Why You Should Have A Picnic This July

Did you know July is National Picnic Month!? In the UK, July is a glorious month, aside from the odd rain shower, and marks the start of the 6 week summer holiday for schools and colleges. In July, across the UK, we tend to experience an average daily temperature of 21 degree Celsius. With the arrival of the summer holidays, some parents may feel a little overwhelmed and unsure how to keep the little ones entertained. A picnic is a perfect, easy and fuss-free activity to add some excitement and change to the long summer days. 

The History of the Picnic

Picnics began to grow in popularity in the 18th century. In contrast to the modern picnic, these historic picnics were often held indoors by wealthy aristocrats. Guests were expected to contribute to the feast either by bringing food/drink or contributing a sum of money. Picnics were very much a social affair and were regarded as an intellectual gathering full of conversation and witty remarks. Historically there are rather blurred boundaries between picnics and balls – the more elaborate picnics would often involve dancing and music, which results in a lack of distinction and clarity between different functions. 

The term ‘picnic’ itself is thought to have French origins stemming from the word piquenique. When dissected, this word is made up of two parts: piquer which translates as ‘to peck/to pick’ and nique which means a small amount/none.

In the early 1800’s, the concept of the picnic began to evolve with the formation of the ‘middle class’. The middle class were reportedly fond of picnics and started to treat picnics as an outdoor activity (much like the picnics we know and love today!). 

It was not until the 20th century that outdoor picnics began to precede indoor picnics in popularity. Transportation contributed heavily to this surge in popularity; with trains, cars and bikes becoming more accessible, the public found the outdoors was suddenly an option for them. Following this, picnic baskets started to be produced. Who doesn’t love a traditional picnic hamper!?

In 2021, picnics are still a much-loved and popular pastime which provide a welcome relief from the everyday mundane. Definitions of picnics are fluid and will undoubtedly vary from person to person and different walks of life. 

Picnics in Kent

We have an entire blog dedicated to picnic hotspots in and around Kent! We are fortunate to live in a beautiful county teeming with countryside and coastal retreats. With so much choice of places to go, no picnic need ever be boring! 

Get the Children Involved

Whether you are a parent, carer or teacher, picnics are an ideal opportunity for learning and development. Simple tasks, such as buttering a slice of bread, can benefit children and contribute to their growth and further their skills. Buttering bread, for example, utilises fine motor skills. In case you need any further persuading, we have collated a list of some of the benefits of picnicking! 

Planning and foresight: allow children to have a say in your picnic and get them to help plan it! By writing down a plan for food, drinks, locations and equipment needed, children will develop the life skill of planning ahead. Being able to plan, think logically and consider needs and requirements is necessary for all types of activities and situations we encounter in life. 

Organisation: This links with planning and foresight. Once children have planned what they want their picnic to look like, they will then need to ensure they have all the necessary food and equipment. By writing a simple list of things they need to get and do, children will develop their organisation skills ensuring they were well-equipped and prepared! 

Fine motor skills: Simple tasks such as buttering bread, wrapping food in tin foil and cutting up food helps to exercise the small muscles and tendons in children’s hands leading to improved & precise hand movements. 

Written and verbal communication skills: Go one step further with your picnic planning and get the children to create handwritten invitations for family and friends. Picnics can also help verbal communication as they can be used as social events which will involve children communicating face-to-face with other children and adults.

Development of mathematical skills: Use the picnic as an opportunity to get your children counting and measuring. Ask them to count out specific amounts of raisins or carrot sticks, for example and, for older children, get them to measure out set amounts of each food item or take it one step further and get them to bake a cake; baking is the perfect opportunity to practise key numeracy skills.

Positive Impact on Mental Health and Wellbeing

It is proven that nature and spending time outside has a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing. Nature has a calming influence and provides a much-needed escape from the omnipresent screens and pressures everyday life can present. Planning a picnic and having something to look forward to also has a fantastic impact on mental health. The social element that can be attached to picnics is also a positive influence on mental health and wellbeing as humans thrive on positive, real interactions with others. 

If you are feeling inspired to plan some summer picnics, our blog 8 Steps to Packing the Perfect Picnic will help ensure you have all bases covered! 

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