Picnic Games and Activities


Posted by Roth McCoy | Posted in Picnic Activities | Posted on 22-03-2012

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As the final flurries of snow clear from the ground and the icy winter air warms to a calm spring breeze, the world seems to be a happier place. Tired of cold and storms, people start to focus on all the fun they can have outdoors. Plans start to come together and everyone gets excited for warm weather activities. Soon you are surrounded by invitations to picnics. Company picnics, school picnics, family picnics … Spring is a wonderful time of year and with so many picnics to attend, you can look forward to the familiar faces as well as all the activities that await.

While food is certainly an important factor at a picnic, the games and activities are what make picnics so much fun. Children can play with their friends while adults play with their older, yet equally excited friends. Parents can bond with their children. Everybody involved gets whisked into a world of fun and games. With the amount of picnic games and activities, it’s no wonder why everyone is in such an ambivalent mood. Picnic games are intoxicating and the following sections will explain why.



Picnic Games for Kids



Children love to play together, especially when they are free to leave the confines of their homes. Picnic grounds make it possible for large groups of children to explore nature, challenge others and themselves, and play games they could never play indoors. Children’s picnic activities should include a mix of competition and regular fun. With these picnic games and activities for kids, every child will walk away feeling like a winner.


Red Light, Green Light – This game is a bit like Simon Says, but it tends to work better on a younger crowd. Have all the children stand in a horizontal line while the child designated as “It” stands several yards in front of the rest of the group. The designated child says commands that are equal to those that would be found on a traffic light. Green means go, yellow means slow down, and red means stop. Using a mixture of each command, the “It” child tries to confuse players. If someone keeps moving after a “Red Light,” that person has to go back to the starting line. The first person to reach the designated child takes over as “It” and the game starts from the beginning.


Sardines – This game is like Hide and Seek with a twist. A child is chosen to be “It,” but instead of being singled out, that child becomes like a beacon for all the other players. In Sardines, the kid chosen to be “It” hides while all the other children count to 50 or 100. Everyone tries to find the “It” child and stays quiet when they do. Little by little, the hiding space becomes cramped like a can of sardines as each child finds “It.” The game ends when the last child finds the rest of the group and can restart with that child being the next “It.”


Water Balloon Toss – This game is great for extra warm days when children want to have some water fun. Children team up in pairs of two and fill a balloon with as much water as they can. All the children line up in two parallel lines with each kid standing across from his or her partner. Starting very close to each other, the teams toss their water balloon to their partner. If a balloon breaks, that team gets out of the line. After each round, both rows of children take one step backwards, expanding the distance between them and their partners. The balloon toss continues until only one team is left with a water balloon, after which a new round can begin.


Depending on the area of the picnic, children can also have a lot of fun with activities like Hide and Seek, Freeze Tag, Three-Legged Races, Capture the Flag, Frisbee, and Catch. If there is a swimming pool or lake nearby, kids may also enjoy water games like Marco Polo, Monkey in the Middle, and Water Tag. For water fun without a body of water, children can play with sprinklers, water balloons, and squirt guns, all of which will guarantee them a wonderful time.



Picnic Games for Adults



Adults rarely get the chance to revisit their childhoods and play games, but picnics offer an excellent exception to that rule. With adult picnic games, the grown-ups can have as much fun as the children and let their silly or competitive natures flourish. Nearly any outdoor game would be fun to play at a picnic, but the following activities are perfect for a day of outdoor adult adventures.


Water Balloon War–This game is a bit like paintball without the mess and bruises. Separate the adults into two teams, each equipped with a plentiful supply of water balloons. You may want to distinguish the team by shirts versus skins or team shirts with two distinct colors. The mission of this game is simple: Don’t get wet. Adults run and hide within their surroundings and try to hit people from the other team with a water balloon. When someone is hit, they are taken prisoner. If a water balloon breaks without hitting its target, the thrower is taken prisoner by the other team. The last person standing without getting hit is the winner and gets to douse the losing team with water.


Tangled – This is a fun game that involves flexibility, teamwork, and a good sense of humor. Have all adults split into teams of two. Give each team a roll of toilet paper and make sure that one roll has a stamp on it. The team that chooses the stamp will work as referees while the rest of the teams act as contestants. The referees wrap each team together in loosely bound toilet paper. Once everyone is wrapped up, the teams have to try to free themselves without ripping the toilet paper. If the toilet paper rips, that team is disqualified. The game continues until a team successfully frees themselves or until only one team still has their toilet paper intact.


Prop Charades – This game is equally fun and silly, and it’s guaranteed to bring the child out of every adult. Before the picnic, advise every adult to bring something interesting with them. They could bring a sombrero, a foam finger, a colander … Anything will do! In prop charades, the weirder the props, the funnier the game becomes. This game works like regular charades, but there should be two pieces of paper for each player to choose. One piece has the charade they have to act out and the other has the prop they have to incorporate into their acting. A volunteer should start the game and whoever guesses the charade goes next. The game continues until everyone has had a chance to act. There are no winners or losers in this game – just a bunch of adults having fun.


Adults may also have fun playing picnic games like Horseshoes, Limbo, Charades, Truth or Dare, and Spin the Bottle. Adults with a competitive streak can also have fun playing sports games like softball, touch football, volleyball, and water relay races.



Picnic Games for Mixed Ages



Picnics are terrific places for adults to bond with children. With everyone in a playful mood, families can create memories that will last for a lifetime. Here are some of the best tried and proven games where adults can compete against children without automatically having the upper hand. Just because we grow up doesn’t make us the best at everything, right?


Tug of War – This is a really fun game that can be played with a broad mix of ages. Split everybody into two teams and make sure there are equal amounts of kids and adults on each team. Everybody holds onto a long rope, trying to pull the other team over the boundary. The boundary can be anything from a chalk line to a pile of mud to a puddle of water. As soon as a team is pulled over (or into) the boundary area, the other team wins.


Limbo Contest – Kids love to play limbo as much as adults, and this is a game where children have a good chance of defeating the grown-ups. Take a long stick or a yard stick and have two people hold it. For the first round, the stick should be high enough for everyone to be able to walk under it. As each round passes, the stick is lowered a couple of inches and it becomes harder to pass under without touching the stick. Everyone who touches the stick is disqualified and the game continues until only one player remains. With the right music in the background, limbo is a great game for all ages.


Three-Legged Race – A classic for everyone young and old, a three-legged race is a fun way to promote teamwork, agility, and plain old silliness. Separate everyone into teams of two. You can either create each team with one adult and one child, or have the children play against the adults. Each team ties two of their ankles together with a bandana or a strip of fabric. All teams start horizontally at the starting line and work together to race to the finish line. The first team to cross the finish line wins.


Picnics for mixed age groups can incorporate nearly any game into a battle of adults versus children. Some additional mixed age picnic game favorites include Hide and Seek, Water Balloon Toss, and group games like Frisbee, catch, touch football, basketball, and softball.


As an added bonus, you may want to give out small awards or ribbons to everyone who participated in the picnic games and activities. You can give out ribbons to everyone who won a game and also come up with fun categories with prizes. For instance, you could give an award to the adult who is bad at everything or the person who almost won it all. Awards for most fun, silliest, best team spirit, and best teamwork are also appreciated by all players.


No matter what the ages of the picnic attendees, there are more than enough games and activities to ensure that everyone has a fun, memorable time. As long as everyone comes with a smile and a willingness to have a good time, fun will certainly be had. There will not be a shortage of picnic games and activities any time soon, so get out there and enjoy them while the weather permits it!




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