Plan a Picnic

Planning a picnic is a fun and easy way to spend more time in nature with your family! While picnics can take many forms, they essentially involve one common activity - eating outdoors. 

Whether your family is new to nature or a seasoned set of outdoor adventurers, a picnic can provide an opportunity to make some much-loved memories while experiencing nature together! As an outdoor activity, picnicking also has a lot going for it: it’s accessible to any fitness level, it’s affordable, and most importantly, it’s fun! 

Check out our picnicking tips below to get started! Whether your picnic is close to home, or in a more remote setting, you can  pick the location that best suits your interest, comfort level, budget and situation.  

Jeremy Noble, Creative Commons

What You Will Need:

  • Food and drinks
  • Basket, cooler or bag
  • Ice packs or thermos
  • Plates, cups, napkins, and utensils
  • Blanket or tablecloth (machine-washable in case of grass stains or food spills)
  • Compost and trash bags 
  • Sunscreen and bug spray

Share Your Experience to Earn a Picnicking Badge! 

Snap a picture of your family picnic and upload it to the Galleryor share your own tips and recipes with others on the Discussions page to earn a digital Picnicking Badge. All you need to do is log into, or sign up for, your own WILD Family Nature Club account!




Picnic at Home

Picnics can be quick and easy! You don’t have to venture far to enjoy the perfect picnic together as a family. Whether you live in the city with limited access to nature, are trying to juggle busy schedules, or are just more comfortable sticking close to home, you can still find time to enjoy a picnic together from your living room, balcony, or backyard!

Tips:

  • Have kids help with picnic prep. Choose easy, no-mess finger food to make clean-up simple and stress-free.
  • Ditch the dining room table! Lay your picnic blanket out on the floor or ground. Use pillows and blankets to create a comfy setup.
  • Create a natural atmosphere! Bring nature into your home by surrounding yourself with flowers and plants, opening a window, or playing nature sounds, such as this video of Canadian Forest sounds.



    Picnic in a Park

    Take your picnic to the next level by heading to a local park or greenspace! Picnicking away from home may take a bit more planning, but it allows you to explore natural spaces near you and enjoy the day with others in your community.  

    Tips: 

    • Scout out your location before you go.  
    • Look for somewhere scenic, lush, and grassy with plenty of natural shade in case it gets too hot.  
    • Some city parks offer reservable picnic areas and BBQ sites. Check your municipal website for more information on how to book a site. 
    • Pack easy-serve dishes that transport well, like sandwiches, salads, cheese, crackers and veggies. 
    • Use a cold pack or thermos to keep your food cool. 
    • Check the weather in advance and dress appropriately.  
    • Make sure to follow Leave No Trace principles by properly disposing of any trash, leftover food or litter on site, or taking it home with you. 
    • Make sure there’s plenty of surrounding space for activities! 



      Adventure Picnicking

      For those who are no strangers to the joy of picnicking, why not try “Adventure Picnicking” when planning your next family outing? Adventure picnicking challenges you and your family to try new and different foods, while exploring new and different places in nature. 

      It could mean trying bannock – a type of fry bread - while exploring some of the indigenous connections at one of Canada’s national parks. Or you could encourage kids to try some new fruits and veggies, like dragon fruit or jicama, while enjoying a waterfront view.  

      Whether you’re hiking, biking, paddling or even skiing – make a picnic the main focus of your next outdoor adventure! 

      Tips: 

      • Get kids involved with both researching the destination and picking the recipes to try. 
      • Choose food items that are simple, light and easy to pack and store on longer trips.  
      • Plan how you will get to your picnic site and what you will bring. Have kids help by carrying smaller items. 
      • Check the weather in advance and dress appropriately. 
      • Remember to bring water! It is important to stay hydrated while travelling to your picnic spot. 
      • Share your plans with a friend or family member so they know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. 
      • Be flexible! Plan an alternate route or picnic spot in case kids get tired or you end up getting started late. 
      • Make sure to follow Leave No Trace principles by packing up all trash, leftover food, and litter and properly disposing of it on site or back at home.


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