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The American Picnic ? Make Yours Memorable

We love spending time outdoors and if you are expecting a large group; you need to be somewhere you can accommodate all of the people. A picnic can be anything you want it to be. There are a host of picnic ideas available, depending upon time of day and how formal or casual you want your picnic to be. If you are having a picnic for just your family; you might try to find some of the fun new gear available; such as a portable gas grill, picnic backpack, folding picnic table, fancy acrylic dishes and glasses, sleeping hammocks and more. If you are planning a picnic for a crowd there are more details and extra planning that are needed. The following are a few ideas for your picnics to help your next event be special:

? Host dinner picnics in the park under the stars. It could be romantic picnics, or family reunions. Band concerts are held on summer evenings that your guests could listen to.

? Hold rainy day picnics especially for the kids. If the kids can't enjoy the outdoors, spread a big blanket out in the family room and get together all of their favorite picnic food. Play a few impromptu games and then nap time later. They will feel that you did something especially for them.

? Are you watching calories so burgers and brats won't do? Try low carb, less fat or vegetarian picnics. Beans and tortillas, lots of salads and veggies could be on the menu instead of all that heavy BBQ. Keep dairy products and mayo limited as they don't do well in the heat.

? One idea is a total family affair including the kids. Let them help you with all of the details and the cooking preparation. It will be an event they will look forward to and remember for a long time.

? Come up with a cultural theme for your next picnic. Do you want it to be TexMex and steak fajitas or Italian with lots of wine? Make it cowboys and cowgirls for the kids or Spongebob, Garfield, etc. You decide on what's fun for everyone.

? Include water if you can; picnics are more fun and refreshing when they are at the beach, lake, ocean side or poolside. Bring games that are good in the same such as volleyball or badminton.

? Plan the picnic around an outdoor festival. Music is a great entertainment and you can still talk at the same time the concert is going on.

? If the picnic is for the company; be a little more conservative in taste, and plan games that are good for all ages. Keep everyone involved and give out prizes.

? Get the kids involved in a craft projects including sea shells, sandcastles, nature walks, scavenger hunts and more.

? Decide if you want to do pizza or potluck, burgers or filet mignon, wine and cheese or a full course meal, sushi, tapas and more. Food is the biggest decision for the picnic so put some thought into it. Your picnic could be a success or failure depending on what kind of food you serve.

? Be creative when it comes to games. The same old things like croquet or softball is just fine, but how about coming up with new games like bocce ball or give lessons on tennis and golf that people normally don't have time for.

? Allow for down time too. Busy people just want to relax and sit in a chair. Respect the wishes of those that just want to sit and watch instead of constantly participating in the activities. Many just need to veg for a while. It's good to have activities for people to participate in; but don't over do it.

? Plan some type of shelter if possible in case it rains or if some just need to come in out of the sun. Many older people cannot sit out in the sun all day and will need some shade.

Your picnics can be anything you want them to be; elegant or casual, well planned or impromptu, kids included or just dinner for two, wedding receptions or birthday parties; it doesn't matter the ideas for picnics abound. Just get a little creative with your ideas to make it extra special for everyone and a time your guests won't soon forget.

Beverly Marshall is a successful freelance writer offering guidance and suggestions for consumers buying patio and outdoor furniture, outdoor kitchen ideas gas grills, picnic tables, hammocks, above ground pools and more. She gives information and tips to help you save money and make informed buying decisions.

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