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23 Wacky and Entertaining Games to Play at a Picnic

Games to Play at a Picnic
Be it a day's outing or a weekend getaway, picnics are always fun. They give you a good break from the daily routine and can lift your mood. A great location, good food, and some fun games go into making a picnic enjoyable. Here are some suggestions of games to play at a picnic.
Manali Oak
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
Quick Tip
Before planning picnic games, consider the location and weather of the picnic spot. Base the choice of games on the number of people and their age group. See that everyone gets to participate in at least one activity.
A picnic reminds us of fun and enjoyment. It's an occasion to be together with close friends or family. It is about being together, eating together, and having a lot of fun! And to add to the fun element of a picnic, games are a must. The right time to begin with them is the start of the journey.
While planning the games, it's pretty obvious to consider the travel destination and the number of people accompanying. Plan the games based on the size of the group and the location of your trip. If the journey to the picnic spot is going to take a few hours, it's best to plan some light games to play during the travel. Don't forget to consider the age group of the people coming for the picnic. Make sure you have something for everyone. Depending on the time of the year when you are going on the trip, and the location you are visiting, plan games that suit the weather there. Which is to say, what you would plan as summer picnic games would be different from those planned for a winter trip.
Tug of war and football for picnics
Popular options for picnic games include Frisbee, football, cricket, and other sports, or those like tug of war or dart games. For these, remember to carry the necessary equipment to the picnic spot.
✦ Races like running, skipping, or lemon and spoon can be fun for the kids and adults alike. You could add a sack race or a three-legged race too.

✦ Contests such as blowing or bursting balloons, and eating/drinking competitions are some interesting activities for picnics. You could plan other one-minute games that require open space. These require someone to keep time and judge who finishes first. The player who scores the maximum or the one who completes the task in the least time is declared as the winner.

✦ Do-this-do-that is another good game for picnics. In this, one person is appointed as the leader. He instructs the group to perform certain actions like hand, face, or leg movements, saying either "do this" or "do that". The group has to follow the action shown by the leader only if it has been ordered saying, "do this". The ones who follow a do-that instruction are out of the game. The one who stays the longest in the game, wins.

✦ For 'dog and the bone', the group is divided into two teams and the participants in each team are given numbers. The teams stand in lines facing each other and an object is kept between them. One person is designated to call numbers, on which players from opposite teams with that number have to run to get hold of the object, take it, and run back.

✦ Treasure hunt is one of the most popular games for picnics and parties, and it is something that people of all ages can participate in. In this game, clues kept on different locations guide the participants towards a hidden treasure. The individual/team that finds it first is the winner. To plan this game, you require sufficient time and a know-how of the place where it is to be conducted. It can be planned indoors as well, but a big open space makes it more enjoyable.
Board and card games for picnics
Board and card games are a popular choice of indoor picnic games. Decks of cards and board games need to be carried to the location.
✦ Picnics are outings, yes; but the weather may not always allow you to play outdoors. It may be too hot, or it could be raining because of which you may have to plan some activities indoors. Or the group may be in a mood for something relaxing. Moreover, indoor games are always an option for the senior members of the group.

✦ 'Pass the parcel' can be great fun indoors! Have some music played. Participants stand/sit in a circle, passing the object forward, till the music stops. The one who has the object at the moment the music stops, is given some task as a penalty and is out of the game.

✦ Memory games are another good option. Or you could plan a game called keep-the-pattern. For this game, the participants sit in a circle. A counting pattern is decided such as counting in 5s or counting in odd numbers. That is, the first person says the first number aloud and each one in the circle keeps the pattern. For an odd numbers' pattern, if the first player starts with the number 1, the next one has to say 3, the one next to him has to say 5, and so on. Complex patterns make the game challenging. The one who does not keep the pattern right, is out of the game.

✦ You could plan a quiz, divide the group into pairs or teams, and conduct it. You could also include games like charades or activities like 'entertain the crowd' (where each participant performs something for the group, which may include a song, a dance, re-enacting a movie scene, etc.). They don't require much planning too.
On the Beach
Beach picnic games
Youngsters can enjoy beach volleyball, while the kids build forts in sand, favorite choices of activities for a beach picnic.
✦ Outdoor games like volleyball and Frisbee are a good choice of activities for a beach picnic. You could play mini-golf on sand with a plastic golf club and a ball.

✦ Races (like running or a sack race) become tougher on sand, making them all the more challenging.

✦ While some like to laze around on the beach or gaze at the sea, others like to play in the water or have fun collecting shells and starfish, or drawing in the sand. These activities require no specific planning.

✦ Or you could have contests around these activities. You could have everyone build castles or other structures in the sand, and give a prize to the most creative one.

✦ As a variant to sand sculptures, you could also have the participants make designs using pebbles and shells and award the best design. You could divide them into teams or let them compete individually.
In Water
Water games and swimming
While those who enjoy swimming could do that, others could engage in some fun pool games. Let the kids play with water toys and floats. Quite a popular choice of fun games for picnics.
✦ If the place you are camping at, has facilities of water sports or a swimming pool, you can have a great time playing water games. You could plan swimming races or other games in water. Underwater swimming and diving competitions could also be planned. Something as simple as playing catch, is more fun in water. Playing the tag game in water is equally interesting. You may be knowing it as 'Sharks and Minnows'.

✦ You could have plastic balls or balloons in water and ask the participants to fetch them. The one to fetch the maximum in the given time, is declared as the winner.

✦ As a variant to this, you could have a non-floating object tossed into water and have the players fetch it. The one who gets it first wins.

✦ It's a good idea to take some inflatables along. While some can enjoy sitting by the poolside, others can have fun with water toys and floats.
In Snow
Picnic games in snow
Snowball fights - no planning required plus fun guaranteed. Building a snowman is perhaps something everyone would enjoy. For a winter picnic, the theme's snow! Here you go!
✦ Having fun outdoors, in water or on the beach, is often equated with summer picnics. But a winter picnic in the snow can be equally enjoyable. Remember to wear warm clothes and protective gear, though.

✦ If the place you are going to, offers sports like snow skiing or snow boarding, those interested can take part. In the rest of the time, or for the others in the group, you could have fun games built around playing in the snow. Snowball fights is what first comes to mind. There's no planning required, and needless to say, they are great fun. Or how about having a game where an object is hidden in the snow and the participants need to find it!

✦ Building a snowman is perhaps something that everyone loves. Building a small snow fort or a miniature igloo could be used as variants. For this, divide the participants into teams and have them contest to make the most innovative snow structure, where the best one wins. Or have them make a snowball, where the team making the biggest one wins.
Around a Campfire
Picnic games around a campfire
If you have to organize games, those like charades, truth or dare, and other conversation games could be planned around a campfire. Word-building games and guessing games could also be chosen.
✦ Sitting around a campfire, people are generally in the mood to gaze at the night sky and enjoy the warmth of the fire with some music in the background. Just chatting, telling stories, eating together, or some song and dance are some of the commonly enjoyed activities around a campfire.

✦ For a sufficiently big group, you could plan musical chairs or pass-the-parcel.
Once the games are planned, remember to take along all that would be needed to conduct them. Try to avoid games that require too much or heavy equipment, as it will require you to carry extra luggage to the location. While conducting these or any other picnic games, ensure the safety of the participants. This especially applies to games that involve adventure or the ones played in water. Also, it should be remembered that eating and drinking games may pose a health risk to the participants. Moreover, the games should not be so many, that there is no time left to relax. When on a picnic, it's also important that everyone gets some 'do nothing' time.