Let’s have a picnic!

In light of National Picnic week, we’ve pulled together a few ideas and tips on having a picnic.

Let's have a picnic!

Picnics are something that everybody can enjoy and a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors. No matter where you are or go, there is always somewhere to have a picnic.

Picnics can be as simple of as sophisticated as you like.

What type of picnic do you fancy?

We’re always out and about, and with three growing kids and a husband that’s always hungry, I’m forever making sandwiches.

Before you go anywhere though, you need to decide on what type of picnic you fancy.

willow-picnic-hamperbasket-for-4-person1
The Traditional Picnic

The traditional picnic consists of those old wicker baskets, a comfortable picnic rug, good food (and drink), and somewhere beautiful, peaceful, and warm… That’s not life with a family!

We do see plenty of (child-free) people with these picnic baskets on summer’s afternoon at “…in the park” type of events, but for us the wicker picnic basket is not that practical, so let’s move along.

confidence-camping-picnic-basket-hamper-bright-green-polkadots-inc-plates-cutlery-accs1
The Modern Picnic

You can still have a ‘posh’ picnic but with something a little more family practical (see this recommended picnic set).

You can get modern picnic backpack hampers that contain a coolbox, plastic boxes, plates, knives, chopping board, salt/pepper. and bottle cooler.

We do have one of these and they’ve been great for when visiting somewhere for a picnic, and when eating something that needs some plates.

We once turned up at a National Trust property, and whilst the kids played in the excellent play park, we got our ‘posh’ picnic set out. We even had a cool bottle of something (cough, cough, non-alcoholic of course).


Just Give Me The Food

Having a Picnic - Just give me the food - Feeding the hungry family!

This is typically how we have a picnic 90% of the time.

Food is prepared at home, wrapped, and travels in various sized cool bags depending on what we are doing: Walking (my backpack), by Car (a big cool bag), Canoeing in the dry bag, or by Bike (in the cool bag that fits on the saddle).

But even if you are doing activities, you can still have a picnic ‘event’….


Create a Day Camp

Creating a Tarp Windbreak

For any readers of this website, you know we like camping. Unfortunately with busy family lives (yes, the kids have a more active social life than we do!) there’s not always time to go camping at the weekends.

A solution to this is to create a ‘day camp’.

What’s a day camp? Think of it as a picnic with camping know-how.

The aim is to go somewhere, setup camp for the day (no, don’t bring the tent), and just enjoy spending time in that location.

Cooking with a Trangia

You can take a tarp to use as a windbreak or rain shelter if the weather looks bad. You can take a BBQ or Trangia and cook food.  You can play games or do other activities.

Depending on where your day camp is going to be, you don’t have to travel by car. Exploring somewhere on foot, by bike, or getting somewhere by water makes a great little adventure for your family.

Clun Castle is a great summer time picnic spot

One of our favourite spots is a remote spot on the shores of Lake Bala. There’s plenty of space, BBQs are allowed, there’s a small steam railway, and of course plenty of water activities in the lake (plus there’s a car park and toilets).

Another great picnic spot is Clun Castle, which is excellent on a sunny day: old ruins to explore, a hill with views, a stream the kids can paddle in, plenty of picnic space and room for games, and an old village to explore.


How to choose your picnic spot

Stoney Ground - not a great place for a picnic

You want to be comfortable when eating, so choose some soft ground (if possible) as you don’t want to be sitting on stones.

Check the ground before putting down your rug you don’t want to be sitting on top of a ants nest or animal deposits!!!!

Think about the weather, you might want some shade from the sun or shelter from the wind.

Check out the beautiful scenery – what do you want to look at whilst having your picnic?

If you have to entertain the kids is there things around for them to do?


Games and Activities

Capture the Flag

Obviously depending where you are picnicking (is that a word?!?) will depend on how you keep the kids entertained.

If you have a lot of open space then ball games such as rounders, Frisbees, kite flying, rocket launchers go down well. Chasing games such as tag or capture the flag will help burn off a bit of energy.

You could set up an obstacle course using things around you. Set up challenges how quickly can you hop from a tree to the picnic rug.

Making a Den in the Woods

How about building a den? Our kids had a great time with their BattleBox. They created the ‘day camp’ with their own den.

Kids love climbing are there any safe trees nearby to climb?

If the kids are a bit older you could get the kids to use water colours or pencil to paint/draw a picture of the scenery.

If you don’t have a lot of open space then word games such as I spy, alphabet games, who am I game, may help to keep the kids amused.

If your in a woodland area then you could try a scavenger hunt.


Picnis in Bad Weather

A tarp shelter for eating and cooking under

The great British Weather is so unpredictable so you need to be prepared for all eventualities take a tarp with you.

If you are picnicking up a hill /mountain a bothy bag might come in very useful to protect you from the wind.


Picnics in Winter

Dudmaston Hall Picnic Area

Yes, you can have a picnic any time of year!


Picnic Essentials

A good thing to always carry is a first aid kit so you are always prepared for those bumps, bruises, and stings that happen quite a bit with children!!

 

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Mum to three kids and loves getting out and about with them. Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy getting out and about with their kids. You can often find Shell on Twitter @GetOutKids.

2 Comments
  1. Reply
    a field somewhere
    June 18, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    I never knew that there was any other type of picnic than the ‘just give me the food / I’m starving / fighting their way in to the bag’ picnic with family. You have enlightened me. I will try harder to make it past 11am and 50 paces from the car before they have devoured the lot! Maybe it gets easier as they get bigger?

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