Outdoor family meals come naturally with summer time. Whether you fire up the ‘Q’ or pack a lunch to go, nature is the best venue for food and fun. Picnics in particular are great for kids and adults alike because they’re relatively simple to prepare and great for every age. While you’ll likely remember the basket and blanket, here are a few picnic play ideas to pack up as well:
1) Picnic parachute. First things first, pick a shady spot and mark your territory with the picnic blanket (classic checkered print, optional). Have everyone choose a corner or side(s) and lift and lower the blanket like a parachute. Add a beach ball to the middle of the blanket and keep it up! Skills: coordination of legs, arms and torso
2) Tree tag. A favourite childhood game of mine with super simple rules. As a family, define an area of trees and one by one, take off to tag them all! The route is up to the runner while the rest will wait and time. Skills: agility, dynamic balance, and speed
3) Balloon sports. A great way to introduce any sport that uses a ball is to substitute a balloon instead. Balloon batting, balloon tennis, and balloon volleyball are all family-friendly picnic possibilities. Skills: hand-eye coordination, striking, and volleying
4) Mud pie maker. Need some time to set-up the feast? Send the kids off with empty pie pans to “make” a mud pie. The ingredients must come from nature and should include a crust, filling, topping and garnish. Tip: be sure to practice good hand washing before eating. Skills: lifting, lowering, and sensory fun
5) Blanket run. If you have some spare blankets then this game is quite the “ride.” Partner up and start with one person sitting on the blanket and one person standing, blanket edge in hand. Race to the finish line by pulling your partner across the grass as quickly as possible. Extra challenge: go there and back by switching puller and rider halfway. Skills: pulling coordination of legs, arms and torso
6) Freeze dance. Add some music to your meal by packing a portable radio or speaker. Not only will you have tunes during lunch but dancing is a great way to develop physical literacy. How to play: start the music – dance your heart out – press pause – freeze in a fun and foolish way. Skills: dynamic balance
Have a playful picnic idea we should know about? Comment on this article or get social with us!