Mother's Day Picnic

Red gingham paper plate loaded with fried chicken, fruit slices and a jar of pasta salad on a picnic blanket

Dig out that picnic basket and your big outdoor blanket; Mom will love a field trip with her favorite people. It’s early spring and we’re all excited to get outside and visit our favorite parks, lakes and trails.

Think back to last summer: where did mom love going? Plan a day around it.

Your shopping list can include yummy prepared foods and easy-to-eat snacks like fried chicken, sliced fruit and veggies, fresh-baked rolls and fancy popcorn for dessert. This eliminates a lot of packing and preparing. If you stick to finger-foods, you also won’t have to bring utensils. To personalize it, plan ahead and make one of her favorite dishes--just be sure it will travel well.

The picnic basket should contain the dry goods for the meal. Pack the blanket, or tablecloth if your location provides tables. Include melamine dishes, silverware and other utensils (it’s more cost-effective and eco-friendly to use what’s already in your kitchen as opposed to purchasing disposable items). For easy cleanup, pack three small plastic bags to separate trash, recycling and dishes, and pack one larger garbage bag to group them all together.

Bring a backpack with bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses and a first aid kit. Include baby wipes for one-step hand washing. If possible, check out the area the day prior to make sure it’s not a giant puddle, as can happen in springtime. Have a backup location. Advise everyone to dress accordingly: white, fancy or tight clothes generally don’t agree with sitting on the ground. Bring layers so that being chilly doesn’t spoil the fun, and also wear things you don’t mind getting a little dirty.

Brainstorm some games that don’t require a lot of stuff, since you’re already going to be hauling lunch around. Hide and seek, scavenger hunts, 20 questions, red rover, Simon Says, tag, I spy and telephone require no equipment at all. If you’re lucky enough to have a troop who all agrees on a single sport, you can get away with packing one single ball for hours of fun.