By Elizabeth Wells

What better way to enjoy the warm weather than a picnic! After months of eating at the kitchen table or around the coffee table, a change of scenery is much needed. The robins and bluebirds provide the music and in many places, the bugs are at a minimum. The kids are raring to get outside, so pick a spot -- park, backyard, or the beach -- and plan a picnic.

Ask the kids to help with the planning. What's the menu? Just snacks or a full meal? PB&J, cold fried chicken, and hero-style sandwiches are favorites that the kids can help assemble.

When Lynda Hannan's local group of preschool moms and their families prepared for a picnic lunch at an Easter egg hunt, Lynda had Jack and Katie help stuff the eggs they donated. "I told them this was a practice hunt before Easter."

Picnic activities:

  • If you're by the ocean or at a park with sand, pack empty butter and yogurt containers to build sandcastles.
  • If you're landlocked, bring backyard toys, a ball, or even a board game.
  • Play physical games like Simon Says, Red Light-Green Light, and Hot Potato.

Appreciate the budding season:

  • Explore the growing progress of trees and bushes.  
  • Notice the return of native birds, and observe their nesting habits.
  • If rain showers threaten your picnic plans, simply move the party inside. Stretch a blanket over the family room floor and go with juice boxes or cups with lids to prevent messes. Use a poster board and make a big, bright sun.