Ten years or so ago, I attended a Mother's Group picnic at a local park. People were supposed to bring a dish to pass and their own meat to grill and drinks. That part was fine, but when we got there the organizer of the event wanted to run the kids games first before we ate. And so we did.
The result was not-so-cold salad items and impatient kids waiting for their hotdogs. I think another non-expected result was the nausea and vomiting I experienced shortly thereafter from spoiled food. Heat and picnic food don't mix.
The organizers of our family reunion get it right! First of all they have a huge kiddie pool filled with ice- all of shared cold items go in the pool and that pool keeps things nice and cold for hours.
They also have the grills going right away too so that as people are arriving, they can cook their meat right away.
After grace, and a meal, the kiddie games start including bean carrying, bag races and of course, water balloon toss.
Then as the little ones start to wind down, the older kids and grown ups play a nice friendly game of softball.
My homeschool group is a little less structured than that. We just provide a big field for the kids to organize their own games while the adults talk,
but what is the same is that food is done FIRST and the cold food is kept cold in a kiddie pool full of ice.
Works for Me