10 Fun Games for a Picnic, Barbecue, or Outdoor Children’s Birthday Party

Picnic games create wonderful summer memories, allow for photo moments and are just plain fun! If you are planing a picnic, family reunion or outdoor barbecue, here are some fun games to try,

1. Shaving Cream Beard Relay Contest: Divide the kids into 2-4 teams of equal members. Designate some adults to be the “beard makers” – one adult is needed per team. You can either use shaving cream, or canned whipped cream. Children must line up and run one at a time to the beard maker, who will then decorate their faces with a beard. They must then run back and tag the next member of their team to be bearded. The first team to all be wearing beards wins! (If you want to make the game really creative you could make Peanut Butter Marshmallow Beards instead!)

2. Potato Sack Relay Race: This is a common game for American barbecues. Don’t have any potato sacks? Don’t fret, you can order them online at www.sackraces.com, www.wolverinesports.com., or eBay. To play, divide the children into 2 or 4 teams. Determine the boundaries for the race. Children must then hop in the potato sacks (one team member at a time) to the designated spot and then hop back to their team members. He/She must then give the sack to the next team member. The first team for all members to successfully hop back and forth wins!

3. Mummy Contest: Divide the group into teams. Provide each team with 2-3 rolls of toilet paper. Instruct them to choose a player to be the mummy, and the must make the selected person into a mummy using the toiler paper. The first team with a completely covered mummy wins.

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4. Photo Scavenger Hunt: This one’s best for older kids and teens. If you’ve planned a big bash that lasts all day, this might be good for activity for an hour or so at the end of the day. For complete instructions, read the article, “How to Plan a Photo Scavenger Hunt.”

5. Water Balloon Toss Game: Fill a lot of balloons with water. Ask each child to get a partner. Give each team of 2 a water balloon. Have the players stand very close together and throw the the balloon back and forth. Each time after the balloon is tossed, the players must take one step backwards. The farther they go, the more likely they will not catch the balloon and it will break. The last team to have an intact water balloon wins.

6. Capture the Flag: This is a fun interactive game for children ages 6 and above. Get 2 flags (if you don’t have one you can use towels or t-shirts) and divide the group of children into 2 teams. Place the 2 flags on opposite sides of the lawn in an easy to reach area, such as on a low tree, or a chair if necessary. The goal of the game is for the team to capture the opposing team’s flag safely without being tagged. If they are a tagged, they must go to “jail” where they will be released when all team members are placed in jail or the game ends, whichever comes first. The first team to capture the other team’s flag wins! (You can also play this game with water balloons – instead of being tagged, they are thrown water balloons.)

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7. Watermelon Roll Relay: This is similar to the potato sack race, but instead of jumping in a sack the children must roll the watermelon. The first team where each child has successfully rolled a watermelon back and forth wins!

8. Take a Hike: This is a fun game for older kids and teens. Arrange chairs in a circle and have everyone sit down. Choose one child to be in the center, and remove that chair, so there is enough chairs for all but one person. Say a phrase such as “If you’re wearing tennis shoes, take a hike!” After that, all players who are wearing tennis shoes but run across the circle to find another seat. If they are the last one and can’t find a seat, they will be in the center and can choose the next phrase such as “If your birthday is in the summer”m “If you like ice cream”, or “If you’ve ever been skiing”, etc. It’s a non-competitive but fun activity.

9. Three Legged Race: A Three-Legged race is a game that promotes teamwork and cooperation. Have each child find a partner, preferably someone with similar height. Tie everyone’s legs together and determine the boundaries for the race. The first team to make it to the finish line wins! Don’t forget to take lots of pictures, as this is a great photo moment!

10. Egg Race Relay: This one also uses 2 teams. Provide each team with a spoon and a cartoon of eggs. One player at a time from each team must go to a designated spot (say 15- 20 feet away) and back holding an egg on a spoon. If he/she drops the egg, he/she must start over with a new egg. The first team where each player has successfully traveled back and forth with an intact egg, wins!

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Happy Partying! Enjoy!