One of the biggest challenges in planning an all-ages picnic is finding a roster of games and activities that keeps everyone happy. Without kids’ games, the little ones can get bored and cranky and a picnic without activities for the older demographic can seem cheesy and dull. Great Chicago picnics require a healthy balance of games for each age group. Fortunately, we’ve arranged this helpful quick guide to please everyone in your group—from toddlers to the 18 and up crowd.
Toddlers (Up to Age 4)
Bubble-Maker. A little soapy water with some fun wands and shapes is sure to please the little ones and keep them smiling.
Simon Says. You know the rules! Pick a Simon, and he or she is the boss. Kids do what Simon says, but only if Simon says, “Simon says….”
Paint by Hand. Find some nice white posterboard or rolled sheet paper. Lay it out on the grass with a bunch of child-safe hand paints and let the kids go to town.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey. No explanation necessary, it’s a true classic. Most party stores offer a kid-friendly version with velcro, or you can make one yourself!
Bean Bag Toss. Pair off and play catch with bean bags, but don’t drop them! Last team in wins!
Children (Ages 5-12)
Duck, Duck, Goose. Have all the kids sit in a circle and get ready for some chase variety mayhem. One child starts off and goes around the circle picking “ducks” until one lucky “goose” is selected. That “goose” then tries to catch whoever picked them.
Hide and Seek. Another classic picnic game, hide and seek will never go out of style. Depending on the size of your picnic venue, it can get truly epic!
Tug of War. It’s one rope with two teams of kids pulling in opposite directions. The competition is fierce!
Lawnmower Races. It’s another fun game for teams of two. One kid races on their hands while their partner holds their feet behind. Together, they sprint for the finish line.
Obstacle Course. Through hoops, over hills, under the bars, down the slide—add as many obstacles as you want and the fun never ends.
Ultimate Frisbee. A game whose recent popularity has been skyrocketing, this combo of frisbee and American touch football is a surefire picnic favorite.
Giant Jenga. Everyone’s favorite tabletop tower game is now a picnic fixture and about 2000 times its original size.
Selfie Scavenger Hunt. Go around the picnic venue snapping selfies of different landmarks from clues. First team to capture a selfie of all of them wins.
Ladderball. It’s an under-celebrated picnic game that’s become more popular at tailgates. Tie two golfballs to a small piece of rope and try to wrap it around the rungs of a “ladder.” Each rung is worth one more point than the rung below it. First team to score exactly 21 wins.
Kickball. It’s an old gym class favorite where boots meet baseball. A friendly game of kickball is sure to invigorate your entire picnic crowd.
Adult (Age 18 and up)
Volleyball. One ball, one net, and six players on each side. But it’s ok if you want to add more—we won’t tattle. Just make sure to rotate!
Glow in the Dark Bowling. Add glow sticks to plastic bottles of water and arrange them like bowling pins. It’s a fun, picnic-friendly take on one of America’s favorite indoor games.
Frisbee Golf. It’s golf. But in lieu of balls and clubs, all you need is a single frisbee. Pick one spot to serve as the “hole” and nine spots in all directions around it. Each player starts tossing from each spot once until they hole out. Just like golf, the player with the lowest total score wins!
Capture the Flag. A fun water balloon game with two teams and obstacles between each team’s flag. Bring back that flag for your team and you win!
Human Clue Murder Mystery. Another tabletop board game adapted to the picnic setting. We all know the classic murder mystery game of “Clue.” But how about turning your entire picnic venue into the board? Use ribbons to carve out the rooms and take turns rolling over-sized dice until you find the answer to the eternal question: whodunit!?
These are just a few ideas for fun picnic games to appeal to all ages. The key is knowing your guests and deciding on a good balance of kid and adult activities that keeps everyone happy and engaged. What are some of your favorite picnic games? Were there any we didn’t mention here? Let us know in the comments. If you’re ready to start planning your next awesome Chicago picnic, contact our experts online or give us a call at 847.593.2000.
More articles you might enjoy: