family picnic: traditions

At our family picnic we have a few annual traditions.  One is to take a whole family portrait every year.  We always line up in the same spot on the great lawn at our picnic site. Another picnic tradition is homemade pierogis made by Grandma.  She makes enough to feed everyone, but they always disappear quickly from the sharing table!

Getting ready for the annual egg toss!

Every year we have an egg toss, balloon toss, and play BINGO.  These things help make picnic planning easier  because activities are already planned and most everyone already knows how to play. Using the family picnic fund (collected by donations each year) the picnic planners get prizes for the egg and balloon toss winners, but the BINGO prizes are grab bag gifts brought by every family member. It’s hard to say what is more exciting, yelling BINGO or picking and unwrapping a prize.  You never know what it could be.

This year we started a new tradition with a silly photo opportunity for the family. One of the co planners, Kate, with some help from her mom, gave everyone a chance to be silly and dress up like one of our favorite foods: pierogis!

We’ve already got plans to make a few other cut-outs so even more family members can join in the photo fun at one time.
These are just some of the ways we make our family picnic special every year.  What are some of your family’s traditions?

family picnic: children’s games


At our family picnic there are always a few children’s games ranging from about 3-5 games total. These are simple party games that have to work for children of many different ages.  This year we played musical squares,  hot pierogi, and had a sponge and cup relay race.

For the sponge and cup water relay race we made sponge balls using a tutorial from Martha Stewart. Dividing the children into two teams (the children decided to make it boys vs. girls).  They each raced to fill up their 20 oz. plastic cup first by squeezed the water out of the sponge ball one at a time.  If you were wondering the girls won this race.

Musical “squares” was our picnic version of musical chairs.  We covered 10″x10″ cardboard squares in colorful scrapbook paper and set them out on the grass.  Using portable speakers and an mp3 player the game was played in the same fashion of musical chairs.  The children had to sit down on the square when the music stopped, but there was one less square than child each round.  This was a great game and the squares were much easier to transport than 16 chairs!

Hot pierogi was another take on a classic party game.  In honor of our Polish heritage we changed hot potato in hot pierogi.

A pierogi is a delicious Polish dumpling and a family favorite food! We made our pierogi for this game out of scrap fabric.  Setting out our squares from musical squares in a circle with one spot for each child participating the game was played in the same fashion as the classic hot potato. The children passed the pierogi around in a circle while music played. When the music stopped the person holding our fabric Polish dumpling was out.  The last child left not holding the pierogi wins!

Classic party games are classics for  a reason! They lend themselves to any celebration or get together, easily enjoyed by children of any age, and were adaptable so that we could easily play them at a picnic without needed many supplies.

We also had a few more games for both adults and children.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for more about those!

family picnic: decorations

At the family picnic every September we usually keep decorations to a minimum. This is for mainly two different reasons: 1. there isn’t too much decorating space at the picnic site and 2. the person planning the picnic has so much to bring already there is no need to add to his/her load.

We did want to add some special touches to the picnic this year. One way we did that was by making special buntings to hang on the two food sharing tables as well as the table with the game prizes on it.  We made the buntings, pictured above, in colors that coordinated with our blue and yellow invitation.

We also added coordinating paper accents to  old glass jars and bottles filled with flowers from a family member’s garden. Theses added a simply beautiful touch to the community tables.

One final touch was making a large bunting personalized with our family name. We used scrapbook paper and contact paper to make this one so that it will hopefully lasts for years to come.

family picnic: an email invitation

The invitation for the family picnic has always been fairly casual because the picnic is always on the same day of Labor Day weekend every year, almost always at the same place, and because there is no need to RSVP.

Usually the picnic planner sends out a flyer, but this year we decided to do an email invitation. Without the expense of printing and mailing we were able to create a more colorful  invitation that was free to send out.

Using a picture of the picnic site as a the background we made this brightly colored picture invitation with all the important information.  The picture was emailed out along with the link to the map/directions to the picnic site.  A paper invitation was mailed out to those family members who do not have an email address and at the picnic we double checked to make sure we had the current contact information for everyone. .