We finally moved back to California this summer, after being in Texas for nearly five years. One of the things we were eager to start up again was Saturday barbecues. Living in Dallas was great but we never had a backyard appropriate for entertaining. Now, we finally do and we try and take full advantage. For us, one of the key elements to enjoying ourselves is having the kids entertained so the adults can relax. I will share some of my tricks that have worked really well for us.
We always have a dedicated kids table. It is where they can do a craft and eat. We set up a picnic table in the corner of our yard and it is dedicated for the kids. I bought a unfinished picnic bench and painted it a fun blue color and added a bright umbrella. Its not tacky but looks inviting to kids. I also save all the art activities that I have no patience for, and take them out for the party. This entertains the kids forever (or at least until food is ready). Its nice for the kids to have their own area and still be near the adults.
We also break out the yard games. Large Jenga is a huge hit! Kids/adults of all ages love playing. It is so easy to set up and breakdown. Corn Hole is something we really started to enjoy while in Texas, so of course that comes out as well. If there are any Texans ready, you will recognize Big Tex. We won this set at an auction. I basically told my husband I will not be leaving until Big Tex comes with me... and he did! Again, Corn Hole is an enjoyable activity for all ages!