Staying home this summer doesn’t mean you have to give up on summer fun. Inflatable kiddie pools, mini-soccer nets, or croquet sets are all ways to have fun outside at home. The essentials for a backyard picnic are probably folded in a drawer or stowed in the garage. Break them out and dine al fresco at home.
Tarp or Waterproof Blanket
Many online retailers and big-box stores sell waterproof blankets or tarps that fold up easily and are secured with Velcro. They have built-in handles for easy portability. If you don’t want to splurge on a new blanket, a tarp or a piece of plastic will protect a blanket from dirt, grass stains, and damp conditions.
You probably have a supply of bug spray for the yard or for use on your skin, but citronella candles add charm while keeping bugs away—plus, you don’t have to take a shower after you extinguish them. Just don’t use them directly on flammable surfaces and keep kids away—an overturned candle can turn into an inferno on a dry summer afternoon.
Tunes add fun to your picnic. Make a playlist with selections for everyone and enjoy some music while you relax or play games in your backyard. Many of these speakers can pair with more than one device and have a long enough battery life to last the entire evening.
Water and Food
Hot summer days require adequate hydration. Water is essential for a backyard picnic. Instead of boring and environmentally unfriendly plastic bottles, use a floral pitcher and plastic cups. Add ice and perhaps a little flavoring extract for zest and color; flavored water is more festive and it makes staying hydrated enjoyable.
The menu for your picnic could consist of snacks or a full barbeque. Just be sure that foods that can spoil are kept on ice or refrigerated in the house and that meats are cooked to the required minimum temperature for safe consumption.
A large sun umbrella and sunscreen are musts for mid-day picnics. Excess sun exposure is dangerous for many reasons—especially hot and sunny days even carry a risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Keep out of the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If there are no natural sources of shade in your backyard, get creative and use blankets or sheets plus a little fishing line to improvise a sun shelter.
Even small yards can accommodate a badminton set, a mini-soccer goal, or a game of tag. For those who prefer to relax, break out the board games and cards. If you don’t have a picnic or patio table, use a spare board set between chairs and covered with a cloth, a large empty box, or the top of a cooler as a game surface. Or, simply spread the game board and cards on the picnic blanket.
Use lawn chairs or comfy pillows on the picnic blanket to encourage relaxation and conversation with your “quaranteam.”