Give your next summer gathering a little something special with a picnic theme that’ll make you the envy of the neighborhood. We found incredible ideas from everywhere and highlighted their most fun features. And, the best part? You don’t have to be a party planner to pull them off. Scroll down to get inspired.
While nothing screams picnic more than red and white gingham, there are plenty of other creative and artistic ways to add flair to your toddler’s gathering. See how to stun your guests from the get-go.
photo: The Merry Thought
Set Up Shade
Get creative with the way you keep your guest cool by creating your own shade. With just a little prep, you’ll have a cozy outdoor space in no time.
photo: Kin Li via Unsplash
Make a Welcome Sign
Smile before entering this vintage summer party! Party Loves greeted their guests with a colorful chalkboard, a cost-effective and unique idea that lets you get your art on.
photo: courtesy Studio DIY
photo: courtesy Party Delights
photo: courtesy Tiffany Arment Photography
Multi-Colored Plaid Banners
Who says picnics have to stay red and white? Go for checked blue, green, yellow and orange like photographer Tiffany Arment did for Adam’s first birthday picnic. Choose your tot’s favorite colors to add extra vibrancy.
photo: courtesy Amie Bell Photography
Balloons and Blankets
Shutterbug Amie Bell used teddy bears and picnic baskets as weights to keep down those beautiful balloon centerpieces. If you’re planning a different picnic theme, just switch out the teddy bear with your guests’ party favors or another favorite item of the birthday tot.
photo: Swoon Studio
If your picnic has to be indoors, no worries, just follow Swoon Studio‘s lead and grab some vintage windows and checkered tablecloths for a real outdoorsy vibe. Plus, being inside just means you can totally put wicker baskets on the table without having to fret about dirt and leggy insect crawlers.
Eating outdoors with toddlers can be a messy business. Here are a few ways to create stress-free lunches and eco-friendly snacks for those hungry tummies.
What’s a picnic without deviled eggs? With this super simple recipe, it’s easy to ensure that your al fresco meal includes this delicious staple. Older kids can even make their own version! Grab the how-to here.
You can thank Hello Wonderful for the brilliant idea of having kids pre-pack their picnic foods in little jars. It keeps the mess to a minimum and gets your kids helping, too. See more fabulous picnic foods by clicking here.
Make sure each kiddo has their own picnic basket by sorting all their food into one picnic box. Fill your box with sammies, chips, celery, and dip, wrap it up with twine and include a picnic napkin!
photo: courtesy The Girl Who Ate Everything
Cut your watermelon into easy to hold sticks instead of cubes. This way you save on utensils. Freeze the sticks to make uber-healthy popsicles. Need tips on cutting that watermelon? The Girl Who Ate Everything makes life easier with picture tutorials.
photo: Picnic for Pixies
Sweeten your lemonade with honey rather than sugar for bonus health points. We love how Picnic for Pixies, a South African party planner, had their party buzzing with extra excitement. Just look at how awesome that hive-shaped dispenser is! Check out our favorite lemonade recipes here.
photo: The Nourishing Home
Fruit on a Stick
Try these fruit and cheese kabobs from The Nourishing Home for a healthy snack that packs a protein punch. Let little ones help you cut fruit and cheese into shapes and slide onto sticks. Mix things up with any kind of berry, melon or pineapple plus a variety of cheeses so they don’t tire of this treat. Just be sure to supervise since sticks can be sharp.
What’s a picnic without games and fun? Whether you’ve planned for a relaxing party on the lawn or a day packed with excitement and fun, these easy backyard games are perfect entertainment for the kids.
photo: Studio DIY
DIY Lawn Matching Game
How fun is this matching game from Studio DIY? The bright colors, fun patterns and large playing pieces are a perfect match for tiny hands. Find out how to make your own set by clicking here.
Lawn Day Twister
Spending a day on the grass? Katie Haines of You + Me turned the grass into a personal Twister game for her southern-themed picnic party. This is perfect for big parties where a Twister mat can’t fit everyone. After your little spray paint magic, let the birthday babe bark out the instructions.
photo: courtesy Two Shades of Pink
Water Balloon Spoon Race
Got high-energy tots that love to run and scream? Here’s an egg race spin-off game that’ll have them zonked out by the end of the day. Use water balloons to make less of a mess (your local park will thank you), and if you have balloons left over… have a water balloon fight! Get the tutorial on decorating plain wooden spoons over at Two Shades of Pink.
photo: Liz Stanley via Say Yes
Cloth Picnic Games
For a calmer playdate picnic in the park, play a cloth game that utilizes trinkets from nature. Kids will love searching for flowers to use as tic-tac-toe pieces. For a more complicated square game that works as a brain challenge for older kids, head over to Say Yes.
photo: The Mary Frances Project
Fabric Tube Run
Embrace the elasticity of swimsuit fabric (nylon and lycra) and make a bouncy tunnel for kids to bop about in. Moms and sisters of The Mary Frances Project showed us this fantastic game for smaller kids, where parents stretch out the fabric and kids can run about, bouncing off the “walls.” Order a few yards of swimsuit fabric from eBay or The Fabric Fairy, and then follow the game tutorial here.
Let your guests leave with a lasting impression. These party favors go beyond perishable food and small toys.
You can hand out blankets for your playdate picnic and let your guests keep them afterward. It’s a great gift that works for the entire family. They’ll remember your stellar party as they sit on the blanket to make new memories out in the park.
photo: No Time For Flash Cards
Pack some green and pink dough and a handful of black beans in a little container so kids can bring the picnic home. Get the playful instructions (print them out and include them in your gift bag) from No Time for Flash Cards. It’s a great sensory craft for little hands.
photo: Ao At Home
When it gets too hot at your summer picnic party, your guests will be thankful these cute fans are going around. And they’ll be ecstatic to know that they can keep them too! Find out how to make these beautiful summer coolers over at Ao At Home.
— Christal Yuen with Gabby Cullen
Feature photo: Liana Mikah via Unsplash