After many months indoors, it’s finally picnic weather! Once the weather is warm enough, we have a lot of picnics. Whether it’s lunch or dinner, the kids think it’s fun and I like that the mess stays outside. We like to have picnics in our yard, at local parks and especially at the beach. Below are some of our best tips for packing a great picnic!
Our 10 favorite picnic tips and essentials:
1. Have a list of great “on the go” foods for kids
After the first few weeks of picnic weather, you can easily run out of ideas for on the go food for kids. We like having a list on hand (or on the fridge) of ideas. Here’s a list of 30 things we like to pack on the go!
2. A zip lock with serving essentials
Let’s face it, kids are not always the easiest picnic guests. They usually haven’t mastered neatly eating on the go. Also, it’s always when I think I’ve packed a picnic of finger foods, that someone is crying for a spoon. I have a zip lock with some paper plates, napkins and utensils. It’s on hand to throw into our bag for picnics and I just refill it throughout the summer. You could also have something like a bento box that they can just open and eat out of.
3. Water bottles
Invest in some good water bottles/canteens for the summer. I find that the stainless steel bottles hold up and are easy to clean. They also keep nice and cold if you fill with water/ice before heading out. I also keep a case of bottled water on hand to grab and typically keep one in our bag for “refills”.
4. Keep a non food essentials bag at the ready
Once picnic weather rolls around, I keep a small bag of essentials that I can grab and bring along on a picnic: sunscreen, change of clothes, diaper, wipes, bandaids and hand sanitizer. If it’s always at the ready, I can focus on packing the picnic food and not worry about other things we may need.
5. Don’t forget mom! If you’re heading out for a picnic lunch, don’t forget to pack some food for yourself. I am constantly skipping meals or eating whatever the kids leave behind. I have a much nicer picnic experience if I remember to pack something for myself. For a list of great things to pack for a mom on the go, visit this post!
6. Pack a trash bag
I always keep a bag in our diapers bag for trash. It makes it so much easier than running back and forth to the trash can throughout the picnic. Then, when everyone is done and you’re heading home, you can toss the bag of trash.
7. Switch up lunch and dinner
Packing a picnic lunch is easier than a picnic dinner, so if we want to have a picnic around dinner time, I switch the meals that day. We’ll have some things at lunch that we typically eat for dinner. Then we pack sandwiches and lunch food for the picnic dinner. The kids always get a kick out of the “switch”!
8. Pack a baby carrier
When theres a baby along for the picnic, pack a carrier. Especially if it’s around nap time, you’ll get a much longer picnic if the baby has somewhere to rest and you have your hands free. We recently starting using the JJ Cole Agility Carrier and really like it. It’s comfortable for me and for Tommy. The best part for picnics is that it can easily fold up into the diaper bag.
9. A great bag for organizing
You don’t want to have to carry a ton of bags when you have kids in tow. I find that one bag that’s really good for organizing is best. If it’s a bigger picnic, you can bring along a cooler too, or just a cooler bag that fits into the diaper bag. We recently made the switch the to JJ Cole Carpice Bag and it’s awesome. There are great pockets and it’s the perfect size for everything you’d need for an afternoon out with the kids.
10. Last, but certainly not least, the perfect picnic blanket
We love the JJ Cole Outdoor Blanket. It’s easy to clean and fold. It’s the perfect material to brush sand off (we usually have beach blankets that I find I am always washing). Once folded, it has a strap to easily carry over your shoulder. It’s also padded enough to let babies roll around and enjoy the picnic too. This outdoor blanket is definitely our favorite new summer accessory.
We were not compensated for this post. We did receive some items for the purpose of review. As always, all opinions are our own.