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MY HANDMADE HOME: Get the kids outside with Yahtzee for the yard


COST: $30

EFFORT: 2 out of 5

RESULTS: 5 out of 5

Our kids have been spending so much time out in the yard lately. It makes me so happy that I hardly mind that they keep slipping in mud and tracking it into the foyer.

I’ve been dreaming up lots of backyard activities for them, as I do at this point every year. We have some large projects coming up, hopefully, but I started with a simple one I expect is going to get a lot of use.

I give you ... Yardzee! Yup, it’s Yahtzee for the yard!

There are many variations of this on Pinterest, but really it all comes down to cutting five cubes from a 4x4 post — you’ll have a ton left over, maybe to make more Yardzee sets? A 4x4 post is actually three-and-a-half inches by three-and-a-half inches, so you make your cuts three-and-a-half inches apart to get perfect cubes.

I sanded down my cubes, rounding some of the edges until I got bored and decided they were smooth enough. My original plan was to keep them light and use my wood-burning tool to make the dots, but I ended up staining them dark (Minwax’s Early American) to hide the yucky green tinge of the pressure-treated lumber.

I decided to use a nickel as my template for the dice dots, and it was the perfect size. I used a pencil to trace it over and over for each set of dots, and then used a small paintbrush to fill them in with white paint (Fusion Mineral Paint’s Picket Fence). After two coats of white, I sealed each die with polyurethane and left them for one final drying session.

Then I designed my own score sheet using a Yahtzee Jr. score sheet as a guide (to keep it simpler for the kids and their friends). But I didn’t want to print off paper copies since the idea is to play it outside, and that would have been a recipe for swirling soggy messes of paper all over the yard.

Instead, I uploaded my score sheet to the Staples Copy & Print site and ordered four copies on thick cardstock and laminated. They were ready an hour later, and they turned out even sturdier than I’d hoped. (Dear Santa Claus, please bring me my own laminator and I swear I’ll use it only for good.)

Strangely, dry-erase markers don’t wipe off the sheets — luckily, I tested one on the back — but washable kid-friendly markers wipe off easily with a paper towel (or a licked thumb). I picked up a chocolate brown woven plastic basket at Dollarama for storing all of the dice and score sheets — and shaking the dice, of course — and then I was finished.

The kids haven’t played Yahtzee before, but I know they’re going to love Yardzee this spring and summer. I can just picture those chunky wooden dice rolling across the finally-green lawn — likely chased and gnawed by our dog — as all the neighbourhood kids are whooping “Five! We need a five! YARDZEEEEEEE!”

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