Sometimes the weather is great, everyone wants to go out and do something, but you don’t have time for an all-day adventure. While weekends and summer breaks are a time of fun and relaxation for kids, sometimes adults have things to do. A great way to ensure quality family time, even on a busy Saturday, is to carve out a couple hours to go have a picnic. Find a local park or gathering spot that allows outdoor eating, grab a blanket, some outdoor toys, and go enjoy food and family.

Picnics can easily be made special, even if they’re short. From tea-parties, to games, to getting to spend 30 minutes at the jungle-gym after lunch, picnics are versatile, and can be as short or long as you need it to be.

  1. An Around-the-World Picnic: Trying foods and snacks from other parts of the globe can be a lot of fun. Packing a picnic full of treats that are popular in other cultures and countries can be the start of a fun afternoon. Some grocery stores and specialty stores carry a wide range of international offerings that could easily be packed in a brown bag. For those who prefer to make it at home, thanks to the internet, there are thousands of recipes and ideas to pre-make. Take an atlas or pull up a world map on your smartphone to talk about where each snack comes from, and their culture.  Maybe even try to learn a game or sport from that country to play for an hour. Or set up a small ball and hoop game and play an age-appropriate version of the basketball game called “around the world”.  Go global with your picnic and visit lots of countries in a couple hours!
  1. A Farmer’s Market Picnic: Part of the fun of a farmer’s market is purchasing fresh fruits and veggies, cool snacks, and sometimes even fresh bread and getting to sample it right away. If you have a local farmer’s market, grab a couple baskets or bags and go as a family. Walk around and see what looks and smells good. Let each family member pick from a different stand. Don’t have a farmer’s market near you? You can do the same thing at a grocery store, or even take what you already have in your fridge, pull a few things out, and let your children pick what they want to take. Take a ball to play fetch, pick some flowers, or play hide-n-seek at the park or in your backyard to cap off your market-style picnic.
  1. A Breakfast Picnic: Sometimes your weeks and months get busy, and it looks like a picnic is just too hard to pull off. Instead of doing it for lunch, why not have a breakfast picnic? Prep some of your family’s favorite morning foods the night before and spread out a blanket on the floor or the dinner table. Wake everyone up a little early, have some fresh-squeezed juice, and open up the windows if you have nice weather. Enjoy an alternative type of picnic to accommodate your busy weekend. Have a little more time? Put your coffee in a thermos and go to a park to enjoy your first meal of the day together.

There are so many creative ways to throw a picnic, as well as incorporate learning and physical activity into a picnic, encouraging a healthy lifestyle and familial connections. What are some fun and creative ways you like to enjoy family picnics?

By: Bethany Verrett