One of my favorite ways to bond with the kids is by going on a lazy afternoon picnic. My parents took me on lots of picnics as a child, and it’s a tradition I loved to carry on with my own family. I think that it’s one of the best ways to get the kids out of the house in the summer!
Typically, the kids are bored and bugging to get out and do something, so you think to yourself, why not have a picnic? You throw some sandwiches in a grocery store bag, pack up the van and wing it. But I think it can be so much better if you take the time to plan it out perfectly.
It’s pretty rare these days to see a traditional family picnic because we live in such a busy world. We get caught up in the day-to-day excitement of everything going on, not to mention all of the electronic distractions we have. But picnics are good for the soul!
Here are my tips to help you plan the perfect picnic with your family.
#1: The perfect time and date
The first thing I recommend doing is picking the perfect date. Check the weather, especially if you live in an area where unforeseen and crazy weather is common. There are some apps and websites that do a pretty job of predicting bad weather quite a few weeks in advance. Although these aren’t always completely reliable, it’s nice to at least have an idea of what the temperatures are going to be.
Whether you are a family of two or a family of ten, it’s a good idea to plan the picnic when you know everyone is available. This can be hard to do because as the kids get older and start to begin their own lives and make their own plans, their appearances start to be more and more rare. That is why it’s very important to get everyone’s schedules before-hand. It’s also a good idea to consider the time of day; do you want a lunch picnic or an evening picnic?
#2: The perfect place
Some families may not care which park they have their picnic at. This might be your family, and if so, that’s perfectly fine! On the other hand, some families will go great lengths on a drive into the mountains to one of their favorite places. The most important thing to remember is the point of the picnic, getting the family together to have fun.
Some places may be more sentimental than others, but regardless everyone will have fun being together as a family. If possible, going close to a playground or body of water is fun, you can get wet or go fishing and make a day of it because there is more to do. Scout out your area first. Are there volleyball nets or open areas of grass? This will help you plan what activities you are going to do.
#3: The perfect food
When it comes to my family, the menu is one of the most important elements to a picnic! This can get complicated if you have a group of picky eaters. Ask yourself how much preparation and how much work you want to do on the actual picnic.
I have seen families order from restaurants and take that to a park, down to the simplest meat and cheese sandwiches. My favorite picnic tradition is fried chicken! My mom would make fried chicken, coleslaw and fresh biscuits right before the picnic and pack up the entire meal and take it to the park.
A good dessert is always a bonus and treat for the whole family. Make sure to take lots of drinks, when you are having a good time the whole family will be thirsty!
#4: The perfect details
Regardless of your children’s ages or the amount of time your family will be spending on the picnic, pick a location with some sort of restroom. This will save you from having people doing the potty dance and getting anxious to go home.
It’s also a good idea to bring your own tablecloths or blankets to eat on, and wipes to clean dirty hands. Since most picnic places are public places, there are probably a lot of germs and once you get there you don’t want to be running back and forth to the store for necessities.
Although the perfect picnic does take extra time and effort, by the end of the day it will be worth it! What are YOUR perfect picnic tips and tricks? Please share in the comments!