Summer is a time to get together with family and friends and enjoy the heat. One of the best ways to do this is by hosting a cookout. They are easy to organize and fun for everyone.
However, if you want your cookout to entertain and engage your guests, you’ll need to plan a few games and activities. When deciding on the activities you are going to offer, consider the ages of your guests, the space available, and how long the cookout will last.
It is best to have a few different options available so your guests can choose what they would like to do.
Here are a few ideas for summer cookout games to play this season.
People of all ages enjoy a carefree team game, and they need very little equipment. If you have a large grassy area, you can play soccer, football, or even softball. None of these needs much in the way of equipment, and all are easy to play for most people.
Badminton or volleyball is also a great option, but you’ll need a net if you don’t already have one. A great option is the SONGMICS Outdoor Net. It is super portable, easy to set up, and very sturdy. Use it in your backyard, on the beach, or just about anywhere to play Badminton, Tennis, Volleyball, or Pickleball.
If your cookout is near a beach, beach volleyball is always fun. You might even want to try croquet, though this requires a little more equipment than some games. Finally, a great portable option for a sandy cookout is Slammo, similar to volleyball but easier to tote around than a large bulky net and ball. Slammo is particularly popular with a younger group.
Though team sports are popular, it’s probably a good idea to have a few games that don’t need an entire team to play. Grassy areas are great for horseshoes or darts, but be careful when letting children play darts.
Some other great lawn games we love to play are Giant Toppling Towers, Wooden Dominos, Yardzee, and Ring Toss. I have even picked up Slam Can Frisbee for just $5 at Five Below and a Large 4 In A Row Game for $30 at TJ Maxx. Both of these options are much cheaper than you will find elsewhere!
If you have any concrete available, pack some sidewalk chalk. Hopscotch will entertain children for hours, but there are other possibilities. Try using the chalk to draw the start and finish lines for a foot race or relay.
If you want to get a little more creative, try to organize a line race. Have each participant draw a line. It doesn’t have to be straight. It can zigzag, curve, cross other lines, and even double back, as long as it eventually gets to the finish line. Then number the lines and have everyone draw numbers out of a hat. Now people have to race on the line that matches the number they got. The first to hit the finish line wins. This is hilarious as people try to stay on their path without bumping into each other.
Arts and Crafts
You can use sidewalk chalk for more than just creating games. You can give it to children and adults alike and encourage everyone to get creative. Try blocking off the square for everyone, and you’ll soon end up with a mosaic of artwork. Have a contest, judging the entries, and even awarding prizes, but make sure you have more than one category so that everyone can have a chance to win a prize.
If you’re looking for a way to keep people occupied for an extended time, try a scavenger hunt. You can do this in one of two ways. You might opt to go to the site early and hide various items, perhaps leaving clues about their locations. This works well in an area where you can be assured that your items will remain undisturbed, such as private property.
If your cookout is being held in an area that the general public has access to, such as a park, you might want to ask your guests to find items in nature. Make a list that might include dandelions, acorns, pinecones, rocks in specific shapes, a maple leaf, or anything else that’s native to your area. Perhaps as a bonus, you could ask everyone to find a four-leaf clover. Provide each participant with a bag and let them go.
Summer heat and water seem to go together. If your cookout has a water source such as a lake, river, stream, or even a water fountain, pack a few water guns. Spread them around and let your guests engage in an impromptu game of ‘war.’
Remember to set some rules regarding who can be sprayed and where they can use the water guns. However, keep in mind that most children and many adults will ignore those rules, so if you pack water guns, be prepared to get wet no matter where you sit.
Again, Five Below had a huge assortment of water guns, pistols, and bows, all for $5 or less each! You can find water balloons or beach balls at Dollar Tree, which are some other fun options.
If there’s a lake nearby, remind everyone to bring their swimsuits. Swimming will occupy your guests for a prolonged period with minimal effort on your part. Put someone in charge of supervising any children who happen to be in the water, purely for safety reasons.
You can quickly turn your summer cookout into a truly social event with the addition of some fun activities. Make accommodations for participants who do not wish to play certain games. Keep in mind the various ages and levels of activities, and your guests will be entertained, engaged, and work up an appetite. Take advantage of the area, and don’t forget to pack some simple items such as a Frisbee and a few balls to toss around.
Before you know it, your guests will be enjoying themselves thoroughly. And the gathering will soon just be another good summertime memory!