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Why wait until summer to have a picnic? With a little planning, a winter picnic can be a fun way to spend time with friends and family outdoors. These tips include hearty outdoor food suggestions and winter activity ideas to get you started.

Who says picnics are only a warm weather activity? After being shut inside our dry, stuffy homes during the winter months, enjoying the outdoors and some fresh air may be just what we need to get us over that winter slump. A winter picnic takes a little more preparation than a warm-weather outing, but can be an enjoyable excursion for
the whole family.

You’ll want to check the weather forecast ahead of time. Plan your winter picnic for a day that is expected to be sunny and clear, with temperatures over 20 degrees. You know you can’t always count on the weather, so you’ll want some sort of shelter in case the weather changes. A canopy with attached sides that can be closed is perfect. If the picnic area you choose already has shelters available, bring some tarps and bungee cords to make wind breaks if you need to.

Take along a folding table and chairs, since you probably won’t want to sit on the ground at your winter picnic. Most folks will want dry, comfortable seating off the ground. Take along a propane heater or outdoor heater to provide extra warmth inside the canopy. Bring along some thick blankets to cover laps or wrap the kids or older folks in if they get too chilled.

The food provided for your winter picnic should be warm and nourishing. You may enjoy cooking over a campfire at your winter picnic. Bring some dry kindling and firewood with you if the weather has been wet or snowy. If campfires aren’t allowed at the picnic spot you choose, you could bring a portable grill, or bring warm food in a thermal container. Chili soup, hearty stews, and casseroles are great winter picnic fare. Warm beverages such as coffee and hot chocolate will help keep you cozy in cold weather! If electricity is available, you might want to bring food for your winter picnic in a crock pot or roaster.

Plan activities that will keep you warm and help work up an appetite. Snowboarding, snowball fights, sledding, skiing and making snowmen are popular outdoor activities if you have snow for your winter picnic.

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