One of the backyard games that we love to play in the summer is this ladder toss game. It is made out of PVC piping, and is as easy to construct as it is to play.
I added the rules at the end of this article, but there are many variations on the “rules”. The only rule that Shari and I have in any of our projects is to have fun! (…and that Shari always goes first!)
The following parts list is enough to make a complete set.
- 5 – 10ft X 1/2″ PVC Pipe
- 12 – 90 degree 1/2″ PVC Elbows
- 12 – 1/2″ PVC Tees
- PVC Cement Glue
- 3/16″ Nylon String
- Saw to cut the pipe
- Utility Knife to pierce Tennis Balls (wear gloves for this step)
- 6 tennis balls (3 yellow – 3 white)
1. Cut the PVC pipe into the following pieces 14 – 2 foot pieces and 16 – 1 foot pieces. Looking at the base of the ladder, you can see the lay out. There are 4 – 2 foot sections and 2 – 1 foot sections used along with 4- 90 degree elbows and 2 T’s for the uprights.
*Tip: To cut the pieces, you can use a hand saw, but I used my miter saw to make the process go faster.
2. To assemble the pieces, use PVC cement glue. Apply and immediately attach the two pieces, don’t delay the glue sets up fairly fast. This photo shows a “T” being attached to the base.
3. To build the uprights. The side pieces are 1 foot sections, and the scoring crossing pieces are 2 foot sections. * Note the layout from the first photo of the complete ladder.
4. I painted the ladder in a variety of colors to indicate the scoring levels. You can paint the pieces separate before assembly or mask off each section and paint when completed.
Tip* Remember when using spray paint, always spray in a well ventilated area, and spray in even light coats. Multiple coats are much better than once thick coat which will run.
5. For the tennis ball strings, cut 3/16 inch nylon rope into 12 inch lengths. Pierce a tennis ball two holes on opposite sides using a utility knife. (Be very careful, I used heavy duty gloves for this step.) Then, using a clothes hanger with the nylon rope taped to the end, push the hanger through the ball threading the rope through the ball. Knot the end and secure the knot by melting the nylon with a flame.
How to Play Ladder Toss
Separate the ladders with a distance of 30-35 feet.
With one or two players per team, each player selects a color of golf or tennis balls (for tennis balls, we choose white and yellow balls).
Each team member tosses 3 balls from behind the front end line of the ladder. After the first player tosses their tennis balls, it is the other teams turn; the object is to have the balls land on the rungs of the ladder. Each rung counts as a different “point” total. The top rung is worth 3 points the middle 2 points and the bottom is worth one. No points can be scored if the balls bounce off the ground.
The object is to score 21 points by adding up the total of each turn. Each player during their turn tries to cancel out any points that the previous person may have made as well as to accumulate additional points.
As with any game the object really is to have fun, but, if you are like my family the contest can become quite competitive. In fact we have an on going tournament with our neighbors and it is as heated a rivalry as any college football game!