Easy Picnic Games for Kids

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.

Picnic-Themed Telephone

According to KidsHealth from Nemours, monitoring 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 favorite 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 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. Switch it up with alternate versions of the game. Instead, have the first child draw a picture of what you describe to him. Let that child whisper the description of the drawing to the next in line and continue on until you reach the last child. That child then gets to draw a picture of what he heard. Then, the whole group will see how different the first person's drawing is to the last person's.

Relay Races

Mother by son and daughter (9-11), having picnic, smiling, portrait

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Divide the kids into even groups, making sure that there are older kids on all the teams. Line up half the 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. Or, try a messy relay race instead. Give the first person in each line a spoon with a raw egg balanced on it. Instead of running to the other line of team members, each participant must make their way over carefully and steadily, to avoid dropping the egg. If the egg goes splat, that team member must start over at the beginning with a fresh egg. The first team to have each member of their team finish successfully, wins.

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 turns entering the center 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. Alternatively, you could play dancing musical chairs. Place your chairs in a circle, with one less chair than the number of kids playing. Turn the music on and the kids have to bust a move while circling around the outside of the chairs. When you turn the music off, each child must race to take a seat. Whoever is left without a chair is out. Remove one chair each time a child is out. Whoever claims the final seat at the end is declared the winner.