High jump and hurdling

This fun game can be set up by attaching a long, vertical pool noodle to two support structures pushed into the ground. Depending on the height of the players, you can stick the pool noodle through two low chairs or fix it on garden hooks or other pool noodles, which is nice because you can control the height by cutting them. You can also set up multiple in a line to have hurdle races. If you don't have any props, it's okay because someone can simply hold the pool noodle up for people to jump over.

5. Field hockey

To create an easy game of field hockey, you'll need pool noodles for the hockey sticks, some regular lightweight playing balls or blown-up balloons, and two small laundry baskets for the goal posts. First cut the pool noodles into two lengthwise so they're easier to hold on to then divide the players into teams. The game will be to get past the other team and get the balls into the basket on the other side using the pool noodles. If you're using balloons for this, don't play when it's windy out because they will be difficult to maneuver.

6. Soccer or croquet

Make your goal posts by putting two sticks into the ground and sliding each end of a flexible pool noodle onto them. This creates a simple arch that can serve as a goal post for either soccer or croquet. For croquet, you can also use pool noodles to serve as the mallets for moving the balls. For soccer, this is best done with small children since the goal post is so low, but bigger kids and adults can still use it to practice kicking and goal-keeping.

7. Obstacle courses

There are many approaches to an obstacle course and pool noodles can help you create different ones. One idea is to tape the ends together to turn them into circles, and place them on the ground for players to hop through. Another is to use sticks to anchor them in the ground and bend them into arches for people to crawl through. Combine one or both of these ideas with other stations like jump rope and a balancing beam to get an obstacle course that's sure to get the blood flowing.

8. Basketball

Another idea is to DIY a floating rim and get some mini balls so you can shoot some hoops. Tape the pool noodle into a circle and then tape it securely to any high surface outside. It could be placed on the edge of the roof, the garage door, or even a tree. You can have as many hoops as you want, which is nice so you can set them at different heights and multiple people can play at the same time. Just ensure you leave a good amount of space between hoops so people don't crash into each other.