Gathering family and friends is such an enjoyable past time and for some families it can become quite a tradition. You know you can become the best at planning a picnic because you will have learnt some little tricks to help make the picnic a success.
The Perfect Picnic begins at home. I've put together some suggestions as to what picnic essentials you may need.
Store these away in a handy carry basket, plastic lidded box or perhaps in one of those great portable trolley packs. (These are on wheels and are easy to move from car to picnic area...no fuss). Your local hardware store is a great place to find your Carry All. Keep this in the pantry, cupboard or in the car boot ready to grab as you head out the door.
You could even use a shopping trolley, which is what I use and when not using it I store it in the garage.
A perfect picnic day out can combine exercise, great company, delicious food, fresh air and lots of fun and games.
I, personally, have produced some fond memories of days out with the family down at the beach, the local park and special places. Sitting here thinking back to those times, they really did leave, and still do, a mark in my life.
Picnic Tips No 1 - Picnic Basket or Trolley
There are some amazing picnic baskets out there and some of these can cost you a fortune. Some come with all the latest color co-ordinated whizz-bang gadgets and bits and pieces.
Here's one of my picnic tips that will save you heaps.
Put your own together, perhaps getting the kids involved in the process, as this really is so much more fun. The cheap $2 Shops/Thrift Shops, The Reject Shop, supermarket and the local hardware are great places to pick up bits and pieces.
Picnic Tips No 2 - Picnic Rug or Blanket
Rugs can now be purchased with waterproof backing. Consider the possibility of making your own picnic quilt. Let your imagination take over, the material doesn't need to be expensive either, just make sure tha tit is fairly durable as it is going to get some decent usage.
Op shops or thrift shops are excellent places to pick up fabric remnants. You could even find recycled doonas, blankets or curtains. I suggest you make a couple as extras always come in handy.
Create a food theme, flower theme, color theme. You can back the quilt/blanket with a tarp found at the local hardware store.
Picnic Tips No 3 - Folding Picnic Table and Chairs
These days the range of folding picnic table and chairs is extensive. I have found the best place to pick a set up is at the local hardware, watch out for seasonal specials on offer.
The best type to purchase are lightweight and durable styles as these can be cleaned easily washing them with the garden hose.
Ones that can withstand all types of weather conditions and don't take up too much room when stored are the best.
Picnic Tips No 4 - Folding Chairs
An essential one of my picnic tips is to make sure that you invest in a decent and sturdy folding chair. There is nothing worse than sitting down to relax and then finding yourself suddenly collapsing to the ground as the frame breaks away! Happened to me on several embarrassing occasions.
Check that the legs can carry more than a child's weight. These days you can find folding picnic chairs with convenient cup holders included in the arm rest. Some chairs even recline, great for the after BBQ siesta.
Keep one or 2 in the car boot. Never know when they might come in handy.
Picnic Tips No 5 - Portable Picnic Shelter
You can use a tarp or picnic umbrella or an actual system that you erect yourself. Most hardware stores stock these. They can have simple fly screen walls, walls with windows or no walls. Make sure that they are easily erected and that the frame is sturdy enough.
Take a few plastic bags along with you and fill these with sand if you are at the beach, dirt if you are out in the bush or rocks if you are at the park, anything that is heavy. Attach one bag to each vertical support and keep that picnic shelter on the ground.
An excellent shelter that I find easy to use is a fully enclosed portable mosquito canopy. These are not expensive and usually are easy to put up. The advantage of this is that you can decorate it if you are celebrating a special occasion, tie balloons, streamers or banners onto the poles.
If you don't want to use a shelter then invest in a piece of light weight clear plastic sheeting. You can throw this over your picnic goodies should the skies begin to dribble. I suggest clear so that you can still see through it to find the much needed tomato sauce!
Picnic Tips No 6 - Picnic Utensils
These can consist of
Great set to actually give or get as a gift.
These usually come in their own pouch for easy storage and transportation.
Picnic Tips N 7 - Picnic Esky or Cooler
Pre-freeze containers of water a couple of days before the picnic and use these to keep your drinks and food fresh.
Clean milk/fruit juice cartons are very useful as ice packs. An excellent recycling idea. Just fill them with water and freeze.
Throw them away once they thaw.
Picnic Tips No 8 - Bottle opener and cork screw
This little gadget is a picnic essential, an absolute must to open that chilled bottle of wine!
Pick one up with a bottle openeron one end.
Make sure that it is a sturdy one. There is nothing worse than having it break as you are trying to uncork that vintage vino.
Picnic Tips No 9 - Table cloth
Whether the picnic tablecloth is fabric, plastic or throw-away avoid having to struggle with the wind.
You could use alligator clips (bulldog clips) and clamp the cloth to the picnic table.
Another tip is to glue a coin on either edge of the tablecloth to weigh the it down.
Picnic Tips No 10 - Picnic Plates
May I suggest a square shape as these are easy to pack.
Avoid breakages with either disposable plates or preferably melamine ones.
I use basic white and that way I am able to have fun with color co-ordination using napkins, tablecloths etc.
Picnic Tips N 11 - Thermos or two
I would like to suggest that you use more than 1 picnic thermos. There is nothing worse than running out of hot water if you are a tea or coffee drinker.
In Winter you might like to fill one with your favourite homemade soup. Summertime fill one with ice/water and lemon juice for a very refreshing pick-me-up.
Picnic Tips N 12 - Plastic Cutlery
Here is where I have to say that up till now I have not found disposable knives and forks that are strong enough to tackle a nice piece of BBQ'd steak.
Hence my suggestion is to invest in a cheap set of stainless steel cutlery and have it reserved for picnics only.
Picnic Tips No 13 - Paper Napkins
I love big, strong and sturdy ones.
Picking off bits of napkin from your yummy steak is not really recommended.
For a little extra fun why not produce a theme.
No 14 - Plastic or Melamine Cups
Use color coordinated ones or clear.
There are plenty of different and reasonably priced disposable ones available now.
No 15 - Disposable Camera
Have a couple of cheap disposable cameras handy for the kids to snap photos of the great day out. Children love to take photos and the process of developing their own pictures is quite educational.
Don't forget to take your own camera along to record those memorable moments.
Make sure the batteries are fully charged.
No 16 - Picnic Food Essentials
Keep all these in air-tight containers in your picnic basket.
Make sure that you have packed in a few recycled plastic shopping bags for all the rubbish ******
Picnic Tips No 17 - Chopping Board
You can use either a wooden board or there are some light weight plastic boards that you can easily store away in your carry all. These come in a range of sizes and some inexpensive sets are made up of different colour coded pliable plastic sheets that can be easily cleaned and stored away until next time.
No 18 - Picnic Games
What's a picnic without games? These are an essential picnic requirement to add to the fun of the day. They can be as simple or as complicated as you like.
Pick the equipment up at toy stores, Target, Kmart, even at your local Hardware Store. Might even find some games at the Op shop.
No 19 - Basic First Aid Kit
Keep the kit well stocked.
These kits can be purchased already filled with all that you could need should there be any accidents etc.
Some extra items that I like to include in the kit are...
Remember to restock if you use anything from the kit.
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