One of the best ways to spend time with family, friends or your significant other is by having a backyard picnic. Picnics have this laid-back vibe, and they make it so easy to slow down from the crazy, hectic lifestyles.
Simply look for some nice picnic food ideas, common outdoor games, backyard decorations, send out invitations and you have yourself a backyard picnic! That said, there are a couple of things you should pay attention to when planning such an outdoor soiree. Read on to learn the perfect hostess plan for a backyard picnic.
When sending out invitations, it’s a good idea to inform your guests what you intend to serve. Alternatively, you can ask each of your guests to bring a particular food and then have one large buffet.
If you decide to prepare the foods from home, remember to ask your friends or colleagues whether they have any dietary restrictions. Even if there aren’t any who have reservations regarding certain foods, you can mix up your menu by incorporating gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan dishes. Here are a few ideas on foods that are easy to prepare:
Dips, salads and sandwiches
There’s no need to get stressed about your guest’s menu. Dips and salads are good enough, and they’re easy to carry and share amongst a large group. If it’s summer, look for a watermelon and tomato salad recipe as it’s very easy to make. Sandwiches are another convenient picnic entrée item. And since you’re just a few feet from your kitchen, you can wait until your guests have arrived to prepare them, then serve hot.
Sides and Desserts
If your main dish will take a while to cook, make a few sides and desserts in advance. This is particularly important if the gathering consists of kids, who might not be able to wait that long to eat.
Have a cooler
A cooler is a must-have for any outdoor adventure including backyard picnics. These units are fitted with insulating materials that have advanced cold-retaining capabilities. This way, when your guests need cold refreshments to quench their thirst in the sweltering heat, you’ll have them ready. Unfortunately, choosing a cooler from the hundreds of brands and models can be a daunting task. Check out some of our favorite camping coolers.
If you want your guests to enjoy the picnic, start by creating the ideal backyard picnic setting. The good thing is: there are simple décor ideas that won’t have you breaking a sweat. For instance, you can look for string lights and wind them up on trees.
Another way to spruce up the place is to have a fruit centerpiece. Look for a large glass jar or several small-sized ones, and place fruits in them. Pineapples and oranges taste great, but they look even prettier.
A picnic is never complete without some fun outdoor activities. After enjoying the finger-licking dishes and snacks, it’s time to interact and bond through entertaining games. Here are a few game ideas for your backyard picnic:
Water Balloon Spoon Race
Are you familiar with the egg and spoon relay game? Well, this one is not that different. It involves filling small balloons with water, then placing them on spoons. Each player has to take one of these spoons and run with it to the finish line, ensuring that it doesn’t fall off. Also, players can only use one hand. The first player to get to the finish line wins.
Picnic basket race
This is a fantastic game to play at the end of the party. Split the group into two, and have each one fill the picnic basket with all the items ranging from utensils to fruits and blankets. The team that manages to pack their basket neatly and in the shortest time wins.
The beauty about a backyard picnic is that it gives you so much flexibility when it comes to the kinds of activities you plan. Even if you don’t have a basketball court, you can still entertain your guests through a simple game of ring toss. You can get a ring toss game from a nearby discount store for under $20.
Setting up the stakes is also incredibly easy. In the two groups, have each player toss a ring, so as to land it on the stake. The first group to get all their rings in the correct places wins.
Keep your guests comfortable
The last thing you want is for your guests to feel uncomfortable. This can quickly ruin your otherwise fun-filled gathering. To avoid this, look for a big waterproof blanket and lay it on the grass for your guests to sit on. You can also bring a couple of toss pillows.
If the picnic extends to the evening, provide your guests with fleece blankets or cozy pashminas to keep them warm.
With a backyard picnic, the weather is not the only thing that you have to worry about. Pests can also ruin your party pretty fast. To keep pesky bugs away, set a pot of herbs on the picnic area. Plants like mint and lavender have very strong scents that serve as natural repellents.
Choose a Picnic Soundtrack
One way to lighten up the mood and ease your guests to the picnic spirit is through music. Music has a way of bringing people closer as they sing along to their favorite tracks. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your playlist:
Consider your audience
Have you planned the picnic for your old college friends or family members? Depending on whom you’ve invited, you’ll be able to choose songs that most people are familiar with.
It also matters whether you’ve planned a daytime or evening picnic. If it’s an afternoon gathering, your songs should reflect that. It’s also wise to create a long playlist that will play for several hours. This way, you won’t have the same songs playing more than once.
Planning a backyard picnic is fairly easy. As long as you start planning early and send out the invitations in time, you can sit back and enjoy the whole outdoor experience. Ensure you have sharp décor that makes your backyard feel warm and inviting. Have plenty of food and cold refreshments, make your guests feel comfortable and choose a good soundtrack.