There's something so incredibly satisfying about a classic picnic. That fabulous fusion of open-air and bright skies, and lovingly prepared food arranged on a picnic blanket, makes for a five-star culinary experience - and you won't even have to spend ages preparing some fancy form of haute cuisine.
In part, food does play the central role in a picnic, what's even more important is the quality time together with the family: enjoying the sunshine and throwing a frisbee around between bites of finger-food, before kicking back for the mains. While the great outdoors truly makes the picnic experience come together, there are plenty of imaginative ways to put together an indoor picnic to remember. Here are three indoor picnic ideas you are all going to love!
The Classic Indoor Picnic
We don't need much for an epic picnic - a spacious area, a blanket, a basket holding all the food and goodies and, most importantly, our favourite people around us. It's all about what you make of it really, so we don't necessarily need that grass patch or park vibe either - an indoor picnic experience can be just as fun and, if you go about it the right way, you won't even notice you're inside. For an indoor spin on the classic, simply turn one room in your home into the designated "park area". Move all the furniture to the side to create enough floor space for a blanket on which everyone can sit comfortably. It doesn't have to be the traditional, checkered blanket either, just use whatever you've got.
To bring a bit of the outdoor feeling into the home, pick some colourful spring flowers and leaves you can arrange on or around your indoor park area. You could also create some origami or papercraft birds, bees and butterflies to decorate the room with and trick yourself into believing these paper creatures are truly buzzing and flying all around you. If you really want your indoor picnic theme to be on point, use a pìece of faux lawn to sit and arrange your spread on for an authentic look and experience.
The Camping-Style Picnic
If you want to get a little more adventurous about your picnic, put on a camping-style party in your living room! This brings together two of our favourite things: a grounding eating experience and an exciting slumber-party under the stars. While you may not be able to enjoy the real UK outback and its many wonderful camping sites and secluded nature spots, you can recreate it all in your home any time you want. It's easy to do and you'll all have fun thinking of ways to create the biggest trend of the lockdown: indoor camping with a big picnic and a mock campfire!
Don't have the space to put up your actual tent in the living area or bedroom? That's OK, a blanket fort is just as cosy and even more fun to build together. Tables, chairs and couches all make great furniture to hang sheets and blankets off of; deck the inside of your makeshift tent/fort out with lots of pillows for extra cosiness. For a night of stargazing, cut out some stars on pieces of cardboard and wrap them in tin foil; fasten them to some fishing line or string, tie them to a safety pin and hang them from the ceiling of the fort. Turn all the lights in the home off and illuminate the fortress and picnic area with fairy lights and/or LED lamps. To round off the perfect night of indoor camping, play some nature sounds or stream an exciting animal show on Netflix to bring the wild into your home.
For the camping-style picnic, opt for all the snacks, desserts and mains you would usually have on a trip to the great outdoors: everything from hot dogs to s'mores, pizza slices to a taco or wrap building station on a wooden slab - it's all possible and you won't need to build an indoor campfire to do so either. Prepare the meals and snacks in the kitchen before settling in for the night; serve things like sausages and ready-made smores on skewers and allow the kids to pretend-roast them over a faux, papercraft campfire.
The Beach-Vibe Picnic
If your kids are little surfer dudes and dudettes in the making, roll with a beach vibe for your indoor picnic - they are going to love getting their chill and their snack on whilst digging their toes into the sand. We've got quite a few ideas on how to make it happen! You won't have to make a big production out of it and can still rest assured that this is going to be a picnic your kids will remember as, "that time mum and dad brought the beach indoors." Tropical beach-style decorations such as bunting and flowers. You can even fruit displays that form part of your picnic - a pineapple wearing sunglasses, for example.
Create a miniature beach island by filling a small paddling pool with homemade sand and stick an umbrella in there as a parasol - you've got to keep dreaming, right? If you don't have a paddling pool, you can fill a big plastic storage box instead. Get out the spades and buckets for the kids, magazines for the teens and beach literature for the grown-ups, throw on some tunes and enjoy your time at the beach.
To stay true to the beach theme you've got going here, your indoor picnic should be packed with all the goodies we associate with hot, summer days. Pack an icebox with summery fruits like watermelon slices, pineapple and berries - these make for great snacks between sandcastle building, and they're healthy too. Light salads, wraps and vegetables with dips like hummus or tzatziki also make for perfect picnic foods. If you really want to kick it beach-style, prepare sangrias for the whole family - the cheeky kind for the adults, mocktails for the kids. Nothing evokes that holiday vibe quite like a sangria! And finally, to bring that beachy scent into your home, try lathering up in Hawaiian Tropic. Alexa, your servant for the afternoon, will happily provide waves and seagulls as your soundtrack.
Why Kids Will Love an Indoor Picnic
Putting together an indoor picnic for the family is the perfect way to mix up your daily eating routine by turning it into a fun activity with plenty of opportunity for sensory play. There are so many great ways to bring that outdoorsy feeling into your home with just a few simple touches and creative ideas. And no matter what kind of indoor picnic ideas you go with in the end, it is guaranteed to turn into a perfect afternoon or night with your family.
Roxanne Sancto is a freelance writing, Yoga and English teacher forever covered in glue and paint stains. She currently has four fur babies and ends up with a new pet every time she goes for a walk. Her students keep her up to date with the latest kid lingo and trends both in the UK and Spain.