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Planning the Perfect Toddler Picnic

It started with a picnic basket.

Before I got married (a time my 8-year-old refers to as “the olden days” or better yet, “the nineteen hundreds”) I received a picnic basket as a bridal shower gift.

It was a nice idea and I appreciated it of course, but my husband and I never got much use out of it.

It wasn’t that we were anti-picnic, but life just got in the way. Before I knew it the picnic basket was in the basement collecting dust along with my ankle weights and collection of Clay Aiken CDs (I was kind of a Claymate for period of time).

(By the way did you see him on Celebrity Apprentice? Thoughts/comments?)

Back to the picnic basket. I regret not using it pre-kids because the idea of lying in bucolic splendor somewhere having my husband feed me grapes is an image I enjoy.

I didn’t even remember the picnic basket was there until one day when my toddler was in the basement “helping” me do laundry. She found it and was immediately fascinated.

I got it off the shelf and she opened it up and was delighted to find red gingham napkins, little plastic wine cups with detachable stems, and matching plates and silverware. Since she has so much fun hosting tea parties it stands to reason that she’d love the picnic basket too but it had never occurred to me.

She’s been asking ever since if we could go on a real picnic, and weather-permitting that’s the plan for this weekend.

I’ve rounded up some great, toddler-friendly picnic finds if you’d like to plan one too. Clay Aiken background music is, of course, optional.

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  • Mommy and Me Picnic Baskets 1 of 9
    Mommy and Me Picnic Baskets
    The quintessential picnic item is, of course, the basket. We already have one but I know my toddler would love this set!
    Find them at Amazon.com.
  • The dress? Picnic fabulous! 2 of 9
    The dress? Picnic fabulous!
    How fun would it be to dress your toddler in picnic attire?
    Find them at Home Arts Boerne/Etsy.
  • Every Picnic Needs a Blanket 3 of 9
    Every Picnic Needs a Blanket
    I love the cheerful colors in this handmade picnic blanket. Of course I'm also a fan of the classic red and white check, too.
    Find it at Sewn Natural/Etsy.
  • Fruity Picnic Punch 4 of 9
    Fruity Picnic Punch
    Here's a great recipe for fruit punch to take along on your picnic adventure.
    Find the recipe at Family Fun.
  • Fun Straws 5 of 9
    Fun Straws
    It's the little things, like these fun mustache straws, that make life special.
    Find them at The Manic Moose/Etsy.
  • A Hearty Salad…Filling and Cool 6 of 9
    A Hearty Salad...Filling and Cool
    This is picnic fare at its finest- a filling ham and pasta salad.
    Find the recipe at Family Fun.
  • Festive Salt and Pepper Shakers 7 of 9
    Festive Salt and Pepper Shakers
    Just because they're so cute!
    Find them at MarthaStewart.com.
  • Fun Games for the Whole Family 8 of 9
    Fun Games for the Whole Family
    Family games are a must. In this game, Barnyard, players make animal sounds and search for other players who represent the same animal. Perfect for toddlers.
    For instructions on playing Barnyard and lots of other fun games, visit Family Fun.
  • Strawberry Shortcake in Mason Jars! Brilliant! 9 of 9
    Strawberry Shortcake in Mason Jars! Brilliant!
    This strawberry shortcake in individual-sized servings would be a sweet treat at the end of all your picnic fun.
    Find the recipe at Savoring the Thyme.

Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Top Photo Credit: Steven Depolo/Flickr

Related Posts by Mary Lauren:

The Binky Fairy is My New Hero but She Owes Me $42.99

Toddler Fashion File: Pillowcase Dresses

The Search for Hair Accessories that Stay Put

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