The warm weather is pulling my family outside at all possible times. It’s almost impossible to keep my 3-year-old inside — she even wakes up from a nap ready to take a walk! When we are home, we love to throw a blanket down on the deck and picnic right there.
Now, that’s really easy since the fridge is right there, but taking a picnic out and about to, say a park, doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It’s all about the preparation. Here are some of my go-to picnic must haves!
Figure Out Food
In my experience, finger food is the way to go. It is much easier than packing a lot of extra utensils. My usual choices are string cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, cut up fruit, applesauce pouches, veggie straws (or some other crunchy snack) and yogurt tubes. For an extra treat, I like to pack a juice or milk box in addition to water.
Get the Right Gear
Depending on where you’re headed, you might consider bringing a blanket or sheet to sit on. But in the cooler months, I love to pack a picnic and take my girls to the mall to ride the carousel. Our mall has comfy chairs and coffee table height tables randomly throughout. These are perfect for my little ladies and me to lunch at. I bring a little plastic table cloth — it sets the mood, makes it a little more fun and also a bit less germy. Plus, easy clean up!
I usually keep a bag packed with a few plastic utensils and napkins so it’s ready to go when we are. And this might be the preemie, germ-caution mom in me, but I always make sure to have some hand sanitizer or wipes packed in case hand washing before eating isn’t an option.
Plan Some Entertainment
It doesn’t take much to entertain my girls, thankfully! We love bubbles and chasing a ball around in the grass. In general I have a rule that toys do not come out of the car with us (unless it’s to go back in the house), but a baby doll is always welcome at our little fiesta.
I usually use my daughter’s lunch box when we are packing up for several of us to go picnicking somewhere, but I also have a couple of larger options and even some smaller options. A thin ice pack keeps everything cool, even for a longer trip.
With summer just beginning, I can’t wait for all the fun picnics ahead of us.
What are your favorite picnic foods and fun places you like to set up? —Julie