The Great American Picnic
My husband and I love being outdoors and, for the most part, our kids do too. If we could spend the majority of every day outside, we would. We constantly look for creative ways to enjoy the outdoors. While hiking, biking, camping, and boating have been at the top of the list for our family, these activities don’t always sit well with our four and six year old. So how do we get the little ones on board for an outdoor adventure? Tell them it’s time for a picnic! Something magical happens when we combine a picnic with an outdoor activity. The kids are more willing to go on an adventure (our code word for any type of strenuous outdoor activity) and complain a lot less on the car ride there.
Like the kids, I love a good picnic. It combines two of my favorite things: eating and spending time outdoors. I’ve always had this vision of finding a grassy meadow with my family and laying out a big picnic blanket with a basket full of all of our favorite foods. The sun is shining (but not too hot) and the kids are running around and chasing each other while my husband and I enjoy some delicious picnic food. The kids are playing nicely and we have an hour to relax and enjoy each others’ company. The reality of my vision is a little different, but not too far off.
Last summer, I was determined to find some nice picnicking places for our family so that I could carry out my vision. I wanted to find a large grassy meadow that allowed us to socially distance ourselves from others and keep our family safe. My husband wasn’t convinced that we’d be able to find a field with green grass in Colorado, but I was certain that I was going to prove him wrong. I did my research online and made my husband drive around a few different areas until we found the perfect space. Thankfully, we were able to find a few different locations where we could lay down a picnic blanket, watch the kids run around, and eat some yummy food. There was only one tiny hiccup, we didn’t have a great picnic blanket.
For the first couple of picnics, the smaller blanket suited us just fine. But my husband thought that he could find something that was a better fit for our family. We wanted something we could easily carry and bring with us on camping and hiking trips. What my husband found was the WORLD’S LARGEST PICNIC BLANKET! You could probably fit a few families on this thing. And although I teased him about it after he first bought it, I have fallen in love with this picnic blanket. It has plenty of room for our family AND all of our food AND all of our shoes AND all of the kid’s toys AND any extra weather permitting clothes we may need. We can lay down on it and the kids can jump and roll around. It doesn’t bunch up as our old blanket did. It’s durable, easy to clean, and easy to store. While you don’t need a blanket quite like this to picnic, it has become a more enjoyable experience for our family and we use it all the time.
The great thing about picnicking is you can do it anywhere with anyone. You don’t need to have an experience quite like ours to have an enjoyable picnic. You don’t need to find a field of green grass or even go outside. Some of the best picnics I’ve had recently with the kiddos happened in our living room because it was raining outside. You could find a picnic table on the side of the road or at a park. You could lay your jacket down on a patch of grass or use an old blanket as we did for our first picnic together. The best thing about picnics is the people you share them with. So grab some picnic essentials, find a nice spot indoors or outdoors, and enjoy eating some delicious food with good company.
My go-to picnic essentials:
- Ginormous picnic blanket (or sheet)
- Portable cooler or bag for drinks, cheese, sandwiches, fruit, veggies, etc.
- Hats, sunscreen, jackets
- Napkins, paper towels, and/or hand wipes
- Knife and plates (I usually bring finger foods so don’t need other utensils)
- Soccer ball and/or baseball (or other outdoor toys for kids)
- Chocolate (did I mention that already?)
- Baggies for leftovers
I wish you all a summer full of fun adventurous creative picnicking!