Summer cookouts are popular for family reunions, and often bring together groups of friends or family of all ages. While the sausages are sizzling on the grill, keep guests entertained with some games and activities that will work up a healthy appetite and are ideal for players across the generations.
This noisy game will use up some energy and give participants a stomping good appetite. Tie a blown-up balloon to each player's ankle at the end of a length of string about a foot long. The object of the game is to stomp on the other players' balloons and try to pop them, while avoiding getting your own balloon popped. The last player with an unpopped balloon wins.
BBQ Chef Relay
Divide guests into teams of five or six. Make sure you have a good mix of ages in each team. Assemble a chef's costume for each team, consisting of a chef's hat, apron and wooden spatula, and place these at the starting line. Give each team a set of fake hamburger patties cut from thick cardboard. Place a large cardboard box about 20 feet away from each team to represent their grill. The first player starts by putting on the chef's costume, loading a patty onto her spatula and racing to the grill without dropping the patty. If she drops it, she must return to the start and try again. She places her patty on the grill and races back to her team, where she takes off the costume and the next player in line takes a turn. The first team to place all their patties on the grill wins.
Keep Your Bottle
Play this game on a warm, sunny day, and make sure whoever is holding the bottle won't be upset about getting wet. Divide guests into two teams, and line them up at a starting line. Place a bucket of water and a plastic cup at the front of the line. Choose one player from each team to be the bottle holder. They must sit cross-legged on the ground about 20 feet away from their team and hold an empty plastic bottle over their head. At the start, the first player fills his cup and runs to the bottle holder. He tips the water from the cup into the bottle and runs back to his team. Play continues until the first team finishes. The winning team will be the one with the most water in their bottle at that point.
Play this game when children are getting tired and need a quieter activity to keep them occupied. Prepare a list of nature items to find that are appropriate to the area in which your cookout is held. Include items such as a leaf, a shiny beetle, a forked twig, a pine cone and so on. Give a copy of the list to each player, and award prizes for completing the list or finding the most items. Alternatively, hide wrapped candies for the children to hunt for around the cookout area.
Based in East Sussex, Caroline Repchuk has been writing and editing children's books and art and craft features since 1990. Her classic Christmas book, "The Snow Tree," is published by Dutton and her features have appeared in "Art Attack" and "SpongeBob SquarePants." Caroline holds a Bachelor of Arts in fine art from Leeds University.