If you want to create lasting childhood memories for your kids, get them out into nature for a vegan family summer picnic.
1. Find the perfect picnic spot
The perfect picnic spot will depend on your family circumstances. If you have an older baby who is likely to end up covered in food, you may find a garden picnic most accessible, so you’re not too far from the bath. With young children, a decent playground may feature highly on your list of picnic must-haves.
With older children, you may have a little more freedom to choose a location. You could eat your picnic at the top of a hill or on the banks of a river; it’s totally up to you. Find a location your kids will love, whether that’s a playground or a forest full of trees to climb. You know your family best so choose somewhere with them in mind.
2. Don’t take things you don’t need
The temptation is to pack everything you could possibly need when going out for the day, but this can end up causing you bother. You don’t want to be stuck with heavy bags - and neither do your kids.
Try only to pack what you need. If you’re worried about bad weather, have emergency wet weather supplies close by in the car. Ask everyone to help out with carrying things, but make sure they haven’t got too much to carry, or they’re likely to moan on the walk.
3. Pack a pick n mix vegan picnic
From simple picky salad bowls to gourmet sandwiches, you should pack a mix of foods that will appeal to the whole family. Throw together some Quorn Vegan Chicken Free Slices sandwiches with plenty of vegan mayo and lettuce. For an alternative sandwich option, pair the Quorn Vegan Smoky Ham Free Slices with some pickle and cheese.
Younger children love a picky lunch. Take boxes of salad ingredients so they can make their own salads. Be sure to include some pre-cooked Quorn Vegan Pieces for protein, as well as the usual toddler favourites of cucumber sticks and chopped cherry tomatoes.
4. A well-packed picnic basket
The key to a successful picnic with young children is to keep all the sweet treats hidden until the healthier portion of the picnic has gone. Otherwise, you’ll spend the entire picnic explaining why they can’t eat the cake first. Pack your picnic hamper with this in mind.
Use a napkin or cloth to hide the sweet things from view until you’re satisfied that everybody has eaten enough lunch.
5. Take some home baking to enjoy
To cement the day as one to remember, throw a spot of family baking into the mix. Why not ask your children to bake something sweet to eat on the picnic? The traditional picnic classic vegan victoria sponge layered with summer fruits is easy to bake. Or they may prefer to bake vegan brownies or vegan cupcakes. Give them a vegan recipe book to flick through so they can find a recipe to try.
As a child, a day can’t get much better than baking and a picnic! Your kids will love making something for the picnic and they’ll feel proud when everyone tells them how delicious their baking is.
6. Think about the clear-up
If you’re taking crisps or other foods that come in disposable packaging, you should take a rubbish bag so you can dispose of your rubbish easily.
If you have a baby or toddler, you’ll need lots of wipes to clean them down after the picnic. You can take washable wipes from home and a bottle of water if you’d rather avoid disposables.
If you’re taking Tupperware, opt for stackable boxes so you can tidy empty boxes into each other, so they take up less space on the way home.
7. Think about entertainment
Hopefully, the great outdoors will have enough to offer to keep your children busy, but it makes sense to take some backup fun just in case. Take a ball or frisbee so your kids can let off some steam and burn off some energy. For a quieter activity, you could take sketch pads and colouring things and ask your kids to draw what they see.
You don’t have to lug lots of toys and games with you; the great outdoors is full of things to do. There are trees to climb and dens to build, stick magic wands to find and hollowed out trees to explore.
You could make a scavenger hunt of things for them to find on your picnic. Or you could set them a challenge to find specific types of trees or plants; this is a great way to teach them about nature.
8. Take a family photo
Ask a passerby to help or set up your camera with a timer and be sure to capture a family shot of your picnic. Make sure you’re all in the photo - don’t fall into the trap of always being the one behind the camera.
If you’re taking photos with your phone, don’t let it distract you. Take the photo and then pop your phone away; family picnics are about screen-free bonding time.
9. Leave no trace
Teach your children the importance of treating the natural world with respect. Make sure you’ve tidied away all your litter and left no trace of your picnic. Get the kids involved in making sure that the picnic site is spotless before you go.
Try to imagine the animals and insects that will visit the site once you leave. Will foxes and badgers sniff out your dropped crumbs in a few hours?
10. A bad weather plan
With the weather being famously unpredictable, it’s crucial to have an alternative plan for your picnic. If you’re an outdoorsy family, this could be raincoats, umbrellas and can-do attitudes. Splash in puddles, build a makeshift shelter in the trees and embrace the bad weather as part of a British picnic.
However, if you hate the rain, you may prefer to have an indoor picnic as your Plan B. Pop your picnic blanket down on the living room floor and picnic at home. Young children will love the silliness of an indoor picnic, especially if you pretend to be at the park.
Blog by Watching You Grow