Fun Ideas for a Family Summer Outdoor BBQ

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Summer may be the hottest season of the year, but it’s the ideal time for outdoor activities. Everyone’s in the mood for fun as the weather’s beautiful and boosts everyone’s mood.

If you’re thinking of throwing a party for your family but are stumped for ideas, how about a barbeque in your backyard or a park? Who can say no to an afternoon of fun, games and food?

Fire up the grill, stock up with cool beverages, and turn on the music. That’s what most people do, but if you want to be the perfect host or hostess, here are some tips for creating a memorable event.


You may think it’s an afternoon for the family, but some planning will go a long way into making it a smoothly-run affair with fun for everyone, including the host.

  • Choose a theme. Picking a concept for your BBQ party will help you decide the setting, decorations, and food selection.
  • Select a date and location. Whether you have the barbeque in your backyard or at another spot, making your decision in advance will help you minimize unexpected hiccups.
  • Prepare a guest list. Writing down the names of people to invite is essential, especially if you have a large family and include your friends. You don’t want to leave out anyone.
  • Send out party invitations. Make sure to mail your invites way ahead of time so your guests can keep the day free. Three weeks is a reasonable timeframe.
  • Buy the decorations early. It’s the season for BBQ parties, and you don’t want to risk not getting the items for your theme. The sooner you get them after selecting the concept, the better.
  • Set up for the function a day in advance. Getting everything in place before the event date will allow you time to handle last-minute matters.


The possibilities are endless, but you’ll probably want to stick to these tried and tested ideas that people enjoy. What’s more, they’re fun and easy to organize. All you have to do is put a twist on the one you choose and make it yours.

Traditional Country BBQ

You can’t go wrong with a classic traditional country BBQ. Start with the basics like checkered tablecloths, mason jars, and basket centerpieces, then add your personal touches to the decorations.

For food, there’s the usual burgers, hot dogs, chicken, salads, and of course, corn on the cob.

Western BBQ Party

Take your guests back to the wild west by having a western barbeque. Decorate your party setting with signs, barn items, cactus, and hay. Inform your invitees to come dressed as cowboys and girls. You can also provide bandanas and hats to spice up the occasion.

If you’re going for a Texas BBQ, try slow-cooked meats, in addition to the traditional burgers and hot dogs. To add spice to your food, offer different flavors of barbeque sauce.

Seafood BBQ

You don’t need to be by the beach to enjoy an island experience. Instead of sticking to meat or chicken, add seafood to your grill. Everyone loves grilled shrimp, salmon, scallops, and lobster.

Make your guests feel as though they’re at the seaside. Decorate your food area with sand and shells and “sea blue” decor. Serve cocktails such as Mai Tai to liven the atmosphere.

Outdoor Movie Night

If it’s too hot where you live, start your party later in the evening and make it a movie night with a BBQ menu. Have lots of comfy pillows for everyone to relax in front of the screen.

Start the event with games such as movie trivia. Don’t forget the popcorn!

4th of July BBQ

Be patriotic and celebrate Independence Day with a 4th of July theme party. Liven the space with lots of red, white, and blue decorations. Place little star-spangled banner flags surrounding the area.

If there’s a parade passing through your neighborhood, be sure to gather out front and celebrate the occasion by cheering the participants.

End the evening with a fireworks display. It’s everyone’s favorite highlight of the day.

Campfire Party

Kids and adults love campfires, so if you have a fire pit, that’ll be an excellent way to spend the evening after the main BBQ meal is over. S’mores are a favorite treat to enjoy while having a fireside chat.

Make sure you have enough treats for a long night as no one will want to leave the party.

Party Games

No BBQ would be complete without fun games, especially when there are kids present. Here are some ideas of simple games that appeal to children and adults alike.

Lawn Games

Lawn games are perfect for keeping your guests entertained. Some of the favored ones include ladder toss, horseshoes, ring toss, croquet, and giant tic-tac-toe. Then, there are the more active ones such as frisbee and kickball.

It’ll help if you set up outdoor lighting as the fun can go on well past dark.

Card Games

There are always classic card games to entertain those who prefer not to participate in the more physical-demanding activities. Go Fish is a favorite. Some others to consider include Crazy Eights, Rummy, and Slap Jack, to name a few.

Stock Tank Pools

Although this is not a game per se, it’s still a fantastic way for kids and adults to cool down in the summer heat. You could play volleyball and other water games if you want to.

Get Everyone Involved

Although you’re the host or hostess, you don’t have to be in charge of everything. It’ll be more fun for everyone if they participate.

Kids especially get bored quickly, and most of them want to be part of the action, so let them. Set up a lemonade stand for them to manage. They’ll love the responsibility, and it’ll keep them occupied.

Make preparing meals a DIY thing. Instead of having everything laid out ready-to-eat, guests can mix and match their meats with various BBQ sauces and toss their salads.

With a selection of ice creams, everyone can grab a cone and add the toppings of their choice. Offer a wide selection of toppings in addition to the usual cones.

Miscellaneous Tips

These suggestions may be obvious, but it’s best to keep them in mind.

It’s going to be a hot summer’s day so be sure you have enough cold drinks and ice for the party. You don’t want to have to leave and get more supplies when they run out.

Have sunblock available for those who forget to put it on, and make sure there are shady spots available for guests to relax.


Throwing a party may be a lot of work, but a well-planned one can be fun and memorable. Use these ideas as a guide to establish yourself as an excellent host or hostess.

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