Inside: Picnic ideas for kids that are adventurous and unique. These yummy outdoor adventures include simple recipes that your kids can help prepare!
“Let’s have a picnic!” Your kids shout this as they come in from playing outside. You inwardly cringe as your mind fires off thoughts in rapid order: Isn’t that a lot of work? What food do we have for a picnic? How can we spice the picnic up to make it more memorable?
No need to stress! There are a lot of options for combining food with the great outdoors to make your picnic unusual and memorable.
Some picnic ideas for kids require more planning and work than others. However, you can make it as simple or as complex as you like.
Have your kids help out as much as they can to lessen the work. If your kids are like mine, they love to cook and prepare food.
When kids have a role in preparing food, they are more likely to eat it. And it goes without saying how proud and special they feel after cooking part of a meal!
Here are eight great suggestions for fun dining adventures outdoors! Each adventure includes a recipe that your children can help you prepare.
So put on your chef hats, don your aprons and round up the ingredients. An exciting day of adventure awaits!
1) Hobo Hike
Pack a small lunch in a bandanna (or other square piece of material) and tie it to a stick. Or have each child pack their lunch in their own backpack.
Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches or Cheese and Cucumber Sandwiches are ideal for this. Allow your children to help make the sandwiches and pack them in the bandanna.
Find a hiking trail to hike on or just “hike” in your backyard or local park. Let your kids locate a fun spot to stop for a picnic. Don’t forget to take your binoculars!
Recipe for Cheese and Cucumber Sandwiches
- 1 thinly sliced cucumber
- 4 oz. package of cream cheese (softened)
- Slices of bread
- Knife to slice cucumbers
- Butter knife
- Spread slices of bread with cream cheese.
- Top with cucumber slices.
- Place remaining slices of bread on top.
2) Costume Picnic
Let your children dress up in old Halloween costumes or select outfits from a dress-up box if you have one.
If neither of these is an option, let your kids raid your closet and see what they come up with to wear. Kids love to dress up in mommy and daddy’s clothes!
Pack a lunch in a picnic basket and parade around in your yard before eating a picnic there or head to the local park for your costume picnic.
Sandwiches, chips, cookies, gelatin squares and lemonade are perfect treats for this picnic.
Recipe for Gelatin Squares
- Box of flavored gelatin
- 1 ½ cups water
- Medium saucepan
- Shallow pan
- Cookie cutters or knife
- Put water in the saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove.
- Stir the package of gelatin into the boiling water until it dissolves.
- Pour the dissolved gelatin into a lightly greased shallow pan and refrigerate it until it sets. This takes about two hours.
- Cut the gelatin with cookie cutters or a knife.
3) Teddy Bear Picnic
This is one of my favorite picnic ideas for kids. Have your kids grab their favorite teddy bear or other stuffed animal and head outside for a picnic.
Spread a tablecloth or blanket on the ground and sit around eating finger foods and Popsicles with the stuffed animals as special guests.
If you live in the U.S., National Teddy Bear Picnic Day is on July 10 each year. So grab your teddy bears and head outside for a mid-summer picnic.
Recipe for Popsicles
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 cups lemonade
- 1 package gelatin
- Mixing spoon
- Popsicle molds or ice cube trays
- Mix ingredients together in a bowl.
- Pour mixture into Popsicle molds or ice cube trays.
- Place in the freezer until the mixture is frozen solid.
4) Tea Party
Help your kids host a formal tea party and invite a few of their friends. Invite your kids and their guests to dress up nicely for the occasion if possible.
Set up a table outdoors with elegant linens and tableware. Decorate the table with a nice tablecloth and a floral centerpiece and the chairs with ribbons and bows.
Serve treats like fancy sandwiches, chocolate-dipped strawberries, cookies, crackers and herbal tea or other hot beverages such as hot apple cider.
If you are willing, allow your kids to use a nice tea set you may have with supervision of course. Use a play tea set if using your fancy China tea set makes you nervous.
Don’t forget to take a picture of each guest at the tea party.
Recipe for Fudgy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Serving Size: 4 dozen small cookies
- 1 large egg
- 3 tbsp. water
- 5 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 package chocolate fudge cake mix
- 1 ½ cups chocolate chips
- Large Bowl
- Mixing spoon
- Baking sheets
- Tablespoons or teaspoons
- Wire cooling rack
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix the egg, water, vegetable oil and cake mix in a large bowl.
- Add the chocolate chips and stir the dough until it is blended.
- Drop the cookie dough by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheets.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes for smaller cookies and 15-20 for larger cookies.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
5) Garden Party
If you have a vegetable garden, you should consider having a garden party when harvest time comes. Don’t have a garden? You can still have a garden party.
Visit a local farmer’s market or the produce department at your grocery store to purchase vegetables. Have a discussion with your kids about how and where vegetables grow and how they arrive at the store for people to buy.
Let your kids clean, peel and cut the vegetables and arrange them on a tray. Have your kids make dips by mixing sour cream and onion soup mix together.
If you want, get out the grill and toss vegetables on it to cook. Yummy!
Encourage your kids to try vegetables even if they don’t like them or think they won’t like them. Often kids are more receptive to trying new foods if they have a role in preparing it.
Crackers, cookies and lemonade are also great suggestions for a garden party menu.
Recipe for Freshly Squeezed Lemonade
Makes about 5 (8 oz) servings
- 4-5 medium-sized lemons
- 4 cups water
- ⅔ cup sugar
- Ice cubes
- Lemon Juicer
- Large Pitcher
- Big Spoon
- Squeeze juice out of lemons using the lemon juicer.
- Pick the seeds out of the freshly squeezed juice.
- Combine the juice with water and sugar in the pitcher.
- Stir with the spoon until the sugar dissolves
- Serve immediately over ice or chill in the refrigerator till serving time.
6) Beach Party
Pack your picnic basket and swimming gear and head to the beach if you live close to one. If not, pretend you are at the beach by inviting your children to sit on beach towels in a sandbox or near a pool. Serve ice cream or snow cones.
Homemade Ice Cream
Makes 3-4 quarts
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup honey
- 7 cups milk
- 3 cups whipping cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- ½ tsp salt
- Large Bowl
- Ice Cream Freezer
- Beat eggs well with the mixer.
- Add the other ingredients and mix together.
- Freeze in the ice cream freezer.
7) Rise and Shine Picnic
That’s right! Start your day with a picnic. Take juice, pancakes, muffins or doughnuts outside for a sweet way to start your day.
If your kids are feeling extra ambitious, cook up a full breakfast with eggs and bacon. Eat in your pajamas to make this picnic even more unique!
Recipe for Oatmeal Pancakes
Makes 10-12 pancakes
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup quick-cooking oats
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- Large Bowl
- Non-stick griddle or skillet
- Beat all the ingredients together with the mixer.
- For each pancake, pour ¼ cup of batter onto a hot non-stick griddle or skillet.
- Fry the pancakes until they bubble in the middle.
- Flip the pancakes and cook the other sides until they are golden brown.
- Serve the pancakes with butter and syrup or other tasty condiment.
8) Nature Picnic
This outdoor outing is different from the other picnic ideas for kids mentioned because the “food” is items gathered from nature. From stone soup to mud pies, this picnic is a blast for kids to “cook” and “eat!”
The menu for the nature picnic consists of:
- Sticks and Stones Soup
- Grassy Salad
- Mud Meatballs
- Mud Pie
For more details on this kind of a picnic as well as the “recipes” to make the natural menu items, visit my post about fun outdoor activities for kids.
If you want to take it one step further, how about cooking edible versions of the nature menu? Serve vegetable soup, lettuce salad and real meatballs. For dessert, make a real mud pie with this recipe.
“Let’s Have a Picnic!”
The next time you hear those four words, you won’t cringe and stress out because you now have eight different picnic ideas for kids.
Each of these ideas are sure to entertain and delight you and your kids. I guarantee your children will remember and talk about these outdoor eating adventures for years to come!