Picnic time

Top tips and advice for making a picnic with a toddler a healthy and fun affair.

Man, woman and children outdoors

Introduction

Going for a picnic is a great way to spend a day with the family, and children especially seem to love eating outdoors. If you combine the picnic with active games or a country walk, you can have a healthy and fun day that needn't cost much.

You don't have to go far... you can have a picnic in your garden or the local park and, if it rains, you could even have a picnic indoors at home. Just spread the rug out, sit down and tuck in!

Picnic food needs to be easy to carry and to eat - finger food is best so that you don't need to bring knives and forks. Carrot batons or breadsticks with dips (like hummus) always go down well. Instead of sandwiches, you could make wraps and, instead of taking whole fruit, you could make fruit kebabs. Children can help prepare these - either by chopping the vegetables or, if they are too young for that, they can push the fruit onto the skewers. Helping to prepare food makes children more willing to eat it.

How CBeebies can help

The CBeebies website has lots of useful ideas for picnics. The cooking area in the Make & Colour section has lots of recipes for suitable picnic foods, while the Big Cook Little Cook pages show your child how to make everything for a picnic party - from invitations to napkin rings and sandwich flags!

Click on the Watch and Listen pages and show your child what happens at Big Barn Farm when Gobo the greedy goat spies a tasty picnic - and take a look at a short clip from Everything's Rosie, where Rosie and Raggles surprise all their friends by making a delicious picnic.

How to make a magic moment

Organise a teddy bear picnic and invite your child's friends to bring a teddy along.

Think of some suitable food (e.g. teddy-shaped biscuits and honey sandwiches) and games (e.g. make up your own version of Pooh Sticks). Afterwards, sing some bear-related songs and rhymes (e.g. Teddy Bear's Picnic song, 'Round and round the garden like a teddy bear') and tell bear-related stories (e.g. 'We're going on a bear hunt', & 'Goldilocks and The Three Bears').

You could also have a go at making bear noises (see who can do the biggest growl!) or cut out and colour in some simple bear masks.

By Dr Lucy Cooke

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Expert opinion

Children love picnics. Combined with some physical activity, it's a healthy and enjoyable family day out.

Dr Lucy Cooke, Psychologist (specialising in children's eating behaviour)

Top tips

  • Let your child help to make the food for your picnic.Stick to bite-sized and finger foods.Move the picnic indoors if it rains.Plan some active games and sing and tell some bear-related songs and stories.

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