As we head on into spring and summer, it’s time to level up your picnic game. There’s something special about eating al fresco, and doing it in the countryside accompanied by your family is even better. However, like any large group activity, family picnics require some organization to make them successful, so we’ve compiled some tips to help you have the perfect picnic this year. Grab your cute picnic basket, put on your sunhat, and head outdoors.
How to Prepare Your Picnic Menu
Food is at the heart of any picnic, so spend a little time planning your menu. Fresh fruit and vegetables are easy to carry and delicious, and they keep you hydrated, and sandwiches involve minimal preparation. Steer clear of food that can spoil in the heat, such as mayonnaise; instead, switch your salad dressings to olive oil or vinaigrettes.
Whenever you’re preparing food for a group, it’s essential that you take into account their dietary requirements, particularly allergies. Check with the guests and, if in doubt, avoid taking anything with nuts. Include a variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, so everyone has a few yummy options. Put some thought into how you pack up the food: Always put heavy items at the bottom of your picnic basket and make sure you put anything that contains liquid, such as green or lentil salads with dressing, in well-sealed Tupperware boxes. Take extra seasoning with you to ensure everyone is satisfied, and always take plenty of water.
Essentials to Take on a Picnic
It doesn’t matter how much time you spend making delicious picnic food; if you forget the basics like cutlery and a picnic blanket, you’ll regret it. The exact list of equipment you will need to create your perfect family picnic depends on a number of factors, such as the location and number of people attending; however, here are some of the most important things to pack:
- A picnic basket: While a charming wicker basket is ideal and will make your picnic Instagramable, it’s not a prerequisite. If you know you’ll be walking quite far to reach your picnic spot, insulated bags or backpacks may serve you better. Don’t forget to take a cooler or ice packs to keep the food and beverages fresh.
- Seating: Many designated picnic areas are equipped with picnic tables and benches, but if you’re going off the beaten track or picnicking on the weekend when top spots are crowded, you’ll need to take your own seating. Usually, a pretty picnic blanket is enough, but if you have older family members in your party, consider taking fold-up chairs so everyone can be comfortable. Even in the height of summer, it’s a good idea to opt for a picnic blanket that has a waterproof underside, so you all stay dry. It’s also advisable to pick a blanket that has handles when rolled up, so it’s easy to carry.
- Silverware, plates, and cups: Believe it or not, these are easily forgotten, despite their importance to a picnic! Take into account the type of food you’re taking; if you’re only taking sandwiches, you may not need plates and silverware, but if you’ve packed salads, they are a must. If possible, use eco-friendly reusable options. But if you have to use disposable items, bamboo and paper are preferable to plastic. Consider bringing drink holders; it’s easy to spill drinks when they’re resting on the ground.
- Extra kitchen equipment: Think about the food and beverages you’re taking; do you need a bottle opener, a cutting board, a sharp knife, scissors, or a serving spoon?
- Trash bags: It”s crucial not to leave your trash in the countryside after a picnic, but unless you’re in a well-appointed picnic area, there probably won’t be trash cans available. Make things easier by taking a few trash bags with you and throw out your garbage when you get home.
- Wet wipes, napkins, and hand sanitizer: Eating outside can be a messy business, especially when kids are involved; packing these handy items ensures everyone can wash up before and after eating.
- First aid kit: Whenever you’re out in the country with a family, cuts and scrapes are bound to happen, so carrying a small first aid kit is always recommended, and never forget the sunscreen!
What Makes the Perfect Picnic Spot?
Perhaps you already have your favorite picnic spot, but if you’re heading to an area you’re unfamiliar with, do a little research about picnic facilities. You can have a fantastic picnic just about anywhere, but the perfect location will make everything easier. Public toilets, running water facilities, and picnic tables are all useful, while play parks offer great entertainment for the little ones. On the day, look out for an area with shade so you can escape the heat and avoid anyone getting sunburn or sunstroke. If you’re packing lots of food and equipment, aim for a picnic area with a parking lot nearby, though be aware that those places are usually busier, especially on weekends and holidays.
Lazing around on a sunny day in a beautiful spot, eating good food with the people you love is a wonderful way to spend a day, but it’s always a good idea to come with a few activities to make sure everyone is entertained.
Swimming in a lake, paddling in the river, or making sandcastles on the beach are classic picnic activities that everybody loves. Bringing along a few items such as sports balls, racquets, bats, paper and coloring pencils, a jump rope, bubbles, or a pack of cards will guarantee everyone has fun, no matter their age. Planning a group activity, such as a scavenger hunt or a raft building competition, is an excellent way to get everyone involved and make the most of the time in the great outdoors.
Share the Picnic Preparation Along with the Fun
Family picnics are one of the best ways to be with the people you love while enjoying nature, but you need some time to prepare for them. To avoid getting overwhelmed, share the load. Designate different dishes or responsibilities to family members and encourage everyone to pitch in.
Your hard work will be rewarded when you’re soaking in the sun and feasting on a delicious fruit salad surrounded by stunning views and loved ones.