When you think back on the summers of your childhood, you might have special memories of things you anticipated all through the long school year. Freedom! Sunshine! Swimming! Sleeping in!
Prominent among summer rituals are opportunities to enjoy outdoor dining. Backyard barbecues, family reunions, county and state fairs, hot dogs at the baseball park, ice cream trucks, lemonade stands, sandwiches by the pool…the list is extensive! But the classic summer feast might just be a perfectly planned picnic. Here are some tips to take your next summer picnic up a notch.
The most essential component of any good picnic is, of course, the food. When planning your menu, it’s important to remember the fact that it’s most likely HOT outside. Do you really want to haul heavy coolers filled with ice? Probably not! Besides, once the food comes out of the cooler and into the scalding sunshine…well, that’s where the trouble begins. Hot weather has an unfavorable impact on more foods than you might think. And mayonnaise, notorious for its very limited shelf life, lurks in many would-be picnic favorites, like potato salad, egg salad, tuna salad, and deviled eggs.
The good news is that there are lots of healthy options that don’t require refrigeration. Instead of potato salad, how about a pasta salad made with crispy fresh vegetables, olive oil, and savory seasonings? Rather than contend with a soggy and wilting leafy salad, take advantage of the beautiful fruits that are so abundant in the summer months and pack those instead. Need more inspiration? Here are ten ideas for delicious picnic foods that hold up well in warm weather.
Location, Location, Location
The location of a summer picnic can make the event a real pleasure—or a real disaster. Remember that shelter is a prime consideration. You’ll want a spot that can provide both shade and cover from an unexpected rain shower. Choose an area with a nearby public pavilion, covered patio, or deck, or bring along a portable shelter you can set up yourself, like a beach umbrella. You’ll also want bathroom facilities nearby, especially if you’re picnicking with kids.
Speaking of kids, be sure to give them plenty of fun and active things to do…a playground or swimming option at the location, some sports equipment you bring along…whatever keeps them busy, safe, and happy will ensure picnic success and a fun and relaxing time for all!
At Kindermusik, we think a requirement for a fun picnic (and for almost any occasion!) is some great music. Everything’s more fun when dancing and singing are on the agenda. You could even bring some instruments or home-made noisemakers and have yourselves a fun parade!
And if your perfect picnic happens to feature the #1 picnic pest (ANTS!), we’ve got a song for you. It’s a classic; we’re sure you will recognize it. Sing or play it at your next picnic to encourage those ants to go marching down into the ground and away from your spread!
Now that you’re ready to start planning, here’s an awesome checklist from RealSimple that will set you up for success!
Looking for more music fun and ideas? Join the wonderful community of families at your local Kindermusik class. We’d love to sing and dance with you this summer!