Picnics with kids are fun…in theory. But in practice, it’s almost always impossible to get everyone settled, the food spread out, and keep the bugs out of everything. So what you need is a plan of attack. In other words: come prepared with some activities to keep the kiddos occupied so you can dig into that charcuterie platter (translation: their leftover turkey breast slices and cheese singles). These 10 picnic games for kids will give the little ones something to do so you can enjoy your day too.
1. Red Light, Green Light
Have one kid be the traffic cop or the traffic light, and have the others scatter around the yard. When the traffic cop/light says “red light” players must freeze and stay still. And when the traffic cop/light says “green light,” players must start moving, running and jumping around. Any player who fails to follow the instructions of the traffic light is out.
2. Wheelbarrow Race
This one’s another classic that doesn’t require any equipment. Have the kids partner up, with one being the wheelbarrow and the other being the pusher. The driver holds the ankles of the wheelbarrow, and the player who is the wheelbarrow walks on their hands. The team that crosses the finish line first, wins.
Have your kids sit or stand in a circle. One child will make up a silly sentence and whisper the saying in the child to their right’s ear, and the phrase gets passed along until it comes full circle. The best part is listening to the hilarious phrase that remains at the end of the game.
4. Picnic Dance-Off
Everyone has music on their phones. If you need to keep the kids out of your hair for a few minutes, put on one of their favorite tunes and have them dance their little hearts out.
5. Treasure Hunt
Before the picnic, make a list of objects found in nature. At the picnic, pass these out to the kids and have them try and find everything on the list. The first one to collect every item wins!
6. I’m Going on a Picnic
Have everyone sit or stand in a circle and pick one child to begin. They say “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…,” and fill in the blank with a word. The next person must repeat the phrase and add their own word to the phrase. If a person can’t remember the entire phrase, they’re out.
7. Sponge Relay Race
For this one, you need two sponges, two buckets of water, and two empty buckets. Divide the kids into teams, and have them move the water from one bucket to the other, using only the sponges. Then when the race is over, have them use the sponges to clean up the picnic site.
8. Flip Flop Kick
If it’s summer and the kiddos are wearing flip flops, have them line up and try to flick their flip flop as far as possible. The longest flick wins!
9. I Spy
Everyone’s favorite car game is perfect for picnics, too! Have one child pick an object and then instruct the others to guess what they see, giving them clues about its color and/or position.
10. Blanket Parachute
When the picnic is almost over, let the kids play parachute with the blanket, just like they do in gym class. They’ll love it, and as a bonus, it’ll shake the crumbs off the blanket.