Picnic games for kids

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Picnics are a popular way to celebrate reunions and other summer parties with family and friends. Popular adult activities include volleyball, football, croquet, and other lawn games. Picnic organisers can keep kids entertained with these picnic games for kids which are a variety of contests and relays too. Some of these ideas are also perfect for smaller family picnics. Picnics are the perfect way to spend quality time with your family in the fresh air. I can’t think of a better way to spend a sunny day. I really hope these fun picnic ideas help you plan your next picnic. Find more outdoor games for children here.

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Doughnut Jump

This is such a fun game! Tie a strong rope between two trees, approximately 4 feet above the ground. Tie four doughnuts to 5-inch pieces of yarn, then tie the yarn to the string so the doughnuts are suspended in the air.

Ask four children to stand in front of the doughnuts. On the “go” signal, each child tries to grab the doughnut with her mouth and eat it. Any player using his hands to touch the doughnut must leave the game. The player with the most bites in her doughnut after four minutes wins the game.

Sack Relay Race

This classic outdoor game is a favourite picnic activity. It’s a great way to keep kids of all ages busy at family picnics. Divide players into two teams and give each team a large sturdy sack. The first person on each team steps into the bag and pulls it up to his waist.

On the “go” signal, the two people in the sacks jump toward a finish line at the end of the playing area. When they reach the line, they step out of their sacks and run back to their team, then give the sack to the next person in line. The team whose last player returns to the starting line first wins the game.

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Water Balloon Volleyball

Purchase 20 water balloons in two different colours so you have 10 of each colour. Fill balloons with water before the picnic. These * reusable water balloons are so fantastic to use in this great game, time and time again.

At the picnic, divide players into two teams. Ask each team to stand on one side of the tarp. Put the balloons on the tarp. Ask everyone to pick up an edge and hold the tarp at waist height.

To play the game, each team jiggles and moves the tarp, trying to break the other team’s balloons or propel them off the tarp. After five minutes the team with the most balloons remaining on the tarp wins the game.

Picnic-Themed Telephone

Keeping an eye on kids at gatherings helps ensure that all the children have finished eating and can help avoid choking and other hazards. Start with a sit-down game, like Telephone, to keep the kids entertained and safe as their food begins to digest. Prepare a list of picnic-themed sentences, such as, “The baked beans tasted good and the potato salad was fine, but my favourite thing to eat is hamburger meat.” 

Have the kids get in a line spaced a little apart from each other, and give the first slip of paper to the first person in the line. That child whispers the message to the next child, and then each child whispers the message from memory to the next person. The last person in line announces the message to the whole group–although by then the message is likely to have become hilariously garbled. To keep it fresh and encourage kids to take turns, have the first person go to the end of the line after each sentence is read.

Relay Races

Divide the kids into even groups, making sure that there are older kids on all the teams for this classic game. Line up half the team members of each team at the starting line, and give the first person in each line a clean empty jar, can, or container. Line up the other members of each team several yards away. When the adult starts the game, each team member with the jar runs to the other line of teammates and passes the jar to the first person in that line. 

That person puts a spoon in the jar and runs back to the starting point, passing the jar to the next person in line. This continues until every team member has run. The first team to finish wins. You can give small prizes, or perhaps you can serve dessert first to the winning team.

Dance Off

To have a picnic dance-off, all you need is a boom box and a child-appropriate dance mix CD. Ask the kids to form a giant circle. As the music plays, have the children’s turns to enter the centre of the ring to show off their best dance moves. Encourage everyone to cheer for the moves they really like; the person with the most applause per song wins. Adults and teens may even want to get in on this one.

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Hide and Seek

Any picnic with young children will welcome this game. Just be sure that there’s an adult who knows where each child is hiding so they don’t get lost. This kind of picnic game is best played at a picnic site with a playground. A wise choice of picnic venue for guests with children anyway.

Human Lemonade

This hilarious game is appropriate for mixed-age groups. You will need paper cups, quartered lemons, small packets of sugar, water, and a long table.

Put the table at the end of the playing area, at least 100 feet from the starting line. Set out two plates of quartered lemons, two bowls filled with small packets of sugar, and one paper cup filled with water for each player. Divide everyone into two teams and ask each team to form a relay line at the starting area.

On the “go” signal, the first person in each relay line runs to the table, takes a lemon quarter and squeezes the juice into his mouth, opens the sugar packet, and pours it into his mouth, then adds the glass of water. He “mixes” the lemonade by jumping up and down two times. He then swallows any lemonade still in his mouth before running back to his team.

The relay continues until all players have made “human lemonade.” The team finishing first is the winner. Perfect for people of all ages at your next family reunion. 

Tug of war

All you need is a length of rope to play this simple game at your next picnic. 

Scavenger Hunts

This is a game for all ages. The organizer must list items that are attainable. (Don’t write “Red Ferrari” unless you happen to have one laying around for your guest to collect.) Each person’s list can be different or they can all be the same. The first person to attain all the items listed is the winner. You can issue prizes if you’d like or you can let your guest keep the items found. Anyone who enjoys working on puzzles will like this type of game.

Packing some printable scavenger hunts is a good idea for little kids. Find a nature scavenger hunt for every season here. I hope they make your next picnic extra fun.

Toddler girl with an autumn picture nature scavenger hunt

Games to pack for a picnic

There are some fun picnic games you can pack along with your picnic blanket and they don’t take up a lot of space like hula hoops, bean bags and ring toss. These fun outdoor games are fun for the whole family. You could even set up a simple obstacle course using some of these items. Perhaps the older children could be challenged to set up a course for the younger kids to play.

Whether you’re planning a small picnic for your family or a fun-filled afternoon picnic for your entire community, you will need to keep the kids occupied and entertained. Outdoor games for kids do not need to be complicated or drawn out. Simple picnic games for kids are easy to set up and fun to play. I hope you have a great time playing these great picnic games this summer.

More things to do on a picnic with kids

There are loads more things to do on a picnic other than play games. Find loads of outdoor activities for children here.

Find Top Tips for Fun Family Picnics here.

Many of these Garden games for kids are also perfect for taking on picnics too.

Why not go on a walk before or after your picnic? Here are some nature walk games to keep the kids happy.

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