Yesterday was the official start of Spring, and with the weather getting better – though the last couple of days it’s been pouring with rain – we are heading out more for longer trips to the park or one of our local playgrounds. Since it’s already a bit of a military operation getting everyone out the door in a timely manner, I like to keep a ‘park & picnic kit’ on hand to cut down on the time it takes to gather things together when we are getting ready. It’s basically just a big bag, filled with all the essentials we might need, that I can just grab and go. I thought I’d share with you what we keep in it.
First of all, there’s the bag itself. You want something big and hard wearing. In the past, I’ve just used one of the medium sized blue Ikea bags, but for this year I’ve invested in a big, sturdy, oversized canvas bag, as shown above. The things we keep in the bag fall in to three categories: play time, snack time, and little emergencies.
For play time, I currently have the following in the bag:
- A ball.
- A frisbee.
- Some sand toys – as well as the ones shown, we also have a big plastic truck for outdoors play only, which didn’t fit in the picture but does fit in the bag!
- A couple of bottle of bubble mixture for blowing bubbles (I picked up these cute ice cream ones in a local shop – they can use them in their play kitchen once they are empty!)
- Some jumbo pavement chalk, kept in a zipper bag.
For snack time, I always keep a big zipper bag filled with muesli bars, little boxes of raisins, and salted crackers (the crackers needed re-stocking when I took this photo, lol). Depending on the time of day, what we have in the house etc, I’ll sometimes also throw in some extras before we head out e.g. apple slices, or even some chocolate for a special treat. If we are heading out over lunch, we often take a proper picnic too, but for other trips it’s good to have these essentials in the bag so I don’t forget. Because you never want to run out of snacks! I also keep a couple of plastic cups in the bag, and throw in a fresh bottle of water before we head out.
And, finally, I never leave for a day trip to the park or playground without a mini first aid kit! Wet wipes and tissues are a given, I don’t think I’ve made it through a single day of motherhood without them! For the inevitable falls and scrapes, I keep some wound wipes and a selection of different sizes of band aids – including some big ones for skint knees! ‘Fenistil’ is a gel for insect bites and nettle stings, and as the weather gets warmer, sunscreen is an essential. Last, but not least, a pack of Ibuprofen for the parents, for when a headache comes on, because there’s nothing worse than not being able to function properly when caught in the middle of a park with two overexcited kids.
So, those are the essential items we take with us on a day out to the park or playground. Obviously, other items end up in the bag too, e.g. sunglasses or other outdoor games, but this is what I always keep in the bag, and I repack it after every trip, ready for the next time. Depending on the occasion, we also have a large roll-up picnic blanket that we’ll grab and take with us for family picnics (ours is 200cm x 200cm, which I bought last summer at a local sports shop, but you can find similar ones on Amazon), and when we get to the blazing hot days of Berlin summer, we have a small windbreaker tent to take with us on picnics, not so much because of wind but to provide shade, as our local park has very few trees and hence very little shade.
Do you have a park or picnic kit for going out? What essentials items are on your list?