How to Create a Picnic Check List

Three Methods:Sample Check ListsThe Romantic Picnic For TwoThe Family Picnic

When the weather's gorgeous, and you have the day off, there's nothing quite as delightful as a picnic. It doesn't take much to put one together, and you'll have a great time with family and friends! Here are some brief instructions on preparing for a picnic, along with a useful list that you can copy and modify to suit your own needs.

Sample Check Lists

Sample Checklist for Romantic Picnic

Sample Checklist for Family Picnic

Method 1
The Romantic Picnic For Two

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    Plan your meal in advance. Have all the ingredients ready in advance, so you don't waste time at the grocery store
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    Prepare foods that you all like. Think of things that are easily manageable, and don't require a lot of setup at the picnic grounds. You may all like fondue, but trying to get a fire going at the park may not be such a great idea.
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    Get a basket. There are wonderful ones to be found at craft stores, gift stores (especially those that sell wine packages), even some specialty grocery stores carry them. Showing up with a nice bottle of wine and food wrapped in plastic bags from the grocery store is just not romantic!
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    Furnish based on the setting
    • If your picnic is at the beach, make sure your blanket is big enough to keep the sand at bay, and that any chairs or cushions are sand- and water-proof.
    • If you're going to a park, you might have a nice soft blanket, but also consider adding a waterproof tarp underneath. The grass may have been watered or damp.
    • Cushions are nice to relax on if you have them. Some people like low chairs for comfort.
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    Bring the romance. Flowers, candles, even a pair of battery-powered speakers with nice music on your iPod can all set a wonderfully romantic mood. No boom-boxes, please. The idea is to keep it intimate, not start a block party.
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    Think about "just in case." As poet Robert Burns said so famously back in 1785, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley," and it is just as true now as it was then. Plan ahead, and you'll not be scurrying for shelter.
    • Just in case it gets cool, have a couple sweaters nearby.
    • Just in case it rains, have an umbrella.
    • Just in case the weather gets bad before you get there, have a backup plan.
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    Dress nicely. This is romance we're talking about here—showing up in cutoffs and a t-shirt may be great for an impromptu day at the beach, but if you're putting effort into building a special afternoon or evening, make it something to remember.

Method 2
The Family Picnic

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    Plan ahead. Much like the romantic picnic, the family picnic is made much more festive when a little forethought is used. Nothing spoils the fun more than not having a corkscrew or a fork when you need one!
    • Keep a "picnic" box. Load it with plates and napkins, plastic utensils, a spare bottle opener and corkscrew, plastic food containers, wraps, bags, and other non-perishables.
    • Keep a copy of your favorite picnic recipes in the box, too.
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    Think comfort as much as food. Picnics are fun, unless you are sitting on soggy or rocky ground, on a blanket that's too small, in the rain, with soggy paper plates.
    • If you are on the ground, make sure you pack pillows or chairs.
    • If the weather is iffy, have umbrellas in the car.
    • Make sure your blanket is big enough for your crew. If not, have enough for everybody to be able to spread out a bit. Lots of space is good, and it makes the ants work harder for their share.
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    Shop ahead of time. Have all your ingredients ready before the day of the big event. But prepare the food as late as possible, so that everything is fresh and delicious. If you're preparing things like macaroni or potato salad, make sure you keep them refrigerated so they don't spoil.
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    Play! Bring a softball, or a board game. Frisbees are fun, always. Have activities that everybody can be involved in.
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    Keep it safe. A family picnic has lots of opportunity for fun: running, playing ball, kicking your feet in the creek, or tossing the frisbee. In case that frisbee happens to whack Billy in the lip, though, bring along a little first aid kit. Some sun screen, bug spray, antiseptic wash, bandaids and gauze—nothing too complex.
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    Check out the list below. We've gathered a list of things you need for a picnic set out below.
    • Copy this list to a word processor document and alter it to fit your needs. Keep it in your picnic box.


  • Use non-disposable items over disposable ones when possible. If you are worried about breaking your favourite plates or losing special cutlery, buy cheap used ones from thrift stores that can provide an eclectic, old-world atmosphere to your picnic.
  • Always wash all your picnic items and dispose of food on returning from a picnic and your picnic pack will be fresh and ready for you at all times.
  • Tea, coffee, juice and soft drinks all taste better in glass or metal containers. Avoid the throw-away kinds of cups and glasses if you can, but also be aware of park regulations regarding glass containers.
  • Keep old pieces of foil used in the kitchen, wash and dry them and put them with your picnic set for a second use.
  • You can purchase cake covers that will keep food safe from insects. These fold up neatly and are a great addition to a picnic set.


  • Pay attention to weather forecasts. Take raincoats and umbrellas as a precaution if there is any hint of rain, and have a backup plan if you expect storms. Many places provide a covered area you can resort to if rain starts on your picnic.

Things You'll Need

  • Tablecloth, rug, or blanket; if your ground cover isn't waterproof, also take a waterproof groundsheet.
  • Napkins: cloth is nicest and most environmentally-friendly.
  • Plates, cutlery, and bowls.
  • Mugs, cups, and glasses.
  • Cutting board for bread and cheese.
  • Bread knife and perhaps another sharp knife for slicing fruits and veggies.
  • Tongs for serving.
  • Food containers and serving plates.
  • Paper towels.
  • Small pieces of foil, cheesecloth or plastic wrap for covering food; or get fold-away cake covers.
  • Thermos flask for keeping drinks warm, hot, or cool.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Favorite sauces, pickles, relishes, and condiments.
  • Waste bags (use up old supermarket bags or paper bags).
  • Hand wipes, tissues, and maybe towelettes.
  • Containers for leftovers: ziplock bags, plastic tubs, and jars.
  • Hats
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Food & drinks
  • Your camera

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Picnics