Family Games for Picnics That Will Bring Everyone Closer Together

Updated September 1, 2021
Family playing picnic games

Having a picnic is a perfect way to spend time with loved ones. Create an event in the great outdoors that's full of delicious foods, and be sure to add some fun family picnic games to your plans. You'll all need something to do after polishing off all that cold chicken and potato salad. Here are some entertaining picnic games for all ages.

Human Ringtoss Truth or Dare

Family tossing hula-hoops

This super active game is great for larger families to play together following an alfresco meal. Families are split into two teams, with a minimum of 10 players in total. All that you need for this game are 10 hula hoops or one per person.

  1. The game's object is to successfully throw your hula hoop around one of your teammates, who has volunteered to be the human ringtoss.
  2. Whichever team gets all of their hula hoops on their teammate first gets to ask the other team to answer either truth or dare.
  3. Each team member from the losing team will need to answer the question or participate in a safe dare requested by the winners.

This spin on classic Truth or Dare is great for all ages and makes for an active and entertaining way to enjoy a large family gathering. It is great exercise and always makes for an entertaining time after a picnic meal.

Red Light, Green Light Family Trivia

This fun game is a twist on a well-known game, Red Light, Green Light.

  1. Prepare three to five family trivia cards per participant before heading out for your picnic. Be sure the trivia cards all include questions that family members will have a chance to answer. Make sure they are not too easy nor too challenging.
  2. One person plays the role of the traffic light, noting "red light" for stop and "green light" for go.
  3. The other participants stand in a horizontal line facing the traffic light and move according to the traffic light's commands.
  4. The person playing the traffic light turns around to face the group when giving the "green light" command, and the other players attempt to tag the traffic light. Whoever tags the traffic light first must correctly answer a family trivia card selected by the traffic light to take over the position.
  5. If they do not answer the trivia question correctly, they must move back three steps, continuing the game.

This game can be played with kids of all ages, in large groups or small. It teaches great listening skills and emphasizes rule-following. It also burns a lot of energy, so it is great for families looking to exercise or tire out rowdy little ones.

Would You Rather Hot Potato

Family playing with ball in the garden

This fun game takes just a little bit of preparation on the part of the picnic planner. You will need to purchase a beach ball in advance and blow it up before heading out to your family picnic.

  1. Come up with 25 to 50 "would you rather" questions and write them all over the ball. Some examples for questions are:
    • Would you rather travel by boat or air?
    • Would you rather live in the country or the city?
    • Would you rather give up cheeseburgers or ice cream?
  2. The game can be played like classic catch, where everyone gets a fair amount of turns, or you can make it more challenging by incorporating hot potato rules.
  3. Using a timer or an hourglass, toss the ball around as quickly as you can. Whoever drops the ball or catches it when the timer runs out must answer one of the "would you rather" questions.

This game is fun to play with kids seven and older and works well in groups of at least four. This is a funny way to bond with members of your family while sharing lots of giggles.

Note: If you have immobile friends or family, sit in a circle and toss the ball back and forth. You do not need your legs to play this game.

Chubby Bunny Dice

Boy holding marshmallow in his teeth

For this game, you will need two dice, a few bags of large marshmallows, a big mouth, and a great sense of humor.

  1. The object of the game is to roll a matching set of dice.
  2. If you do not roll a matching set, you place one marshmallow in your mouth.
  3. The person who ends up with the most marshmallows in their mouth loses. The best part of this game is that losing tastes delicious!

This is a great game for kids of all ages, but only under the proper supervision since dice are choking hazards, and shoveling marshmallows into your mouth can also create a choking situation.

Hula Hoop Charades

Woman with Hula Hoop

For this activity, you will need at least one hula hoop per team. This game can be played in groups as small as six, but you can also enjoy it with a larger group.

  1. Split the teams up evenly and give each team a hula hoop.
  2. The two people selected to go first on each team will meet with the game master to get the same charade clue.
  3. The two team members have the task of acting out the clue that was given.
  4. The game master will announce when the game has started, and whoever is acting out the clue must do so while hula hooping. If the hula hoop drops, you do not get the point.

This game is great for kids and adults of all ages. If you are playing with a really young child, you can alter the rules, allowing them to do another activity with the hula hoop while acting out their clue. An adult or older child on their team can also sub in for them with the hula hooping aspect.

Glass Half Empty or Full

Blindfold kid playing a game

To play this game, you will need one plastic cup per person, a few jugs of water or access to a hose, one large bucket per team, and one blindfold per person. You can play this game in groups as small as eight, but it's extra fun in larger groups.

  1. Split the teams up evenly and assign two team captains stationed at the large water buckets.
  2. Give everyone else a cup of water filled about halfway, and a blindfold.
  3. The game's object is for the blindfolded teammates to successfully make their way towards their team captain without spilling any of their water along the way, and emptying their glass into the team's large bucket.
  4. Team captains are encouraged to shout helpful instructions to their teammates so they have optimal aim at the bucket that they are trying to fill.
  5. Whichever team ends up filling their bucket fully or to a designated line wins.

Kids and adults of all ages can play the game. To make the game progressively more challenging, you can have the blindfolded teammates carry the water with one hand, with their mouths, and with only their arms, no hands. Families with little ones can opt to play without the blindfold, but can engage in a tricky activity like hopping on one foot, skipping, or walking backwards toward their team captain.

Scavenger Hunt

Everyone loves a good scavenger hunt. Scavenger hunts can be done just about anywhere, including the outdoors. Be sure to have a prepared scavenger hunt list for each team before heading out for your picnic. The scavenger hunt can be made easy or difficult depending on the ages of the kids playing.

  1. Split the teams up evenly and set up the cups in a line near each team.
  2. The game's object is for one team to complete the scavenger hunt before the other team does. The first team to find all of the items on their list wins the game.

This game is great for kids of all ages and can be played in groups as small as four, with two on each team. It gets everyone moving around following a big meal and emphasizes team-building skills.

Brainy Balloon Toss

You will need one fully blown-up balloon per person, a timer, and trivia cards appropriate for the age group to play this game.

  1. Split the teams up evenly, and appoint one person per team as the trivia card reader.
  2. Every person on the team answering trivia questions begins to bump their balloon around, keeping it from touching the ground.
  3. Each team will get one minute to answer as many of their trivia questions as they can, and they must keep all of their balloons up in the air while doing so.
  4. Whoever answers the most questions correctly wins.
  5. If any balloons drop, the team loses the rest of their time to answer questions.

This game works well for kids of all ages and can be played with beach balls to make it more challenging. If the kids you are playing with are really young, answering trivia questions and keeping a balloon afloat might be too challenging. Have them focus on one task or the other.

Don't Drop the Ball

Family playing Don’t Drop the Ball

This game requires one ball per team and a timer. This can be played in groups as small as six.

  1. Split the teams up evenly.
  2. Starting off, one team will be positioned closely together and will toss the ball to each other for one full minute without stopping.
  3. The other team gets one opportunity, after the 30-second mark, to give their opponents a challenge to perform while continuing to toss the ball back and forth.
  4. This might include jumping up and down, closing your eyes, running in place, or spinning in a circle while still trying to catch the ball. Teams can get creative about the challenges they want the other team to do while throwing the ball to each other.
  5. If the team drops the ball at any time, they are not awarded any points.
  6. After each round, switch teams. The other team will get the opportunity to challenge their opponents while they toss the ball to each other.

This game works best for older kids but can be tweaked for younger children. If you are playing with really little ones, you can have them roll the ball to each other or have them stand closer together while tossing the ball.

Trivia Tag

Children playing hide and seek freeze tag game outside

This game works great for kids and adults of all ages and can be tweaked accordingly depending on the group's skills. This game requires pre-made trivia cards and a roll of strong tape. You can make the cards yourself or purchase a pack of them.

  1. Have each player tape a trivia card to another player's back facing down to start the game.
  2. The game's object is to race around and snag the cards off of other players' backs.
  3. Once all of the cards have been collected, the tag portion of the game is over.
  4. Collected trivia questions must be answered. One point is awarded for every correct question.
  5. If anyone managed not to have their card snagged from their back, they must answer their own question. If they get it correct, it is worth five points.

This is an awesome game to play with friends and family members. Because trivia cards can be customized, you can play with family trivia, general trivia, or use cards based on age. This is also a great way for school-aged children to study for an upcoming test or exam in a fun and active way. You can also choose to tape several cards to players' backs to extend the game out further and allow for more chances to answer questions.

Extreme Buddy Racing

This game works best for kids 10 and older, as well as adults. You will need twine or rope, one blindfold per team, and objects for the obstacle course. Set up a simple obstacle course race, with a few challenges such as run around the tree twice, or jump up and down ten times when you get to the gate. This game is best played in larger groups.

  1. Create teams of two and join the team members' ankles together with the twine or rope. One team member must wear a blindfold.
  2. Appoint one person to be the judge.
  3. The judge will yell start, and the teams must complete the obstacle course while being tied together.
  4. The first team to cross the finish line wins!

This game is fun to play and is a great way to facilitate lighthearted family bonding. Although it's not a great game for super young ones, they will still enjoy watching the older kids and grown-ups acting silly. They can also be the judge's assistant and have the honor of yelling start and announcing the race winners.

Classic Games

Family playing hide and seek

These summer games have been around for a while because they are so much fun! These are great to play in small or large groups and can be enjoyed by folks of all ages:

  • Horseshoes - All you need for this game are two stakes about 20 inches high and four metal horseshoes. Two teams of two players take turns tossing the horseshoes toward the stakes. Points are awarded for the horseshoes that are closest to the stake.
  • Frisbee - It's a simple game that has entertained families for decades. See how many times you can throw the frisbee around without it dropping to the ground.
  • Catch - Tossing a baseball back and forth is a classic all-American pastime. Pack the baseball mitts and a ball into your picnic supplies.
  • Croquet - This game requires a croquet set and is great for two or more players. It takes a fair amount of coordination, focus, and patience, so it would be best to play this with children who are 10 and older. If you are picnicking in a faraway space where hiking or walking to the spot is involved, this game may not be ideal. It's a great choice for a backyard picnic, though.
  • Hide and Seek - This favorite game can be played by groups large and small and with children of all ages. One person is the seeker, and the others hide. Be sure to set boundaries for the game, so no children wander off and get themselves lost.

Family Games That Bring the Bond But Not the Brawn

There are tons of active, fun picnic games you can play with loved ones after a divine outdoor meal. If you are picnicking with older family members or family members who are not agile and mobile, be sure to include some games that will connect and entertain without the physical strain.

  • Cards Games -Go Fish, Euchre, Hearts, and War are all fairly easy games to play after a big meal. Games like War and Go Fish only need two or four players, and games such as Go Fish can accommodate more players. If you have many people picnicking, bring along several decks of cards and get a few different rounds going.
  • Category Letter Game - Everyone can partake in this game, and all you need is your big old brain! Name a category like musical instruments, foods, or cities. Everyone playing takes a turn naming something belonging to that category. The trick is, the items named must be in alphabetical order. The first person names something that starts with the letter A, the next person lists an object that begins with the letter B, and so on.
  • Name That Tune -Thanks to technology, you can take the game Name That Tune on the road; all you need is a smartphone, iPod, or tablet with a music app. Play a song. If playing with people from other generations, be sure to choose music that they will recognize too. Think oldies and classics. See who can quickly name the tune!

Family Fun

Keep your family's customs and preferences in mind when planning outdoor games. Bring music along or enjoy the sounds of nature. Playing games at a picnic is a great way to connect with your family and have an awesome time together!

Family Games for Picnics That Will Bring Everyone Closer Together