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Planning a Perfect Picnic with the Children

July 3, 2024
4 minute read

Written by Becky Haynes, TEYC's Early Years Specialist & Codsall Community Nursery Manager

Planning the perfect picnic can seem like a challenge with all the preparation work that goes into the event, including finding a location, sorting out the food, getting the children ready and preparing activities that can be done while there.

Here are a few learning experiences that can be done at home and nursery for children to help with planning the perfect picnic experience:

· Talk about going on a picnic, where would they like to go on a picnic, and share a story about going on a picnic. Allowing children to be involved at every stage gives opportunities for children to build on planning skills, talking about what they want to do, and exploring their own ideas.

· Take the opportunity to have a mark making experience by making lists about what food they would like to take, this also opens opportunities to be able to discuss likes and dislikes in foods and drinks. You can also make a list of other things that you might need such as a picnic basket/bag, picnic blanket and maybe even sun cream or rain coats! Leading to discussions on how to pack for the weather and how to take care of themselves in hot weather.

· Now we have the list of the food we want, we need to go shopping! This will allow children to learn skills and boundaries when being out in the community and how to behave accordingly. Being in a shop also creates an opportunity for children to explore numbers, quantities, letters and signs.

· Once back from the shops, we need to start making up the picnic, encouraging the children to count bags of crisps into the bag, counting drinks into the bag, and making their own sandwiches. The more involved the children, the wider their learning experiences are. Under close supervision allow the children to butter their bread, put in a filling and cut the bread. This explores physical development - fine motor skills, and communication development - as you can talk about what you're doing and how you are going to do it. Offer praise and encouragement to the children to build up their confidence, self-esteem, and self-belief.

· Then to decide how you are getting there, is it simply that the picnic is happening in the setting's garden, or is it the local park or even the beach? So could you walk, ride bikes or take the car. The learning opportunities that would take place here include decision making, but also physical development in your travel to get to your chosen location.

· Once at your chosen location ask the children to help you to set up the picnic. The children will need to use their counting skills, negotiating skills, and decision making skills.

· When enjoying your picnic, these are golden opportunities to have conversations about what you have been doing to prepare for the picnic, allowing children to recall past events.

· Picnics are also good opportunities to share stories such as ‘teddy bears picnic’ or ‘Peppa goes for a picnic’ - this allows children to be able to relate to stories that they have read, to build up a love of books, allow the children to explore comparisons of the story to what they have also done.

· Opportunities if going to a park or beach are there to be able to explore the local area and wider area, to see what you can find. Or look closely at the grass, plants flowers and trees to discover insects and wildlife!

· Games can be played at picnics including football, throwing a frisbee and even eye spy. This will encourage further physical development, working together to play the games, and encourage turn taking.

Who knew that what you may have thought as having a sandwich in the garden could offer so many wonderful learning opportunities to develop all seven areas of learning, as well as life skills such as making a sandwich, turn taking, sharing, and finding out about each other and the world around us.

If you have enjoyed this blog you might also enjoy Belonging - A Place in Sport for Every Child | The Early Years Company.

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