Getting the whole family together can be tough. The key is to recognize moments of opportunity and be ready to spring into action. Picnics can be planned or impromptu, and are a great way to spend some quality family time that your kids will love.
Picnics can take place almost anywhere outdoors—at the beach, at a nearby park, and even in your backyard. The key is being prepared so that packing up for a planned event or in a spontaneous moment will be stress free.
12 Items to Keep Stored Together for Easy Picnic Prep
Keep these items stored together or at least near each other in your home for quick and easy access:
- Picnic blanket or blankets – You can buy designated picnic blankets or use older blankets you have around the house stored away. You can even use a large tablecloth for your family to sit on.
- Picnic basket or bag – Don’t worry, you don’t need to run out and buy a picnic basket. You probably already have something in your home that you can use instead. Keep large, lightweight carry-all bags or tote bags handy for packing dry food and goods into when you picnic.
- Ice packs & cooler – Keep a few ice packs in your freezer at all times. You never know when you’ll need them—for picnics, icing injuries, school lunches and more. Your cooler, if needed, can also serve as your picnic basket. You can bring any food you want if you have ice packs and a cooler. A bonus feature is that you can also store your picnic items in your cooler at home—after the cooler is cleaned and dried, of course.
- Disposable plates, cups and utensils – If you’re like many people, you can never find a paper plate or plastic spoon when you need one. Buy a few packs and keep them with your picnic items for use anytime. Just remember to replenish when you run out.
- A cutting knife – This is one tool people tend to forget, especially when packing for a spontaneous picnic. Keep a sharp knife set aside with your picnic items.
- Cloth napkins – Why cloth napkins? With cloth napkins, you can store them with your picnic goods and then wash and put back after using. No worries about remembering to add in paper napkins, and cloth napkins are less likely to blow away on a breezy day.
- Hand towel or dish towel – Spills happen, so bring along an old rag, hand or dish towel to clean up any accidents that occur. You can also use paper towels, but if they’re not stored with your picnic items, you’re more likely to forget to bring them.
- Sunscreen – Sunny days are great for picnics, but they’re also good for getting a sunburn. Keep one bottle of sunscreen with your picnic items and you’ll never forget it. Just replace it each year so it will still be effective.
- Bug spray or other repellant – Uninvited guests can often ruin a party. The same is true for bugs at a picnic, so be prepared with whatever bug repelling method you prefer. And bring along something to soothe mosquito bites and bee stings too.
- Trash bags – Don’t spoil a beautiful day by leaving a mess behind. Bring your own trash bags just in case there are no trash cans for you to use near your picnic spot.
- Moist towelettes or wipes – Clean up sticky fingers and faces with these convenient wipes. Keep an on-the-go sized pack with your picnic goods at home.
- Frisbee, ball or other lawn games – A picnic doesn’t have to be just about food. If you have time, play some games before or after you eat.
Food to Bring on Your Picnic
The food you bring is completely up to you. If you have ice and a cooler, your options are endless. Just keep these tips in mind:
- Foods you can eat without utensils are easiest—like premade sandwiches, crackers and chips.
- Choose foods that won’t get soggy in heat or humidity. For example, New York Style® Bagel Crisps, Pita Chips and Panetini® are delicious, crispy complements to many picnic-friendly foods.
- Limit the number of condiments needed, and consider putting what you need into separate, sealable containers rather than toting them in their original jars and bottles. And leave the mayonnaise at home—it’s one condiment that doesn’t stand up well in heat.
- Healthy foods can be easy to pack, such as fruit and cut-up vegetables. And if you have a cooler, bring along dips or hummus as well.
- Don’t forget the drinks! No matter what drinks your kids prefer, be sure to bring along bottles of water as well. It serves as a thirst quencher on a hot day and can help clean up any messy spills on clothing or car upholstery.
Most important, have a great time! A picnic is all about relaxing in the open air, so breathe it all in and enjoy time with your family!
Get ideas for your next picnic and more on our Facebook page.