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Make a "picnic basket" for each of your children by folding a piece of brown construction paper in half. With the fold forming the bottom of the basket, tape yarn handles onto the open edges at the top. Invite the children to open their baskets and glue on magazine pictures of foods they would like to take on a picnic.
Make batches of play dough and color them with several different colors of paint or food coloring. Let your children use the dough to make picnic foods. Have them arrange their foods on paper plates to display on a paper tablecloth.


Put paper plates, cups, and napkins along with plastic forks and spoons in a picnic basket. Lay out a blanket on the floor and arrange several stuffed-animal "picnic guests" around it. Ask your children to tell how many plates they will need to take out of the basket for the guests. Have them check their answer by putting a plate in front of each animal. Did they take out too many plates? Too few? Just the right number? Continue in the same manner using the remaining items in the picnic basket.
Invite your children to watch as you place picnic items, such as a paper plate, a paper cup, a napkin, a fork, a juice box, an orange, and a small bag of chips, into a picnic basket. Then let them take turns closing their eyes, reaching into the basket, and trying to identify the items using their sense of touch.

Go with your children on a walk to search for bugs. Take along plastic magnifying glasses and an instant camera. Have the children look for bugs under leaves, small pieces of wood, or rocks, and encourage them to talk about any bugs they find. Instead of bringing back the bugs, "capture" them by taking instant photos to view and discuss when you return.


Sit with your children around a blanket, and set out pictures of picnic foods that have been glued onto small paper plates. Ask the children to close their eyes while you point to one child to be the Raccoon Robber. Have the Raccoon take away one of the plates of food and hide it. When the children open their eyes, invite them to guess which food is missing. Let the first child to guess correctly be the new Raccoon Robber. Continue until everyone has had a turn.
Tune: "Mary Had a Little Lamb"

Summertime is picnic time,
Picnic time, picnic time.
Summertime is picnic time,
Time to have some fun.

We will eat our picnic lunch,
Picnic lunch, picnic lunch.
We will eat our picnic lunch,
And play when we are done.
Elizabeth Scofield

Encourage your children to substitute the names of picnic foods for "picnic lunch."

Let your children help plan a picnic menu and pack the chosen foods in a picnic basket or individual lunch bags. Then take the children to a park or other outdoor area for their picnic. Or spread out a blanket on the floor and enjoy your picnic indoors.