A picnic with the kids can be a great way to get out of the house for a couple hours. After all, we all need a bit of time away from the house and picnics are an affordable option. The key is planning ahead so that your lunch goes off without a hitch. This means checking the weather and planning fun activities. Here’s how to plan a picnic lunch for your kids.
We will go through all the things to keep in mind when you decide on taking kids on a picnic trip. Here are steps on how to plan a picnic for successful and fun experience:
1. Check the Weather
First things first. You want to check the weather for the week and choose a day where there’s the least chance of rain. You want a sunny day where you can enjoy the great outdoors without the risk for getting wet. However, it pays to be prepared for rain by having ponchos and umbrellas handy in the car.
2. Choose a Fun Location
You want to choose a location that has something fun for the kids. For example, you might choose the city park that has a playground or even a place in a national park that has a creek for the kids to play in. There are so many great options. It all depends on where you live. Even if you live in a concrete jungle, you can find fun locations for your picnic. And, if all other plans fail, you can still choose your own backyard!
3. How to plan a picnic lunch?
The menu should be something that’s exciting for kids. You can cut sandwiches in fun shapes using cookie cutters. You can also make candy sushi for dessert using fruit rolls, marshmallow cereal treats, and red licorice. For a fun side dish, bring along carrot and celery sticks for dipping in ranch dressing. Kids love anything they can dip.
- BOTTLED WATER AND JUICE BOXES – You want to make sure to have plenty of liquids on hand. If you will be traveling a good distance to your picnic location or plan to do activities before lunch, you can freeze your water bottles and juice boxes. This will allow you to keep everything in the picnic basket nice and cold without the need for ice packs. You’ll have more room in your basket for the good stuff. If you want to keep your foods even colder, invest in an insulated picnic basket.
- FRUIT – Fruit is a great dessert not only because it’s healthier, but there’s little cleanup and it’s easy to serve. Apples, oranges, pears, plums, peaches, berries, and bananas all make good options. You can also slice a watermelon at home and package wedges in zip top bags. If you want a really refreshing treat, freeze the watermelon wedges. It will keep your foods cold and be nice and cold when you eat it.
- FINGER FOODS – Finger foods are wonderful because you don’t have to worry about bringing along silverware. You can also package everything so that the foods can be eaten directly from the container. This leaves very little cleanup. Great finger foods include sandwiches, cheese and meat cubes, and fried chicken. You’ll also notice that all of these foods can be eaten cold. This means that you don’t have to worry about keeping anything hot. Everything can be transported together, making it easier to pack your picnic basket.
FUN TODDLER-FRIENDLY PICNIC FOODS
The key is to look for fun foods. Whether it’s sandwiches cut into fun shapes or a yummy dip, these fun toddler-friendly picnic foods are sure to be a big hit with your little one.
- COOKIE CUTTER SANDWICHES – Cookie cutter sandwiches are so easy to make. All you need to do is make your sandwiches and then choose your toddler’s favorite shape. The key is to use a large hollow cookie cutter. If you’re working with hard ingredients such as salami and cheddar cheese, you may want to cut all your ingredients before assembling. You can do this with any kind of sandwich.
- BEAN DIP – Kids love dip. Bean dip is fun for the kids, but can also be healthy. You can buy bean dip or easily make your own using a food processor. All you need to do is pour in a large can of rinsed and drained white beans along with your favorite seasonings and olive oil. You can add minced garlic, chili powder, chives – whatever you family likes. Make it ahead and pop in the fridge until you’re ready to go.
- CHICKEN FINGERS – Chicken fingers are another fun toddler friendly picnic food. You can make yummy baked chicken fingers using chicken tenderloins dipped in buttermilk and then rolled in crushed cheese crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until cooked through. You can also make these in nugget-sized to make them easier for your child to eat.
- FRUIT SUSHI – A great dessert idea is to unroll fruit snack wraps and fill them with rice cereal treat mixture. You can then flatten it out and fill with other candies or dried fruits. Roll them up and then cut into pieces to make them look like sushi. You can also do peanut butter and jelly sushi by spreading peanut butter and jelly on a tortilla and rolling up and refrigerating before slicing it into pieces. Either way, this is a fun picnic food.
- CHEESE ROLL UPS – Last, but not least, cheese roll ups are easy and delicious for kids. You can spread a tortilla with cream cheese and then add shredded cheese or cheese slices. Roll tightly and that’s it. You can also include salsa for dipping.
4. How to plan a picnic activities?
Depending on where you’re having the picnic, you want to bring fun things for the kids to do. It might be kites from the Dollar Tree, a large ball, or even a plastic baseball bat and ball. You might also want to bring along a kids’ camera so your kids can take pictures if you’re picnicking in a pretty area. Here are few suggestions (choose according to child’s age):
- HIDE AND SEEK – Hide and seek is a wonderful game if you’re having a picnic in your back yard. If you’re going to the park, make sure your kids know that they can only hide in certain areas. You also want to make sure you know the park very well and that it’s a safe area.
- HORSESHOES – Horseshoes is an easy game to bring along because it doesn’t have many pieces. Some parks even have horseshoe stakes in place so all you need are the horseshoes. If you don’t have a horseshoe set, check your local discount department store for a ring toss game.
- BADMINTON – You can find portable badminton sets that are easy to set up and take down. Everything packs away into a carrying case for easy transport. This is a fun game that will keep kids and adults busy for hours on end. You can even find glow in the dark birdies so the fun can continue after the sun has set.
- I SPY – You don’t need anything for this game. All you need to do is look around the park and say, “I spy something green.” And then the kids will take turn guessing what it is. This game can go on for hours and is a great way to teach colors and shapes. You can also get our printable scavenger hunts as they contain many outdoor options.
- TIC TAC TOE – Chances are you have a pen and notepad in your vehicle. Use it to play tic tac toe. This is another easy game that can go on for hours.
- CHECKERS – Last, but not least, checkers is another game that doesn’t take up a lot of space. You can even find travel editions that have magnetic pieces. This is a fun, simple game that kids will love to play.
5. Pack the Essentials
You want to remember to have sunscreen, wet wipes, and changes of clothing on hand. The wet wipes help your kids clean up after the picnic and it never hurts to have a change of clothing on hand should spills occur. If there’s a creek where you’ll be going, bring along water shoes so your kids can play without getting their sneakers wet. Again, the exact supplies will depend on where you’re picnicking.
- BLANKET – Not every area you’re going to will have picnic tables or have tables available. You want a blanket that has a backing that won’t allow any water from the ground to soak through. Make sure the blanket is large enough for your entire family, plus the food. If you want to help keep bugs away, place fabric softener sheets under your blanket. Most bugs hate the smell.
- SUNSCREEN – Sunscreen is another must-have. It doesn’t matter if it’s overcast or completely cloudy, you want to make sure to apply sunscreen every two hours. This will ensure that everyone is protected and won’t go home with a nasty sunburn.
- TRASH BAG – Last, but not least, don’t forget a trash bag. The tips above will help cut down on trash but there will still be a little bit. Instead of piling everything back into your cooler, use a small trash bag. This will allow you to stop at a gas station on the way home and easily throw away your mess.
A picnic is so much fun for kids and it gives you all a chance to get out of the house for a few hours.
With a bit of planning, you can have a successful picnic that gives you lots of great memories. A picnic is a wonderful way to spend a summer afternoon and with these tips you can ensure that you have the best time possible.