Family picnics are wonderful opportunities for fresh air and family bonding. Make the most of your outings (and make sure they’re delightful experiences for everyone!) with the following tips, tools, and tasty foods!
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Spring has definitely sprung, and you know what that means — bring on the outdoor play, nature exploration, and, of course… picnics! Family picnics are a great way for families to connect and have a little fun together. What’s not to love about enjoying yummy food, family togetherness, and beautiful day outside together?
Let’s be honest, though – family picnics aren’t always… well… a picnic. Kids get bored or hangry, nature doesn’t always cooperate, and sometimes you find that you’re not quite as prepared for family fun as you thought.
Let me help make your next outing an enjoyable one with these tips and tools for the best family picnics.
Tips & Tools for the Best Family Picnics
Family picnics are wonderful opportunities for fresh air and family bonding. Make the most of your outings (and make sure they’re delightful experiences for everyone!) with the following tips, tools, and tasty foods.
Family Picnic Tips
Here are some of my top family picnic tips from my own experience and around the Web:
1. Keep it simple
When it comes to the food, feel free to keep it simple! (Actually, that’s pretty much always my motto when it comes to feeding your family!) The experience of the family picnic is what matters, so unless you LOVE going all out on the food, fix whatever is going to cause you the least amount of stress and the greatest amount of joy.
Other food tips: Finger foods are GREAT for family picnics – and I have several recommendations below. Also, avoid foods that will spoil quickly or keep them in a cooler bag.
2. Prep together
Mom (or Dad) – you don’t have to do everything to get ready for your family picnics! Again, the less stressed you can be going into your picnic, the better. So, take some of the load off by delegating parts of the prep work and getting ready as a family. Bonus: You can actually make preparing for the picnic part of the fun!
3. Be prepared
The more you can do ahead of time so you’re not scrambling right before you want to walk out the door (#beentheredonethat), the better! Here are a few ways to prepare for your family picnic:
- Have a designated picnic bag or basket that’s always stocked with supplies, so all you need to add is the food.
- Think through the utensils you’ll need. Will you need a full set of flatware? Knives for cutting? Big spoons for serving?
- Be sure to bring plenty of napkins!
- Pack a tablecloth, just in case. (Don’t forget the tablecloth clips, unless you have a fitted tablecloth.)
4. Scope out your spot
Check out your location before you schlep everyone out of the car. Is it extra busy that time of day/year? Does it have any things for the kids to do/play on (if you need that)? Most importantly… does it have a bathroom?? This are all things you might want to look into before you head out on your family picnic.
5. Keep the kids engaged
If you have young kids, they’ll get antsy pretty quickly. Have a plan for ways to keep them engaged and having fun. If you’re not going somewhere with play equipment, bring along your own activities or games, like frisbees, toss and catch games, or a portable cornhole game.
6. Plan for clean-up
Once the family picnic fun has been had, it’s time for clean-up. While this is certainly no one’s favorite part, you can make it easier and less stressful with a little advance planning. Here are a few handy tips for quick and easy clean-up:
- Have a designated trash bag (especially if you’re going somewhere that doesn’t have trash bins).
- Bring along a couple of damp washcloths in resealable bags.
- Have a separate bag for dirty silverware/dishes/etc.
7. Keep the bugs at bay
Nothing puts a damper on a picnic quicker than an insect invasion. Follow these quick tips to prevent bugs from crashing your family picnic:
- Pick a spot that is open, dry, and away from any garbage cans or bodies of water.
- Keep food covered until you’re ready to eat.
- Avoid bright colors.
- Light a citronella candle or torch.
- Wear mosquito repellant bracelets.
- Sprinkle your area with citrus essential oil.
- Spray bug repellent (this is our favorite!), or mix up your own DIY natural bug spray.
8. Stay open and flexible
As with all family outings and events, it’s best to go into it with open expectations. Your family picnics don’t have to be Pinterest or Instagram-worthy! Don’t stress if something goes wrong (because with kids, they usually do) – just laugh! Above all, remember that the whole point is to have fun as a family, not to pull off the perfect picnic.
Family Picnic Supplies
Here are some handy tools and supplies to make your family picnic an easy and enjoyable experience for everyone!
- Insulated picnic bag or basket
- Ice packs
- Picnic blanket
- Tablecloth — regular or fitted
- Tablecloth clips
- Collapsible food containers
- Stainless steel food containers
- Water bottles
- Multi-surface wipes
- Organizing caddy
- Food covers
- Wagon (for kids or supplies!)
- Portable booster chair
- Beach tent
- Portable playpen/playard
- Natural bug repellent
- Bug fan
- Outdoor games and activities
The Best Foods for Family Picnics
Pack some of these picnic-friendly foods on your next family picnic.
- Sandwiches, wraps, or pitas – deli meat, chicken salad, chicken bacon ranch, cucumber, or good ol’ PB&J
- Chicken, turkey, or ham & cheese pinwheels
- Sausage Rolls
- Pigs in a blanket
- Homemade pizza rolls or pizza roll-ups
Related Post: 10 On-the-Go Meals You Can Make Ahead of Time
- Tuna pasta salad
- Macaroni pasta salad
- Potato Salad
- Broccoli salad
- Three bean salad
- Fresh fruits and veggies
- Fruit kabobs
- Fruit salad
- Deviled eggs
- BLT salad sticks
- Caprese skewers
- String cheese or Babybel cheese
- Granola bars
- Pita chips and dip
Related Post: 25 Barbecue Side Dishes (Kick Your Cookout Up a Notch!)
SHARE WITH US: What are some of your favorite tips, tools, or foods for family picnics? I’d love to hear them!
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Share your thoughts!