Last Minute Picnic Set Up for Busy Mamas

Last Minute Picnic Set Up for Busy Mamas
  • Save

As a stay-at-home mom of 3 elementary school girls, I definitely can relate with the struggle to organize my days to finish the never-ended chore list, shuffling them to/from their activities, playing social chair with parents to coordinate play dates… and OH! trying to actually sneak in my work, too! It can feel exhausting at times. And other times I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to spend this quality time with my girls! The other day, I found myself with a gorgeous day and an hour to spare at lunch time, so I took them and their friends spontaneously to the park without a super pre-planned, “Insta-perfect” picnic set up!

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through & make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Building Blocks of a Picnic Set Up

First off, let’s start with the gear for picnic setups. There are a few items to have on hand so you can chuck them in a backpack and ROLL! Don’t get me wrong. You absolutely do NOT need to have this gear at all! Though, once you opt to invest in these items once, they can be used over and over again!

Ground Covering

If you can throw a blanket or towels in your backpack it makes the spot comfortable to sit, less itchy and dirty for eating. There are a ton of adorbs picnic blankets on Amazon that are water-proof on the bottom and fold up for easy carrying, like this 5′ x 10′ midnight poppy color picnic blanket. I’ve used one of mine for well over 15 years, so that definitely paid off! Recently, I purchased some large water-proof (and sand-proof) beach blankets, like this ECCOSOPHY Sandproof Beach Blanket 9’x10′, for our Back to School Backyard Movie Night party because I needed the viewing area to accommodate a ton of kids. Since then, whenever I take kids I use that because we usually roll pretty deep (~4 – 6 people).

water-proof blanket for picnic set up
  • Save
Water-proof picnic blanket
water and sandproof beach blanket used for picnic set up
  • Save
Water and sand-proof beach blanket

If you don’t have one of these, don’t let that stop you! A beach blanket or regular blanket from the house works totally fine! It’ll just cost you a load of laundry.

Backpack or Basket

We live walking distance to a walking, river path so I prefer a simple backpack vs. a picnic basket style for carrying everything; like this black backpack purse. But, it’s up to your personal preference and when else you’ll be using this picnic gear (concert night?!). Use a bag you already have on hand or check out these great, quick-buy choices:

insulated cooler backpack for women to take to picnic
  • Save
Cooler backpack
picnic basket for picnic set up
  • Save
Picnic basket

You’ll also want to bring some sunscreen and bug spray just in case pesky insects try to ruin your picnic. And it’s that simple to get the picnic set up basics on-hand! Next, lets talk about the food!

Super Simple Picnic Food Ideas

Now, let’s talk about kid-friendly picnic food for lunch or even dinner. The best part about picnics is definitely the snacking! Bring a couple easy-to-carry foods like sandwiches, fruits, and drinks. PB&J sandwiches are always a staple and are popular with kids. You can also add in some celery sticks or carrot slices for a healthy snack. And don’t forget dessert! Pack some cookies or fruit snacks to finish off the meal.

Real talk. If you’re running around and want to hit the Mickey D’s drive-thru and really reduce your efforts, there is NO SHAME in that, mama! In fact, the kids probably will think you’re even cooler. Remember to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid!) Anyway, here’s a couple of simple picnic food ideas to grab from the kitchen on your way out the door:

  • PB&J sandwiches
  • Roll-ups of deli meat, cheese and pickles
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Skinny Pop popcorn or other single-serve chips
  • Trail mix
  • Ants on a log (the classic peanut butter on celery sticks with raisins snack)
  • Cookies
  • Suckers
  • Pizza or fast food
  • Juice boxes
  • Water bottles

Lastly, don’t forget a few napkins and paper plates. If you have the time, a simple activity can make the picnic extra fun!

Easy Picnic Activities

Kids tend to get bored easily, so try to keep them occupied and entertained. Here are some games that are easy for moms to carry to the park and play on a picnic with kids:

  • Scavenger Hunt: Get them exploring the park and learn about the environment. Make a list of 10 things for the kids to find, like a pinecone, a bird feather, or a flower. Or make it up on the fly!
  • Simon Says: This game is easy to play and requires no props. Just choose a leader to give commands, and the other players must obey only if the command starts with “Simon says.”
  • Look for cloud animals: Use your imagination, mama!
  • Create a secret handshake: I mean how adorable is that?!
  • Play catch: Teach them with an Activ Flyer kids-training frisbee, a ball or that throw-back Velcro Toss & Catch game!

With these games, you can create a memorable picnic experience for your kids without having to lug around any heavy stuff. Next, lets get some good convo going!

How To Get ’em Talking on Your Date

Finally, it’s time to get your kids talking! What’s great about picnics is that there’s ample time for conversations; the picnic set up is truthfully the least important part! Try to ask open-ended questions that will encourage your kids to share their thoughts and feelings. You can ask about their favorite summer activities, their favorite foods, or even their favorite memories. This will not only get them talking but also make them feel listened to and valued.

I don’t know about you, but I just LOVE to hear the crazy stuff that comes out of their little mouths sometimes! So funny to hear their perspective. Like the mud pie they made in the backyard for free was the coolest thing they did this summer… Not the expensive summer vacation, haha!

30 Open-ended Conversation Starters

During summer break, ask your kids open-ended questions about their summer bucket list, favorite things so far and the upcoming, new school year. Here are questions to get them talking:

  1. What’s one place you would like to visit this summer?
  2. What is one thing you’ve always wanted to do in the summer?
  3. Is there a new skill or hobby you’d like to learn this summer?
  4. What is your favorite summer activity?
  5. What is one thing you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t yet?
  6. What would be the perfect summer day for you?
  7. What is one accomplishment you’d like to achieve this summer?
  8. What is something you’ve always wanted to make?
  9. What are you most excited about for the new school year?
  10. What teacher are you hoping to get this year?
  11. What are your favorite subjects in school?
  12. What is one goal you have for yourself this school year?
  13. What clubs or activities are you thinking about joining?
  14. What is one thing you’d like to improve upon from last year?

More Open-ended Questions for Kids:

  1. What is one way you’d like to get involved in your school community?
  2. What is one thing you’re nervous about for the new school year?
  3. What was your favorite memory from this summer?
  4. What is your favorite season?
  5. What was the best place you visited this summer?
  6. Did you learn anything new this summer? If so, what?
  7. What was your favorite food you ate this summer?
  8. What is your favorite ice cream?
  9. What was the biggest challenge you faced this summer and how did you overcome it?
  10. What was the funniest thing that happened to you this summer?
  11. Did you make any new friends this summer? If so, tell me about them.
  12. Tell me about a time when you felt really happy this summer.
  13. What was the best book you read this summer?
  14. What are you looking forward to doing next summer?
  15. What is one thing I could do better as your mom?
  16. Is anything bothering you that you want to talk about?


Enjoy these Moments

Picnics are a great way to relax and date your kids during the summer. With easy-to-pack foods and fun activities, it’s the perfect spontaneous summer break activity for hectic moms. Plus, it’s a great way to date your kids and build stronger connections with them. Now that you’ve got your picnic set up ready, grab your gear, pack some easy food, and create some special memories with your little ones this summer!

I created Memory in the Making with exactly this in mind. Learn more about me and my mission, and subscribe to my blog for tons of inspiration and time-saving tips so you can get your next Memory in the Making!


Summer Bucket List for Kids

If you haven’t seen my other post, Slay Summer Bucket List for Kids, hop over to it now. You’re gonna love it, I swear! I have 140+ ideas to fight off that “boredom” and avoid sibling bickering. Ideas stretch across these 5 categories:

  • Learn life skills!
  • To do for free!
  • On a rainy day!
  • Easy or no prep!
  • For quality time!

Summer Staycation in the Cards?

If you’re considering planning a local staycation this summer break, you’ve come to perfect place! My 5 Steps to Plan the Ultimate Family Staycation is going to make your job so much more easy! Not to mention amp up the fun level! This also includes my FREE Hotel Scavenger Hunt printable that is sooooooo much fun, your face is going to hurt from laughing so much!

Back to School Backyard Movie Night

Last but not least, I have the coolest Last Hoorah! Invite some of the kids friends over for a backyard movie night a couple days before they go back to school. My post, Back to School Backyard Movie Night, has literally EVERYTHING you need including:

  • ALL of the pre-done research and quick links to select your equipment: projector, screen and other must-haves!
  • Viewing area setup tips!
  • Quick-purchase links to literally EVERYTHING to save you major time and $$!
  • Super easy, inexpensive and cute AF Concession Stand menu to feed a crowd!
  • All the coordinating food supplies!
  • Simple themed decorations!
  • FREE invitation template on Canva!
  • Inside the house prep tips!
  • Outside to do list!
  • …and seriously so much more!

While summer is filled with non-stop kids fun chaos, don’t forget to take care of YOU, mama! Follow me on socials for lots of inspo to live life to the fullest and make making memories even more of a priority:

Without a doubt, save this Last Minute Picnic Set Up for Busy Mamas to your Pinterest board for later!

…Or text a link to your partner in crime!

Finally, follow me @memoryinthemaking on Pinterest or
@meminthemaking on Instagram and Facebook!

…just go.

  • Save

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.