I can feel the warmth of the sun coming through the kitchen window, I’m having to water my flowers and not just rely on the weather gods to do it for me and I can actually hang my washing on the line. Yes, it’s nearly summer, a time that instantly lifts my mood, makes me want to throw the doors and windows open and let the warm breeze blow out all the worries of modern day life.
With the warmer weather, we are also likely to start eating outside more. We love the opportunity to get outdoors and a testament to that is the amount of kids toys that my garden is scattered with. But how can you really make the most of picnic time with the little people?
Well, I’ve put together some of my most favourite tips for picnics so that you can have a stress free day out with your children.
It’s all in the planning…
- Check the weather.
- If you are heading somewhere with attractions, are they all open?
- How far is the picnic spot from the car?
- Is it suitable for dogs/pushchairs?
- How far are the toilets (if there even are any?) Of course if you’re having a picnic in the field across from your house, then that’s a different matter. Just make sure everyone has had a wee before you go
Where to sit?
It might be that you’re heading to a country park where there are picnic benches. You may need to take a picnic blanket or two. Maybe a couple of folding camping chairs. If you have a little one that is likely to wander off then I recommend the Summer Infant pop n sit. Similar to full-size camping chairs, the Pop n Sit is ideal for little ones because it has a 3 point harness, allowing you to strap your baby/toddler in.
It’s lightweight and comes in a range of colours. The handy tray clips on and off meaning you can use it for feeding time and it collapses very small into its own handy carry bag. The pop n sit also comes with a couple of handy straps meaning when at home, you can secure it to a stable chair, meaning your child can sit at the table with the rest of the family instead of in a high chair.
This makes it handy for restaurants too. Especially as it folds up small enough to load onto your pushchair or even carry.
We were sent the pop n sit in pink for Bridget to try out and we’ve found it really useful. Liam can sit her in it when he’s bathing the bigger two kids in the evening. I use it to sit Paisley in while I’m doing her hair for preschool and when my 18-month-old niece comes round, she loves to make herself comfy in it.
We’ve found this to be a great piece of kit for in an around the house but it would be brilliant for picnics too. And for just £29, you can’t go far wrong really.
What to eat
Ideally, for a picnic with kids, you going to want finger food. Preparing stuff that is easy to pick up is great for kids and it means not carting big bowls of salad or pasta around and then having to carry empty awkward containers back. Choosing finger foods an also help reduce your single-use plastic usage as you won’t be needing cutlery. Personally, I would avoid chocolate and anything that is likely to melt. Things like those yoghurts in the tubes are ideal as they can be frozen and then work as little ice packs in your bag too and will be sufficiently defrosted by the time you come to eat them. Freezing your drinks will also work well to keep everything chilled, meaning you don’t have to carry around bulky ice packs and then carry them home again. Plus your drinks will melt a bit by the time you need them and will be much more refreshing.
Breadsticks, cheese, strong fruit such as apples rather than berries that will possibly go to mush when bumped about. Perhaps take a couple of dips and vegetable fingers like humous and carrot sticks and then think of things like sausage rolls, mini sausages and a little cake or muffin perhaps.
Food can be packed into portioned lunch plates such as these Easy Mat Mini’s from Easy Tots. With 3 handy sections, you can prepare each child’s food into a plate, add the lid and then pack them into their own ziplock bag too. They come in a range of colours so each child will know their own plate and they take up such little space. If you wanted to order one of these, you can get one at easytots.com – and what’s more, you can get 10% off by entering code messyblog at the checkout.
Making it fun.
Playing games is a winner at picnics. Simple things such as I spy, cloud gazing and daisy chains don’t require you to take anything extra with you. But a Frisby or a tennis ball won’t take up much space for the bigger kids and a bottle of bubbles is great for everyone! Who doesn’t love bubbles? You could even print off a scavenger hunt list of various things to find together.
There are a few things I would recommend taking, besides food and drink that are essentials for any picnic.
- A bag for your rubbish. Remember the countryside code and take your rubbish with you. Leave no trace of your visit behind.
- Sun cream. I always keep a bottle of suncream in my buggy or bag now, just in case. Sunglasses and hats are also a good idea.
- Water and a facecloth/hand towel for cleaning sticky icky kiddies. Yes, you could take wipes and they are easier but do they really clean as well? Not to mention the extra rubbish.
- A bowl for your dog’s water and poo baggies(if you have a dog that is.)
Have I forgotten anything? What one thing would be on your picnic packing essentials list? what are your top tips for picnics without the stress? Comment below and let me know.
Happy picnicking xx