Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Tips and ideas for a fun, easy, kid-friendly picnic

Jumbo playing cards, snacks on skewers and water balloon ice packs are just some of the ways to spice up your average picnic routine.

Summer is finally here, which means it is picnic season! Summer picnics are great for entertaining children, keeping the mess outside and anyways, who doesn’t enjoy eating outside. Outdoor meals can also help relieve stress while helping kids release some pent-up energy. Picnics tend to be more social, relaxing and are way cheaper than heading to a local restaurant when one would rather not eat at home. However, takeout also can be a great picnic option, and  here are some good spots, conveniently near parks.

Kid-Friendly Picnic Food

Picnic food doesn’t need to be extravagant. In fact, that is one great thing about picnics – they are best when they are simple!

Rebecca Mongrain

Check out these tasty treats made even better on a skewer!

Anything tastes better on a stick so make easy meals by piling fruit or meat, cheese and your favorite vegetable onto a skewer. For younger kids, use straws instead of skewers for a safer tool. Pack lots of fruits, cut up veggies, dips, cheeses and deli meat for a simple and fun picnic meal. Fill mason jar bottoms with hummus or dip and stick carrots, celery and other vegetables in the jars for quick snacks with little mess.

Pasta salads are another simple, yet delicious outdoor optionand is a quick to whip up but pleasing to even the pickiest of palates.

For the watermelon lover, try Life’s Ambrosia’s Watermelon Salad  instead of the usual cut-up melon. Add a bit of pizzazz to the traditional fruit salad by using fun cookie cutter shapes on watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew melon. Fill out your salad with blueberries, kiwi, strawberries and grapes.

Toss together Weelicious’s veggie filled and yet super easy Asian Succotash  for a delightful picnic side dish. Pair with Vegetable Roll-ups or White on Rice’s Vegetarian Spring Summer Rolls for veggie based dishes that are hard to resist.

Looking for something really fast and easy? Hit up the deli counter at your favorite grocery store before heading to the park. Grab deli meat, delicious sliced cheese, a veggie platter and some hummus and crackers for a great picnic meal.

Keep It Cool

Once you’ve assembled your picnic food, you need to pack it up and keep it cool. While ice packs are great, they can be hard to find and expensive. Instead freeze water bottles and sponges to keep your picnic chilled. The water bottles will serve double-duty as ice cold water as they start to melt and the sponges can be used to clean up any and all kid messes.

Freeze balloons filled with water for a colorful way to keep picnic treats chilled. Thermal bags and well insulated coolers will also help keep everything ice cold without having to deal with melting ice. Frozen grapes are also a great fruity way to chill drinks.

Be Well Prepared

Impromptu picnics will happen more often if you get organized early and keep your supplies stocked. Gather reusable or paper plates, utensils, napkins, a great picnic blanket , lots of plastic bags, and a cooler. Be extra prepared with sunscreen, a first aid kit and hand sanitizer. Pack it all in a fantastic picnic basket and you’ll be ready to picnic at a moment’s notice.

Easy Outdoor Entertainment

Picnics are about more than just food. They are really just a great excuse to get outside and enjoy time with others. Keep the fun going once all the food is consumed with fun games, easy entertainment and clever tricks. It doesn’t take much to create a fun time.

Pack some Big Jumbo Playing Cards  in your picnic basket for a quick distraction. Kids love the size of the cards while adults will enjoy the abundance of games available.

Go old-school by bobbing for donuts or apples. Tie donuts to a tree with string and challenge your picnic guests to eat them without touching the donuts with their hands. Place apples in a bin of water and have guests bob for them with their hands behind their backs. These simple games provide mountains of fun.

Put together an outdoor scavenger hunt for your crew. It will provide a fun way to enjoy the outdoor surroundings while also focusing everyone’s attention. If you are extra prepared, you can individualize your scavenger hunt for your particular picnic venue.

Games like can provide hours of entertainment and is small enough for even the most discerning picnicker- all you need is paper and pens. Or make rock dominoes. Smart parents may want to bring their crafty supplies with them to the park and have their children craft game pieces before play begins. Simply find long rocks, paint or color them, divide the rock in half with a dark line, and number them with dots. It’s sure to keep your kids busy while you sit and enjoy the day.

Need help finding the best place for a picnic? Here are our 14 great family picnic spots in and around Seattle. 

About the Author

Rebecca Mongrain