One of my favorite things to do in the summer is picnic with my family. It’s a great escape from our daily routine and a relaxing change of pace from busy schedules and technology overload. It gives everyone an opportunity to focus on one another and the beauty that surrounds us without all the distractions.
It’s a great bonding experience for the family, and the fresh air and Vitamin D are beneficial to everyone. I’m going to share with you some of my favorite tips for picnic perfection. So, put those phones on silent and head outdoors, have fun, and spend some quality time with your loved ones.
The first thing you need for a great picnic is food. The food can range from packed sandwiches, salads, chips, fruit and cookies to grilled burgers and hotdogs to take out fried chicken, cheeseburgers or pizza. Whatever works for you and your family is the perfect picnic food. The possibilities are endless. I’ve even been known to just throw a few snacks, some fruit, and a couple water bottles in my purse and head out.
My favorite location for a picnic is a scenic park. It provides beautiful surroundings, as well as entertainment for the younger members of the family who are not as excited as I am about just sitting peacefully and relaxing. The riverfront, beaches, lakes and creeks provide gorgeous views if you happen to live near any. Other great picnic spots could be any grassy area, under a tree or even in your own backyard. In the case of inclement weather, the car or your living room floor works great to mix things up.
Sometimes coming up with your own entertainment such as exploring nature, talking about your day, singing songs or people watching is all the entertainment you need. Other times, it’s fun to take along some outdoor toys and activities. Scooters or bicycles (and helmets), cornhole, hacky sacks, frisbees, bubbles, card games, sidewalk chalk, velcro toss/catch, and water balloons/blasters are my go to’s. I also like to bring along some books in case we just want some quiet time. Then there are organized activities like concerts or movies in the park and drive-in movie theaters that are perfect for picnicking and where the entertainment is part of the location.
Many parks provide picnic tables and grills, or you can choose your own spot and just throw a blanket down wherever you like. I prefer to use picnic blankets with a waterproof backing (which I keep in my car for impromptu picnicking) but if you don’t have one of those, any blanket, sheet, or tablecloth will do. If the wet ground is a concern and you are using a regular blanket, you can use a shower curtain liner or thick cardboard under it to keep you from getting wet.
If I’m bringing my food from home, I like to use a rolling cooler or cooler bag so that I can get to the perfect picnic destination without having to carry a lot of gear. I also pack a tote bag or backpack with the essentials; disposable (or plastic reusable) dishes and utensils, hand sanitizer, a roll of paper towels, and sunscreen. I also like to throw in wet wipes, insect repellant, a small first aid kit, hair ties and trash bags. I have a rechargeable personal fan that I can wear around my neck and some mister fans that I usually add to my bag as well if it’s going to be very hot. And don’t forget to grab your camera, this is the perfect opportunity to get some great shots.
There are no rules to the perfect picnic other than to have fun. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you eat, it’s about the adventure. After you go on a picnic or two, you will learn what works best for your family, but if you forget something, don’t worry about it! That’s part of the experience. Your kids will always remember the time that they had to eat the potato salad with a chip or when Dad flipped the burgers by making a spatula out of a crushed can and a stick because Mom forgot the utensils. What makes it special is the time you get to spend together with your family and the memories that you make.