Step Ahead Teacher with children

Baskets of fun: what children can learn from packing a picnic

Eating a civilised meal at the table is well and good, but at Step Ahead we also love a good old fashioned picnic! Whether it’s eating outdoors on a sunny day, or playing pretend inside as the rain buckets down, we know this seemingly simple activity has a wealth of benefits for young minds.

Creating a shared picnic fits with our Early Childhood Curriculum – Te Whariki learning principles of empowerment, holistic development, family and community and relationships. Children are empowered to try new things and step out of their comfort zone. It’s important we let this experience be child-led, so we can sit back and see their social development and communication skills developing before our very eyes! Picnics also open communication about the role food plays within a family and the importance of sharing a meal.

Below are a few ideas for planning a fun picnic at home with your child:

Creating a picnic

  • Your child will enjoy selecting the items for the picnic and filling their ‘picnic basket’. What will you eat with? Do you need a cup or some cutlery? They’ll also have fun decorating the space with a picnic blanket, flowers and other unique items. No picnic blanket? An old towel or blanket will do the trick 🙂
  • The most crucial part of any picnic is, of course, the delicious treats in the basket. If it’s a make-believe picnic, the children can let their imaginations run wild! Have a range of toy foods to select from, or print off and laminate pictures of a range of unusual grocery items. If you are eating, choose easy to eat finger foods like fruit, popcorn and sandwiches.
  • No picnic is complete without a few select friends. Teddy bears make lovely guests (though it pays to keep them away from honey sandwiches!) or maybe there’s a favourite toy who would love a cup of tea. Sharing a picnic with friends is also a great way to work on manners, such as please, thank you and excuse me. Practise offering food around the group, pouring a drink or asking politely for someone to share something yummy.