Fun Family Picnic Games

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A family picnic can mean delicious food and the opportunity to mingle with relatives you haven’t seen in a while — but games keep the party going. When you play games together as a family, not only is everyone likely more physically active but you can promote closer family bonds, according to psychology professor Darcia Narvaez in the Psychology Today article “What’s Better: Indoor or Outdoor Play?” Complete a summertime picnic with water games that can bring both the kids and adults together, while eating contests may be more entertaining for the adults.

Dramatic Games

  • Know someone in the family who can impersonate celebrities like they were born for it? Revitalize a picnic by giving an impersonator 15 seconds to act something out, then giving the rest of the crowd the chance to guess. Guests can also hone their acting chops by playing a game of word association: after the first player says a word, he points to the next player. This player then responds with the first word that comes to mind. If a player does not respond within five seconds, he’s out, and the last player remaining wins.

Races and Art

  • Peeled bananas can be used to create a foot race by dividing into two teams, with players sitting in a line. The player’s feet are then used to pass the banana to the next player’s feet until it reaches the end of the line. A dress-up relay can also mean big fun: kids wear several layers of clothing, race to a partner and then remove the extra layers for the partner to wear before the partner dashes to the finish line. Once the races are finished, the kids can relax with a little artistry: coloring place mats for the picnic table. Vote a winner to provide both fun and decorative flair to your family picnic. Groups can also compete by writing song lyrics about the picnic and performing them. Votes can be taken and winners selected based on best lyrics or best performance.

Water Games

  • While a classic water balloon fight can bring a much-needed cooling down to the picnic, other water games can also capture the fun. In a modified version of “Duck, Duck, Goose,” one child walks around the circle holding a cup of water, dripping it on the heads of participants before pouring it on the chosen player. Bringing a jump rope into a water game can keep the kids entertained too: each child holds a cup of water while two others twirl a jump rope. The child must attempt three consecutive jumps, trying to keep as much water as possible in the cup. The last child with water still in the cup wins.

Going on a Hunt

  • A treasure hunt is a tried-and-true way to keep everyone engaged. Create a map and pick out the location of the treasure ahead of time, planting clues on other adults along the way. A small chest of candy or toys like chocolate, squirt guns, jump ropes or other age-appropriate items can be shared among all of the kids. Kids and adults alike may also find fun with a scavenger hunt. Writing out a list of items for the kids to look for, like “pink shoes” that someone may be wearing or “blue food” can keep them occupied while the adults are setting up or talking.