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How to plan a picnic with the grandkids

Last updated 3rd August 2022

3 min read

British Heart Foundation logo

Let's face it – when the sun shines in the UK, we all know there might not be much time to enjoy it!

That's why having a picnic with the family can be so much fun. It doesn't take too much organising and only a little prep is needed – so you can focus on enjoying time outside with the kids and grandkids.

Here are some handy tips on how to make the most of your al fresco family time...

Multi generation family enjoying picnic together

1. Choose the right spot

Have a think about what you’ll need at your picnic. For example, do you want to be catching rays on the beach, or in a shady wood to keep cool?

And if there are little ones coming, you might need loos nearby, a car park, or easy access for a pram. Settling next to a playground or child-friendly activity centre could also be a handy way to keep the kids happy.

Wherever you choose, try and pick a spot that’s flat and has some shade. It could even be your back garden.

2. Take the right kit

You want to be as comfortable as possible on your day out, so the kit you take can make or break a picnic.

The good news is, you probably have most of it already, so there’s no need to spend lots of money. Here’s our top kit list for a picnic:

  • A large blanket – or two, depending on how many people are coming
  • Paper/enamel plates and cups – they're easier to carry
  • Cutlery – you can take your own, or buy disposable wooden knives and forks
  • A chopping board and knife – to make divvying up the food easier
  • A cooler/cool bag – lots of supermarkets sell cheap cool bags, which are great for keeping food fresh on a hot day
  • Pillows/cushions – if you're feeling a little luxurious! Take whatever you need to feel comfortable
  • Napkins/a tea towel – to clean things (or people!) up
  • Hand sanitiser – to keep things hygenic
  • Bin bags/plastic bags – if there's no bin at your picnic spot, you'll need to pop your rubbish in the bags and take it home

3. Prep for every weather

If the day promises to be sunny, remember to pack the usual picnic essentials. Sun cream, a sunhat or sunshade, insect repellent and plenty of water are a must.

And if there's a chance of rain, it can't hurt to pop waterproofs, an umbrella, and a change of shoes and socks in your bag.

4. Eat and drink well

Picnic food doesn’t have to be unhealthy. The British Heart Foundation has some delicious picnic recipes that are perfect for days out – simple to make, easy to pack, and filling.

Why not try their pork and apple filo rolls, or treat yourself and the grandkids to some carrot, sultana and orange cake? They’ll go down a treat.

As for drinks, you can do hot and cold – why not pack a thermos of tea or coffee, and pop some chilled water with slices of lemon and cucumber into a cooler bag?

Whatever drinks you pack, it usually helps to pack a bottle opener, just in case.

Handy tip: Got some old glass jars lying around? Use them for your salads and dressings – or even for desserts.

5. Play games

Playing games with the grandkids is one of the best things about a day out. There's plenty to choose from – why not try one of these games that are perfect for a picnic:

  • Tag – even if the grandkids keep catching you, it's a lot of fun
  • I Spy – a good game to play when you're full up from all the food
  • Badminton – no need for a net. It's fun just to have a go
  • Football – fun, free and great for building up an appetite before lunch
  • Catch/frisbee – a simple game that everyone can play
  • Twister – or any other family board games you have in the house

Want to find out more about making the most of life after 50? Check out SunLife's other articles and guides on hobbies, retirement and so much more.