After the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, there are still two glorious months of summer to enjoy with your family and friends, and one of best ways to enjoy quality time together is with classic Australian backyard entertaining.

One of the many great things about entertaining at home in the warm summer months, is that every family member, age and stage, can be easily catered to in terms of food, entertainment and naps (for young and old)!

Follow these sure-fire ways to make the most of those special family days that create lifelong memories.

Backyard entertaining is perfect for Australian summertime.

Fire up the barbie

It’s a given that’s you’ll be firing up the barbie for your day’s feasting, but have you checked you’ve got what you need? First and foremost, is your gas bottle full? The last thing you want to do is run out halfway through cooking, so your first port of call is to head to your local servo or retailer where you can replace your SWAP’n’GO gas bottle. If you haven’t used SWAP’n’GO before, or if you get sent on a mission for someone else, there are over 6,000 retailers and you can find the closest one to you on the free Elgas SWAP’n’GO Near Me Locater App. All bottles are leak-tested and within expiry date, which means less hassle for you.

Also, check you have enough gas for any outdoor heating or gas fire pits, that you might need later in the evening, or if you have a gas-fired pizza oven (great for keeping the kids happy!).

Planning in advance for your guests’ comfort means you can relax and enjoy the day without dashing around looking for things. Make sure picnic rugs, shade, bug spray, sunblock, towels and blankets are readily available, and designate a quiet cool room for younger folk who might need naps away from the action. And, maybe a place for Pop, too.

Firing up the barbecue is a given at a family get-together.

Food, glorious food

Steak, sausages, fish, prawns, veggies! Yum! You probably have your default barbecue favourites, but if you want to expand your horizons with a new baste, sauce or even protein – think chermoula lamb, fish kebabs or chargrilled polenta – you’ll find barbecue inspiration here.

Friends and family love to bring their signature dishes, if you want something specific that doesn’t clash with your special prawn and mango salad, simply think about what you’d like to serve and make specific requests, if necessary – after all, it’s a family affair. To reduce the chance of hungry (unhappy) kids, encourage them to bring a particular dish for their child’s age group, or dietary needs where appropriate.

For salads and summer snack foods check out these lip-smacking ideas, and these are your go-tos for make-ahead summer desserts.

Creating nooks and play spaces for kids will help keep them entertained.

It’s all fun and games

Backyard entertainment for the whole family can include swim time (safety first, always), backyard cricket and ball games, and a beach boules set or wooden battle block throwing game are super fun too.

Push the boat out a little for the smaller guests by creating a shaded area with dress-ups and also a book nook for quieter tots who need down time away from the action.

For smaller kids, looks for bean bags games where they aim them at the hole in a wooden cut-out board. Bubbles are a cheap and cheerful fun way to entertain kids as they race around chasing them (away from the BBQ and food) for ages.

Plan ahead to get the best out of special family days! Gas? Tick. Food? Tick. Games? Tick. Guests? Tick.

Brought to you by ELGAS