- Help plan and prepare a picnic
- Develop fine motor and cooperative skills
- Ingredients for sandwiches (e.g., peanut butter and jelly, bread or crackers, fruit juice)
- Plastic sandwich bags
- Plastic knives
- Picnic basket or cooler
- Large tablecloth
- Paper plates and cups
Set Up and Prepare
- Ask children, "What are your favorite kinds of sandwiches?" Together choose one or two kinds that they would like to enjoy at a picnic. Then gather the ingredients.
- Remember: Outdoor picnics can be fun! So watch the weather forecast in advance to plan your outing for a nice day.
- Explain to children that you will be going on a picnic. Talk about the different things that need to be done to prepare for the outing and remind children of outdoor safety rules. If the weather does not permit, ask children, "How can we have a picnic indoors?"
- Once you've decided where to have your picnic (your outdoor play space might be a good place), begin the food preparation. Gather a few children and let them make sandwiches.
- Help children use plastic knives to spread the peanut butter and jelly (or other ingredients) onto bread or crackers. Ask another group of children to help you cut fruit for dessert. Then pack into plastic sandwich bags.
- While children prepare food, encourage them to help one another and to talk about what they are doing. For example, "Robby, can you carefully give Tara your plastic knife when you are finished using it?" "Lucas, can you ask Susie to help you fill the plastic bag?" When the food is ready, prepare children to go on the picnic.
- Spread the blanket and put out the food once you are in your selected area. While you eat, encourage children to talk together about how they prepared the food.
For younger children: Provide cookie cutters children can use to create interesting sandwich shapes rather than cutting the sandwiches in half.
For older children: Talk with children about other packable, nutritious treats to bring along on a picnic. How many kinds of foods can they think of? Which utensils would be needed? How would they need to be stored?
In the days following your picnic, encourage children to pretend to repeat the steps they took in preparing their picnic lunch. In either the dramatic-play or block area, and under your supervision, offer children plastic knives to spread imaginary peanut butter, and plastic bags to carry their finished sandwiches to their imaginary picnic.
- At the Park: A Touch-and-Feel Book by Dena Neusner
- Frank and Joey Eat Lunch by Arthur Yorinks, Maurice Sendak (illustrator)
- Mystery at the Club Sandwich by Doug Cushman