Tuesday, May 15, 2012

16 Ways to Enjoy Outdoor Dining with Children



Day 45
Duration 1+ hours

To help celebrate the start of the All Year Round Blog Carnival: Summer edition, I thought I would put together a summer themed meal and head outside. When I think of summer as a child, the memories that first come to mind are those shared with my family, enjoying dinners anywhere but in the house!  When I was little, we spent many weekend packing up the picnic basket and heading to a park or even just unfolding a blanket in our own backyard.  I was lucky to be an August baby, so we have tons of pictures with our extended family sitting outside and chatting around the birthday cake (always homemade!).

Now that I have a son, I would love to carry on that tradition as a family.  Participating in our 365 Days Outdoors! challenge gives us ample opportunities to do just that!  We have a small baseball field in walking distance, which was so much fun growing up.  We used to walk down to see some of my friends playing ball or just stop to grab some yummy eats at the concession stand.  We also used to attend at least one major league baseball game each summer and the food was always what I looked forward to most.  So, tonight I whipped together a little baseball themed feast of our own!  



 











Not only do we frequent the picnic table in our own backyard, but we also try to pack a lunch when we're on the road or taking a day trip.  Sharing food at the dinner table doesn't simply stop with picnics. We are always looking for ways to add a little fun to our table!  Celebrating holidays with tea parties or themed dinners are a few ways to do just that!  Lately my son is also into pretend play.  Using food in sensory trays or outdoor kitchens can help kids have a multisensory experience.  Why not throw in some extra items that let kids create food using their own imagination? Here are more fun ideas that have been shared by some wonderful blogs around the world! 



Reading Confetti has taken my two loves - books and food- and put them together to create book inspired picnicsOne day when the kiddos are home for lunch, grab one of these books and enjoy your snack while having story time. 



This Butterfly Tea Party inspired by Mama Mia's Heart 2 Heart would make any evening a night to remember.  The beautiful pinata that they created was the perfect addition to their special event!









Growing a Jeweled Rose decided to take the fixings used for cooking and let her kiddo experiment.  Her Pretend Play using Real Ingredients idea allowed her daughter to use actual kitchen equipment outdoors to mix up a few recipes of her own!





The concoctions being whipped up in this Outdoor Play Kitchen look good enough to eat!  Sunny Day Today Mama even added a secondhand cooker and mini-fridge to bring the indoors, out! Encouraging the kiddos to "cook" for the adults will surely inspire them to help out more in the real kitchen.




This past Easter we decided to show our appreciation for the special ladies on our life by creating an Outdoor Tea Party.  After our work was done in the kitchen, we planted a few flowers in painted pots for them to take home!





This Play Dough Imaginative Tea Party was so much fun, I wish I was invited! The baked goods that No Twiddle Twaddle prepared smelled of cinnamon and tempted even the stuffed teddy that was attending! I'm sure the kiddos were proud of these desserts.   




Another classic outdoor cooking experience that Growing a Jeweled Rose encouraged was making the ever popular mud pies!  This Mud Pie Kitchen comes equipped with a garden sink, mud pie pans, and even comes stocked with ingredients.








playing cafe ideasNurtureStore is all about Making Play Posh!  A stylish dining experience isn't complete without a fancy tablecloth, beautiful flowers in a vase, and a real waitress!  What an easy party to take outdoors.  Even teddy can join in on the fun!










Why not surprise Mom or Dad when they stop by for lunch with a holiday inspired feast?  We served up some sushi baskets with a yummy grilled cheese sandwich for a light lunch. Don't forget to cut out a shape on the sandwich to spread a little holiday cheer.  These recipes were a hit for Daddy and son!













Birthdays are always a great time to let the kids play outside and enjoy the warm weather with family.  Glittering Muffins decided to head to the park and splash around in the fountains during this Birthday Picnic for the little guy!









Wicker Picnic Basket Grass 6-1-09 1 Since your out enjoying the beautiful weather and celebrating nature, why not Plan a Kid Friendly Earth Day Picnic like the one B.Inspired Mama did!  You don't have to wait for April to roll around to try this!  There are so many amazing tips that can help you be kind to Mother Nature.







For some more recipes to share during your outdoor dining experiences with the family, search no more!  Here are a few treats that you can throw in the picnic basket or add to you outdoor tea party!


 S'Mores Cookies from Recipes We Love



  

Beach Ball Fruit Pizza from Hungry Happenings



 

Carrot Cookies from our Virtual Book Club



No Bake Cookies from Plain Vanilla Mom






Thank you so much for stopping by! If you enjoyed this post, please join us on Facebook. You can even explore our boards on Pinterest if you are looking for more ways to foster family connections through play and inspiration.

18 comments:

  1. I love all of these ideas! Thanks so much for the great list and the link!

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    1. I know...everyone has such great ideas! :)

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    2. Pinned it to the Kid's Co-op board!

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    3. Thanks so much Lorie! :)

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  2. Thanks for including my Beach Ball Fruit Pizza along with all these other fantastic picnic ideas.

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    1. Sure! I can't wait to make one for ourselves!

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  3. thanks for including our cookies what a fun post

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  4. Such a fantastic list of great ideas, this is so inspiring! Thank you so much for including our outdoor play kitchen. :)

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    1. I know! I can't wait to try a few of these out. Making our own outdoor kitchen is on our summer bucket list! :)

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  5. This came out awesome!! I love the pic of you and Grady...very cute! Thanks for including the cookies :)

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  6. That little guy of your is adorable! I bet he loved his baseball themes picnic. Man, now I'm going to have to go hunt down some cracker jacks. I haven't seen those in ages! (Thanks for featuring my Picnic Article!)

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    1. Haha! I know...I was hoping I could find them. Their prizes, however, are a little lacking now! :)

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  7. Oh wow! This is such a fantastic post Gina! I ma just seeing this, and love it. Thanks so much for featuring our outdoor play ideas, and for sharing this with Tuesday Tots! I have pinned this to a few of my boards :)

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    1. Thanks for the pins! There are some great ideas here...looking forward to trying them out this summer!

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  8. Great list! I love the baseball theme picnic... we're going to have to do that soon! Thanks for linking it up to the Kid's Co-op! I've included it in my round-up of favorite posts this week!

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  9. Great list! Just came across this today! Pinned it to try a few ideas this summer!

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Thanks for commenting! I love hearing your thoughts!

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