Host and Pack the Ultimate Picnic: Tips, Tricks, and Essentials

From blankets to baskets, there’s a lot to think about when planning a picnic. 

This summer, explore our ultimate guide on picnics by exploring our three-step process of packing the perfect picnic. Don’t forget to also read up on our planning tips to make family picnics less stressful, and meet our favorite picnic necessities too!

Why You Should Go on a Picnic This Summer 

Summer is all about quality time—and what better way to spend time with those we love than in the outdoors with a fresh meal and some games? 

Going on a picnic can do a lot more than make you feel happy. Spending time outdoors boosts vitamin D, and helps reduce any anxiety or stress you might be feeling. Picnics are also a great way to eat fresh foods that nourish our bodies and engage in fun conversations with loved ones. Did we mention that picnics are also a budget-friendly way to enjoy the best of what summer has to offer? 

If you’re picnicking with children, a picnic is a great way for kids to explore a new space around them, improve hand-eye coordination, and engage in outdoor activities. Did you know that outdoor spaces also help boost kids’ imagination and encourage more active play? If you’re ready to start picnicking, keep reading to find out how to host and pack the perfect picnic no matter the crowd!

The Three Step Method to Hosting The Perfect Picnic

Meet the three P’s of hosting the perfect picnic: planning, prepping, and packing! Try following this simple method the week before your next picnic to evade stress every single time. 

Plan: Everyone’s ready for a picnic, but now what? Figure out:

  • Who: how many people will be there?
  • Where: what amenities are there, and how much green space?
  • How: will you bike, walk, or drive there with others? 
  • When: what time will you be meeting, and what will the weather be?

After collecting the following information, make any lists you need to keep track of things, while also accounting for dietary restrictions, accessibility concerns, or other needs. 

Prep: Determine who might be bringing items already, and what you’re in charge of! This includes deciding what food, drink, and other activities or games to pack. This is also the time to go shopping to purchase groceries or other items you don’t already have. The day before the picnic, prepare any homemade drinks, chop fruits and vegetables, and complete other preparatory tasks that you can. 

Pack: Put it all together on the morning of the big day! Refer to any lists you made in the ‘plan’ stage, making sure that everything gets out of the house and into the car with you. We also recommend packing just-in-case items like first-aid kits, extra bug spray, and sunscreen to leave in the car. Don’t forget to bring clean-up items that you'll need to leave your picnic spot the way it was before you got there. 

Tips to Make Family Picnics Less Stressful 

Now that you know how to host a perfect summer picnic, what are some tips that can make it even easier when you’re going on a picnic with your family? 

  • Put each family member in charge of packing one thing. Kids love to be in charge of essentials like packing picnic blankets or choosing books/games, while adults can each take on food, drinks, or treats. This way, not everything falls on one person and stress is mitigated! 
  • Choose your picnic spot a few days before the event. It can be easy to get everything ready but forget to decide on a place to go! We recommend asking friends and checking local community groups for the best picnic spot ideas, as there’s more to think about than just nature! Depending on those in the family you’re picnicking with, you might prefer to have a playground nearby, washrooms, ramps, or tables. 
  • Prep the basket the night before! To do this, fill baskets with low-prep-time foods like raw veggies, fruits, dips, and spreads. Try chopping up an egg or garden salad in a tupperware container that can be put on bread or enjoyed on its own. We also love picnic food that can be packed separately, but assembled together outdoors! This means cheese and crackers, or the ingredients for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  • Don’t forget the drinks. Our favorite picnic drinks include ginger beer and lemonade variations. You can also hit the grocery store and try a new sparkling water or canned beverage. If you’re making your own this time around, try one of our ten family-friendly mocktail recipes here! If you have a lot of drinks for a large crowd, put them in a cooler with ice—opt for a cooler bag instead if you’re bringing just a few. 
  • The more finger foods, the better! Finger foods like chips, cheese and crackers, sandwiches, wraps, and cookies mean there’s no need to bring cutlery or plates with you—just napkins! This helps avoid a lot of unnecessary weight, packing, and cleaning up all at the same time.
  • Pack light. Especially on a hot day, it can quickly get tiring carrying a cooler, blanket, games, and heavy basket with glass containers or bottles. Opt for light reusable Tupperware boxes, and just the necessities for not only an easy trip there, but an easy clean up too!

Meet Our Favorite Picnic Necessities 

Need some extra gear to take your picnics to the next level? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our five favorite picnic items of all time. if you see something you like, simply click the link to shop! 

  1. We love these soft cooler-style insulated bags from Igloo. Perfect for drinks, cool foods, and even cold treats, these bags are a great investment to make for many adventures to come! 
  2. A picnic isn’t complete without some treats on hand, and ours are organic too! Our Classic SuperFruit® Freezie Pops are the perfect way to sweeten your summer while also keeping you cool in the heat. Meet our favorite way to keep them frozen all day long right here. 
  3. Have you met a HappyPicnic picnic basket yet? We promise you won’t go back once you do. These beautiful family-friendly picnic baskets are durable, have ample space for food storage, and even some built-in slots for cutlery and plates. 
  4. If you love to picnic with a large group, consider investing in a family-size pop-up tent. In addition to keeping bugs away from food, a pop-up tent can be a great way to provide shady space for games away from wind or rain. 
  5. Don’t forget to capture the memories. If you love the feel of physical photos developing right in front of you, nothing beats an Instax Mini polaroid camera to snap high-quality group pictures in the summer sun!