Picnics are an ideal way to spend some family time together during the high days of summer. Just look at this happy family in the picture above! The beauty of a picnic is it can be as elaborate or as simple as you wish to make it. There can be something for everyone since you and your kids can read, play cards, throw a Frisbee, take a stroll, nap . . . The list goes on and on. Here are a few of the basics elements.
Location. Grass and shade. Those are the two essentials. (Just make sure the spot you choose is public property.) Every city, town or village has a green spot. (That is, unless you live in the desert south west. Then you may have to make due with a bare patch of ground and the shady side of a boulder). Be sure to call ahead if you plan to use a camping site or picnic shelter in your local park. You may need reservations.
Comfort. You will need blankets to put on the ground. Camp chairs are nice, if you have them. It is also worth bringing bug spray and sunscreen to avoid returning from your adventure with souvenir bites and burns.
Food and Drink. Food is one of the key elements of a picnic. Don’t go overboard but have some tasty things to eat. Here in the South, fried chicken is a picnic staple. It packs well and keeps well and is delicious. You can cheat by stopping by your local fried chicken drive through restaurant or go all the way with homemade skillet fried chicken (with a nice scorch mark on the bottom of each piece). Alternatively, deli meats, bread and condiments are quick, inexpensive and easy to transport. Don’t forget to pick up some snacks like chips, dips or pickles. Think food that doesn’t require plates and utensils. Finish the meal with fruit (like WATERMELON) and cookies (again, store bought work just as well as homemade). Finally, make sure you have plenty of things to drink like water, sodas and juices. (Leave the adult beverages at home this time. Make it a point to have some fun without them.) Throw it all in a cardboard box (or picnic basket from your Martha Stewart phase), toss in a roll of paper towels and a couple of plastic trash bags for cleanup and you are ready to go.
Activities. The point of a family picnic is to relax and have fun. So don’t get caught up in needing to DO something. With that being said, it is useful to bring along some enjoyable diversions. This is the perfect situation to break out your lawn croquet, bocce ball or horseshoe sets. You can also just pack a Frisbee, a baseball and glove, a soccer ball or football. Card games or family board games also go well with a picnic. Lounging around on a picnic blanket is ideal for napping or reading a book or magazines. Finally, bring along a source of music (with speakers). Just be considerate of other picnic-ers by keeping the volume at a reasonable level.
It doesn’t really matter what you bring with you on a family picnic. What matters is taking some time to be together outside of your regular environment. And to relax a little, together.