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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?


by on May. 22, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Replies (21-26):
by on May. 22, 2013 at 4:56 PM
We love to eat outside...when we can. :-)

Quoting RobynS:

We have a picnic table in the back yard that we hardly used last year, so this year I'm making it a point to eat out there at least a few times a week. So far so good! The kids love it. They did decide to move the meal indoors one day because the bugs were so bad, though.

by on May. 22, 2013 at 4:57 PM
Olives! Great idea for a picnic snack!

Quoting Reina13:

We picnic in spring because where I live in Texas it is too hot to do so in the summer.

Our favorite meals to picnic with are easy things like cut fruits, cheeses, olives and finger sandwiches. It's not too heavy but still filling, enjoyable for the kids and easy clean up for me.

by on May. 22, 2013 at 5:02 PM

No, but I'd love to. 

by on May. 22, 2013 at 5:03 PM

I'm going to plan one soon. 

by on May. 22, 2013 at 5:04 PM

Having the right tools sounds important:)

by New Member on May. 23, 2013 at 11:22 AM

I have a picnic bag that I keep ready at a moments notice. We love a spontaneous picnic on the weekends.

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