Spring is one of my favorite times of the year! Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and the earth is warming up! Going to the park, playground, having a picnic, out for a walk or simply playing in the backyard are favorite things! I always joke that my sons are like me – “outdoor cats.” My husband is a little more of an “indoor cat!”
If the nice weather has you super eager for some outdoor time, plan a picnic!
Here are my top takeaways for an easy family picnic outing:
Easy & simple foods
Whether you smack together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or pick-up yummy wraps, just make the food you choose, easy. An elaborate, messy and complex menu looks good on paper (or insta) but isn’t totally practical. Pick fruits like blueberries, cut up apples, or peaches for trouble-free sharing and one-handed eating. Food that don’t require utensils (sandwiches, crackers/hummus, cut up veggies, chips or even falafel balls with dip) are easier to deal with (as well as prep for and clean-up after) than meals that require a fork and knife. If you can use your packing containers (below) instead of plates – even better! The less, the better!
Use Great Containers
Use tupperware, reusable ziplock bags or stainless steel bento boxes (I like #EcoLunchBoxesEcoLunchBoxes and #LunchBots#LunchBots) for eco-friendly food packing. These containers also make it easier to lay out the goods for everyone to dig in!
Bag it up
Use a frozen bag by #packit#packit or invest in some cooler packs and a great picnic bag that is easy to carry. Consider wearing a backpack for all the other gear so your hands are free!
Dress for it
Although photos might be cuter in certain outfits than others, wear something to your picnic that you feel comfortable in and can have fun in! Prepare to get a little dirty or wet. Your kids should be in their most durable play clothing! Sun hats and sunglasses are also key.
Have the Right Wheels
Using your regular stroller or your jogger with bigger wheels is just perfect! If you are considering more rough terrain like the beach or “off roading” for this picnic, consider a wagon! Compare wagons here and here. Honestly, if I was made of money, I’d pick the Keenz or #Veer – they seem amazing.
Lay out the Perfect Picnic Blanket
The best picnic blankets are the ones that insulate you from wet grass, are easy to fold-up and clean-up! Amazon carries these kind that fold pretty small and are waterproof (and somewhat sand proof!).
Bring Along Toys & Games
Bring a ball to kick around or toys for your infant to chew on! Packing up activities to enjoy as a family is a perfect way to spend a sunny day. Choose items that are easy to pack and clean-up. Avoid toys with many parts and small pieces. Interactive and open ended items are best – you can create all sorts of fun activities with a few balls, a frisbee, or simple outdoor items! You can even skip the toys and explore nature together – find bugs, bird watch, play in a creek or a nature scavenger hunt!
Have the Good Gear
- Tent: If you have little ones to contain or protect, consider your pop-up options! I like these tents or these ones. This one also seems kind of great! We have this one! Bigger tents can also provide a fun place to play or read books together (we also have this one)!
- Chairs: Camping chairs (with cupholders!) that come with easy slings to carry over your shoulder are the best! Life is Good (you can also find this at #bedbathandbeyond or #target) sell a beach chair that comes with an attached cooler which seems pretty awesome.
- Playpen: We have this pop-up playpen and use it both inside our house for an impromptu ball pit, and outside for a on-the-go playpen for our littlest one. If you are committed to a spring and summer outside with a very wee baby, consider a better and more all encompassing playpen like this on from Milliard or this one from Summer Infant.
Protect from the sun
I love using physical protection to guard from the sun’s rays verses loading up on tons of sunscreens that contain chemicals (yes, even the organic ones). Yes, we do utilize both to protect the children and ourselves from the sun.
My tips on physical barriers:
- Use tents (above)
- Pack sun hats (check out these from iPlay)
- Wear UV protection clothing by #Coolibar#Coolibar or SFP Shirts by #REI#REI
- Pick a spot in the shade
- Post-up an umbrella (check out these ones from #sport-brella#sport-brella or the Versa-Brella
- Plan a morning or evening picnic (instead of one at noon) for less exposure to the sun
Understand Your Destination
Understand your destination before you go! How far away will you have to park from your picnic spot? Is it safe from access to main roads or will you have to be super vigilant about your kids running around? Is there a playground nearby? What about water?
Pick a place that is both easy to handle and fun for everyone! Consider the weather in the recent days – consider if it has been raining a lot and if your location will be muddy/inaccessible due to small amounts of flooding.
Keep a Positive Mindset
Have fun and don’t worry about the outing being perfect! Something will be forgotten, someone might get a “boo-boo”, the oranges might fall in the dirt, your toddler will get their new shoes filthy! Don’t worry about the small stuff and enjoy your together time and beautiful weather! Life happens.