Sometimes the weather is great and 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 other 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 are short. From tea-parties, to games, to spending 30 minutes at the jungle-gym after lunch, picnics are versatile and can be as short or long as you need it to be. Here are some ideas for some picnics packed with healthy family fun:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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 while incorporating learning and physical activity and encouraging a healthy lifestyle and familial connections. What are some fun and creative ways you like to enjoy family picnics?
By: Bethany Verrett
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