There’s nothing quite like spending time in the great outdoors with your kids. And if you are managing a busy household, carving out time every week to have a game of cricket with the kids can make juggling work, the school run, and all the other chaos of raising a family just that little bit brighter. And sure, there are scrapes, bruises, tantrums and tears along the way, but at the end of the day, time outside with our kids is likely to be the highlights of not only their childhood, but our own memories of this precious time in their lives.
But what if you’re planning a BBQ party and you’re stumped about what you and the kids can do to stay entertained – especially if you’re inviting other kids and adults along too? You can still host a BBQ with the kids running around. But as all seasoned parents know, balancing your list of activities and your BBQ spread is essential. That, and having a dedicated outdoor kitchen grilling BBQ and plenty of comfy seating located away from play areas can also help accommodate both kids and adults.
So parents are likely to be happy with good food and good company, but what do you need to keep the kiddies entertained as the older folks sit and enjoy the sunshine?
Here are our top backyard BBQ party ideas that both kids and adults are guaranteed to enjoy.
Play Some Lawn Games
First and foremost, the best way to keep the kids engaged during any outdoor party is to provide them with plenty of fun backyard games and activities. This means investing in some lawn games that kids of all ages can enjoy. Some classics include croquet, quoits, mega Jenga (or giant Jenga), and Finska, a Finnish-origin log throwing game which can get as competitive as Uno.
When playing lawn games, you can do adults versus kids, or families can divide into teams for a fun tournament-style competition. And remember that playing lawn games is best done before the sun sets, just so everyone can see what they’re doing. We recommend starting the party with some games before serving up your burgers and snags on the grill. That way, the kids can work up an appetite.
Add Accessible & Sun-Safe Party Games
A lot of lawn games require kids to be energetic and active. But if you are expecting party guests with limited mobility (i.e. due to broken limbs, asthma, or other accessibility needs), then you strongly consider adding a few low-energy party games that can still provide a lot of fun.
A good example here would be games like ‘Pin The Tail On The Donkey’ or ‘Simon Says’. You can even include activities like finger painting or other crafts stations under shelter so that kids have sun-safe party activities to choose from as well.
Providing a range of different high- and low-energy activities can not only help all kids and adults feel included, but it can also provide plenty of fun for kids to enjoy even with full tummies.
Play Festive Music To Set Your Party Atmosphere
One way to create a festive mood is to ensure that you have some music pumping during your BBQ party. If you’ve got a sound system in a room near your backyard, for instance, then setting up a speaker and creating a BBQ party playlist is all that you need to set the perfect party atmosphere. And if you have an outdoor lounge or dining area set up, then even better! You can easily set up an outdoor speaker that’s connected up via Bluetooth to a mobile, tablet, or computer.
And be prepared to compromise when it comes to creating your party playlist, as the kids are bound to ask for some song requests. We recommend creating a playlist that provides a good mix of tracks for both kids and parents, whilst still ensuring that all songs are family-friendly. This means that every Soundgarden or Nirvana track may have Taylor Swift songs or Wiggles hits played after it. This way, no one feels left out and everyone can just enjoy your party atmosphere equally.
Set Your Ambience With Funky Lighting
This is a great party tip for evening events when the light is low, or the sun has already set. Or if you’re looking to throw a backyard BBQ party in winter or early spring. If you are contending with lower sunlight, then setting up festoon lights or even strings of fairy lights can help you illuminate your outdoor gathering in style. Consider draping light strings around your backyard – woven into a trellis, over tree limbs, around your gazebo or pergola, and hung in other places, like on your fence. Not only will this create a stunning visual effect, but the soft, ambient lighting will also help you party guests take some great candid photos!
And if you’re worried about your fairy lights eating up too much energy, why not invest in solar-powered lighting for all your outdoor hosting needs instead? This way, you’re being eco-friendly while saving money on your energy bill too. Just be warned that your solar-powered lights may not charge fully on overcast days, so plan accordingly if you are looking to throw a winter BBQ.
Provide BBQ Snacks For Both Adults & Kids
Finally, when hosting a BBQ party for adults and kids, you’ll want to ensure that you cater for both. For instance, the grown-ups may prefer gourmet sausages, steak, chops, prawns and other classic BBQ foods. Hosts should also throw a few salads together so you’ve provided some greens. And if you’re expecting any vegan or vegetarian guests, maybe even get extra creative by adding veg-friendly sides like grilled corn, steamed beans, and maybe even veggie sausages and patties. If you’re feeling a little lost when it comes to prepping sides, then you could easily just secure some catering from local restaurants and cafes in Sydney.
And speaking of inclusive menu planning, it’s also a good rule of thumb to serve non-alcoholic options for adults as well. Some excellent non-alcoholic beers, wine and spirits are on the market now, so you can get seriously creative here.
As for your kid-friendly spread, it’s best to stay simple so that you can better accommodate fussy eaters. Plain sausages are best, but you’ll also want to put out snacks like chips, dips, diced fruit, and a few other sweet things for the children to enjoy. And make sure you have a good supply of soft drinks for the kids, as well as healthy options like low-sugar juice or sparkling soda water.
And there you have it – some of our top family-friendly BBQ party ideas that’ll be sure to accommodate the whole family. But remember that this is by no means an exhaustive list, as you can plan plenty of other fun activities for big kids and little kids alike. What else can you think of?