They’re not my favorite insects (especially when I find a stray one in the kitchen), but I think the ants are right – picnics are the place to be! There’s just something about enjoying a meal in the fresh air – it’s so “summer-y”! A picnic is also an easy, affordable, and just downright fun thing to do with your kids. My family’s favorite style of picnic consists of a package of naan, a container of hummus, some fresh berries, and an overly excited toddler.
Here are some other great picnic ideas:
Have a Potluck Picnic
Potluck dinner parties or BBQ’s are great because they relieve you of some of the food prep, but if you’re the host, you still have to deal with the after-party clean up. Instead, invite your friends and their families to a potluck picnic at a nearby park. Everyone can enjoy some fun in the sun and nobody gets stuck with dish duty!
Picnic at the Playground
If you’re heading to the neighborhood playground with your kids in the morning, take an extra ten minutes to slap together some sandwiches and put them in a cooler bag with water and some fruit. Now you can enjoy an easy lunch at the playground and not have to worry about preparing a meal when you get back!
Have an Impromptu Backyard Picnic
The other day I was reheating some leftover mac and cheese casserole for my son and my daycare kids. I glanced at my freshly cleaned floors and suddenly announced “We’re eating lunch in the backyard!” Hot casserole might not be typical picnic fare, but I just dumped it into a large covered dish and grabbed some plastic bowls. The kids loved our spontaneous picnic!
Picnic Indoors on the Floor
Did you plan a family picnic only to wake up to a summer storm or high heat advisory? Don’t cancel your picnic – just move it indoors! Spread a blanket on the living room floor and enjoy your lunch. Your kids will get a kick out of it!
Tips for Foolproof Picnics:
- Eat on the ground! Bypass the picnic tables at the park and spread out your blanket on the grass. Why? Because it’s just more fun!
- Invest in a cooler bag! Wicket baskets may have old-fashioned charm, but they fall short on keeping food fresh in the summer sun.
- Bring some extra food. Fresh air and exercise can increase the appetites of your little ones – and I find that even my picky eater can chow down when it’s a picnic – so make sure you’ve got plenty to eat. And don’t forget the refreshments so that everyone stays well hydrated in the sun!
- If you’ve got very young, messy kids and don’t want to stain your nice blankets, throw a vinyl tablecloth on the ground instead. You can buy them at dollar stores and they wipe clean!
- Don’t stress about the menu. With kids and picnics, it’s all about the experience of eating outdoors without the typical table rules. In fact, this could be the perfect opportunity to introduce a new food – you’d be surprised what kids will be open to trying when it’s served on the ground!
- Pack a litterless lunch. It’s important to always leave picnic areas just as you found them so pack your food in reusable containers so there’s no garbage to bother with!