Kids, Tips / How-Tos, Toddlers

Pack Up a Picnic: Kid-Friendly Ideas

Warm weather brings many opportunities for outdoor activities—soccer games, afternoons on the playground and BBQs in the backyard. One of our favorites is picnicking. From an impromptu breakfast to an early afternoon lunch or dinner at sunset, picnics are a delightful way to get the family outside together—and it doesn’t have to be complicated. A few simple meals, easy-to-organize activities and handy outdoor essentials are all it takes to throw a picnic to remember. Here are some of our favorite tips for a picnic with kids.

Picnic Foods for Kids

It can be tempting to create a picnic chock-full of picture-perfect food that requires major prep time but in reality, simple is best, especially with kids! Try easy kid-friendly picnic snacks like tea sandwiches, crunchy veggies like cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers, and sweet fruits like peaches, watermelon and fresh berries. Let kids have a hand in preparing the food—even if that just means helping place everything into the picnic basket. Older kids can pack their own bags or backpacks with their favorite bites. 


Add hummus or dressing to the bottom of a jar and top it off with your favorite chopped veggies for the perfect travel-friendly snack.

If you’d like to go for something a bit more complex, try these kid-friendly pasta salads. Tasty and nutritious, they’re easy to take on the go, and kids can customize their toppings according to their preferences. Another kid-friendly picnic idea are chicken avocado rollups, as they’re easy to stack and pack away for the day. For a brunch picnic that’s earlier in the day, egg and cheese quesadillas fit the bill—and provide a punch of protein.

To wrap up the meal, how about a special treat that little ones can customize? These peanut butter banana caterpillars are adorable, tasty and much lower in sugar than traditional desserts.

Wholesome Picnic Drinks for Kids

Be sure to pack plenty of water to keep everyone hydrated and happy, but feel free to bring other drinks, too. Try mixing fresh lemon juice with water and freezing it in a fun ice cube tray. Add the cubes to your water to make a simple and healthy lemonade. If your kids enjoy fizzy drinks, spruce up orange juice with sparkling water for a bubbly orange fizz. 

For something a little lighter than lemonade or soda, try fruit and herb-infused water. Not only will infused water help your kids stay hydrated through the day, but they’ll also love flavoring their drinks themselves!

Kid-Friendly Picnic Activities

Food and drinks may be the stars of a family picnic, but they’re not the only thing to consider! Outdoor activities are a crucial part of having a fun-filled picnic. Get active by bringing a portable speaker to play music to get everyone up and moving! Pack up equipment for a casual sports matchup (a softball and glove, or even just a kickball). For younger kids, bubbles, jump ropes and sidewalk chalk are always a hit. Bring along a deck of cards or some favorite board games for some laid back fun.

To get kids active before or after eating, send them on a nature scavenger hunt to explore the surrounding area. Or, take a cue from classic activities like hide and seek, hopscotch, a one-legged race or four square.

Essentials for a Day in the Sun

A day under the sun requires a few must-haves to help keep everyone comfortable outside. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen to keep skin protected. Hats are also a must for your little ones! Try to pick a picnic spot that has shade to keep them out of the sun, or consider toting along a beach umbrella for extra coverage. Also bring some bug repellant, particularly if you’re heading out for your picnic in the late afternoon or near sunset. Try wipes instead of spray for younger kids for even coverage.

For the picnic itself, an oversized blanket or a few beach towels work well as a place to spread everything out. Make sure to bring a tarp or plastic sheet to put underneath the blanket to keep it from getting soiled or wet. Take along some baby wipes and paper towels to clean off hands after eating and to take care of any messes or spills that may happen. Speaking of messes, also consider bringing a few empty gallon-sized ziplock bags to contain dirty utensils or leftover food.

Locations for a Family-Friendly Picnic

A local park is the perfect place to throw a kid-friendly picnic, but it’s certainly not the only option. Host one in your backyard or front yard and invite a few neighbors. Head to a local beach and have a picnic on the sand, or find a camping spot in a nature preserve and set up for the afternoon. If the weather’s not cooperating or it’s just easier to stay home, try building a fort with pillows, blankets and cushions, and picnic inside!  

Alternatively, look for a nearby outdoor attraction your family hasn’t yet visited, and plan your picnic around that. Try a botanical garden, sculpture garden or bike trail for a day out—and a new adventure.

Summer is the time get outside and enjoy the warmer weather, and what better way to celebrate the rising temps than having a picnic. Pack up a couple of delicious, easy-to-carry meals, take your favorite outdoor equipment and head out for an afternoon under the sun.


Katie Klepek

Katie combines her passions—family, food and healthy lifestyle choices—with crafting a personalized experience for Nurture Life customers through all aspects of marketing. She has over 13 years of experience in business, communications and event planning, having previously co-founded the successful event production company Reinventing Events. Katie’s diverse background allows her to effectively combine communication and organization skills to develop, plan and deliver results. Katie attended the University of Illinois at Chicago. When she’s not spreading her cheer at Nurture Life, Katie can be found spending time with her daughter, running marathons and co-hosting a horror movie podcast with her husband.