This post is sponsored by Munchkin, but all opinions and love of family picnic ideas are my own.
We’ve been so fortunate to travel quite a bit this spring. We’ve also been really fortunate to have just about perfect spring weather in Phoenix when we’ve been home. It usually heats up significantly and we’re stuck indoors. But this year we’ve got to spend so much time outdoors!
Family Picnic Outings
Between time at home and time in new cities and countryside, we’ve found one thing our whole family loves. No matter where we go, a family picnic is always in order.
It saves money when we’re traveling, it also mixes things up and keeps life fun when we’re home.
I love a good romantic picnic for two, but I love a family picnic just as much. I know the idea always sounds great, but the execution is often quite a bit of work and who wants to pack up a ton of food and items to spend a long-time cleaning after?
Not to mention planning a fun outing only to watch your kids refuse to eat. We’ve been there too. The work and the cleanup often scare us away. But this summer has taught us a lot about changing our ways and simplifying picnics. We’re loving them again, and find them to be one of the best family activities!
We’ve learned so much and enjoyed them so much I have to pass along all the things we’ve updated and changed to make family picnics, particularly picnicking with a toddler, a fun and joyful experience everywhere we go!
10 Family Picnic Tips For Easier Outings with Toddlers
- Go with simple finger foods. Kids love small items they can eat with their hands. Simple crackers, meats, cheeses, and easy-to-eat fruits and veggies go a long way. You can mix it up with whatever your family likes. Just keep it simple so it’s not stressful for you and it’s easy for them to eat.
- Pack light. I’m queen over-planner, so trust me, I’ve been there with the huge basket and half the kids’ clothing drawers. But that leads to a lot more work than needs be. The less you have to carry, the easier it is. Just bring the essentials.
- If you just grab the extra bug spray, hat, jacket, etc. put them in a separate tote in the car. You can go back for those later but don’t set up shop for a picnic. Traveling to Europe this summer really made us realize how some sunscreen before we’d head out and a quick weather check dressing accordingly was really all we needed.
- Bring a play mat! We just acquired a Brica® Go Play™ Travel Mat and can I tell you that I’m seriously in love! It fits all our philosophies to pack light. It folds into a small pouch you can attach to a bag. But it folds out large enough to fit a family of four comfortably. It has weights on the edges that keep it in place even on a windy day.
Best of all, it was easy to clean and fold right back up.
Having a mat that makes life easy over a large blanket you may worry about staining makes picnicking with toddlers (and even for a date) easier, lighter, and so much cleaner!
- Make your drinks feel special. You know how most date night picnics involve a bottle of bubbly? I love the toddler version, and we kept it healthy with Miracle® 360° Fruit Infuser Cups from Munchkin.
These are seriously the only sippy cups that don’t spill. And all it takes is adding some fresh fruit to the bottom to make water fun (and delicious)! There’s even an adult cup, that’s now about my favorite thing.
Our drinks feel fun without tons of sugar or calories. Best of all, there’s no mess and they are so easy to pack.
Family Picnics with Toddlers
- Have your toddler help you plan and pack. I’m a firm believer you can run into a grocery store and run out with a great meal. Our first trip to Paris as a couple picnicking outside the Eiffel Tower taught me a quality baguette and some good cheese is really all it takes. We let our son pick out some cheese, choose some crackers/bread, and if we grab dessert, I give him a say too. It makes him feel involved. He seems to eat so much better. Plus, he feels so much confidence in being a big helper!
I also believe in letting them help pack up bags and set up too.
- Include everyone in the cleanup. We’ve been there with setting up a big meal at a park, and watching our toddler eat none of it. We’re left trying to clean up and chase him down. When he’s part of setup and cleanup and a simple meal, it’s so much easier and the toddler learns some responsibility too.
- Give them a few minutes to play before you eat. If we let our son go down a few slides at the park, he’ll usually sit down and eat without anxiety to get playing. He’s had some fun, he knows he’ll be back or more. It gets some wiggles out and even works up some appetite.
If you aren’t at a park, a few minutes to explore does the same trick!
- Bring a few toddler-friendly dishes from home. I know, I said pack light. But when there’s a divided plate that’s lightweight and something he eats off regularly, it sets him up for success feeding himself and feeling some consistency. Plus I love being eco-friendly when possible and using our Munchkin divided plates is just so easy. Bonus, our forks and knives little hands can use (if needed) are also super helpful.
- Choose fun new locations to mix it up. We love the rolling hills of Oregon. The parks in Europe are always fun. The playground parks at home are great too. And even the backyard is fun! A new location makes picnics feel exciting and new every time!
May you find a great groove, the best products, and simple solutions to get out and picnic more! It’s just about the perfect family date, and one that’s so easy to do, even with a toddler!
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