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Checklist for Planning a Family-Friendly Company Picnic

Published: 2020-02-27T20:38:05+0000 Author: Abby Helgeson

When it comes to company events, one of the most popular is the family-friendly company picnic. It offers food, fun, and sun. Best of all no one needs to find a babysitter and you can set the party up so there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

But to plan the perfect family-friendly company picnic, you do have to think ahead. It’s never too early to start planning, and here are some terrific tips to get you started. 

Establish Your Budget

This will largely determine what you end up doing for your picnic. Your company likely has a set budget for this event, and you can quickly eat up those numbers depending on the choices you make below. Cutting costs in one area can enable you to spend more in another. 

Before you even look at venues, food, and other items, determine how much you have to spend, and if there is any wiggle room in your budget. 

Find the Right Venue

One of the keys to a successful company picnic is holding it in the right place. The best venues often go quickly, especially for popular weekends. So think ahead and look around your area. 

  • Reserve park areas through your local Parks and Recreation Department. Look for ones that have a shelter that is large enough for the group you expect. If you can, find one close to playgrounds or other areas where children will have something to do. This is usually a simple way to save money.
  • Rent space at an arcade or amusement park. Some amusement parks have areas dedicated to group events, and this can be an easy way to involve the whole crew and their families. While more expensive, sometimes these reservations include food options and fun packages for the whole family.
  • Rent bounce houses and other party items, and have the event on your property. Sometimes, if you have enough room, this can be a good option, and depending on rental costs can make throwing your picnic more affordable.

No matter what venue you choose, just make sure you have room for everyone who will attend including their families. A space that is too small can often deter families from coming, and result in a smaller turnout and less successful event. 

Make sure you have plenty of seating. If you are in a park shelter, there may not be enough room for everyone at picnic tables, so offering folding chairs for everyone is a practical idea, and also a great opportunity for a promotional giveaway. 

Decide What to Eat

Much of our adult lives are spent answering the question: what are we going to eat? A family-friendly company picnic is no exception. There are several options office managers should consider when it comes to what to eat.

  • Potluck: This often works well, because people want to show off their culinary skills. Those who don’t can always purchase something. This also costs the company the least amount of money. Be sure you have a signup list, though, or you will end up with way too much potato salad.
  • Have the event catered: While this may cost more, it is often a classy way to go. Just be sure that you have options available for those with dietary restrictions. Also, it’s important that people RSVP and you get an accurate headcount.
  • Choose a company cook: Sometimes you’ll have someone in your crew who is accomplished at BBQ or has some other specialty. Recruit them to cook for the entire gang if they are willing, and provide them with the ingredients they need. Be sure there are dietary options in this situation as well. 
  • Order Pizza: This is often a hit, and most places now have vegan and gluten-free options. The kids will love it for sure. 
  • Schedule Food Trucks: Food trucks are becoming more popular and they offer a variety of dining options that are actually good, from fish and chips to some delicious dessert options. Find popular ones in your local area, and make a deal with them for your event. 

There are plenty of other options as well. Accept suggestions from your employees as well. They might have ideas you haven’t thought of. 

Don’t forget the drinks. Since you’re having a family-friendly event, in most cases alcohol is discouraged. In some parks and recreation areas, there are restrictions anyway. But be sure there is plenty of water, other drinks for the adults and kids including a variety of sodas including diet options. Encourage everyone to stay hydrated on a regular basis, especially if your event falls on a warm day. 

This is the perfect opportunity to have some picnic sets and cooler totes on hand. They’re practical and make a meaningful gift for your employees. 

Plan Where to Go

This point may sound silly, but one thing to check with every venue is where the restrooms are. Be sure there are some close by, and if using a local park, be sure the restrooms will be unlocked for the duration of your party. Many of them lock at sunset, and that can result in a quick end to the festivities. 

If holding the event on your property, you may want to have some porta potties just for the event depending on how close restrooms are, and if you want to have a lot of people going in and out of your building. 

The Games People Play

Once people have something to eat, it is also a good idea to have games and entertainment available. The key is to have something for everyone of all ages and athletic abilities or lack thereof. Here are some simple ideas: 

  • Bean Bag Toss: This is a popular game that nearly everyone can play. Have short courts for the kids, and consider a tournament for adults. Alternatives include horseshoes, bocce ball, croquet, and other yard games. 
  • Beach Ball Volleyball: This game is fun because the beach ball renders most athletic ability null with unpredictable bounces and wind-driven flight paths. You can even have promotional beach balls to use and give away. 
  • Frisbee Golf: Many parks have courses, and nearly anyone can play even if you are not a pro. You can also have custom printed flying discs to use and give away. Even absent of frisbee golf courses, you can set up a temporary one of your own. 
  • Scavenger Hunts: These can be fun for kids or adults, or you can even structure one they can do together, encouraging them to find items in the area where you’re holding your event. 
  • Park Poker: You can combine a scavenger hunt with playing cards for a really fun game. At each clue discovery, give a card to the participant, and in the end the best hand wins.
  • A Dance-Off: This can be fun for nearly everyone on the team, kids and adults alike or even in pairs. For this and other games like musical chairs, you can have Bluetooth speakers with your logo, and give them away to the “winners.”

There are other games you can play, too. Remember the event is about having fun, so try not to have games that are too physical or competitive. Get suggestions from your team and involve them in the process. 

Practice Safety

When holding a family-friendly company picnic, be sure to remind your employees to practice safety. To do this, you can offer things like free sunscreen and giveaways of promotional products like embroidered baseball caps and even custom sunglasses in a variety of colors.

Have first aid on hand, remind employees to stay hydrated and take breaks from the sun. If it is exceptionally warm, have extra ice available. 

Wrap it up with Family Time

At the end of your evening, it is a good idea to offer an option for some extra family time. Events like an outdoor movie or live music will often create the perfect ending to your picnic. You can offer employees things like blankets to relax on and even LED flashlights to help them find their way in the dark. 

Not everyone will participate in this final event, but it can give parents and their kids a chance to unwind after an eventful picnic. 

Don’t Forget the Cleanup

Finally, there will be clean up when you are done with the event. Ideally, if your budget allows, hire someone to do this for you. If you had a potluck, encourage everyone to take their dishes home with them, and have a plan for anything left behind, including a lost and found box that can be transported to the office. 

If you’ve rented anything, it will have to be returned, and be sure you leave the venue as clean as when you found it. No one wants to stay behind and cleanup, but don’t forget this step, and if you can’t hire someone, have a cleanup committee arranged to help you. 

Planning a family-friendly company picnic can be a challenge, and starting early will ensure you have the most successful event possible. 

If you are looking for some awesome outdoor gear you can brand for your company and give away to employees as part of your gathering, check out these great outdoor promotional products. It’s a perfect way to say thanks to those who work so hard for you and make your company a success.


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