Outdoor Gathering People Making Smores

10 Ways to Have More Fun in Your Backyard

Make this your best summer ever by planning fun things to do with your friends and family. We’ve mapped out the top 10 bucket list items every food-loving family needs to complete this summer. Share your outdoor activities using the hashtag #howipamperedchef on Facebook and Instagram. Try one activity a week and by the end of the summer you’ll have 10 amazing memories.

1. Make s’mores at your backyard camp out. Kick off summer with a firepit—it’s officially s’mores season! Get your family together, put up the tent, and get a campfire started. Take classic s’mores to a new level with a few different combinations, or turn them into a sharable dessert dip. Then bring on the ghost stories!

100250_SMORES DIP_SUMMER20_V04_RT.psd

2. Have a cookout. Good weather calls for grilling. Change up your menu and add grilled pizzas to the mix. You can customize them by adding your favorite seasonal veggies or fruits as toppings. If you’ve never grilled pizza, start with one of these easy flatbread recipes using a fool-proof pizza dough that takes five minutes to make.

Pizza Grilling Set

3. Turn your backyard into a restaurant. If you can’t make it to a rooftop bistro, bring the outdoor restaurant vibe home to your yard. Make outdoor dining into a big event with printed menus, a tablecloth, some candles, and music. Get the kids involved and let them play host and waiter for the evening. Then see what silliness happens next.

Photo: @cookingwithjulie

4. Have a picnic. Hanging by the kiddie pool this summer or heading to the beach? Pack some portable snacks for everyone to enjoy and you can turn any outing into a reason to picnic. Even if you’re planning to stay in the backyard all day, prepping a picnic ahead of time means you won’t have leave the outdoor activities to make lunch or dinner.

Cool & Serve Bowls

5. Throw a pool party. You might have a huge inground pool, or maybe just a sprinkler, but it’s easy to turn water activities into an all-out party. Add squirt guns, a bubble machine, or water balloons into the mix for extra fun. Send the kids on a treasure hunt. They can dive for trinkets in a pool or hunt around the yard. Then make a few tropical-themed snacks and serve up Berry Lemonade Quicksicles for a refreshing and fruity treat. These ice pop also make a great adults-only treat!

Photo: @krishabrouckcookspc

6. Make a garden-to-table meal. For a fun way to lighten up weekday dinners, start a small vegetable garden and you’ll have a few fresh ingredients ready to go. Summer is the best time for fruits and veggies: When they’re fresh they’re even more flavorful. Try this one-pot pasta primavera. This recipe would be so delicious with fresh parsley and tomatoes from a simple patio garden.

Pasta Primavera With Gremolata

7. Have a movie night. You can’t go wrong with a movie night. You can watch movies at home all year, but during the summer, your backyard can become the venue. Project a family favorite or newly released movie onto a large, white sheet or the side of your garage, add homemade popcorn, and make summertime memories.

Photo: @pamperedchefjoy

8. Create your own summer camp. Take a whole day to recreate classic camp memories. Sing silly songs, go on nature hike around the neighborhood, make tie-dye t-shirts, play dodgeball or hold a relay race. End the day with a build-your-own sundae bar with your family’s favorite toppings, so everyone can make their own unique desserts.

Photo: @simply_scratch

9. Take brunch outside. Summer is a great time to reconnect with friends. Plan a fun, relaxing event and add favorites like Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Braid or Crostini With Lemon-Basil Ricotta Spread to the menu.

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Braid

10. Let the kids cook dinner. Before school starts again, have a family cooking night. Let your kids plan the menu and make most of the recipes themselves. It’s a great way to teach them cooking skills while making memories together. Then take the meal outside and enjoy your deck, patio, or porch.

Photo: @thecraftofcooking

Make this your bucket list and share your activities with us using #howipamperedchef.

This post has been updated since it was originally posted in May 2018.

31 Responses to 10 Ways to Have More Fun in Your Backyard

  1. Charlene July 11, 2018 at 12:31 am #

    Love this!

    • Trish mullins June 12, 2020 at 8:31 pm #

      Love the ice cream idea

    • Betty Rhodes June 29, 2020 at 7:27 pm #

      Can’t wait to get my cast iron set, will definitely be on the grill with them.

  2. lisa malinowski July 14, 2018 at 9:07 am #

    Great ideas!!! Thanks for sharing

    • Trish mullins June 12, 2020 at 8:28 pm #

      Love the ice cream idea

  3. Jess July 16, 2018 at 5:19 pm #

    We’ve already done 4 from this list! And hitting repeat many times over! 🙂

    • Patrece July 20, 2018 at 1:44 am #

      That is so awesome! There’s nothing like sharing those special moments with loved ones and friends!

      • Derrick July 27, 2020 at 6:28 pm #

        love the summertime grillin

        • Brenda-Lee Bliss-Rafferty August 4, 2021 at 9:05 am #

          Have done 7 out of the 10, and we added fireworks too!! Made and shared many memories and Pampered Chef has been a part of it!!

    • Deborah June 1, 2020 at 9:16 pm #

      What great ideas. Will try some thank

  4. susan Bass August 1, 2018 at 1:37 pm #

    Thanks, great ideas!!

  5. Sharon August 8, 2019 at 9:03 pm #

    I already LOVE ❤️ the ice cream freezer. I really want to try the rock grille pan

  6. Sherry September 3, 2019 at 4:46 am #

    Can’t wait to use my new grill!

  7. Barbara Wallace May 16, 2020 at 6:38 pm #

    Love all the recipes especially pasta and homemade ice cream in the bubble waffle

  8. Robin Fortier May 26, 2020 at 8:12 am #

    Super cool ideas yummy

  9. Anita Ray June 1, 2020 at 5:17 pm #

    Sounds like a lot of fun when the family is all together

  10. Roseann Roper June 1, 2020 at 5:18 pm #

    Great ideas for Summer

  11. TrinabShurtleff June 1, 2020 at 6:08 pm #

    They are great ideas. I enjoy the backyard all summer with the family. Even more that where under Quarentine due to the Corona Virus /Covid 19.. Thank you it’s been great fun!

    • Charlie Mae Wilder August 26, 2020 at 8:15 am #

      This is a Great idea.

  12. Bonnie Lynch June 2, 2020 at 10:36 am #

    Great ideas!

  13. Petra Rodriguez-Cruz June 2, 2020 at 8:01 pm #

    I love it all everything looks great

  14. Joy June 11, 2020 at 1:34 pm #

    Love the ice cream maker

  15. karen dortch June 17, 2020 at 12:11 pm #

    Love everything!!

  16. Linda Boice June 24, 2020 at 5:56 pm #

    look like great ideas for summer family fun…

    • Donna Averill July 3, 2020 at 5:14 pm #

      There is nothing better than backyard fun with the family! Glad you enjoy all the idea’s! Come back often!

  17. Melissa E Wasaitis June 25, 2020 at 9:21 am #

    What a way to spend the time together with the family. Wonderful Ideas for the friends to join in and have a wonderful pizza night with their kids!

  18. Peggy Hawald June 30, 2020 at 9:00 pm #

    I received my little grill and I absolutely LOVE it.. Having only ever used charcoal to grill over, I was skeptical in using a grill that was charcoal and electric. So far I have only cooked hamburgers and barbecue chicken but let me tell you they came out perfectly. And I used the electrical part instead of charcoal. I only had a small issue with the grill being smokey and that was just on the first time I turned it on when I first got it. Haven’t had any issues with it being to smokey at all since that first time. And did I mention clean-up?! Oh my gosh, it is so easy to clean up after cooking on it. I use the grill mats and tray and cleaning is such a breeze. I can’t wait to take it on vacation. It packs up so nicely with all the parts going inside to make travel easy. I can’t wait to get my 5.5 iron skillets that I recently order. I can see endless uses for them with my little grill !! This little grill is a gem of a product!!!

  19. Carol McLaughlin July 1, 2020 at 4:52 pm #

    Lots of great ideas. Will be using them on our camping trips as well as the backyard BBQ’s. Thanks for the recipes and ideas!!

  20. Lisa Mckinnon August 2, 2020 at 5:42 pm #

    Tons of great ideas! I can’t wait to try them!

  21. jo Nance July 12, 2021 at 9:17 am #

    We have regular picnics around our pool and use homegrown tomatoes that my 5 yr. old chooses from our backyard garden!

  22. Nora russo August 24, 2021 at 8:15 pm #

    Can’t wait to do #1 s’mores with my mini cast irons on bbq

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