Late-season snowstorms still blanket parts of the country, but spring will be here — officially — before you know it. Your cabin fever might be worse this year than others, so why not break out and ring in the new season in style?
How can you make your bash the one to remember for commemorating the sun’s return? Celebrate spring with these eight outdoor party ideas for the whole family.
1. The Basic Barbecue
Let’s start with the most ubiquitous — and the most fun — outdoor party idea. There’s nothing wrong with the basic barbecue. You don’t even need to be a carnivore to enjoy it, as cauliflower steaks, black bean burgers, and vegetable kebabs all taste divine on the grill.
You can even minimize costs if you’re feeling thrifty by hosting your barbecue potluck style. When each guest contributes a dish, you get better variety for less. It’s also a great way to start a series of springtime flings. Why not rotate hosting at various houses, increasing your socialization quotient without dropping a bundle?
2. Family Game Night
One of the most nostalgia-inducing aspects of spring is playing sports as the sun begins setting in the western sky. However, you don’t need a backyard big enough for a ball field to watch your pop fly disappear into the sunset. You can find portable volleyball sets and soccer-hockey nets that maximize any size space and allow fun games for the whole family.
Is your family a little less athletic? You want to include everyone in the fun, so have some lower-key board games for those who permanently hung up their athletic cleats after high school.
Family game nights are great for including small children, too. The toddler set adores games like Candy Land, while older children gravitate to Monopoly Junior. The entire family can enjoy games like charades or Pictionary that don’t require reading, writing, or arithmetic to provide oodles of smiles.
2. Star Party
The night sky is an impressive sight, but we’re often limited in how many stars we take in due to city lights and the business of our everyday routines. Why not throw a party centered on relaxing and stargazing in the backyard? You can get some quality gazing in regardless of where you live with the right telescope and outdoor lighting scheme.
Look for fully shaded outdoor lamps and replace your bulbs with low-color-temperature LEDs. These may even improve your health, as researchers link nighttime exposure to the blue light spectrum with various diseases.
For even more fun, make your star party a pajama version. You’re never too old for a sleepover, after all. If you time your outdoor party correctly, you and your invitees can take turns naming new constellations or getting a glorious view of a meteor shower.
3. Master a New Skill
Who said learning has to be boring? If you and your guests enjoy tipping one back, few will complain about learning how to mix the hottest new cocktails. Hire a mixologist or bartender to do a demo or practice yourself to wow your invitees.
There are plenty of other skills to center a party around, too. Have you recently discovered a new yoga form that’s transformed your practice? Some instructors give private lessons for a fee — why not set up a sunny afternoon demo on your back patio? You can follow your session with freshly squeezed juices while relaxing and chatting.
The very best outdoor parties include a central activity for guests to enjoy. Mastering a skill yourself or learning it alongside friends can be a great way to engage your guests and throw a memorable backyard shindig. Food, drink, exercise, open mic — plenty of hobbies are worthy of their own celebrations.
4. Overcome Obstacles
Did you think obstacle courses were only for kids? The popularity of “American Ninja Warrior” says otherwise. Take a cue from reality television and prepare for physical feats (and many laughs) by inviting friends and family to try out an obstacle course in your backyard.
The best part about this outdoor party idea is that you don’t have to spend much money on your setup. You can use soft pool noodles to create many obstacles, protecting your heads while you limbo under tight passages. Nylon rope doesn’t cost much at many hardware stores and can support considerable weight. Use it to create nets or swing over a mud-filled play pool.
Then, have a few fun prizes ready for the top winners or just prepare some participation ribbons for everyone who was willing to give the activity a go. Adding a hearty dinner, some refreshing drinks and good conversation will make your obstacle course an outdoor party to remember.
5. The Classic Pool Party
Do you have a pool or a hot tub? Why not welcome back the warm weather with a pool party? When the weather gets warmer, your friends and family will be itching to get the first swim of the season in. You can make your outdoor party a celebration when you’re finally ready to open up the pool for the season.
Include plenty of cool, shaded places for guests to sit if they don’t want to get wet — but indicate that swimsuits are recommended on your invitations.
6. Get Crafty
Do you live to knit, crochet or paint with watercolors? Why not get the folks from your circle together for an outdoor afternoon of needlework or art on your back deck?
You can build a party theme around nearly any craft. It helps to offer an introductory activity for any friends who are there to learn, and provide some beginner’s supplies to get them started. Some other accessible arts and crafts activities for a group are paint-a-long sessions — you can cue up an old Bob Ross episode — and other guided crafts.
7. Host a Tasting Event
Are you and your friends oenophiles? Try hosting a tasting at your home to introduce your friends to new varieties and brands. Everyone can contribute their favorite bottle. You provide the nuts, cheese and fruit to accompany sips.
If kids are around, try sampling craft soda or another child-friendly treat. You can also host a secondary tasting event that lets guests choose between the tasting they like best. That way, everyone feels included in the festivities.
This outdoor party idea works for nearly any tasting. Beer, cheese, chocolate…there’s a plethora of flavors out there depending on what you and your friends love to eat and drink. The best part of this party theme is that it gives everyone a chance to contribute a favorite and share it with the group, which naturally opens up conversation for the whole crowd.
Try These Fun Spring Party Ideas
The warm season has finally arrived and it’s time to get outside and make the most of the sun. Gather your friends and family and celebrate spring with these eight outdoor party ideas the whole family will love.
Rose Morrison is the managing editor of Renovated, a home living site where she loves to share home renovation ideas to help people live their best DIY life. She’s especially passionate about sustainable living and incorporating greener habits into everyday life. For more from Rose, you can follow her on Twitter.