5 Cute Picnic Food Ideas Your Kids Will Love to Make and Eat

Tired of the same old picnic food?

Want to add some fun to your next outdoor meal?

Make your picnic extra-special. Use the food art ideas below to create the ultimate fun picnic with your kids.

In this article I’ll share five simple, kid-friendly picnic food ideas to help make your next family picnic something extraordinary.

Want to make your picnic extra special? Turn it into a garden. This project has 5 adorable picnic food ideas to make your next family picnic fabulous.

Why Flower Garden Picnic Foods?

There’s nothing like an outdoor picnic. It’s fun to enjoy food you’ve prepared with the people you love in the great outdoors.

When you create cute food art that looks like flowers and other things from the garden, you double the fun with your kids—first by creating the food art and then by eating it outdoors.

These five cute picnic food ideas will bring excitement into your backyard, encourage your kids to eat healthy food and set the stage for an afternoon of fun!

Picnics are popular with kids of all ages, and parents too! Invite friends and neighbors to share your special picnic food or keep this as a family adventure. Either way, you and your kids will have a great time together.

Before you get started, here are a few tips to ensure picnic success:

Include kids in the preparations: A picnic is a fun outdoor meal, but it can be a lot more than that! Use the opportunity to work together to create a healthy picnic lunch. Your kids will practice some valuable life skills if you include them in the preparations. And it’s a great time to talk and connect.

kids preparing picnic food

Let the kids help with the picnic food. It’s a great lesson in meal planning and preparation. Image source: iStockPhoto.

You may need to help younger kids with some of the cutting and prep, but leave the creativity and display up to them.

Prepare the food before you do the picnic setup: Once the blanket is laid out on the ground, the kids will be excited and ready to start—NOW!—so finish the food before setting up the outdoor space. That way, it’ll be ready to take outside as soon as your picnic area is prepared.

placing picnic blanket

Finish the food first. Then set up the picnic blanket and dig into your edible garden.

Enjoy a picnic anytime: Weather not cooperating? Set up your picnic indoors instead. You may need to move some furniture to clear a space for your picnic blanket, but the fun experience with your kids will be well worth it, rain or shine.

child under umbrella

Don’t let a rainy day stop you from enjoying a picnic. Try an indoor picnic. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Decorate with flowers: You’ll be eating outside and making food that looks like things from the garden. Carry on the theme with some flowers and plants you find in your yard.

Take a few minutes to observe the plants in your backyard. Examine the colors and textures and decide which plant combinations would make a stunning and creative centerpiece. Give the kids a plastic cup or a vase that can be used outdoors and arrange some cut flowers for your picnic.

girl with flowers

A picnic outdoors would not be complete without a homemade floral centerpiece.

If you have enough flowers in your garden, make decorations for each person at your picnic. Pick some extra blooms to wear in your hair, make a bracelet or string through a buttonhole in your shirt.

girl with flower in her hair

Put extra flowers in your hair or on your shirt, or make daisy chain bracelets.

No flowers in bloom? Make some paper flowers to decorate your picnic.

Let’s get started.

You Will Need

  • Bread
  • Sandwich filler, such as ham and cheese, turkey or peanut butter and jelly
  • Knife (for parent use only)
  • Cucumbers
  • Blueberries or grapes
  • Toothpicks and/or wooden skewers
  • Oreo cookies
  • Gummy worms
  • Picnic blanket or sheet
  • Drinks (iced tea, lemonade, apple juice or water, etc.)
  • Dishes, silverware, serving pieces that are safe to use outdoors
  • Books (optional)
  • Outdoor games (optional)
  • Paper and pens (optional)

Preparation Time

60 minutes+ to make and set up your meal

Activity Time

30 minutes+ of picnic time

Location

Your backyard or a nearby park

Ready? Make these five fun and festive picnic food ideas for your special outdoor meal.

#1: Leaf Sandwiches

Make sandwiches with the filling of your choice: ham and cheese, turkey, peanut butter and jelly, or whatever you like.

leaf sandwich

To make a Leaf Sandwich, cut the bread at all corners, then shape and use the crusts to make it more leaf-like.

Cut the corners off of the sandwiches and trim into leaf shapes. Use small pieces of crust to look like the middle vein and stem of each leaf.

#2: Cucumber Flowers

Transform cucumbers into edible flowers with a few simple cuts.

Caution: This part requires a sharp knife, so it’s best to let a grownup handle the cutting.

Cut the cucumber lengthwise into four short sections so you are working with only a small portion of the cucumber.

Stand the cucumber piece on its cut end, and make four small V-shaped notches along the sides of the cucumber.

cut cucumber

Cut notches in the cucumber before slicing, so the slices look like flower petals.

Cut the cucumber into slices and you’ll have a lovely edible garden of flowers for your picnic.

#3: Blueberry and Grape Caterpillars

Skewer blueberries and grapes onto toothpicks to turn them into small caterpillars.

fruit caterpillar

Blueberry and grape caterpillars are easy for kids of all ages to create.

Get creative and alternate the grapes and blueberries to make a pattern. What other fruits can you turn into caterpillars? This is a fun and easy project for kids of all ages.

#4: Edible “Dirt & Worms” Dessert

Every garden needs dirt, even your edible one! To make dirt that’s sweet to eat, crush three or four chocolate Oreo cookies in a clear plastic cup. Then add in a couple of gummy worms. (Be sure to bury them toward the bottom of the dirt for a squirmy surprise.)

oreo dirt

A cup of dirt is a wonderful chocolaty dessert that’s both silly and easy to make.

You’ll be amazed how real this “dirt” looks! Cup of Dirt dessert is my kids’ favorite and your kids will love it, too. It’s delicious and gross at the same time—a kid’s dream come true!

Pack your garden treats up in a cooler or picnic basket, and head outside for your picnic.

#5: Picnic Food Games

Once your “table” is set, bring out the food and enjoy your picnic.

food for picnic

Bring out your food just before you’re ready to eat.

Don’t just eat and run. Start a conversation with your family. Have everyone share his or her favorite part of the prep and favorite garden picnic food.

Ask your kids to look around and describe things they see around them in nature (there may be something new to notice from this ground-level perspective). Or lean back and look at the sky. It’s always fun to talk about what shapes you see in the clouds.

After lunch, relax for a while. Read a picnic-themed story or play a fun picnic food game.

When can a game be considered a picnic food idea? When the game is all about things to eat!

Here’s how to play “I’m going on a picnic”: Each person says, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…” and adds some kind of picnic food that starts with a letter of the alphabet. Take turns, going from A to Z.

Older kids should repeat the items from each previous person and add an item that starts with the next letter.

For example:

  • The first person says: “I’m going on a picnic and I am bringing an apple.”
  • The second person says: “I’m going on a picnic and I am bringing an apple and a banana.”
  • The third person says: “I’m going on a picnic and I am bringing an apple, a banana and a carrot.”
  • And so on through the alphabet.

For younger kids, just go in a circle and list things alphabetically.

Depending on the level of your players, you can limit the game to lists of picnic foods, open up the selection to include foods and other kinds of picnic items or keep it simple by listing any noun, food or not.

It’s a fun challenge of memory and creativity for the whole family.

thumbs up for picnic

My daughter gave the picnic a thumbs-up!

Another variation for older kids is the Name Game. In this one, each person comes up with a name. The next person needs to think of a name that starts with the last letter for the first name. For example, the first person says, “I am going on a picnic and I am inviting Sam.” The next person says, “I am going on a picnic and I am inviting Matt.” And so on.

Once you’ve had time to digest your edible garden a bit, play some active outdoor games with your kids. Try Duck Duck Goose, Frisbee, tag or a scavenger hunt.

Be sure to take some pictures or video during your picnic.

After the picnic, clean up together and talk about how much fun you had.

Have everyone write down a favorite picnic memory or draw a picnic picture as reminder of the experience.

Then, decide what type of picnic to plan next!

Some Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoy this flower garden you can eat.

A picnic gives you and your kids a chance to spend quality time together. A few simple ingredients and these picnic food ideas will turn your picnic into a festive, healthy lunch and let your kids express their creativity. And when everyone is part of the planning and preparation, it enhances the experience for all of you.

Try this adventure next weekend. You’ll make great memories!

What do you think? Have you ever had a picnic with a theme and special food art? What was your favorite part? Which snack was the most popular? What songs did you sing? What games did you play? What other creative picnic ideas do you have? We’d love to hear about them and see pictures in the comments below.

Images from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Christina Kettman

When she is not exploring the Seattle area with her kids, Christina works with small businesses to market their companies online. She also enjoys blogging at Marketing Staircase. Other posts by »


  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks, Christina! Love the fun food art, especially since these are easy enough for kids to make. The dirt is very cool, in a gross kind of way. We’ll have to have a picnic soon!

  • http://www.urbanwalkerct/wordpress.com UrbanWalkerCT

    Thanks Christina. Am planning to a picnic for the next time I go on an adventure walk with my kids

  • Christina Kettman

    Enjoy your adventure walk and picnic. My kids and I sometimes play the “name game” when we go on walks or hikes too.

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