Celebrating National Picnic Week with the perfect picnic for kids
With the recent downpours, we thought that we'd be celebrating National Picnic Week indoors but lo and behold, the official start of the summer months has actually brought some sunshine with it. Fingers crossed it's the sign of warmer days to come (don't check the forecast, it can only lead to disappointment).
Here in the GLTC office, we love a good picnic. What is it with relatively normal food tasting so much better when eaten on a cosy picnic blanket in the middle of a garden or park? We're tempted to say that it's because picnics don't require as much preparation and tidying up as a traditional family meal but we think it's because it's so lovely to spend time relaxing and playing outdoors.
A picnic can be as simple as popping what you'd planned for dinner in a few containers, grabbing a blanket and sitting in the garden. If you want to make it that little bit more special for you and your children though, here are our top tips:
A PICNIC BLANKET WITH ROOM FOR EVERYONE
First up, you need a roomy picnic blanket. One with enough space for all the family to sit on. But if you're inviting friends to your picnic, why not consider bringing a few blankets and layering them on top of each other? Create a big fun space for everyone to eat, chat and play.
Ideally you want a picnic blanket with a water-resistant reverse - that way, if the grass is a little bit damp, which it's likely to be, it won't soak through. Not only are GLTC's family picnic blankets lovely and colourful (choose between rainbow stardust and woodland) with a soft cotton top and a water-resistant backing, they're also machine washable at 30 degrees because no children's picnic comes without a few spillages, right? Although, you might want to pop some wipes or kitchen towels in to your picnic basket to mop up the worst (melon and peach juice stains are tricky to remove if left).
SANDWICHES AND SWEET TREATS
No children's picnic is complete without sandwiches and sweet treats. Choosing what to eat and drink can be as simple as putting a few things from your fridge on to a couple of plates - but bring out the savoury before the sweet as we all know what those little fingers will reach for first. National Picnic Week has some fantastic picnic recipes for children to help out with as does friend of GLTC, Annabel Karmel - we particularly love the fruit wands.
If you're going further afield than your back garden, a little more planning is required. Opt for lots of finger food that children can nibble on while playing with their friends. Decant them in to containers that can be packed up easily and brought home ... much better than chasing packets and wrappers all over the park at the first sign of a breeze.
GARDEN GAMES AND TOYS
With freedom to run around with their friends, children don't need to take an abundance of toys and games on a picnic, but pack a couple just in case. Frisbee is always a favourite, as well as a good old fashioned bat and ball. Books and playing cards can come in handy for a little bit of quiet time in the shade. Ditto colouring books and crayons. We think that our cute toy picnic set is an ideal option - your children can organise at teddy bears' picnic while you sort out the real version.
If you have enough room in your picnic basket or hamper, think about taking a radio along. Music can really make a difference to a picnic atmosphere and Fun Kids is a brilliant radio station aimed at children and families so no worrying about serious news stories or inappropriate song choices. Yes, you could use your phone but think of the battery life!
A SECRET HIDEAWAY
Finally, after a lovely lunch and a run around outdoors, what could be nicer than snuggling up in the shade in your very own teepee hideaway? GLTC's teepees are lightweight and easy to set up (and take down) in seconds so no worrying about spending precious socialising time putting them up. Children love to play in them and they're also ideal for little ones who still nap. Bring a pillow and a blanket and they can snooze the afternoon away while the picnic goes on around them. Perfect!
What are your top tips for the perfect picnic? Do let us know if the comments. We'd love to hear from you.
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