A kids party is much more fun if it’s a kids picnic party. That’s because children just love eating outdoors. It’s different, it’s a great escape from the confines of the house and they can make more mess without being scolded!
It’s therefore much easier for Mum or Dad too. No messy house to clean up afterwards! No worries about spilled drinks, crumbs in the carpet or sticky finger marks on your upholstery.
Choose a location for the kids picnic where there is lots of room for them to run around and make a noise without disturbing other people.
You could also combine it with some other activity. This photo is of my grandchildren doing some fruit picking before their picnic - although by the look of it, the picnic has started!
Check your picnic list and ensure you include the first-aid kit for grazed elbows and knees as well as plenty of wipes, tissues or kitchen towel for sticky fingers and faces.
You’ll also want to add any equipment you need for the games or activities you have planned.
Your picnic equipment should include small, brightly coloured plates and cups and maybe some curly plastic straws to drink through.
It’s a good idea to get the parents to send each child with a change of clothes, in case they get too hot, too cold, too dirty, too wet etc. This is particularly important if it is going to be a costume party.
And if it is, then Costume Express might give you some ideas:-
Put together a menu that is easy to eat with little fingers but keep it simple, with food that the children will recognize.
This is not the time (as I know to my cost!) to offer gourmet delicacies! They might taste amazing but not many children will be keen to find out!
First of all, don't forget ice and mineral water. Make sure the kids drink enough, especially if it's a hot day.
Try and avoid too many sweet, fizzy drinks - they add calories (and rot teeth!) without any health benefits at all.
Way back in 1900, Mrs Beaton knew what the children wanted! - Little
sandwiches, cake and fruit; homemade lemonade and cordials with water.
You can't go far wrong with that.
Keep the food simple but the presentation exciting, using twists of paper or foil and bright colours for the disposable plates, cups, napkins etc.
They will enjoy making up their own "kebabs" from a selection of small chunks of carrot, celery, peppers, and fennel, radishes, cherry tomatoes, sugarsnap peas, button mushrooms, mini mozzarella balls, miniature new potatoes and shelled quails eggs.
Wash and prepare the vegetables just before packing them and do not add salt. The residual water will keep them crisp and fresh; salt will not.
Provide short wooden skewers or even cocktail sticks for making the kebabs - but only if the children are old enough to avoid stabbing themselves, or others, with them!
Then provide a couple of simple dips too - like a raita or a herby cream cheese mixed with plain yogurt.
Cocktail sausages are always popular and tiny sausage rolls, small slices of cold pizza and little sandwiches without crusts. And as it’s a kids picnic, I think crisps or chips are almost obligatory!
A whole or even half a scotch egg might be a too large for one child to finish but quail eggs wrapped in the same casing would be about the right size and the grown-ups will appreciate them too!
They could make up fruit kebabs too with the added delight of little marshmallows. Other suitable sweet items include small jam tarts, fairy cakes and iced biscuits - all these are easy to transport and look attractive.
Older children might like larger pieces of fruit and a toffee or chocolate dip for apples or strawberries is fun, even if very messy - but you are outside so it doesn't matter!
I’d recommend not trying too hard to provide too many healthy things to eat because most of it will end up in the bin bags (another thing to make sure is on your list!) if you do. At a kids party the majority of little 'uns just grab the crisps and cake!