Outdoor summer fun and kids just naturally go together. Though technology may cause some kids to spend less time doing things outdoors, picnics are a fun and healthy way to spend quality time with family members and other children.
Here are some thoughts about taking time to picnic, either on the spur of the moment or planning a big event for family and friends:
Picnics mean spending time outside
Going on a picnic means enjoying fresh air and open spaces. Picnics are also a great opportunity for kids to learn about nature and its many plants and animals.
When planning outings, parents should select a nearby locations so children, especially toddlers, don’t get cranky before the meal. The backyard may be the best location.
Picnics provide quality family time
In today’s busy and active world, quality time with family is often overlooked, but picnics can be helpful in making up for some of this lost time.
Spending time together benefits children by providing security, love, and a sense of belonging. Taking time to talk with your children is a great way to connect with them and learn from each other. Regular communication can also give family members chances to plan other fun and engaging activities.
Fun games and little competitions are great ways to keep children occupied while engaging with the family.
Picnics offer time for self-reflection
Just like children need time to develop social skills, children also need time alone to reflect on their surroundings and who they are.
Picnics can offer a peaceful and relatively distraction-free environment, so opportunities for sit back and think may be ideal. Parents should encourage children to regularly stop for a while and ponder the beauty of nature and what things are most special to them.
Picnics encourage mature behavior
Taking the time to have dinners with your children helps lessen destructive behaviors while strengthening good ones. Children whose families have dinner together at least five times a week, are less likely to participate in destructive behaviors like smoking, drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs. Routine meals together also appear to promote good grades as children who share mealtimes with family have higher academic performances than children who rarely share meals with the family.
Picnics improve health
Spending more time outdoors improves health. Sunshine can also improve mood and relieve stress. The stress that builds up during the workweek can be, at times, overwhelming. You can be sure that your children are stressed too, even if they don’t express it in the same ways you do. Therefore, a picnic could be the perfect solution for the whole family.
Picnics encourage healthy habits
When preparing for a picnic, parents should be careful to select appropriate foods. Parents should try to prepare and pack foods that are more nutritious, not only to complement the purpose of the picnic but also to instill better eating habits. Packing sandwiches are a good way to supplement fresh fruits and vegetables. Above all else, parents should bring meals from home, as opposed to meals from restaurants and fast foods. Meals prepared at home are also more cost-efficient. Since picnics are already relatively inexpensive ways to spend the afternoon together, bringing food from home can help keep it that way.
In addition to promoting healthy eating habits, a picnic is also a great opportunity to promote staying active. Games like tug-of-war, flag football, and kickball are great fun. Playing games before your meal can make your children feel a sense of achievement.
Participating in games that are less physically demanding can still be a way to remain active and energetic during your picnics. Some low-impact games like horseshoes and a beanbag toss aren’t just helpful for staying active, but they can also be very relaxing.
Picnics can be a great way to promote healthy habits, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with family. You should allow your children a little more freedom on these outings than they are usually allowed at home.
Finding the time to go on picnics can seem impossible but make the effort. And, remember, August is National Picnic Month – save a date – gather the family and plan an unforgettable special summer picnic.
As the summer comes to an end, we at T’s Learning Center, the top choice in childcare services in Jacksonville and preschool in St. Augustine, are getting ready to start another wonderful school year with your child. We look forward to seeing your kids again!