Plan a family picnic

A picnic can be a great way to bring the family together to help celebrate Mother’s Day, a birthday or to simply take an afternoon to enjoy one another’s company.

Family picnic

The attendees

The first thing to decide is whom to invite. This will help determine the rest of the plans for the picnic. A small group of only your immediate family will have different requirements than a large group that is getting together for a family reunion, so make the decision, and then go from there.


Keep in mind the number of people who are attending your picnic, then pick a nice, comfy spot that’s suitable for your group. Fun picnic spots for large groups of eight or more include public campgrounds, city parks, beaches and school grounds that are out of session. For a smaller group of under eight, the same spots as for a larger group would be suitable as well, but other fun options include picnicking at a historical park, zoo or amusement park. On a beautiful spring or summer weekend, picnic spots tend to fill up quickly, so it’s advisable to set up your space early. Also consider that there may be restrictions on firepits, barbecues or even the number of people in a group, so check it out ahead of time to avoid disappointment.


Great food — and lots of it — is one of the keys to a successful picnic. Food should be simple, transportable and easy to manage, whether eaten off of a disposable plate from a person’s lap or from a plastic plate at a picnic table. Most food should be prepared in advance so everyone can have a relaxing time. Fried chicken, pasta salad and assorted veggies or crackers with dip are always a hit. If a barbecue is on the agenda, think burgers, salmon and grilled chicken to please the crowd. Grab-and-go favourites such as fruit kebabs, party mix or pieces of cheese from a cheese tray will help keep the picnic crew satisfied. If you plan on hosting a large group, then a potluck menu is a good option, but it’s important to make a list and assign specific items to bring, otherwise you may be faced with several versions of the same dish! Keep lots of cold beverages on hand to quench thirst. Water bottles and pitchers of ice tea and lemonade are good choices.

Fun activities

A picnic is in essence an outdoor party, so keep your guests entertained by planning some fun activities. Bocce ball, croquet, badminton, kubb, horseshoes and ladder golf are all fun outdoor games for kids and adults alike and perfect for a picnic, as they don’t require a lot of space or equipment. Have a camera and videocam ready to capture the fun. Keep the little ones busy with age-appropriate outdoor games and classic favourites they love.


Some extra tips and supply recommendations:

  • If you’re planning an event for a large group, have two picnic dates scheduled — your first choice and then an optional rain-out date.
  • Have lots of coolers, ice and ice packs on hand for keeping food and beverages cold.
  • Remember the condiments. Ketchup, salt, pepper, mustard and hot sauce will enhance several picnic foods.
  • Bring extra chairs for seating.
  • Blankets are perfect for keeping warm or for sitting upon. Bring a few to the picnic.
  • Have plenty of plates, cutlery, napkins and glasseware on hand, as guests will often use more than one.
  • Check the weather forecast, and plan accordingly.
  • Don’t forget the bug spray and sunscreen.

More on picnics

Summer picnic essentials
Plan a healthy picnic
Mother’s Day picnic recipes


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