Summer Picnics Serve Up Food, Fun, and Early Learning

Another great outside activity for the summer, is a picnic! It combines fun, learning, family meals, outside time in nature, and even some kindergarten readiness. That’s quite a plateful.

picnic for summer fun and learningMuch of the learning is incidental and so ordinary that it’s all but invisible. For example, a parent might ask a child, “Do you want syrup on your pancake or a some jam? In order to choose and answer, the child needs to make a decision. This means the brain has to remember past experiences, compare them, and check to see what’s currently relevant. Making decisions is a complex thinking skill and requires lots of practice. That’s a lot of learning in one question and a one-word answer.

Or maybe a parent will ask “Do you want to wear your red shorts or your green ones?” To be able to attach the right name to the color, the brain has had to make hundreds of connections. Kids have to sort thru all their experiences with a huge variety of variations for each color and a confusing number of different objects of the same color. To do this takes many experiences and feedback from getting it right and wrong.

picnics for summer fun and learningAs kids picnic outside, their senses are stimulated by the sounds, sights, smell, taste, and touch of what’s around them. The foods smell and taste extra special outside.

Moving and being active is just as important for brains as for bodies. Somehow on a picnic, the up and down and all around of young children is easier to handle than it is at home. Often, there is more interaction and talking with each other on a picnic. This supports social and emotional skills. This little one is communicating what she wants without saying a word.

Did you know how much fun, learning, kindergarten readiness, and life skills are part of the picnic menu? Perhaps, a breakfast, lunch or supper picnic can be part of the day for your family?

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