After a long end to winter and months of missed time around restaurant dinner tables, the warm weather brings more opportunities to eat and gather outside. One of our all-time favorite ways to spend family time is picnicking!
From impromptu breakfasts to sunset dinners, picnics are a delightful way to get the family outside together, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. A few simple foods, easy-to-organize activities and handy outdoor essentials are all it takes to throw a kid-approved picnic to remember. The whole family will appreciate a change in their normal routine and the chance to spend more time outdoors!
Find some fun in our favorite family picnic ideas below—including what to eat, pack and do and where to go!
What to Eat and Drink
It can be tempting to create a picnic chock-full of picture-perfect food that requires major prep…but in reality, simple is usually best! To give yourself less work and more time to actually enjoy, stick to foods that are low-prep and easy to pack yet full of nutrients to power your kids and their day of fun.
From full meals to light snacks, here are a few easy picnic food ideas for kids of all ages:
Dishing out lunch or dinner? Then try one of these nutritious and portable options:
- Kid-friendly pasta salads served with yummy toppings that your kids can choose
- Chicken avocado roll ups that are full of protein and easy to stack and pack
- Mini quesadillas with your little ones’ favorite protein, cheese and veggie fillings
If you order Nurture Life’s kids meal delivery, you can also heat up your kids’ favorite meals and pack them into a thermos! In addition to being easy picnic food ideas for kids, you’ll also know that each pre-made meal has been mindfully balanced with age-appropriate nutrients.
You’ll want to pack plenty of water to keep everyone hydrated and happy, but feel free to bring other drinks, too. Skip all those processed, sugary kids’ drinks and try these refreshments instead:
- Light lemonade: Mix fresh lemon juice with water and freeze it in a fun ice cube tray. Add the cubes to your water to make a simple and healthy lemonade.
- Orange sparklers: If your kids enjoy the bubble of a soft drink, spruce up all-natural orange juice with sparkling water for a bubbly orange fizz with less added sugar.
- Infused water: For something a little lighter, try fruit and herb-infused water. Not only will your kids stay hydrated, but they’ll also love flavoring their drinks themselves!
Whether to serve alongside your main meal or as a quick pick-me-up in the middle of the day’s activities, these easy junk food alternatives are both nutritious and satisfying:
- String cheese
- Hard boiled eggs
- Homemade trail mix with unsalted nuts, popcorn and coconut shavings
- Fun-sized tea sandwiches
- Crunchy veggies like cherry tomatoes, bell peppers or cucumbers
- Seasonal fruits like peaches, watermelon or blackberries
- Peanut butter banana caterpillars
What to Pack for Fun in the Sun
A day under the sun calls for a few must-haves to keep everyone comfortable and safe:
- Plenty of sunscreen
- Bug repellant (spray or wipes)
- Beach umbrella
Once you arrive at your picnic location, pick a spot with shade for even more sun protection. An oversized blanket or a few beach towels work well as a place to spread everything out, along with a tarp or plastic sheet underneath to keep yourselves from getting soiled or wet.
To take care of any messes or leftovers, you may also want to bring:
- Baby wipes
- Paper towels
- Hand sanitizer
- Empty zip-top bags
- Extra plastic or glass containers
What to Do with Kids of All Ages
Beyond food, drink and all the outdoor essentials, one of the most important picnic ideas for kids is outdoor activities. Check out these ideas to get everyone moving together:
- Bring a portable speaker and have a silly family jam session or impromptu dance-off.
- Pack up balls, gloves and other equipment for a casual sports matchup.
- Set out bubbles, jump ropes and sidewalk chalk to keep younger kids involved.
- Take a cue from classic outdoor activities like hide and seek, hopscotch, a one-legged race or four square.
- Send your kids on a nature scavenger hunt to explore the surrounding area.
You can also bring along a deck of cards or some family-favorite board games for laid-back fun after all the jumping around.
Where to Go: Unexpected Picnic Ideas for Kids
A local park or playground is the perfect place to throw a kid-friendly picnic, but don’t limit yourself! Throw some fun into the mix with one of these unique family picnic ideas:
- Host your picnic in your own backyard and invite a few neighbors to join in.
- If your local beach is open, have a picnic on the sand.
- Find a camping spot in a nature preserve and set up for the afternoon.
- Find a nearby outdoor attraction your family hasn’t yet visited, and plan your picnic around that. Try a botanical garden, sculpture garden or bike trail for a fun day out!
- If the weather’s not great or you’re short on time, build a fort with pillows, blankets and cushions and picnic inside!
Summer is the time to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather, and what better way to celebrate the rising temperatures than with these family-friendly picnic ideas for kids? Pack up a couple of delicious and easy-to-carry meals, grab your favorite outdoor equipment and head out for an afternoon under the sun.