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Beyond Red Rover: The Top 10 Picnic Games for Kids

Sara Ipatenco
Aug. 6, 2015

Summer means warm sun and longer days, and that means perfect picnic weather! Here are the top 10 picnic games for the kids to keep them entertained all afternoon.

Summer days and warm weather practically beg for an outdoor gathering, complete with plenty of food, family, friends and picnic games. Games are a great addition to any picnic because they encourage physical activity and keep the kids engaged and entertained. With just a bit of planning and gathering of supplies, your next picnic is sure to be filled with shrieks of laughter from kids and adults alike.

Here are 10 great picnic games to play at your next gathering:
 

  1. Picnic Basket Relay
    Encourage children to take part in the setting up and cleanup of a picnic by playing this fun game from Parties 4 Me. You'll need two picnic baskets packed with a blanket, dishes, silverware, food and other picnic materials. Divide the kids into two teams. The objective of the game is to have each player unpack a picnic basket, set up the picnic, tear down the picnic and repack the picnic basket as quickly as possible in a relay fashion. The thrill of competition and the enjoyment of successfully laying out a picnic will keep the kids engaged and cheering on their teammates.
     
  2. Flip-Flop Kick
    The objective of this game from Inner Child Fun is to see who can kick a flip-flop shoe off his foot as far as possible. Kids love this game because normally kicking off their shoes isn't something that's allowed, never mind encouraged. They'll also enjoy the chance to try to beat their own scores by kicking their flip-flops even farther during the next round.
     
  3. Water Balloon Spoon Race
    What kid doesn't relish the chance to throw a water balloon and get wet? A picnic is the perfect time for some water balloon fun. This game from Two Shades of Pink is played like the classic egg-and-spoon relay race, only children are challenged a bit more by balancing a full water balloon on a wooden spoon.
     
  4. Water Balloon Dodgeball
    Blend the fun of dodgeball with the thrill of a water balloon fight, and you have this game from Feels Like Home, where kids try to dodge water balloons instead of playground balls.
     
  5. Sponge Relay Race
    To play this game from Ladies Kitty, you need two big sponges, two buckets of water, two jars or beakers and two teams of energetic kids. Mark a fill point on the jars, and have each player dip the sponge in the water, run over to the jar and squeeze the sponge out to empty its water into the jar. The first team to fill their jar to the fill point wins!
     
  6. Yard Twister
    Kids love the classic game of Twister, and it's also a game that's easy to adapt to outdoor play with a circle stencil and spray paint, as My Kids' Adventures demonstrates. Instead of painting the circles directly onto the grass, paint them on a big sheet or a tarp and let the kids get twisting. Bonus: Since you're creating the playing surface yourself, you can make it bigger for more players.
     
  7. Human Tic-Tac-Toe
    To play this game from Notable Music Studio, separate kids into two teams of three or four and assign one team as "x"s and the other as "o"s. Spray paint a large tic-tac-toe board on a tarp or sheet and play the game the traditional way, but with children as the markers. In addition to being just plain fun, this game also teaches strategy and teamwork.
     
  8. Melt an Ice Cube
    The objective of this game from Serving Pink Lemonade is to be the first player to successfully melt an entire ice cube. Roll the die and perform the corresponding action on your ice cube -- whether it be shaking salt on top of it, floating it in water or even sticking it down your shirt for a few seconds!
     
  9. Pass the Water
    This fun water game from Moms & Munchkins will help cool kids off while competing to be the first team to transfer a cup of water down a line of children without spilling any.
     
  10. Frisbee Golf
    Just like traditional golf, Frisbee golf is set up like a course, but plastic baskets become the "holes" and Frisbees become the "golf balls." Children love this game from My Computer Is My Canvas because it combines the chance to throw things (who doesn't love that?) with the competition involved in getting the Frisbees into the baskets with the fewest number of throws.
     

Now that you know what games you're going to play, check out The Top Ten Summer Picnic Recipes to plan your menu!

Sara Ipatenco is a former elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree, both in child development and elementary education. Ipatenco has been published in "Teaching Tolerance" and "Family Fun" magazines.

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