Plan a Daycare Picnic

Once in a while it's fun and healthy to take the daycare on an outing to the great big outdoors. While field trips are more educational in nature, and while trips to local playgrounds and parks are always enjoyable, daycare picnic outings are special in their own right

Children's Picnics

There is nothing quite like a children's picnic, with its one-of-a-kind combination of a picnic meal, picnic games, prizes, fun in the sun, laughter, and in all likelihood some bruises, bites, and cuts mixed in. Daycare picnics are a great way to celebrate the arrival of spring and summer, to bring to life and explore themes of nature discussed in daycare, to teach children sportsmanship and game activities, to release stress and pent-up energies, and for daycare staff and children to be entertained.

Daycare Picnic Planning

The best daycare picnic ideas are participatory. Planning a picnic outing together with daycare children makes the picnic their own creation, allowing their talents, creativity, and enthusiasm to shine through, and to possibly draw out more introverted and normally shy children. While all daycare outings are subject to certain rules of behavior related to conduct and safety, a picnic excursion should keep rules to a minimum and freedom to a maximum.

Picnic Menu

The picnic menu is one area where kids can really get involved. Let the children decide what type of food they want to bring on "their" picnic, whether it be a pot-luck picnic, where every child brings a different dish, a themed picnic (i.e. Oriental food, Mexican food, organic foods, favorite foods, foods of a certain color, et cetera), a just-desert picnic, or an "anything goes" picnic menu.

You will be amazed at how organized and opinionated younger children can be when asked for their ideas! Similarly, which children emerge as the "leaders" and the "followers" might surprise you...

Picnic Activities

The highlight of a picnic is the slew of games, activities, and optional prizes involved. There is no end to the list of great picnic activity ideas for children. Once again, the daycare children can help plan some of the picnic games and races, or you can leave this area in the hands of daycare staff and surprise the children.

Picnic Activity Ideas

Here are some simple, inexpensive, fun-loaded ideas for picnic activities:

Bean Bag Toss

There are boundless bean-bag-toss games, contests, and races to choose from, or you can make up your own bean-bag activities. Here are a few to get you started:

•- Throw bean bags into empty boxes placed at varying distances from the starting line, awarding points to the highest scoring individual or team

•- Draw a target (i.e., a bulls-eye, clown face, face of a daycare staff member) in the center of a large sheet and hang between two trees. The purpose of the game is to throw the beanbags and hit the target on the nose. Kids will LOVE the opportunity to "hit" someone they know, and this simple picnic activity will generate peals of laughter from all

Frisbee Throw

Using any variations on the classic Frisbee game, have ample Frisbees available, allowing kids to take multiple turns without long waiting periods. See who can throw the Frisbee the furthest, catch a Frisbee the greatest number of times, or hit a target with a Frisbee.

Obstacle Courses/Relay Races

True, tried, and tested, you can't go wrong with a classic obstacle course or stream of relay races designed to suit the kids' age level, skill level, and personality. Featuring a great blend of physical activity and fun, kids will love going over, under, on top of, through, and around items placed in their pathway, or racing for the finish line as you cheer them on. You will marvel when children break through their own limitations and rise to the occasion physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Of course, there may be surprises in the opposite direction too, since competition tends to bring out the worst in certain children; but any show of unsportsmanlike behavior can be used as an opportunity for growth and education. And don't forget to bring a camera to Picnic Day to capture all of the highlights - the thrills, the spills, the tears, and the laughter!