Editor's note: This article was originally published on Toni Roberts' blog, Design Dazzle. It has been republished here with permission.

If you are trying to find a way to get your family outdoors, making good summer memories, here is a fabulous family game! Make a giant outdoor Kerplunk game from tomato cages! On those hot summer days or nights you can get outside with family of any age and play this exciting game of suspense and strategy. No tools needed to make this. See the instructions below for details.

Now the object of the game is to pull out a stick without making the balls drop. Everyone takes a turn pulling a stick out one by one. Then, if a ball or two drops (or 30) you keep them and at the end of the game, you count how many balls you made drop. Usually the last few sticks will make all the balls drop so the suspense is who will be the one to pull that last stick. Make your own rules. Maybe play three games and the one who has the least amount of points (balls dropped) wins!


  • 3 tomato cages

  • Zip ties

  • clear vinyl fabric (1/4 yard)

  • 20 PVC pipes, 36 inches or 30 inches in length

  • Primer (optional)

  • Spray paint (optional)

  • Ball pit balls

Building this colorful outdoor game took some trial and error before we got it just right. The first thing we worked on was how many tomato cages we needed to stack. We arrived at three cages stacked together and zip tied into place. Three cages gave the height needed.

The next step was finding what we should use at the top of the cages to make sure the plastic balls wouldn't fall out of the sides of the tomato cages. Our first thought was to weave rope in and out of the wires but that didn't work so well. We cut out some vinyl, punched holes in it and zip tied the vinyl to the top of the cage. Great solution!

We started out with wooden dowels for the poles but they were pretty expensive. So PVC pipe to the rescue! Let us not forget to mention they are pretty cheap too! We had Lowes cut the 10-foot PVC pipes for us into three or four pieces because we tried 3-foot poles and 2 1/2-foot poles. Both sizes worked - it depends on your preference (and if big kids or small kids are playing).

The next step is optional - spray painting the PVC pipes. First thing you do is spray all of of the PVC pipes with primer. This will make it so the paint will stick to the plastic pipes. Although, it did chip in some areas while playing the game. Once the pipes are evenly sprayed and dry, you can spray them with the colors. We used blue, green, orange, yellow and pink spray paints for the poles to match the colors of the plastic ball pit balls. There were four poles of each color. This step is pretty impractical but the colors were so cute!

Now on to playing the game. What is so nice about the tomato cages is that you can stick them into the grass. Then the trick is to put the poles through the cages in a way that they will suspend the plastic balls in the cage. Once you see there are no gaping holes in the poles and cage, you can pour the plastic balls in on top of the poles.This giant Kerplunk game is fun for all ages! Take the family outside and enjoy the beautiful summer weather and make those fun family memories!

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