Amp up the wow-factor at your next summer gathering with a picnic theme that’s easy to pull off even for the most uncreative party planners. We’ve scoured the most amazing picnic parties around the web and highlighted their most fun features — from artistic chalkboard welcome signs to a more the merry lawn Twister game. The best part? These ideas are super simple to execute! Scroll down to get inspired.

teddy-bear-picnic-cake

Photo courtesy of Amie Bell Photography

Decor

While nothing screams picnic more than red and white gingham, there are plenty of other creative and artistic ways to add flair to your toddler’s gathering. See how to stun your guests from the get go.

Chalkboard Welcome Sign
Smile before entering this vintage summer party! Party Loves greeted their guests with a colorful chalkboard, a cost effective and unique idea that lets you get your art on.

picnic-party-sign

Photo courtesy of Party Loves

Multi-Colored Plaid Banners
Who says picnics have to stay red and white? Go for checked blue, green, yellow and orange like photographer Tiffany Arment did for Adam’s first birthday picnic. Choose your tot’s favorite colors to add extra vibrancy.

Family Birthday
Photo courtesy of Tiffany Arment Photography

Balloons and Blankets
Shutterbug Amie Bell used teddy bears and picnic baskets as weights to keep down those beautiful balloon center pieces. If you’re planning a different picnic theme, just switch out the teddy bear with your guests’ party favors or another favorite item of the birthday tot.

teddy-bear-picnic-balloons

Photo courtesy of Amie Bell Photography

Watermelon Balloons
So simple to do, yet visually stunning. Dot your red balloons with a black sharpie and then pair them with bright green ones for a watermelon themed picnic.

watermelon-balloons-picnic

Photo credit: Cara Coops via Pinterest

Indoor Picnic
If your picnic has to be indoors, no worries, just follow Swoon Studio‘s lead and grab some vintage windows and checkered table cloths for a real outdoorsy vibe. Plus, being inside just means you can totally put wicker baskets on the table without having to fret about dirt and leggy insect crawlers.

indoor-picnic Photo courtesy of Swoon Studio 

Food

Eating outdoors with toddlers can be a messy business. Here are a few ways to create stress free lunches and eco-friendly snacks for those hungry tummies.

Picnic “Lunchables”
Make sure each kiddo has their own picnic basket by sort all their food into one picnic box. We love the rice krispie popsicle that won’t melt under the sun. Fill your box with sammies, chips, celery and dip (or with carrots and popcorn chicken, like Lifeflix did), wrap it up with twine and include a picnic napkin! Check out the beautiful napkin toppers here.

picnic-lunchable Photo credit: Lifeflix

Watermelon Sticks
Cut your watermelon into easy to hold sticks instead of cubes. This way you save on utensils. Freeze the sticks to make uber healthy popsicles. Need tips on cutting that watermelon? The Girl Who Ate Everything makes life easier with picture tutorials.

watermelon-sticks

Photo courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything

Honey-Sweet Lemonade
Sweeten your lemonade with honey rather than sugar for bonus health points. We love how Picnic for Pixies, a South African party planner, had their party buzzing with extra excitement. Just look at how awesome that hive shaped dispenser is! You can get one for $13.99 at World Market.

honey-lemonade-bee

Photo credit: Picnic for Pixies

Strawberry Angel Food Cake Skewers
Nosh on these sweet and light dessert skewers (topped off with whipped cream and Nutella before serving). This super easy recipe can be found at Wishful Crafting. The no-utensil factor is a terrific eco-friendly way to minimize on the mess.

strawberry-angel-food-cake-skewers

Photo credit: Wishful Crafting

Games

What’s a picnic without games and fun? Whether you’ve planned for a relaxing party on the lawn or a day packed with excitement and fun, these inventive games are perfect entertainment for the kids.

Lawn Day Twister
Spending a day on the grass? Katie Haines of You + Me turned the grass into a personal Twister game for her southern themed picnic party. This is perfect for big parties where a Twister mat can’t fit everyone. After your little spray paint magic, let the birthday babe bark out the instructions.

lawn-twister

Photo credit: You + Me

Water Balloon Spoon Race
Got high energy tots that love to run and scream? Here’s a egg race spin off game that’ll have them zonked out by the end of the day. Use water balloons to make less of a mess (your local park will thank you), and if you have balloons left over… have water balloon fight! Get the tutorial on decorating plain wooden spoons over at Two Shades of Pink.

water-balloon-spoon-race

Photo courtesy of Two Shades of Pink

Cloth Picnic Games
For a calmer playdate picnic in the park, play a cloth game that utilizes trinkets from nature. Kids will love searching for flowers to use as tic-tac-toe pieces. For a more complicated square game that works as a brain challenge for older kids, head over to Say Yes.

cloth-picnic-games-tic-tac-toe

Photo credit: Say Yes

Fabric Tube Run
Embrace the elasticity of swimsuit fabric (nylon and lycra) and make a bouncy tunnel for kids to bop about in. Moms and sister of The Mary Frances Project showed us this fantastic game for smaller kids, where parents stretch out the fabric and kids can run about, bouncing off the “walls.” Order a few yards of swimsuit fabric from eBay or The Fabric Fairy, and then follow the game tutorial here.

stretchy-fabric-kids
Photo credit: The Mary Frances Project 

Favors

Let your guests leave with a lasting impression. These party favors go beyond perishable food and small toys.

Picnic Blankets
Hand out blankets for your play date picnic and let your guests keep them afterwards. It’s a great gift that works for the entire family. They’ll remember your stellar party as they sit on the blanket to make new memories out in the park. For more sweet delights of this play date picnic, head over to We Heart Parties.

party-favor-blankets

Photo credit: Hiba Kim via We Heart Parties

Watermelon Playdough
Pack some green and pink dough and a handful of black beans in a little container so kids can bring the picnic home. Get the playful instructions (print them out and include them in your gift bag) from No Time for Flash Cards. It’s a great sensory craft for little hands.

watermelon-playdough

Photo courtesy of No Time For Flash Cards

Picnic Fans
When it gets too hot at your summer picnic party, your guest will be thankful these cute fans are going around. And they’ll be ecstatic to know that they can keep them too! Find out how to make these beautiful summer coolers over at Ao At Home.

diy-paper-fans

Photo credit: Ao At Home

Have you seen these amazing summer parties for the outdoors? 

— Christal Yuen

We Have a Hunch You’ll Like …

Breakfast Camping: Into the Wild. Sorta…

Look Up! A Guide to Stargazing With Kids

Simple Ways to Transform Your Garden into a Playground Paradise