When was the last time you went on a picnic? Can you remember? If you can’t, maybe it’s time to go on one!
There are very few better ways to shake off a chaotic evening than to get out and breathe in fresh air. There are very few better ways to shake off a chaotic evening than to get out and breathe in fresh air. Many of us experience that “cooped up” feeling of being indoors all day, so certainly our children must have this feeling after being in a daycare or school classroom all day! With a bit of planning, you can make a simple picnic a memory for your children to remember for years to come.
Picnics don’t have to be elaborate; head to the local discount store for pre-made sandwiches, meat, cheese, cracker trays, and fruit. Grabbing a quick takeout pizza is always a good option. Or spend a bit of time in the morning making your own meal and pack it up in a cooler that is ready to go. Whatever you decide to eat can be special even if it’s the same peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you’ve had a thousand times.
Think simple. Picnics by rule are times for simple fair and spending time together outside. It doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to be a three course meal. Throw in what your family likes best and run with that. Try to be healthy but also give your children and yourself “permission” for one cookie, cupcake, or small treat. It is a picnic after all!
Do you have a child involved in after school band, cross-country running, baseball, soccer, etc.? Is there a school program, open house, or PTA/PTO meeting happening in an hour after you get off work? Pack up a picnic to have as a family. This can take away the rush, rush, rush to get home and fix something for dinner before everyone starves. Some schools don’t even mind parents using the fields for picnics (be sure to check first). You can make the best of a jam packed day by squeezing in this enjoyable meal/family time combo.
Make sure to scope out the local and community parks. Go for something different or out-of-the-way. Our small town has a huge gazebo on Main Street downtown and these benches all but beg for picnics and families. We take advantage of cooler fall weather and have dinner in the gazebo. It’s certainly not something that we do every night, or even every week, but for a family together time and something different for dinner, this is a perfect treat.
We have had a sudden rain storm cancel our outdoor plans before, so naturally I improvised (mothers are, by necessity, inventors, flexible, and think-on-our-feet types) for us to have a “car picnic.” Yes, it can be messy (and was) but it was also fun. We had a blast talking and people watching together as others dashed through the downpour. We even had a good time cleaning out the car the next day.
Picnics for dinner are also a great way to watch the sky change and the sun set. Gone are the long days where the sun sets after nine o’clock. The brilliance of a night sky changing from daylight to evening is a natural, no cost “movie” that your family can watch together, and there’s no “screen time” included!
See you in the park!