Picnic Games for Adults in Large Groups: The Ultimate Guide for Outdoor Fun

Paul West/ Outdoor Games, Outdoor Sports

Picnic Games for Adults in Large Groups

Planning games and activities for your next picnic with a large group of adults? Looking for engaging, entertaining ways to bring everyone together outdoors? This guide covers the best picnic games to play in big groups – including team-building exercises, competitive sports, and casual recreational fun. Follow these tips to host an unforgettable picnic with games that work for adults and get the whole group involved.

Why Picnic Games are Great for Large Groups

Group of older adults playing Cornhole

Outdoor picnics are the perfect occasion to bring family, friends, co-workers, clubs, or community groups together. Playing games is a fun way to get people engaged, interacting, and forming new connections. The right activities can:

  • Foster team building and bonding
  • Provide friendly competition
  • Facilitate conversation and ice breakers
  • Include everyone regardless of age or ability
  • Create laughs, memories, and a sense of community

Picnics also offer space and freedom that makes playing traditional games or creating new ones easy. With a bit of planning, your picnic games will be a hit with any large group.

Team Building and Active Games

Team games are a great way to get large groups collaborating and engaging with each other. They build trust, problem solving skills, communication, and teamwork. Here are some top picnic team games to try:

Tug of War

Adult picnic group playing tug of war

This classic strength and endurance game pits two teams against each other in a battle of force.

How to Play:

  • Divide players into two equal teams. Each team grabs one end of the rope.
  • Mark a center point on the rope. This will be your starting line.
  • On “GO!” teams pull the rope, attempting to drag the other team across the start line.
  • The first team to pull the other past the line wins!

Add a mud or water pit at the center line to up the messy fun! You can have multiple heats and playoffs with this simple yet engaging game.

The Human Knot

The Human Knot requires teamwork, communication, and problem solving. Players literally tie themselves up in knots and must figure out how to untangle the web of human ropes.

How to Play:

  • Ask players to stand in a circle, facing inward.
  • Everyone reaches across with their right hand and grabs someone else’s hand at random.
  • Next, everyone reaches in with their left and grasps another hand, again randomly.
  • The chain of knotted up people must now communicate and figure out how to untangle themselves back into a circle without ever letting go!

This gets groups talking and working together. Feel free to add variations like more complex knots or penalties for letting go.

Capture the Flag

adults at a picnic playing capture the flag

Capture the Flag brings out everyone’s inner child! This game takes strategy, speed, and teamwork.

How to Play:

  • Separate the group into two teams. Each gets a “base” marked by boundaries.
  • Place each team’s flag at the far end of their base.
  • Teams try to sneak into the other team’s territory, capture their flag, and make it back safely.
  • Players who get tagged on enemy ground are sent to “jail” and must be tagged by a teammate to escape.
  • First team to capture the opponent’s flag and bring it back wins!

Get creative by adding obstacles, assigning point values for flags, and more. This game can entertain all ages at your picnic!

Fun and Relaxed Picnic Games

If your group prefers more casual recreation, there are plenty of classic, laidback picnic games to enjoy outdoors. Downtime activities help facilitate conversation and laughter.


This classic American lawn game never fails to bring fun competition to picnics. Also known as bean bag toss, the goal is to throw bags through the hole in the other board.

How to Play:

  • Set up two slanted cornhole boards facing each other, about 25-30 feet apart.
  • Teams take turns pitching 4 bags each towards the opposing board.
  • A bag in the hole scores 3 points. A bag on the board scores 1 point.
  • First team to 21 points wins!

Cornhole is easy to set up and play at any picnic or outdoor gathering. Encourage friendly trash talk to up the ante!

Picnic Blanket Bingo

Give the classic game of bingo a fun picnic twist for your group! Provide cards and markers for players to cross off spots when announced. Replace the typical BINGO letters with picnic foods, games, or other themes. Call out items people might find around your picnic instead of numbers. Hand out small prizes to winners.

Three-Legged Race

This classic pair challenge tests balance, coordination, and teamwork. Simply tie pairs of players’ ankles or legs together and have them race to the finish line! You can run multiple heats and have new partners each time. A silly activity that is sure to elicit laughs.

Outdoor Yoga

What’s more relaxing than an outdoor yoga session at your picnic? Clear an area and have a yoga teacher lead the group through simple poses, breathing exercises, and guided meditation. It’s a calming activity that brings mental and physical benefits. Provide yoga mats or beach towels for comfort.

Adapting Games for Any Group Size or Dynamic

The key to keeping picnic games engaging for all is being flexible and adaptive. Here are some tips:

  • Scale games up or down depending on your group size. For instance, play Capture the Flag in small teams for very large groups. Or have just a few players compete in Three-Legged Races.

  • Offer a variety – Include some active, high energy activities along with more casual downtime games. This appeals to different preferences.

  • Consider abilities – Choose games that anyone can play comfortably regardless of age, mobility level, etc. Offer modifications like sitting volleyball or no-running capture the flag.

  • Mix up partners/teams – Rotate different pairings and groups for each game so attendees interact with new people.

  • Keep equipment on hand like cones, hula hoops, balls, rings, etc. These allow you to adapt games on the fly based on space and players.

  • Have inclusive alternatives – If some don’t want to participate in a certain game, have a relaxed activity like blanket bingo they can enjoy.

Planning Your Picnic Games

Hosting fun and successful picnic games does require some advance preparation. Here are key tips:


  • Scout your location ahead of time. Ensure you have enough open space for games. Large backyards and recreation areas work well.

  • Look for hazards like trees, holes, etc. Mark off game boundaries if needed.

  • Have a rain backup location – Like a porch, house or covered pavilion or marquee.


  • Bring all the game equipment you’ll need – balls, rings, flags, rope, etc. Label items for specific games.

  • Set up any pre-assembly games like cornhole boards or volleyball nets.

  • Have stopwatches, whistles, cones, and anything else to facilitate games.

  • Don’t forget first aid supplies, sunscreen, water, towels, etc.


  • Plan your games order in advance and print schedules to share.

  • Allow transition time between games for resetting equipment, hydration, etc.

  • Mix high and low intensity games appropriately – don’t do three tug of wars in a row!


  • Mark game boundaries clearly and remind players before starting.

  • Ensure activities match players’ ages and abilities.

  • Remind players to hydrate, wear sun protection, stretch, etc.

  • Have a first aid kit and emergency action plan ready. Assign a safety coordinator.

Creating an Inclusive and Engaging Picnic Environment

Your mindset and approach as the host also impact on how enjoyable the picnic games are for all attendees. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Emphasize fun over competition. Maintain a lighthearted atmosphere.

  • Welcome ideas for new games people would like to play.

  • Remind everyone to be respectful and inclusive – no aggressive play or exclusion.

  • Adapt games as needed so everyone can participate at their comfort level.

  • Foster conversation and intermixing during downtime between activities.

  • Take pictures to memorialize the fun games and time together!

Time to Play!

Planning some picnic games ahead of time ensures your next group gathering includes engaging activities for all ages to enjoy. Get everyone moving and interacting while also allowing time for relaxed connection.

With the right mix of lively team building and casual recreation, your picnic will hit the sweet spot of fun, community, and laughter. Not to mention make some memories to cherish. Break out the sunscreen and picnic blankets – it’s game time!

Key Do’s and Don’ts


DO choose a variety of games – mix high-energy activities with more relaxed ones.

DO look for games that allow teammates to switch off frequently. This prevents one dominant player from taking over.

DO have modified versions of games for players with disabilities or injuries. Don’t require running, for example.

DO use a sound system or megaphone for giving instructions if you have a very large group.

DO encourage players to hydrate frequently, use sun protection, and take breaks as needed.

DO scout your location in advance and set clear boundaries for games.

DO have extra equipment on hand for spur of the moment fun like hula hoops, balls, water balloons etc.

DO remind players about safety – no aggressive contact, watch for hazards, etc.


DON’T choose boring games that seem more like work than play. Keep it lively!

DON’T let highly competitive players ruin the fun mood. Emphasize playful spirit.

DON’T schedule too many activities back-to-back. Allow leisure time for mingling.

DON’T start games without first explaining rules, boundaries, and other key details.

DON’T disregard weather conditions like heat, storms, etc. – have backup plans if needed.

DON’T overlook inclusiveness and accessibility when planning games.

DON’T forget essentials like first aid kits, water, sun protection, signage, etc.

DON’T assume kids’ games will work well for adults. Tailor activities to the group.


What are some good icebreaker games to play at a picnic?

For groups that don’t know each other well, icebreaker games help break the ice and get conversations started. Great options include Two Truths and a Lie, Picnic Scavenger Hunt, People Bingo, or Name Games like learning everyone’s names in rhyme. Start with informal icebreakers before moving into more complex team games.

How do you organize games for a large group picnic?

Planning is key for a smooth event. Scout your location in advance and set up equipment and boundaries. Have an order of events and transition time built into the schedule. Print schedules to share with the group. Keep equipment organized and teams/partners mixed up. Have inclusive modifications prepared.

What if it rains on our company picnic day?

Have a backup rain plan just in case! Identify covered pavilion areas in the park or indoor community centers where you can pivot if needed. Choose games that could work indoors like picnic blanket bingo. Bring plastic tarps to cover food and supplies. Focus on conversing and connecting if stuck inside.

What type of games work well for family reunion picnics?

Multigenerational family picnics call for games everyone can enjoy together. Relay races, cornhole, frisbee, and capture the flag are fun for all ages. Also include nostalgic games like potato sack races or water balloon tosses the adults played as kids. Keep games light and focus on bonding.

How do I ensure picnic games are inclusive?

Inclusiveness makes events more enjoyable for all. Have modifications like sitting volleyball or walking races. Encourage mixed age/ability partners. Remind players to avoid aggressive contact. Welcome feedback on new games people would like to play. Keep some low key activities going that anyone can join.

Paul West
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About Paul West

Longstanding and passionate about really having family fun in the backyard. I'm no expert but I've picked up a thing or two along the way!