It’s a nice day and you’re thinking about taking the kids and the dogs to the park, but you’re not sure if you should go before lunch or after. Why delay the fun? Family picnics are a ton of fun and shouldn’t require any more time than it takes to make lunch at home. With just a little bit of planning one time, you’ll be ready for a low-key day of fun the next time the mood hits.

Prep Your Go-Bag

First, grab any kind of sturdy bag you don’t mind getting dirty, and that you won’t miss all spring and summer. Bonus points if it is water resistant. Pack your bag with items you would need while you’re at any park, including a blanket or two. Most parks offer water fountains, so be sure to pack a bowl for Fido. This COMSUN collapsible dog bowl from Amazon is inexpensive but durable, and it folds up easily.

As a parent, you know you’re never fully dressed without a backup, so throw in a full set of play clothes for each child. Add in a few toys like a jump rope, Frisbee, basic water guns and sidewalk chalk as back-up in case the park’s usual attractions fail to inspire. Finish the bag with sunscreen, a pack of paper plates, hand sanitizer and a pack of wet wipes. Place your go-bag in the trunk of your car so it’s on-hand whether you’re driving or walking to the park.

Menu Planning

Sure, a gingham-lined picnic basket with real silverware and plates is great, but the fun for kids is getting to do something different. That PB&J you were planning to serve for lunch tastes a lot better during a quick break from the playing with friends on the swing set. Grab some apples and baby carrots and that’s a lunch any parent can live with. And the best part? No clean-up is necessary.

Need more options? Try the kid-approved ants on a log. Wash and slice a few celery stalks, then add peanut butter and top with raisins. Celery also makes a great conduit for Mama Flasch’s Gourmet Salsa and is a lot healthier than chips. Our salsa is also delicious with sliced peppers or cucumber. With no added preservatives or sugar and made in small batches with fresh ingredients, our salsa is a great way to sneak veggies into your child’s diet. It’s important to stay hydrated, especially when you’re playing outdoors, so don’t forget to pack plenty of water and your reusable bottles. 

We hope you’ll look at picnics as easier outings now that your go-bag will help reduce day-of planning time. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram for more great ideas!

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