July is National Picnic Month

Consider packing a picnic with your child and enjoying the meal at your favorite outdoor location. Not only is eating outside fun, but it can be an educational activity as well. Let your child help pack the basket and discuss what types of foods you are including (color, shapes, smells, nutritional value, etc). Once outside, talk about what you see and feel around you (heat from the sun, tickly grass, busy ants, cloud shapes, etc.)

Pack a picnic basket; bring sunscreen and lots of ice water. Plan some kid’s picnic games to keep the children entertained.

The best picnic activities are simple and portable. Picnic games should be easy for children to participate in without complicated rules.

Easy Volleyball

Place a long length of string or yarn between two trees. Let the children try to hit balloons or foam balls back and forth.
*For a challenge, try using 2-3 balls or balloons at a time.

Bean Bag Toss

Buy or make several bean bags.

Find 3-4 boxes that fit inside each other. There must be room to spare between the boxes. Set the boxes inside each other and tip at an angle. Award points for each box they are able to get a bean bag into. The outside box is worth more points since it is generally the hardest to hit.

Or…Using an old sheet, draw a large clown face on it. Cut out the nose making sure that it is outlined in a bright color so it is clearly visible from a distance. Hang the sheet between two trees and let the children try throwing the beanbags through the clown’s nose.

These are both fun picnic ideas for kids because they are so much like carnival games.

Frisbee Throw

Line all the children up behind a designated line. Let them each take a turn to throw a Frisbee as far as they can. Mark the spots where the Frisbee’s land with craft sticks


Use an old sheet cut to 8-9 feet in diameter. Have the children stand around the sheet, and then grip it around the edges. Place 10-15 foam balls of assorted sizes on the sheet. Say “Go” and let the children shake the sheet until the balls pop out of it.

*Children of all ages like this activity and will willingly retrieve the balls to do it again.

Air Bowling

Place a lightweight ball in netting and suspend from a tree branch. Arrange plastic bottles or washed out milk cartons off to the side of the ball. Let the children take turns swinging the ball to see who can knock the most “pins” down.

Obstacle Course

Make a homemade obstacle course for an active activity. Use items that encourage children to go over and under, around ad through, and inside and outside. Some suggestions: a ladder lying on the ground, old tires or hula hoops, chairs, laundry baskets, or cardboard boxes.

Relay Races

One of the easiest picnic ideas is relay races. They are easy to set up and work well with groups.

Children love relay races, and there are so many to choose from. Set up a designated area with start and finish lines.

  • Crab Walk: Sit on the ground with arms behind you, and then raise your bottom to walk on your hands and feet.
  • Lawnmower: One child walks on their hands, while another child walks behind holding the first child’s ankles.
  • Spoon Races: Run with an egg, cotton ball, or ping pong ball on a spoon. If the item falls off, they must stop, put it back on, and continue from the same spot.
  • Bucket Races: Place a bucket with water on one end and an empty bucket on the other. Make sure each team starts with the same amount of water. Children dip a cup in the bucket and run to put it in the empty bucket. Each child runs back and hands the empty cup to the next member of their team. The team who can fill the empty bucket with the most water wins.
  • *Use a ruler held upright to measure the water in the buckets.
  • Ball Relay: Line the children up in two lines of equal number. Have them stand a few feet apart. Give the first child in each line a ball. They will throw it to the next child in their line, and so on, until the ball gets to the end of the line. The child at the end of the line will start the ball moving back up the line, until the original child has the ball back.
  • Three Legged race: Tie the left leg of one child loosely to the right leg of another child. They’ll have to run in tandem to win this race.
  • Ball Walk: Place a ball between the child’s legs. Tricky to do, but fun for them.
  • Potato sack race: An old favorite. Put each child in a potato sack and have them jump to the finish line.

*Pillowcases work too.

Extra Fun for Relays:

Make some relays a little more challenging by having the children wear large wading boots during the race. The bigger, the better. They should easily fit over the child’s shoes.

More Picnic Ideas: https://www.simplydaycare.com/picnic-ideas.html

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