Having a picnic with your toddler can be a great way to get them outside and having fun. It can be a nice way to spend a special day with your child but also not have to spend a lot of money.
Planning a picnic doesn’t have to be complicated or hard. In fact it could be as simple as taking your lunch outside in your backyard and eating on a blanket in the grass.
If you want to plan something a bit more for your picnic with your toddler (older kids love picnics too) then here are some tips to keep in mind.
The Location of Your Picnic
If you really want to impress your child and make the picnic a big to-do then plan the picnic at a local park or even a nature center if you have one around your home. You could even choose the beach if you live nearby the water as well.
It could be the local park 5 minutes from your home or you can make it even more special and try out a park that you have never gone to before. You can usually find locations of local parks on city and county websites online.
If you are choosing a park for your picnic try to choose one where your toddler can play and do things as well. For example if you choose a park with a playground make sure it is geared towards their age and not for older kids only.
You definitely don’t have to have your picnic at a park though as you can plan a great day right in your own backyard. This could work well if you don’t feel comfortable taking more than one child to the park or you simply want to have an impromptu picnic and don’t have the essentials to take your stuff on the go.
When it comes to choosing your location you may want to consider a bench or spot in the shade so you can keep your toddler out of the direct sun especially if it is summer time. You could even bring along an umbrella or canopy if you know the area doesn’t have much shade to offer.
Toddler Friendly Picnic Food
If you are going to have a picnic with your toddler, you are going to want to bring along toddler-friendly foods that your child will get excited about. There are all kinds of great fun food ideas that you can find online to make your child and there are even some really great healthy options.
Just a few suggestions for some great child picnic food include:
- Fruit kabobs
- Sandwiches (your child’s favorite kind) cut into fun shapes
- Cheese and crackers
- Cut up vegetables with dip (ranch, hummus)
- Pasta salad made with fun noodles (ABCs, wheels, or multi-color)
- Yogurt that you have frozen ahead of time
- Special treat – cookies, brownies, etc.
You want to make it the easiest on you, so simple foods can still be really appealing to your toddler. For example, just simply cutting the sandwich into their favorite animal or a flower can be extra special for them and it just takes a few extra seconds with a cookie cutter.
Be sure that you pack all the needed accessories especially paper towels or napkins.
You will also want to pack plenty of water for the day as well as any special juice or drink you may want to treat your child to for the picnic.
Picnic Activities and Games for Toddlers
You can plan much more than just eating a meal outdoors for your picnic with your toddler. To keep your child entertained and having fun even after the food is gone, plan some activities or games that you can play to make the day even better.
If the place you have chosen has a playground, that will definitely keep your toddler busy for quite some time.
You could also take your child on a walk around the park especially if they have special trails around a body of water or through the woods. If you have a younger child you can pack them in a stroller and take them or for older kids you can take an enjoyable walk til they start getting tired.
You can also bring along some toys to play with if there is a large open area that you and your child can simply just play. Some toys would include balls (football, big bouncy ball, playground-type balls), Frisbee, kite, and bubbles. You don’t have to pack a ton of toys as some kids can play for a long time with a simple ball.
Try to come up with some toys or games that you may have not played with your child to make it extra special.
You can also enjoy some downtime by reading your favorite book about picnics as well. Some of our favorite books about picnics include The Bear’s Picnic and Good News, Bad News. Here are some more great books that would go great at a picnic.
There are all kinds of great ways that you can make a simple picnic special for your kids. Sometimes just packing up the kids and heading to the park with a $5 pizza is enough to really make a noteworthy memory for your child.
Sometimes it is simply the small things that really impress little kids. For example, you don’t have to use a picnic basket for your picnic, but it may just really make you one of the coolest parents to have an actual picnic with a real picnic basket.
Be sure that when you do go on your picnic you are prepared. For example, besides packing the food and toys, you will also want to have any normal supplies you may need for your toddler such as wet wipes, diapers (or a change of underwear and bottoms), sunscreen, a jacket in case it gets cold, and especially a blanket or some extra chairs in case there is no seating provided.
You will also want to bring a camera with you to remember this special day but make sure you aren’t too engrossed in your phone. This is the time to really spend some special time with yoru child and not on social media or too busy getting the “perfect photo” to really enjoy the time.
Lastly, when choosing a time to go on a picnic with your child, make sure that you go during a time you know they won’t be tired and cranky. Avoid toddler tantrums and meltdowns by going well in advance of nap time or after your child has napped and is ready to play.
Planning a picnic for your toddler doesn’t have to be hard at all. In fact you may just be surprised at what little things you can do that will really impress your child and make your day so very special.
Picnics can be a lot of fun and a great way to spend some time outdoors with your child and making memories that will last for years and years.