I am not a nature gal. I kind of hate bugs. I don't really like rolling around in the grass. (A beach? A pool? Sure, but that is discussion for another time.) But one thing I do love doing outdoors? Having a picnic. Here in NYC, we have perhaps the best places to picnic. There's Central Park, of course, and when you don't feel like heading there, just pop into Riverside Park...or Bryant Park...or Prospect Park for the Brooklyn folks. Back in the pre-kiddo days, I was lucky to have picnics with the New York Philharmic providing the background music. That had to be put on hold as it kicks off after bedtime, but in a few years, she'll get a taste of it too.
Picnics are fantastic and relatively easy...but there are some tried-and-true hints to make that dinner alfresco with the squirrels run a bit smoother and make it a bit of an epic adventure. Check these out for your next outdoor meal time bit o' fun.
-- Have the right tools. Get a good blanket, or even two or three, so everyone has room and is comfy. Have some weights to keep napkins from flying away and blanket corners from flopping about. Icepacks and plastic ice sticks to keep things cool.
-- Keep the food simple and safe. Think sandwiches, chips, fruit (pre-cut and pre-washed), beverages that have tops to screw back on so as not to spill. I'd forgo things that could turn bad if left out too long, especially if you don't have ice to keep it chilled.
-- Invite a group. A picnic is a great, less expensive way to gather with another family and friends. Pick a time and place and have everyone bring stuff for his or her own brood. Bonus: No one has to clean a house to get it ready for guests.
-- Have some fun ready. The last thing you want is the kid to start asking to play Angry Birds on your iPhone. Bring along some cards or Mad Libs, stuff everyone can play. Play a few fun outdoor games like Molecule - you all get up and one person is the caller. You say, "Molecule of six!" and everyone has to get into a group of six. Or "Molecule of cats!" and everyone has to act like a cat. Or "Molecule of dinosaurs" and everyone has to act like a dinosaur.
Do you have lots of picnics during the summer? What is your best picnic meal? How about your best picnic game?