Pack your picnic half-heartedly, and it’s sure to lack panache. Get it right, and everyone enjoys the picture-perfect day. Picnicking might sound pressure-filled, but it’s really not. You just need to properly prepare everything from the food to the fun so that each person fancies the fare and enjoys the entertainment. A little foresight and careful planning elevates your picnic from fair to fantastic.
Photos c/o @FabFatale
Select Your Supplies
Choose a picnic carrier with features to fit your needs: wine glass slots, cutlery and plate storage, room for different-sized containers or an insulated ice chest for a bottle of white wine. In addition, bring a waterproof blanket to share with your partner or colorful cushions for the kids. Think about using room-saving, multi-use items, such as frozen water bottles that double as ice packs, cloth sandwich wraps that can be used as napkins, and a cutting board for cheese and fruit preparation that can also provide a steady surface for the drinks.
Figure the Right Fare
Finger foods make for the easiest picnic fare. Kids delight in sandwiches cut into cute shapes while adults savor more sophisticated sandwiches such as caprese on a crunchy baguette. Condiments can make for soggy sandwiches; put mustard, ketchup and dressing in take-out containers to apply right before meal time. Afterward, fill the containers with trash, and then toss them for easy clean-up. In addition, place chicken chunks, meats, veggies or fruit on a skewer. Not only does this eliminate the need for utensils, the skewers also stack nicely and save space.
Get Your Game On
Pick up your picnic speed with age-appropriate games. Couples can reconnect with some flirty conversation cards, a game of truth or dare, or asking would-you-rather questions that spark juicy conversation. Keep kids entertained with travel-size versions of their favorite board games, an exciting game of balloon toss or silly sack races. Just make sure the entertainment is easy to pack and light, such as a flying disc or a rope for tug-o-war. You can also turn your entertainment edible by packing hard-boiled eggs and spoons for use in a relay race. When you’re done, peel the eggs and enjoy.
Remember the Miscellaneous
Before heading outside, get inside the minds of your picnic-goers. Anticipate needs for the proper accouterments. Fizzy drinks, wine and beer need a bottle opener; sticky hands and spills call for wet wipes; and a cut or bug bite warrants first-aid ointment and a bandage. To keep bugs at bay, for example, poke a straw through paper cupcake holders, and turn them upside down on top of drinks. And don’t get caught off guard with the sun — even hazy days are to blame for a burn. Always bring plenty of sunscreen and a little collapsible tent when you think shade could be scarce.
References & Resources
About the Author
Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as “Spa Magazine,” “L.A. Parent,” “Business,” the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.