The Tarp Game- The Red Headed Hostess

This cost me $5 to make – and it has the potential of occupying little (and big)  boys for hours and hours – – and…  it may help improve some ball throwing accuracy.  I remember when my brother was little, my dad taped out a small square on an old mattress and leaned it up against the basement wall.  The rule was that he had to pitch to the mattress so many times before he could go out and play – and I remember hearing the “thump… thump… thump…” everyday after school.  Well that pre-playing assignment paid off as years later he played in college and the minor leagues.  Not to mention a really great lesson on persistence and achieving excellence.
This tarp could certainly be used in a similar way, or as a single activity as they try and earn the most points.  The simple game could go as follows:
  • Put out 3 signs, each 10  feet apart starting at 10  feet from the tarp.  The first one is labeled “full points”, the second “double points” and the third “is triple points”
  • Option 1:  Each person gets 3 throws and they get to choose what sign (distance) they will stand
  • Option 2:  Put a ball at each sign.  They get one throw from each distance.
  • Option 3:  Give each player a ball.  They have 60 seconds to rack up as many points as they can.  But they have to retrieve their own ball after each throw.
Here is how you make the tarp
 Lay out your tarp and find a ruler and a permanent marker
At the very center draw 12 x 12 square and a design around the outside.  You don’t need to put the score down yet.  I did just to help with spacing.
In all 4 corners draw a 16 x 16 square and then outline a border around that.
I forgot to take a picture of the 50 point black diamond like you see above.  That is another 12 x 12 square – but on the diagonal – draw those above and beneath the center square.
Paint your borders and then cut out the centers
You could save the centers to be your signs that you put out for the scoring as described at the beginning of this post.
Now, put duct tape around all of the inside edges of the holes.  If you don’t do this, your tarp will be shredded on the first few throws.
Make sure you get the corners really well
You can see that the duct tape was folded over the edges – so its not just on the front side.  Also, reinforce the corners on the back side of the tarp.
Now paint the scores on the different squares.  Make sure they are easy to add and multiply.
Then hang it up in a place where you won’t mind balls flying.


  1. I have a house full of boys from 23-11 and they would all love this! What kind of paint did you use that actually sticks to the tarp?

  2. You could also make a smaller one and have people stand behind the holes and the players throw wet sponges at them. Great for a hot day.

  3. Great idea! I’m thinking this would be good for a YM/YW activity that I’m in charge of in June. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks Shannon,
    My husband came home and said he needed a bean bag toss for the Primary Carnival that our YM and YW sponsor each October. He was going to use particle board, but I remembered your tarp. The tarp is so much easier to use, transport and store. The carnival will be inside our church cultural hall. We will attach the tarp to some PVC pipe that is being held up by our patio umbrella stands. We will drill some holes in the PVC pipe, then tie the tarp to the poles.
    Thanks for your detailed instructions.
    ♥ Vickie

  5. I love this idea! We did this fro my brothers birthday! he had so much fun!!! We spray painted a (mini) football field in our backyard and that was for touchdowns and little things like that. It was so fun! 🙂

  6. Love this idea. Going to put “Fire” designs around the holes and make small bean bags out of material that looks like water for my sons 3rd Firetruck Birthday Party.

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