Looking for a way to keep the kids busy during the summer holidays? Jane Rylands, from family-friendly kitchen appliance manufacturer Belling, shares her top tips for preparing the perfect picnic.
What could be better than a picnic with the kids? There’s a delicious feast to savour, a chance to spend quality time with your family, and (hopefully) some sunshine to enjoy. But, there’s nothing worse than spreading out your blanket and unpacking your bag only to discover you’ve forgotten something important, so you’ll want to make sure you’re fully prepared.
In this article, we’ll tell you the essential things that every parent should bring with them to a family picnic, including food, games, and first aid supplies. Just read on to learn more.
Balance sweet treats with healthy food
The main event at any picnic is always the food, so make sure you’ve got an assortment of crowd-pleasing snacks the whole family will like. The simplest option is to go for finger food and deli items that can be served cold and won’t be too messy to eat: classic picnic staples like sandwiches, quiche, sausage rolls, and simple pasta salads are all perfect for this.
Of course, no picnic would be complete without a few chocolates or cakes, but don’t pack too many sweet treats, as letting the kids eat too many unhealthy snacks is only going to end up causing a sugar rush. If you’re looking for something sweet yet healthy that won’t make them hyperactive, this recipe for easy butternut squash hummus from Belling is ideal. To make your hummus even easier for little ones to eat, add a few spoonfuls of the finished hummus to a small jar with a lid, and pop in some carrot sticks and other crudités. Then, when the kids start to get hungry, all you need to do is whip them out and they’re ready to eat.
Be careful to bring everything you’ll need
It’s no good preparing a delicious feast if you’re not going to keep it well-chilled, so pack your picnic in an insulative cooler bag with some ice packs to keep it fresh until it’s ready to eat. If possible, pack your food in containers that you can eat straight out of — this will reduce the amount of extra picnicware you need to bring with you. It will also make your food much easier to serve, as you can simply lay it on your blanket and dive in.
You’ll want to bring some cups, knives and forks, as well as plenty of napkins. Wet wipes are essential on any day trip day with the kids, but especially when everyone’s eating finger food and there’s no wash facilities nearby, so make sure you bring a large pack with you. Also essential is a blanket that’s big enough for everyone to comfortably relax on. Ideally, this should have a waterproof lining to stop any moisture on the ground soaking through the fabric. If you don’t have a waterproof picnic blanket, then you can improvise and lay an oilcloth tablecloth, a camping groundsheet, or even some bin liners on the ground underneath your rug.
Stave off boredom by packing some fun and games
Even if lounging around on a blanket in the sunshine is your idea of heaven, you might find that your kids quickly get bored unless you give them something to do. Packing a few cheap and cheerful party games and outdoor activities should stave off boredom: a frisbee, a badminton set, and a trusty football should be enough to keep the kids entertained while you relax. Or, if you’re looking for something the whole family can enjoy, you can’t beat a game of rounders.
If you don’t have much outdoor equipment or would rather travel light, you can still keep the kids occupied by playing a few classic games, like tag and duck duck goose. For more inspiration, check out RecycleBank’s list of no-equipment outdoor games.
Don’t let any mishaps spoil your fun
As any parent will know, nothing sours a fun family outing faster than a grazed knee, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a first aid kit stashed somewhere in your picnic basket. A tube of antiseptic and some bite cream are also a smart move, in case of insect-bites or a run in with some stinging nettles. And of course, as with any outdoor event, you’ll want to make sure that everyone slathers on the sunscreen. Pack some hats and something to cover the kids’ shoulders when the sun is strongest, too.
Lastly, you don’t want to leave a mess behind, so be sure to bring a bag so you can collect your litter and take it with you, or dispose of it in the nearest bin.
The key to a fabulous family picnic is careful preparation. Take our tips on board when packing your basket or bag and the whole family should be set for a memorable day out.