Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ultimate Picnic Games

We had a pretty awesome family picnic this summer for our families - 200+ people showed up, the weather was great and everyone left happy.  The combination of games worked so well that I wanted to share them with you:

The games:

Tug of War
Potato Sack Race
3 Legged Race
Limbo Game
Spoon & Ball Race
Chicken Run Race
Water Balloon Toss
Face painting

What you will need for the ultimate family picnic party:
burlap sacks (easily found on Craigslist)
bamboo sticks (or any kind of long sticks or jump rope)
plastic spoons
plastic balls
water balloons
face paint supplies 
4 cones (for making start and finish lines)


Set up station for face painting, it will be an ongoing activity throughout the picnic.  If it is clearly marked, children will flock to it.

Lay out rope and set up cones marking the start and finish for the relay activities. Lay out burlap sacks ( I had 6 laid out next to each other between the cones).  Have all remaining supplies ready in a box next to the cones.

Order of events:

1. Face painting is an ongoing activity, set up on the side.
2. Invite some loitering kids to start the tug of war, as soon as they get pulled in, others will notice and start gathering around the gaming site. 
3. Play tug of war. Variations included, boys vs. girls, parents vs. kids, staff vs. parents, etc.
4. Invite group to do the sack race. Demonstrate what the task is and then encourage others. After you do first run, do variations such as younger kids, older kids, parents, all girls, all boys, etc. Award prizes to winners and give candy to all participants.
5. As the last round of the sack race (3rd or 4th round) finishes up, transition to the 3 legged race. Demonstrate how the game works.  All participants must find a partner. As they have a partner, give each group a ribbon, help younger kids tie the legs together with the ribbon. Blow the whistle and the fun begins.  Allow the first run to be a practice run.  Then do it for real, awarding prizes as necessary. 
6. At this point you may want to take a break.  We did some raffle prizes here. Or you can continue to the next game. 
7. To slow the heart rate down (especially with the heat) we walked to the shade and began the limbo. We used a long bamboo stick, but a jump rope or any long stick will likely suffice. All participants got in a line and the fun began.  Music makes it more fun, but we were already in the mood and did not have the right hook-up.  We survived.
8. Next we resumed to get in line and I gave everyone a spoon and ball.  The objective was to walk with the ball on the spoon to the finish line without dropping the ball.  Dropping the ball meant you had to start all over. We did a practice round and then began the fun.  Prizes were awarded accordingly.
9. After the spoon and ball fun, we put away the spoons and put paper plates along the finish line. This became a nest.  Participants kept the balls (and received 5 more) and put one between their knees (no higher or lower - between the knees).  The objective was to walk each ball between the knees to the finish line. Repeating until all 5 balls are in "the nest." The walk inevitably looks like a chicken walk.  Winners receive prizes and everyone gets candy.

Woohoo! We then took another break and attempted to do a water balloon toss, but realized we did not have adequate water supply.

These games were a blast, and plenty of fun that lasted for at least 3 hours. Looking forward to more family picnics! 

*I would post pictures from the actual event, but because of client confidentiality, I will refrain.

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