The onset of summer heralds the arrival of picnic season,
conjuring up images of Kool-Aid-filled thermoses and soggy peanut
butter and jelly sandwiches packed into plastic baggies. But with a
little imagination and some planning, it needn’t be this way: a
picnic offers the chance to show off your creativity. The summer
picnic can be dressed up or down – it all depends on the mood
you’re aiming for and who will be attending.

Here are three picnic ideas that show just how versatile a
summer picnic can be.

Romantic Picnic

Choose a relatively secluded spot, such as a lake, an isolated
area on a beach or a quiet spot in a park. You need not travel far
though to pull off a successful romantic picnic – you can have an
intimate picnic in your own backyard, which will guarantee
seclusion. A large comfy blanket is a must as is a portable CD
player and a selection of soft music. If you’re planning on
extending the picnic into the evening, bring along some scented
candles. As for drinks, substitute Kool-Aid for Merlot and remember
to bring a bottle opener and a pair of wine glasses. Keep food
elegant but simple and be sure to stay away from anything that is
messy or spoils easily. Since you’re going for romance, a French
theme works nicely: pack some baguettes, sliced meats and cheeses
and Dijon mustard. For dessert, strawberries and grapes not only
travel well, but are also purported to be aphrodisiacs. Grapes also
have the added benefit of helping cleanse the palate – perfect for
post-picnic puckering up.

Back to Nature Picnic

Everyone and everything is going green these days, so why not a
green-themed picnic? This would be fun with a group of friends. A
nature reserve or nature trail makes for the perfect location – go
for a hike and bask in nature before or after feasting on the
healthful foods that you’ll be bringing along. Fill your thermoses
with fruit smoothies, such as an orange juice, strawberry and
banana combo, which not only tastes great but is also laden with
vitamin C and potassium. Keep food simple and healthy – fill your
picnic basket with an assortment of vegetables (carrot and celery
sticks, cauliflower and peppers), pita bread and hummus, veggie and
cheese sandwiches and some fruit for dessert (either a fruit salad
or bring some plums, peaches or apples). In keeping with the green
theme, paper plates are a definite no-no. You can either ask your
guests to bring their own plates from home, or bring reusable
melamine dishes.

Kids’ Picnic

This might require that you cave in and fill your picnic basket
with peanut butter sandwiches. But food isn’t really the focus of a
children’s picnic – it’s the location and activities that matter
most. Some fun kid-friendly picnic locations include theme parks,
water parks or the beach. A nature reserve is another great
location that also gives you an opportunity to teach your kids
about the great outdoors. That old standby – the neighbourhood park
– can work well too, as long as you pack fun things such as
Frisbees, kites, a soccer ball or football and games. For a kids’
picnic, be sure snacks are plentiful and mix in a few apples with
the chocolate chip cookies. You can also get your kids involved in
the planning by having them help you prepare the food.