Parenting

Parenting: Picnics in the Summer

Friday, May 18, 2012

What child doesn't beg to go outside? My two-year-old twins start asking me at 7 a.m., "Outside?" They typically are only up for a half hour, haven't gotten dressed or finished their breakfast, but already they want to play outdoors.

If your kids are like mine, then having a picnic for lunch or dinner with your child is sure to be a hit!

I don't mean the kind where it takes hours to prepare, requires specialty items that you don't have time or money to pick up, or requires you to drive somewhere. I mean the ultra-casual kind that a toddler will be thrilled with. It only takes 5 minutes to prepare, it can be done in your backyard or on the porch and it does not stress out the parents.

For us, it means making a couple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, putting sliced fruit or chopped ham in baggies, adding their favorite crackers, chips or cookies, rolling up a blanket, taking a couple stuffed animals along and putting it all in a reusable shopping bag to cart out onto our deck.

They help unroll the blanket, lay out the food, "feed" their stuffed animals and munch happily outside while soaking up the sunshine and feeling the breeze.

The whole meal only takes about 15 minutes, but we stretch it out by blowing bubbles, watering my flowers while describing their colors, playing with their plastic ride-on toys and sweeping with their mini brooms.

I did the same thing with their older brother every week of the summer when he was young and it left a lasting memory. By the time the Zeke and Hunter are 4 or 5 years old, we'll branch out and take our trikes/bikes to the bike trail and have our picnic along the river. That way we can watch the ducks, skim rocks, see the boats, people watch, sit in the gazebo and stretch it out even longer.

For now, we're happy with our mini-meal that brings Mother Nature into our dining. It's a memory I hope they'll always cherish. I certainly will!

Nourish Interactive has more easy picnic ideas for children.

Have fun!
Monica

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