Summer picnics are a truly fabulous way to get our kids involved in the kitchen. It is almost too easy if you stick with a simple, traditional picnic menu with trail mix, crudités and dip, sandwiches, salad and a simple dessert. The advantages of staying with a cold menu is that you can really get the kids involved, regardless of age, and mom or dad will have more time to relax, play and socialize at the actual picnic. Plus, you don’t have to think about grilling, starting a fire or transporting raw food.
Here are my top ten tips involving the kids and making picnics accessible all summer long!
- Keep a bag stashed in the car with utensils, plates and napkins and wet wipes.
- The kids can make trail mix and clean out the pantry by using up all of the extra bits of pretzels, goldfish, nuts and chocolate leftover from other projects.
- Make a crudités platter together. Kids can snap the ends off of green beans and take the tops off of cherry tomatoes. Adults can chop carrots and celery. Pick up your favorite dip from the deli or farmer’s market and you are good to go!
- Teach the kids how to make their own sandwiches by creating a sandwich bar on the kitchen counter. Pull out all of the ingredients that you want to include and let them make their own. This is a great way to encourage independence.
- Take berries and cream to the next level! Fill empty ice cream cones with berries and whip cream on site. Simply pour 1 cup of whipping cream into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Add 3 tbsp of sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla to the cream. Screw the lid on tightly. Pack it in the cooler next to an ice pack. Take turns shaking the jar of whipped cream until it has thickened considerably but is still pourable. This takes about 6 to 10 minutes depending on who is doing the shaking.