Showing posts with label picnic cleanup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label picnic cleanup. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Plan the Perfect Picnic

Why eat indoors when the weather beckons you to soak in the warmth of summer.  That’s right: it’s time for a picnic!  July is National Picnic Month – the right time to celebrate the sights, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors, and to do so over an open-air meal with friends or family. 

To help you plan the perfect picnic, here’s our picnic tips & ideas list, picnicking checklist, and a perfect-for-picnics recipes list.

Family at a picnic

Picnicking Checklist

The perfect picnic requires a little preparation.  Print out this picnic checklist to make sure you've covered your bases.
Prepare for weather
You needn't cancel your picnicking plans because the weather isn't perfect but, if need be, be prepared for the possibility of rain, high winds, or unseasonably hot or cold temperatures. Check the forecast before you go.   Depending on the forecast, your take-list may include:
  • Rain tarps
  • Umbrellas/rain coats
  • Jackets/wind breakers
  • Blankets
  • Tie-downs
  • Hand-warmers
  • Flashlights
Prepare for common picnic pests
Consider repelling critters, protecting food and guests, and what to do if the pests bite, sting, or scratch.  Your pest-prep checklist might need to include:
    • Insect repellent/fly swatter
    • First aid supplies for stings or bites
    • Insect netting to cover food waiting to be served
Also, in high-insect seasons, consider bringing a screen dining tent.
Plan for easy picnic food service
The best picnic foods will be hard to appreciate without these:
  • Eating utensils
  • Plates and cups
  • Napkins or paper towels
  • Condiments
  • Bottle opener (or wine bottle corkscrew)
Picnic table and utensils
Take picnic clean-up supplies
Decide in advance whether you plan to clean dishes on site or pack them for cleanup back home.  Depending on which, you may need:
  • Dish soap, sponges
  • Garbage bags
  • Two tubs or large buckets, one for washing, one for rinsing
  • Sealable bags or food storage containers for transportation home of the leftovers
  • dish towels
  • Towelettes or wipes for helping guests to clean up
  • Grill cleaning supplies (scrubber, grill spray, a metal or other safe container for coals)
Remember comfort items
Especially for an all-day picnic, make sure you’ve got items such as these at the ready:
  • Portable lawn furniture (folding chairs, etc.)
  • Portable shade solutions (big umbrellas, tarp, etc.), especially if your picnic location has limited natural shade
  • Skin protection, such as sun screen lotion and, just in case, sun burn lotion
  • Tablecloth (or picnic blanket, if eating on the ground)
  • Pillows/cushions
  • Anti-allergy medication and any other prescription medications

Tips for better picnics

Here are some picnic tips and ideas to make your picnic a better experience for all involved.
  • For the more active set, consider planning a few physical activities. Good picnic activities to consider include Frisbee, horseshoes, kite flying, baseball, badminton, or volleyball.
  • For the less physically active attendees, great picnic activities include board games, card games, sing-alongs, crafts, or drum circles.
  • Good children's picnic activities include finger painting, insect exploration, making and flying kites, hiking, and relay races.
  • Remember to be good with public lands. Leave your picnic area in as good, or better, condition than you found it. Be aware of local regulations designed to protect wildlife or vegetation.
  • Know the water availability where you plan to picnic. If there is not a source of safe drinking water, bring water for preparation as well as cleaning.
  • Be prepared to handle food safely. This includes keeping hot food hot and cold food cold, washing hands before food preparation, and having clean food service areas and containers.
Get more picnic planning and picnic safety tips from,, or The Learning Channel.

Picnic basket on grass

Best picnic Recipes

For great picnic dishes, try these resources for classic picnic recipes.

Celebrate National Picnic Month

Few national events are easier or more fun to celebrate than National Picnic Month, whether for families, lovers, church groups, or social clubs.  If you have great ideas for picnic tips or picnic recipes, please use the comments to share! 

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer