Picnics are an easy way to add a little fun into your day. You have to eat anyway, so why not make it a picnic. We may not be able to spend money on an amusement park or take a camping trip this weekend, but we can create a little magic by taking time to go on a picnic. The following ideas offer a good place to start.
- Keep it simple - My main advice though is to keep it simple. You do not need to make elaborate plans or pack for hours. Frequent, small picnics will provide wonderful memories for our family.
- Limit the menu - The best way to keep it simple is to limit the menu. Think finger food and skip the plates and silverware. Don't ask what everyone wants. Once you get to your destination you can reveal the mystery meal.
- Short and sweet - A picnic does not have to be a long, drawn out affair unless you want it to be of course. I use weekday picnics as a way to take a real break from work and see my kids face to face.
Picnic Menu Suggestions
- Think family-style - Instead of making each person individual sandwiches taking into account their likes and dislikes not to mention the potential soggy factor, pack for all. A pizza, a box of crackers and cheese, cut vegetables and dip and fruit are all good choices.
- Pre-pack - If you are planning on taking frequent picnics, keep a picnic basket, soft cooler, or backpack full of all the essentials to make getting out the door easier. Napkins, cups, wet wipes, bug spray and something fun to do like bubbles or chalk can be stored ahead of time.
- Water only - Instead of juice which can spill and attract bugs, keep it simple by making it a picnic rule to only have water. Fill a large container halfway full and then freeze. When you are ready to leave just fill it the rest of the way with cold water, bring cups and you are set for an easy picnic.
- Think outside the park - While the local park or playground is a possibility, consider other nearby places. A gazebo in the town's center, the steps of a large downtown building, the lake shore and our own backyard are all favorite places for my family.
- Change the destination - Even if you are only headed to the backyard, let your kids decide what the actual location will be. My imaginative little ones have planned adventures on pirate ships, imaginary airplanes and rocket ships and tropical islands.
- Add the entertainment factor - Sure your kids are entertainment enough some days, but taking a picnic with you to a free outdoor concert is a great way to get out of the house and experience something new with your kids. Check the local paper to see what activities are coming up and maybe you can piggyback with a picnic.
- Breakfast picnic - On days when we have a lot going on; packing breakfast is a good way to jumpstart the day. Breakfast is especially easy to pack. This is the only time I will budge on my water only rule, a thermos of coffee is a must for me, so I allow juice boxes.
- Night sky picnic - When your kids can sleep late the next day, plan a late night picnic. Hanging out under the stars munching on treats is a fun surprise for kids.
- Sidelines picnic - Sporting events offer a built-in picnic site. Pack a picnic lunch, or dinner, lay out the blanket and relax before or after the game instead of rushing to a fast food joint.
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