A simple and inexpensive family outing to plan is a picnic.  You can have one in your backyard or venture to a park or nature area.  It doesn’t even have to be a sunny day.   You can make a rainy or snowy day into something special by planning an indoor picnic.  Use this Theme Day to make your next picnic something unique. 

Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.



A favourite picnic song from my childhood was “The Ladybug Picnic” played on Sesame Street.  Check here for the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr8vUTm64h0

Another picnic song for children is Teddy Bears Picnic.”  Check here for lyrics: http://bussongs.com/songs/teddy_bears_picnic.php

For something mellow try to find this song I came across called “Moonglow – Theme from Picnic” (music written by George Duning and Lyrics by Steven Allen).




You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Picnic Coloring Page” or print out my “What would you pack for a picnic?” Coloring Page.



Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook:  Where is your favourite place to go for a picnic? Where would you like to go on a picnic? What would you pack for a picnic?  What is your favourite thing to eat on a picnic? 


 Choose the level of your child:

¨     Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer

¨     Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.

¨     Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.

¨     Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response.  (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)

¨     Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).

¨     As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or a poem about going on a picnic.



Print out a Picnic Word Search: Easy Picnic Word Search or Moderate Picnic Word Search.

Check here for the answer keys: Easy Picnic Word Search Key or Moderate Picnic Word Search Key.



Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about picnics.


Go to the library with your child to find some books about picnics.


Go to the library on your own to find books about picnics from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day.  Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject.  Reserve them if you can to save time.


Try this for the perfect picnic guide:


· Packing Up a Picnic: Activities and Recipes for Kids, by Rick Walton and Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Debra Spina Dixon, Gibbs Smith Publisher, 2006 – This little book is packed with ideas for planning different types of picnics (like a breakfast picnic, a haunted picnic, a snow picnic and a drive-in picnic...).



Here are some picture books:


· The Beastly Feast, by Bruce Goldstone and illustrated by Blair Lent, Henry Holt and Company, 1998—A rollicking rhyming story telling the story of what foods different animals bring on a picnic.


· Freda Plans a Picnic, by Stuart J. Murphy, Chalresbridge, 2010—An “I See I Learn Book,” this book teaches the cognitive skill of sequencing by icons and through the story of the steps Freda uses to plan her picnic.


· How Hungry Are You?, written by Donna Jo Napoli and Richard Tchen and illustrated by Amy Walrod, Atheneum Books for Young Readers,  2001—With fun cut-out illustrations this book is about a group of animal friends who  gather along the way to have a picnic.  When the group keeps getting bigger they have to decide how to divide the food to be fair.


· The Most Perfect Spot, by Diane Goode, Harper Collins Publishing,  2006—Jack invite his Mama on a picnic but each time they think they’ve found the most perfect spot something happens.


· Picnic, by Emily Arnold McCully, Harper Collins Publishing, 2003—When a family of mice go on a picnic Little Bitty falls off the truck on the way  and is lost.  Thankfully the mice find her and the picnic can finally happen!


· We’re Going on a  Picnic!, by Pat Hutchins, Green willow Books, 2002—Henm Duck and Goose want to go on a picnic but along they way they mysteriously lose their fruit!


· Where is the Cake Now?, by T.T. Khing, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2005—Even though there are no words in this book the illustrations tell many stories, the main tale being the mystery of the disappearing cake, but by looking for the individual animal characters on each page many stories unfold.  A fun book!





Materials: White and red paper, child safe scissors, glue stick.


Step 1: Fold a piece of red paper in half (have the longer sides of the paper horizontal and the shorter sides vertical) and cut a number of slits from the middle fold to just before the outer edge without cutting all the way through.

Step 2: Unfold the paper and lay it horizontally (so the longest side of the rectangular paper is horizontal and the shortest sides are laying vertical).

Step 3: Cut a number of white strips of paper out of the white paper (make sure the paper is the same length as the red paper so they will be the same size.

Step 4: Show your child how to weave the white strips of paper over and under the horizontal slits cut onto the red paper.  Start with one strip of white paper and weave it over first and then under continuing the pattern.  With the next strip of white paper start by weaving it under first and then over continuing the pattern until the end.

Step 5:  With each strip of paper, once it is woven to the end, gently slide it over to the left and then glue the loose flaps of paper to the red paper.  Continue to do this (weaving, sliding and gluing) until there is no more room in the red slits for a piece of white paper to fit.

Step 6: (Optional) You can now take this place mat to an Office Supply Store to have it laminated, giving you a picnic place mat than can be used over and over (and wiped clean when dirty with food).



Materials: Brown paper, green paper, stickers of food or coloured paper or magazine pictures of food, child safe scissors, glue stick, green marker, brown or black marker.


Step 1: Have your child draw grass on the green paper using a green marker.

Step 2: Cut out a rectangle from the brown paper to fit on the green paper as the picnic basket.

Step 3: Have your child draw brown or black stripes on the brown paper to make it look like a picnic basket.

Step 4:  Cut out another rectangle that will fit lengthwise on top of the first rectangle and then fold it in half.  Then cut a slight diagonal cut along the opposite side to the fold so that once unfolded it makes a trapezoid. 

Step 5: Have your child draw brown or black stripes on the trapezoid to make it look like the lid of the picnic basket.

Step 6: Have your child glue the rectangular picnic basket to the green paper.

Step 7: Fold the top (smaller parallel line ) of the trapezoid and apply glue  along the fold only.

Step 8: Glue the picnic lid to the picture.

Step 9: Lift the flap and have your child either apply stickers of food, or glue cut out pictures of food from a magazine, or draw pictures of food to fill the picnic basket.

Step 10: Display or glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.




Materials: White paper plate, markers, black paper, child-safe scissors, glue stick, black marker.


Step 1: Have your child draw his/her perfect picnic lunch on the paper plate using markers. You can use this opportunity to review the food groups and discuss healthy foods vs. sometimes (unhealthy) foods.

Step 2:  Cut out small black circles from the black paper to be the segments on an ant's body.

Step 3:  Let your child glue the three black circles together to form and ant and then have him/her  draw legs and antennae on the ant.





· Freeze some juice boxes to make instant ice packs that can later be used as drinks. 

· Pack napkins and wet wipes for sticky fingers.

· Pack a plastic bag to hold your rubbish.



Finger foods work best on picnics so chopped and cleaned veggies and fruits make good additions to any picnic basket.

Boil some eggs for another easy picnic addition.



Make some sandwiches to take on a picnic.


Wraps (using favourite veggies and sandwich toppings wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla) make another great picnic alternative to sandwiches.


Make a Family Sub Sandwich.  One of our favourite things to pack on a picnic , the Family Sub is made with a whole wheat French Loaf or Baguette.  I make one or two large sub sandwiches uses deli meats, sliced cheese, grated carrots, sliced cucumbers, sliced avocado, and ranch dressing.  Wrap the whole thing up and then when it is picnic time slice off pieces with a packed knife.


Sliced watermelon is a sweet way to end a picnic.

Bake some muffins or cookies to pack in your picnic basket as well.




Print out my Picnic Packing List  and together as a family plan what else needs to be packed for a picnic besides the food.  The list may include a camera, a blanket to sit on, sun screen, outdoor toys (like balls and Frisbees), cutlery and plates, plastic bags for rubbish, a first aid kit, bug spray, sun hats…



For all things picnic check here (recipes, games, the origin of the word picnic):





Outdoor Scavenger Hunt:

A fun activity to do on an outdoor picnic is a scavenger hunt.  Print out my Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Worksheet  for a basic scavenger hunt.  You could also print out a copy of this Blank Scavenger Hunt Worksheet and write your own ideas down based on where your picnic will be (i.e. a beach picnic could include sea shells).



Play the Alphabet Game as a family as you journey to your picnic spot.  The first person begins by saying “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring...” and then that person says something that starts with the letter “A” like “an apple.”  The second person then says “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring an apple and....” and then adds something that starts with the letter “B.”  This is a good review of the alphabet for preschoolers and a great memory challenge for older kids (help out little ones with the memory part).



Q:  What does a millionaire’s picnic basket have in it?

A:  24 carrots!



Who’s there?


Pasta who?

Pasta sandwiches please.



Who’s there?


Paris who?

Paris good but I prefer apples.






Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows that might include an episode about picnicking.


For young children try these titles:


· Kipper: Pools, Park and Picnics, HIT Entertainment, 2003 – Only one show is about picnics but little ones will enjoy the other tales as well.


· Charlie and Lola: Volume two, BBC Video, 2006 – One episode on this DVD is entitled “The most wonderfullest picnic in the whole wide world.”




If you have a large group on your picnic try some outdoor games like tag, a three-legged race, or a race where two partners try to keep a balloon between them while they run without using their hands.



Plan a picnic out of town and visit a National or State Park you have not been to before.


Plan a picnic!

Photo: C Wright


Paper Weaving: Picnic Placemat

Lift the Flap Picnic Craft

(with the flap closed)

Lift the Flap Picnic Craft

(with the flap opened)

Picnic Plate Craft

Picnic Colouring Page