Picnic learning fun

Summer is the perfect time for combining skills and a picnic. This easy activity, filled with fun and learning, is another way to have more “time in” with children.

Planning together

Even though it is easier and quicker to gather materials yourself, you might take a moment to make a list together and show how adults use writing.

The list might include: picnic blanket, drinks, bread, peanut butter, jelly or other sandwich food, carrots, fruits, hard-boiled eggs, cookies, plastic knife, peeler, frozen drink can, camera, toys and drawing materials.

Step by step, plan a picnic lunch and think out loud. Carefully print the list with appropriate capitals and lower case letters. Where will you go? What things should you bring?

Make some of the food together. Read and follow directions on the frozen drink can and measure the water together to increase math skills.

If you are making sandwiches, children can help spread the butter, mayonnaise or peanut butter and jelly. Talk about cutting the sandwiches in halves or fourths. Make triangles, trapezoid, and rhombus shapes. Discuss how many pieces you will need.

With a little help, children can peel the carrots, wash the fruit and place things in plastic bags or containers. You can make cookies together or buy some before picnic day. Pack up the bag or basket together. Did you remember everything? Check off the list.

Picking the spot

Once outside, children can pick a good place to spread the blanket and set up the food. Children may help pass out supplies. While you are eating, look around. What kind of summertime plants and animals do you see? How is the weather — windy, cloudy, full of sunshine? What foods are your favorites?

If there is sand close by, make squares, rectangles, circles, semi circles, rhombus, trapezoids, triangles, letters and numbers in the sand.

Fold a sheet of paper or napkin in the polygon shapes. Count the number of sides and vertices. Draw something you see or take some pictures. If it is a rainy day, have an indoor picnic on the floor.

Planning and setting up a sequence of activities is an important learning skill. This is a good time to talk about one plate, one cup, and one sandwich and a kind of fruit or vegetable, called on-to-one correspondence in math. In addition, children are developing fine motor skills while peeling vegetables and making sandwiches.

Back inside, draw pictures about making food or having the picnic. Young children can tell you how to label each object or dictate a sentence or two about the pictures to read to someone.

For more ways to reduce the stress of child care and increase learning, see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com and wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons; Pinterest; and Facebook.