This is the season to be jolly and, for most of us (in the southern hemisphere), this means backyard Christmas parties. There’s plenty of fun in the sun to be had, but it’s important to keep everyone entertained, from tearaway toddlers to grandparents visiting from overseas.

Here’s a list of four DIY backyard party games that are easy to organise. Choose a variety, so all age groups at your event get to participate. And when they’re not playing, hiring a hot dog cart ensures your guests are fully refuelled for more fun!

1. Frisbee golf

Have you heard of frisbee or disc golf? It blends frisbee throwing with the rules of golf, so the aim is to complete each hole in the least amount of throws. Setting up a course is easy, and you can have as many holes as space allows.

Use baskets or buckets for the holes, either on the ground or on stools to change the level of difficulty. After each player begins at the starting point, they make their next toss from wherever the Frisbee lands. Those who’d rather stay seated with their hot dogs and beer can play the role of scorekeeper!

2. Bocce

Bocce is a game you can take seriously to satisfy competitive guests, but you can also throw away the rules so even the youngest kids can have a go. The key is to use light plastic or tennis balls, instead of traditional heavy ones, so everyone is capable of tossing them.

Play it on the lawn or a cement driveway, with two single players or two teams of up to four people, so it doesn’t get too complicated. Place a target ball at a suitable distance from a designated throwing line. The aim is to get the bocce balls as close as possible to the target in order to win.

3. Backyard spelling game

Scrabble might seem a bit boring to the kids, but when you use giant letters with the lawn as your board, you add the all-important fun factor. Cut old cardboard boxes into squares and paint a letter of the alphabet on each, at least twice. Skip the hard letters like Q, X and Z for younger guests.

Give each player 10 or so letters each. The first player spells a word on the ground and the next player has to build off it, in any direction. The player with the least letters left at the end, or whoever uses all of them first, is the spelling game winner.

4. Pillow case race

It’s surprising how much a pillow case can even the playing field when it comes to a race! Dad might be faster, but a tween’s balance could definitely help them reach the finish line first. You’ll need large pillow cases, and kids love choosing their own character, so a few superhero ones will fire their imaginations and get them flying toward the finish line.

Finally, providing you can engage the services of a fun-loving uncle or cousin, have Santa arrive in the backyard just in time to hand out novelty gifts and enjoy a well-earned hot dog!