As soon as the weather starts to turn warm, even just the first hints of spring, I start to get itchy. I love fall and actually really enjoy our cold Midwest winters, but I still cannot wait for warm weather again. I start to make summer playlists. And I start to plan summer parties.
Some winters and springs seem longer than others. We might not always be able to see each other in-person. So, when we can have a summer party, even if there are social distancing measures in place, we make the most of it.
And nothing makes a party better than games. They give parties a center to rally around, an activity to anticipate, a way for people to do something communal and goofy. These summer party game ideas are some of my favorite ones to bring people together. We’ll also include tips for playing these games during social distancing, whether that means staying 6 feet apart or having parties in separate locations.
The weather has turned. Leaves dapple greenly in the warm air. And it’s time to get outside and feel the sun on our faces once more.
7 Summer Party Game Ideas to Celebrate the Season
Here are seven of my favorite summer party games:
Summer Costume Party
I love a good costume party and don’t think they should just be for fall. Whether it’s a summer office party or a gathering of friends and neighbors, a costume party lets you unleash your imagination. Some of our favorite themes include:
- The Great Gatsby
- Day at the Beach
- Back to the Future (you can do 50s, 80s, or even more recent!)
It doesn’t matter what the theme is as long as people get to be silly and creative. If you’re practicing social distancing, you can set up a video chat and have a virtual costume parade.
Once the seasons start to change, the world opens up a little more: more flowers, more animals, more weird things everywhere. A scavenger hunt is the perfect way to foster some fun competition and encourage people to explore. Have them find kinds of trees or a certain bird (and be sure to take a picture!). Look for street signs, local landmarks, or items in parks.
You can do this easily while keeping your distance. Everyone can play, then come together to talk about their adventures, whether in-person or on the screen.
Water Balloon Pinata
Hang up a water balloon (more fun if you get a big one), hang it from a branch, and have people take a whack at it. When you win, you get soaked. There’s a nervous anticipation of wanting to hit it, not wanting to hit it, and also wanting that cold water all over you. It’s fun for kids and adults.
This game can be easily played with people wearing gloves and a new balloon every time. It’s very sanitary!
I’m not very competitive…except for when it comes to ridiculous lawn games. And there’s probably nothing more ridiculous than giant lawn bowling. The pins are almost a foot tall, easy to set up, and fun to knock down. Even the youngest kids get the idea of “throw this at those.” And the adults? Well, they’ll be acting like this is the PBA!
If people have multiple sets, each household can have their “lane.” You can even play in separate locations, each team taking turns and then watching the others on video.
Disc golf is easy, fun for all ages, and lets everyone use their own disc (no shared equipment). All you need is a bit of space and a disc golf set. You don’t need a full course or anything. You can just have one person move the target around after each hole—now it’s behind that tree, now it’s on the deck. It’s safe, fun, and will get people’s competitive juices flowing.
This might not be traditional, but it’s one of my favorite summer party game ideas. There’s something about summer that makes people feel creative and inspired, whether you’re sitting around a fire or on a patio.
Have someone start a story with a summer theme and pass it around. It could be about travel, sports, memories—anything. Let the story grow, person by person, whether you’re next to each other or talking on Zoom. Storytelling is a way to share something and work together.
Summer Secret Santa
I can hear you spitting out your iced tea in shock. Santa?!?! Summer?!?! Ok, you’re probably not that surprised if you’ve read this blog before. You might know that we think you can absolutely play Secret Santa year-round. Gift-giving is one of the great joys of life, and I don’t think it should only happen once a year.
In the summer, the rules of Secret Santa are the same. Everyone gets a name, buys that person a gift, and at the party, everyone has to guess who is their Secret Santa. (Pro-tip: an online Secret Santa generator makes everything easy and foolproof).
You can use a summer gift guide to really hone in on your best options for what to get. And because you can play long-distance Secret Santa, you don’t even have to be physically present to be emotionally connected.
Summer Games Bring Serious Joy
Some springs last longer than others, and some winters never seem to go away. But they do. They melt into the past, and the trees turn ripe with buds that burst into leaves. It happens slowly and then all at once. The branches come alive and the earth bursts forth.
That’s why I love to celebrate summer with gatherings, both near and far. It’s why I love to play games and exchange gifts, creating laughter and smiles that could eat a whole watermelon. It’s why I know that the warmth comes from more than the sun: it comes from each other.
If you want to have a great gift exchange this summer, use a Secret Santa generator that has universal access. Thanks to Elfster , you can easily shop for gifts and start a Wish List. Plus, you can access it all from an iPhone app or Android app.