Kid-Friendly Picnic Ideas: Making the Outdoors a Fun Family Event

Discover creative, kid-friendly picnic ideas to make unforgettable memories with your toddler. Explore nature, play games, and enjoy a delightful picnic together. Learn more here.

Kid-Friendly Picnic Ideas: Making Outdoor Meals Memorable

Summertime - long, sunny days provide the perfect opportunity for outdoor fun family events.  Whether it’s a sunny weekend afternoon or a breezy evening, there’s nothing quite like spreading out a blanket and enjoying a meal in the great outdoors. In this article, we will explore creative kid-friendly picnic ideas.

From no-fuss foods that will have your little ones asking for seconds to entertaining activities that keep them giggling and engaged, we've got tips to help your family make the most out of every sunlit day. It’s time to make memories - so grab your picnic basket and let’s start preparations!

The Best Kid-Friendly Picnic Ideas

Kid-Friendly Picnic Ideas

Summer is the perfect time for a picnic - whether you are celebrating the 4th of July or simply looking for a fun way to spend the afternoon you’ll want to pack the perfect blend of tasty treats.

The secret to a successful picnic isn't just in the location. You can have a picnic in a park, by the lake, or in your backyard. Location isn’t as important as the food choices and entertainment.

You don’t want to simply pack a bag of potato chips and a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Instead, you’ll want to transform your outdoor dining into an exciting adventure that your children will love.

Picnics encourage children to interact with their food in fun ways. For toddlers, especially, the change of scenery can make mealtime an exciting event and introduce them to a variety of flavors and textures. This creates a perfect opportunity to offer a nutritionally rich menu that combines classic favorites with new, intriguing options.

Here are a few tips on what to pack in the picnic basket:

Vibrant Veggies and HummusVeggies and hummus

Kickstart your picnic with a colorful assortment of vegetable sticks such as cucumber, carrots, and bell peppers of various colors. Pair these with rich, creamy hummus for a dip that's both nutritious and child-friendly. Nowadays they even have chocolate hummus! 

Innovative Dips and Crackers

Toddlers love crackers, but a plain cracker can quickly become boring. However, if you pack the guacamole, salsa, and sweet nut butter mixed into yogurt then you can turn a simple snack into a fun feast.

Protein-Packed Delights

Your little ones are going to be burning off a lot of energy as they run and play in the sun so you’ll want to give them protein options. Consider adding mini chicken skewers, tofu fingers, egg muffins, or grilled halloumi strips to your picnic for a hearty protein boost that's both tasty and satisfying.

Fruit Fun

What is a picnic without fruit?  An American picnic favorite is watermelon, but you do have other options.

Bring along a variety of chopped fruits, such as apples, and provide different dips like yogurt, nut butter, or cream cheese mixed with cinnamon. These are not only healthy but also fun for kids to eat with their hands or toddler-friendly utensils.

Sandwich Creativity With the Rule of Three

Elevate the humble sandwich by following the "rule of three". Your toddlers will love it!

  1. Carb base (like pita or bagels).
  2. Protein (such as egg, tuna, or cheese)
  3. Vegetables (like cucumber, tomato, or lettuce).

This easy-to-follow three-step formula ensures each sandwich is balanced and appealing.

Sweet and Savory Snacks

Don't forget to pack some unique snacks like egg muffin slices, a kid-friendly trail mix, or even homemade mini banana pancakes that can be topped with nut butter or a dollop of yogurt.

Kids love little bags of goodies that they can pack around on the go - such as when hitting the playground or exploring.

Fun With Pasta

Pasta salad for picnics

Okay, what outdoor picnic is complete without pasta salad? 

Pasta salad is a versatile and effortless picnic snack that you can customize each time.

Choose your tot’s favorite type of pasta, including options like lentil or pea pasta, and mix it with a sauce of your choice, such as pesto, tomato, or cheese.  

Enhance the pasta salad with additions like roasted or microwaved vegetables, shredded chicken, or a can of beans or lentils.

Don't forget to pack some grated cheese to sprinkle on top.

With these tips, your next family picnic is sure to be a hit, filled with laughter, good food, and cherished memories. So, pack up your picnic basket, throw in some creativity, and get ready to enjoy the great outdoors with your loved ones!

Don’t Forget the Picnic Games Picnic games for toddlers

Do your kids spend too much time in front of the TV, tablet, or phone? A picnic is a great way to get them outdoors having fun.

What is a kid-friendly picnic without games?  The classics have stood the test of time and still come out on top as leaders for family fun and memories.

I Spy With My Little Eye

A timeless game that stimulates children's creativity and observation skills. Your children will look around at the great outdoors to spy an object which is a great way to teach them to truly appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature.

To play "I Spy with My Little Eye," one player selects an object within sight and gives a clue, usually starting with "I spy with my little eye something beginning with [the first letter of the object]."   Maybe the child sees a butterfly so they pick a “b”. 

The other players then take turns guessing what the object might be based on the clue. This is a fun game for children of all ages.

If your toddler is too young to know their alphabet then you can encourage the child to find something based on observation such as “I spy with my little eye something pink.”  Then the other children and family members can guess the object based on the clue.

Scavenger Hunt

Launch a nature scavenger hunt. Use either pictures or word cards to encourage little ones to explore the world around them by finding natural things that occur around them such as leaves, flowers, and more.

A fantastic game that motivates your child to explore and learn about nature by finding items. As each discovery is made then you can use the opportunity as a teaching tool to go over a little lesson about every find - such as flower type, bird species, etc.

Mini Races

Ready, set, go! Organize short races, incorporating fun challenges, like doing a hopping race like a bunny rabbit instead of running which encourages coordination - plus is downright fun.

Turn it into a mini obstacle course by placing a few hula hoops on the floor to jump through.

Bubble Blowing Contest

Kids love bubbles! Have a contest to see who can blow the largest bubble.

You can also encourage your little ones to chase and pop the bubbles by using one of the bubble-making machines that run on batters and produce mass amounts of floating bubbles.

Musical Chairs

Use cushions instead of chairs if you’re on the ground. A playful way to enjoy music and movement.

Kid-friendly Picnic Tips

Kid friendly picnic tips 

Okay, it’s picnic time with kids and toddlers. You probably need all of the kid-friendly picnic tips you can gather to ensure an amazing and memorable day.

Enjoying a picnic is an affordable way to spice up your toddler's day-to-day life with some outdoor fun. While the thought of organizing a picnic with a toddler might seem daunting, you'll master it swiftly with these fresh tips!

Involve Them in the Picnic Preparation

Allow your little one to take part in the setup by helping with tasks. They can assist with filling the cooler with ice, securing lids on containers, or even mixing up a batch of potato salad. Let your child help with the food preparation by providing their little hands with the child-safe doodl knife to chop and dice fruit and veggies alongside you.

They'll love being involved, especially when they know it's for an exciting picnic! It’s also a great opportunity to spend time together. You can talk and tell stories as you prepare for the big day.

Encourage Pretend Picnics

Spark their imagination by letting them arrange their own mock picnic. Use their toy kitchen to prepare pretend meals, pack up a small basket with a blanket and toy food, and have a make-believe picnic in a different part of your home.

Imaginative play is a fantastic way to build anticipation for the real outing or to keep the fun going afterward.

Bring Along Some Furry Friends

Your dogs are a part of your family and your tots will love having them along on a picnic. However, if you don’t have a pet, you can improvise by letting your children bring their stuffie buddies.

Nothing's more adorable than your toddler enjoying a picnic with their beloved stuffed animals. Bring along their favorite plush toys and dolls to share in the picnic fun. This not only makes for cute photos but also enhances their pretend play, keeping them entertained throughout.

Use Frozen Grapes as Ice Packs

Frozen grapes are a tasty treat and perfect for cooling off during a warm picnic day. Also, the juicy fruit can double as ice packs to keep your food chilled.

Just remember to slice them into smaller pieces before freezing them to make them safe for your toddler. Research has shown that whole grapes are the third leading cause of food choking in children under five so always slice the grapes.

Try Out Fancy Finger Sandwiches

While the picnic is more about the experience for your toddler, adding a fun twist to their usual snacks can make it even more special.

Transform simple sandwiches like PB&J or ham and cheese into cute finger sandwiches. They'll be as delightful as something from a fancy tea party but will still be familiar and enjoyable for your little one.

Skewer Up Some Snacks

Skewers can turn ordinary snacks into exciting treats. Thread some fruit, cheese cubes, or even chicken nuggets onto skewers to make everything more fun.

One of the best things about creating skewers is that an older child can help with the task. Just keep a close eye to ensure safety with the skewers - avoid using the ones with sharp points and instead opt for blunt-end skewers.

Plan a Breakfast Picnic

Why not try something different by planning a breakfast picnic? The cool morning temperatures are great during the height of summer.

Another perk of a breakfast picnic is that it won’t interfere with your little tot’s nap time.

Incorporate Active Play

Keeping a toddler seated for a long time can be challenging, so plan some engaging outdoor activities for post-picnic fun. Simple, no-prep games are perfect for extending outdoor enjoyment without additional hassle.

It’s Time to Pack the Picnic Basket kid picnic ideas

Now it's time to load the picnic basket. Don’t forget to pack the doddl toddler utensils along with flatware for your little ones. Also, a great picnic item is the toddler plate by doddl which features a raised back to help prevent food from sliding off.

 With these ideas, your picnic with your toddler will not only be manageable but a delightful adventure!


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