30+ Company Picnic Ideas to Kick Off Your Summer Outdoor Events

Apr 25

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So, you’re looking for ways to bring your team together after many moons of working remotely. Or, maybe your office has been in full swing for some time now, but you can tell everyone’s aching to get outdoors and enjoy the blossoming weather. Either way, we have the perfect get-together idea for you: a company picnic.

Like every team-building activity we share on our blog, corporate picnics are more than just a good time. If planned well, picnics can produce some pretty sweet long-term benefits, like spiking employee morale, helping team members grow closer, and introducing unique collaboration opportunities. Keep reading if you’d like ideas for the best company picnic your team will ever experience!

Tips for Finding the Perfect Company Picnic Spot 

No matter how grand your work picnic ideas are,  a lousy event location could ruin the entire experience. Before you dive into the rest of the details, have a look at these tips to help you find the perfect picnic spot:

  1. Set your budget

As tempting as it might be to start flipping through event planning magazines, your first step should be reviewing your budget. Your budget will set boundaries for many things, including whether your company should rent a venue or find a free one!

  1. Figure out who’s coming

Next, you’ve got to determine your headcount. Is your picnic an employee-only affair, or are friends and family allowed? You should also choose the types of individuals who may attend. For instance, do any of them have physical or other disabilities? All this will help you assess potential locations in terms of capacity and accessibility.

  1. Assess accessibility needs

Your location should be simple to find and easy to navigate through once there. The last thing you want is for your guests to feel exhausted when they arrive! The other thing to keep in mind is venue compliance with government standards. For instance, you may consider looking into the Accessible Canada Act (ACA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or similar laws requiring service providers to ensure everyone can access and enjoy their services.

  1. Choose your ambience

This is all about the mood or character of the location. Do you want urban charm, quiet lakeside, or a rural outdoorsy feel? Your ambience should fit the picnic theme (more on that soon!) and suit your guests’ preferences. You may want to take a brief survey to get everyone’s thoughts ahead of time!

  1. Case the joint

Consider visiting the venue ahead of time to see how it physically feels. While you should check the weather forecast so you can pick your picnic date, you should also explore the location and observe whether the area gets windy, cold, sunny, etc. These things could influence the kind of clothing, footwear, protection, and activities that would work there.

  1. Determine the venue’s popularity

Some venues draw larger crowds than others! If the venue you’re considering is popular, this may affect how many guests can participate and the kinds of activities you can organize. If you’ve set your heart on a particularly buzzing area, you may need to choose a picnic date during the workweek to reduce the risk of crowds.

  1. Decide on your picnic theme

Now it’s time to choose a memorable vibe for your picnic. The easiest way is to plan your event around a distinct theme. Once you decide on a theme, incorporate your menu, picnic games (for adults), and other critical factors around it. Your picnic theme will dictate a large part of your location considerations.

Once you have all the above figured out, you’re ready to choose your location. Do some research and create a list of possible picnic venues. Then use the process of elimination to narrow down “the one” based on your most important decision factors! Once again, don’t forget to ask your employees for their input.

Creative Company Picnic Theme Ideas

A picnic theme will allow you to be creative and focused with one central idea to plan guest attire, the menu, games, activities, entertainment, and decor around. But there’s no need to overcomplicate this; you can mix and match several theme ideas to develop something that works for you. Here are some popular company picnic theme ideas: 

  1. International food-based themes

You can plan your picnic around an international food theme, like Indian, French, Italian, Caribbean, or Jamaican cuisine. Events like this are often a hit because they are a great way to celebrate other cultures. Consider asking employees with connections to the culture if they’d like to participate in planning the menu, activities, and entertainment.

  1. Activity-based themes

Your team can also celebrate a favorite sport by dressing like professional players and playing group games at your picnic. But don’t stop at sports! You can also choose any other popular activity in your city or another country and create a theme around that.

  1. Around-the-country themes

These picnic themes can explore the cultural distinctiveness of different regions and cities in your country.  

We talked about food earlier, but you could also plan your picnic around artwork, activities, and other unique features of a chosen state, province, or country region. For instance, you could focus your corporate picnic ideas around a Chicago-style menu (hello, deep-dish pizza!) and organize ball games such as baseball, soccer, or football. Or, you can stay local and focus your employee picnic ideas around the foods, activities, clothing, etc., unique to your city. 

  1. Health & wellness themes

Consider using your picnic as an opportunity to promote mental and physical wellness at your company by choosing a wellness theme. For instance, you can plan picnic activities that focus on relaxation and stress relief, like meditation and gentle stretches. You can also plan a healthy menu, such as Mediterranean-style dishes.

  1. Seasonal themes

If you’re still having difficulty deciding on your theme, you can always let the time of year guide you. There’s no need to limit your ideas to statutory celebrations; keep your eye on niche holidays for inspiration around the year!

Company Picnic Food Ideas That Will Hit the Spot

Now that you’ve chosen your theme, you’re ready to plan everything else, starting with a mouthwatering menu. Here are some company picnic food ideas to get you started:

BBQ picnic plate on a table, with various kinds of grilled meat and vegetables
  1. Beach-themed

Beach-themed means foods that are easy to pack and assemble, including:

  • Fresh fish tacos
  • Wraps
  • Burgers
  • Subs
  • Pasta salad
  • Chips and salsa
  • Etc.
  1. Christmas in July 

Serve up mouth-watering veggie and turkey wraps in green and red tortillas at your Christmas-in-July-themed picnic! After all, who says you can only have turkey once a year? Other menu items may include cranberry and stuffing sandwiches, turkey burgers, in-season fresh fruit, and fresh salads. You can also add an outdoorsy summer twist to a traditional Christmas favorite. Throw in summer picnic classics – like hotdogs! 

  1. BBQ and grill

You can’t go wrong with a picnic BBQ. Shop some quality ingredients (think ribs, briskets, burgers, and sausages), set up a grill, and choose some volunteers to cook and serve the food. Don’t forget to provide different sauce flavors! You can make this part fun by hosting a homemade sauce competition. 

  1. Taco bar 

Tacos are sure to be a hit, no matter your chosen picnic theme. Serve them with various proteins and toppings to nourish and delight your guests. If you want to go all out, pair this meal idea with other Mexican-style foods and matching music, and enjoy a full blast fiesta.

  1. Vegetarian

A vegetarian menu is perfect for a wellness-themed soiree. It will delight employees who already enjoy a meat-free diet and introduce the rest of the team to a new way of living. The trick is to provide a variety of well-presented dishes that demonstrate how enjoyable a plant-based diet can be.

If you need more delightful dining ideas, visit here to book a caterer who can help!

Tried and True Picnic Game Ideas for Adults

Venue? Check. Theme? Check. Food? Check! Next, explore some team-building activities that will deliver tons of fun, excitement and laughter.

A team of employees playing a lawn bowling game in a park

Some fun games for adults to play at picnics include: 

  • Lawn bowling
  • Three-legged race
  • Potato sack race
  • Egg and spoon race
  • Ball games (e.g. dodgeball, volleyball, basketball toss, soccer/football)
  • Mini golf
  • Obstacle courses
  • Water balloon toss
  • Piñata 
  • Frisbee
  • Tug-of-war

These are just a few game ideas that never lose their charm.

Team-Building Activities to Make Professional Development Fun

While sports are great for working up a sweat, team-building activities take things to another level with subtle elements of professional development. How? By using various exercises to promote collaboration, communication and problem-solving! We suggest these team-building activities for a company picnic.  

  1. Lost on a deserted island

This picnic game works well for large groups of adults. 

Picture this: a horrible shipwreck hopelessly maroons a crew (aka your employees) on a deserted island, and each person can only salvage one item from the ship’s remains. Once players make their selections, they must break up into smaller groups to combine their resources into something that will hopefully increase their chances of survival on the island. Their only chance is that they can work well together (and choose the right survival gear).

  1. Marshmallow spaghetti tower

This game is just as wild and messy as it sounds. Each group will receive spaghetti sticks, a roll of masking tape, string, a marshmallow, and a limited time to build as high a tower as possible. Once completed, the tower must stand on its own for five seconds. The team with the tallest and sturdiest tower wins!

  1. Balloon questions

This activity can be a fantastic icebreaker for new employees or teams who don’t regularly work together.

Each player will receive a balloon, a small piece of paper, and a pen or pencil. They will then write one question on the paper, blow up the balloon, and place the paper inside it. Once all the messages are ready, count down and have everyone toss their balloons into the air. Each participant will then grab a balloon (any but their own) and take turns answering the question. 

Simple, but a great way to get some fun conversation going.

  1. Team birthday lineup

If you have a team of ten or more, consider organizing this activity to strengthen problem-solving, cooperation, and communication skills. Participants will stand side by side in a line, then try to rearrange themselves according to their birthdays (date and month only). The catch? They’re not allowed to talk or write anything down! They only get non-verbal cues like sign language and nudges to figure out each other’s birthdays.

This game is a great way to teach how important it is to be aware of body language, eye contact and other silent communication forms.

  1. Dog, rice, and chicken

This activity presents another opportunity for teamwork and creative problem solving as follows: 

One participant will play the role of a farmer, while the rest take on villager roles. The farmer has to return home with three purchased items: a dog, a chicken, and grains. But the farmer has a problem: they have to cross a river to get home! Fortunately, there’s a boat, but the farmer can only cross the river with one item at a time. 

The thing is, the farmer can’t do this in any random order, or else items may get eaten! So what can they do? The villagers have a limited amount of time to provide the farmer with a strategy for success.

Need more picnic activities for adults to make the day more memorable? There are plenty more where these came from!

Pump it Up With More Entertainment

After loads of high-energy activities, there’s sure to be a part of the day when everyone will want to sit back and calmly relax.

DG playing on a company picnic

That’s the perfect time to break out other forms of lighthearted entertainment, including:

  1. Music 

You can engage a live band or DJ who has experience with outdoor gigs. You can also rent Karaoke equipment and let anyone comfortable with performing belt out their favorite tunes. Or, keep things simple with some Spotify playing in the background while people chat.

  1. Trivia

Trivia is a popular picnic activity for adults that your team can enjoy after lunchtime. You can base the game on your picnic theme or use general knowledge questions. Either way, this game encourages better listening skills while delivering lots of laughs. If you need help choosing topics, grab some inspiration from our Trivia page.

  1. Continue the story

In this low-energy yet highly interactive activity, everyone participates in building a story. Employees will sit down, and one person will get the ball rolling by making up a story introduction. Then, each remaining participant will come up with the next line or introduce a new character or plot twist until the story is complete. The trick is that the story needs to be as cohesive as possible and have a logical ending.

  1. Meditation 

For a truly rejuvenating picnic experience, help your team relax and de-stress with a group meditation session. With professional guidance, they’ll learn how to use breathing techniques, sound, and slow movement to master mindfulness and stress management.

  1. Swag 

Finally, don’t let your guests leave empty-handed! Round the day off by lavishing your team with some “thank you for coming” memorabilia. You can also hand them out as prizes for the various games and activities throughout the day. Browse through our collection of gifts and swag to choose the right souvenirs for your team!

Other Things to Think About 💡

A successful picnic involves more than just food and games. Make sure to consider the following as well:

  1. Start early 

Begin exploring your company picnic ideas early to avoid the stress of doing a rush job. How early? It depends! For instance, you might need to start months in advance if you plan on hiring services or booking a popular venue.

  1. Create a checklist for planning

Speaking of planning, there are a ton of logistics to track. Create a checklist to help you remember things like: 

  • Conduct employee survey
  • Find and book venue
  • Choose theme
  • Decide on menu and book a caterer
  • Announce event and invite volunteers
  • Brainstorm outdoor company picnic games and activities
  • Schedule multiple reminders for the event 
  • Book Karaoke/DJ or create music playlist
  • Prepare prizes and swag
  • Set up and tear down venue 
  • Email “thank you” email to attendees and anyone who helped 
  1. Plan transportation 

Who will deliver your picnic supplies to the venue? Are your employees responsible for navigating themselves, or will you provide group transportation to the venue? Consider these factors during the logistics planning.

  1. Ensure safety and comfort

There are several factors to keep in mind here, including:

  • The venue’s safety and security 
  • Access to clean washroom facilities
  • Precautions against heat stroke and sunburn (e.g. water, sunscreen, plenty of shade, etc.)
  • Food allergies and dietary restriction considerations
  • Food safety practices (e.g. protective covers and single-serve packages)
  • Covid-19 health and safety measures   
  1. Observe regulations for public spaces

We briefly touched on this earlier, but this is critical if you intend to DIY your company picnic! Research and familiarize yourself with any restrictions or prohibitions that may apply to your chosen venue. For instance, some public spaces limit picnics and other gatherings to certain areas, while others may require you to apply for a permit depending on your group size.

A carefully planned and executed picnic can create collaboration, wellness, and other fantastic benefits for your team. If you need help or inspiration while planning, we’ve got your food, activities, and swag needs sorted!

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