How to Play I'm Going on a Picnic

A classic memory game for kids ages 5 and up

How to Play I'm Going on a Picnic
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Looking for a great car game to play with kids who are beginning readers? This alphabet-based categorizing memory game is great for kids 5 and up, or for slightly younger kids who have learned their ABCs. You don't need a game board or any materials, so it's perfect for long car rides, train trips and, of course, picnics. This is one of our go-to car and travel games for young school-age kids.

How to Play I'm Going on a Picnic

This alphabet memory game can be played with as few as two players, but it's much more fun when the whole family joins in.

To begin, one person kicks it off by saying, "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing..." followed by something that you can eat that begins with A, such as "...apples" or "...artichokes."

The second player repeats what the first person said, but adds a food that begins with B. "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing apples and bananas."

Continue with the next player repeating the line with the first two items and adding something that begins with C. "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing apples, bananas, and corn." 

And so on with D and the rest of the alphabet. As the game proceeds, it becomes harder because the player has to come up with an item for their leter and also recall all of the items that came before.


The further you get in the alphabet, the harder the game becomes. If an adult forgets an item, he or she is out. But to be fair, feel free to give hints or extra tries to kids.

The last player to be able to recite all the items on the list wins.

Younger players may play on a team with an adult if they choose. If they want to play on their own, permit them extra time or several chances per round, if the other players agree.


If playing with pre-school kids, you can eliminate the memory part of the game and make it only an alphabet game. In this version, a player must come up with an item that begins with the next letter but does not have to recall all of the items that came before it.

The game can easily be freshened up by changing where you're going. For example:

  • "I'm going to the zoo to see..." followed by an animal that begins with A, such as " armadillo." 
  • "I'm going to to grow up and be an..." followed by a profession that begins with A, such as "astronaut." The next player follows with "an astronaut or a banker." And so on.
  • "I'm going to a party with my friend..." followed by a person's name that begins with A, such as "...Amy."
  • "I'm going to the city and I'm going to see..." followed by something you would see in a city that begins with A, such as " apartment building." 
  • "I'm going on vacation to visit...." followed by a place name that begins with A, such as "Arizona."
Girl with headphones using digital tablet watching video in back seat of car
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More Tips for Road Trips With Kids

  • Keep car sickness at bay. Is your kid prone to motion sickness? Find out how to prevent motion sickness in children before you leave home.
  • Download essential apps.  Don't leave home before arming your phone with tools that make your trip easier. These indispensable apps for your best road trip ever can help you build an itinerary, find a last-minute hotel, locate cheap gas, and customize your in-car entertainment.
  • Bring a few travel toys. The best take-alongs for car trips keep kids entertained without creating too much noise, taking up too much space, or making a mess. Here are  10 must-have travel toys and games for family road trips to keep that boredom in the backseat at bay.
  • Find smart advice on Pinterest. The social media platform is a fantastic place to find clever tips on how to reduce car-trip mess and stress.
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