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Picnic Theme Fun for Preschool

A Picnic Theme for preschoolers can be so much fun!  

The summer lends itself to being outdoors more and enjoying the weather.  This preschool theme is perfect for that weather!

However, this is NOT just a summer preschool theme!  

How about having a picnic when the bad weather keeps you indoors?



Let the Picnic Theme Planning Begin!

First, I'd like to thank Mandee, a visitor of this website, for submitting this picnic theme idea AND for taking the time to provide 9 of the activities for this page!  

You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.

Picnic Theme Art

Thank you Mandee for the next 3 art activity ideas!

Basket Weaving

Materials Needed:  2 different colors in strips of paper (at least 20); 2 pipe cleaners; One large sheet of paper precut with slits for the kids to weave the strips through. 

The children use the strips and weave them through the large sheet.

They roll it into a circle and use pipe cleaners at the top of the circle to make sturdy around the basket. 

Great for small muscle development!


Watermelon!

Materials needed:  1/2 paper plate; red, green and black tissue paper.

The children use the tissue paper to create the rind, insides and seeds of a watermelon and glue them onto the paper plate.

Be sure to talk about the parts of the watermelon and where they come from. I read the book The The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli.


Create a Picnic Theme Paper Blanket

Materials needed:  Large white paper; paint; paint brushes (or rollers!)

The children paint their own designs on a large sheet of paper.  We used paint rollers with designs on them to make it extra special! 

When dry, have the children help me draw the black lines to make the "checkered" look the the blanket! 

They loved having lunch outside on the blanket they made!

Miss Cheryl's note:  In addition, you could bring a white bed sheet outside and provide spray bottle with colored water.  Allow the children to spray paint the sheet.  When dry, use it as a picnic blanket or a parachute!


Hot Dog Marble Painting

Materials needed: Hot dog shaped paper for the buns and a hot dog; red and yellow paint; marbles or golf balls; shallow tray or box lid.

Place the paper in the tray.  

Have the children squirt red and yellow paint.  

NOTE:  The red represents ketchup and the yellow represents mustard.  This would be even more fun if you use cleaned out ketchup and mustard containers for the paint!  You could also add green paint for relish!


Place a few marbles or golf balls in the tray and have the children shake the box to the left and to the right to roll the balls through the paint!


Picnic Theme Collage

Materials needed:  magazines, scissors, glue sticks, paper

Let the children cut out anything from the magazines that remind them of a picnic!

This does not have to be strictly food items!  How about blankets, picnic baskets, frisbees, balls, etc.?!

The children glue the items to a piece of paper for a collage.

EXTENSION:  Laminate their pictures and use them as place mats!

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Picnic Theme Block Center Ideas

Build a Playground  Thank you Mandee for this activity idea!

Encourage children to build a park in the block area.  Encourage them to add a playground.  Provide play people to use on their playground. 

Ask children questions about their park such as why they made each structure, etc.

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Picnic Theme Circle Time

Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!


Picnic Theme Survey   Thank you Mandee for this activity idea!

Ask if anyone has gone on a picnic. 

Talk about what you do on a picnic:

What you see?  

What do you hear?

What types of food do you eat?

What type of weather is best for a picnic?

Where do you go?  A park?

Miss Cheryl's note:  This activity really lends itself to creating a Circle Time graph!


What's Missing?

Materials needed:  A picnic blanket (or any blanket), a second blanket or towel to cover the items, picnic items (play food, bubbles, ball, etc.)

Place the items on the picnic blanket.  

Talk with the children about each item.

Cover the items with another blanket or towel.

Reach under the blanket and remove one item (not letting the children see the item you take away).

Uncover the items and ask what is missing!

Continue as you remove one more item or many items!


Picnic Pairs

Materials needed: Pictures or actual items that come in pairs for a picnic; CD player and fun music.

Give each child one picture or item.  Some ideas are:

Hot dog and bun; lemon and water; watermelon and watermelon seeds, etc.

Play music and encourage the children to dance or walk in a circle to the beat.

Stop the music and tell the children to find the friend who has the matching item.


In My Basket

Materials needed:  picnic basket (or a large paper bag decorated as a picnic basket).

Each child is going to choose an item from the classroom that they want to take with them on a picnic.

Demonstrate this by going to an area of the room and choosing an item, let's say a stuffed animal.

Place it in the picnic basket and say, I am going on a picnic and I am bringing a stuffed dog.

Have one child go and choose another item. (Let's say he chooses a pretend watermelon slice from dramatic play).  Ask that child to say and finish the phrase:

"I am going on a picnic.  I am bringing watermelon and a stuffed dog."

Each child gets a turn and then repeats all of the items that are in the basket.

EXTENSION:  Rather than have the children choose from the entire classroom (that could take a while!), place a lot of items in the middle of circle time (more items than you have children), and have them choose from that pile!

Some examples:

  • Play food
  • Bubbles
  • Blanket
  • Ball
  • Frisbee


I Spy

Materials Needed: large chart paper, marker

Begin by asking the children to name items from the classroom they would like to bring to a picnic.

Play I Spy using that list.

"I Spy with my little eye, something that is round, red and crunchy."  (apple).

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Picnic Theme Cooking Ideas

Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!


Fruit Salad

Materials needed:  Watermelon, cantelope, honeydew melon, blueberries, fruit scoopers (melon ballers or mini ice cream scoopers)

  1. Cut the melons in half. 
  2. Let the children scoop out balls of melon and place into a bowl.
  3. Let the children place a small handful of blueberries in the salad, of course counting them as they put them in to develop their eye/hand coordination as well as their rational counting skills!


Lemonade!  Thank you Mandee for this activity idea!

Ingredients needed:  

  • 4 lemons
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 6 cups of water
  • knife
  • bowl
  • strainer
  • pitcher
  • mixing spoon
  • ice

Instructions: 

  1. Show children how to roll the lemon on a table to loosen up the pulp and juice.
  2. Cut the lemons in half.
  3. Show the children how to squeeze the juice into a bowl (using a AFFILIATE hand juicer is fun!)
  4. Strain the juice to remove seeds (or give the children a small spoon with holes in it to scoop out the seeds!)
  5. Pour the lemon juice into a container or pitcher.
  6. Add 1 cup of sugar and stir.
  7. Add 6 cups of water and stir.
  8. Let each child take a turn stirring!
  9. Add ice and enjoy!

The recipe is from PBS Kids.


Potato Salad!

Materials needed:  Potatoes, mayonaise (sp?), mustard, plastic knife, bowl of ice water, bowl to mix

  1. Boil the potatoes.  
  2. Bring them to a table with a large bowl of ice water.
  3. Have the children help peel the skins off.....sure they can, check this out!


COOL! Want to peel a potato fast? ... Easy, do this...

Posted by Stylish Eve on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Have the children help you cut the potatoes, add the mayo and mustard (I always put a spoonful of mustard for zest!) or whichever ingredients are in your favorite recipe.

Enjoy!

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Picnic Theme Ideas to Transform Your Dramatic Play Area

Picnic in the Park

Hang green crepe paper from the ceiling to represent shade under a tree!

Add all the items the children can use to have an indoor picnic such as:

Play food
Picnic basket
Picnic blanket
Pretend plastic ants!
Beach ball
Bubbles
Empty container of sunscreen
Sunglasses
Visors/hats

Binoculars for Kids (or have them make binoculars using paper towel rolls)
A Viewmaster with View-Master Slides of Animals and Nature

EXTENSION:  Create a tree trunk to hang on the wall and measure all the children's height on it!

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Picnic Theme Ideas for your Easel--
More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)

Pattern Painting

Provide red and white paint and encourage the children to create their own patterned picnic blanket!

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Picnic Theme Large Group Games 
To Help Preschoolers Build Their Muscles While Having Fun Together!

Bike Maze  Thank you Mandee for this activity idea!

Materials needed:  ride-on bikes; colored tape

Create a maze using the tape for the children to follow!

Bike riding, colored tape maze (put different colored pieces of tape around to make a maze for the children to follow the lines. 


Alphabet Ball  Thank you Mandee for this activity idea!

Practice tossing the ball to each other.  While playing ball, the child with the ball calls our a letter and then tosses the ball.

The child who catches the ball says a word that begins with that letter.

Miss Cheryl's note:  Depending on the developmental levels of your children, not all of your children will be able to recall a word based on letter sounds.

Consider making it a group activity.  Example, the child who catches the ball can name a word or can "Ask a Friend" for help!  Another example:  "Julie said the letter /d/ as in "dog".  What other words begin with the /d/ sound?" And all the children may call out words.  The child who has the ball then calls out a new letter and tosses it to a friend.


Flying Ants

Use a picnic blanket as a parachute!  Place large, plastic ants on the blanket to toss off!  You might also used stuffed animals!

Parachute games are great for teaching children to work as a group, follow directions, learn about spatial relationships such as up, down, and more!
There are great choices and prices at S&S Worldwide under their Sports, P.E. and Recreation section!

Picnic Basket Toss

Using picnic items (play food, play ants and bugs, etc.), have the children toss the items into picnic baskets from behind a taped line of the floor.

EXTENSION:  Place many baskets and number them 1-5.  The children then try and toss that many items into the basket.

VARIATION:  Cut large grocery bags into basket shapes if you dont' have picnic baskets!


Beachball Volleyball

Playing ball is always fun at a picnic!

Provide a beachball for the children to toss and hit back and forth to each other.

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Picnic Theme Ideas for Your Library 

Book Suggestions for the Library

The Bears' Picnicby Stan Berenstain
Freda Plans a Picnic by Stuart J. Murphy
A Picnic by Rozanne Lanczak Williams
The Picnic (Green Light Readers Level 1) by David K. Williams
The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

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Picnic Theme Activities to Help Your Preschoolers Develop Their Math Skills and the Small (Fine) Muscles In Their Hands!

Picnic Table Settings

Provide a picnic basket with the following items in it:

plates, cups, spoons, napkins and other items you can think of.

Have different colors of each item so that you have 4 different place settings.

This means you will have a blue plate, cup, spoon, napkin, etc.  You'll also have a green plate, cup, spoon, napkin, etc.

The children will sort the items by color or by type of items (all the cups, all the spoons, etc.).

Encourage the children to set a place at the table using the colors.

EXTENSION:  Create a place mat that has each of these items traced on it with the corresponding colors.   This will help the children to see how to set up a place setting with each color.


Fill the Basket

Draw a checkered design on several paper lunch bags (to make them look like little picnic baskets!).

Print or attached a number to each bag.

Print or provide magazine cut-out picnic items (food, games, ants, etc.).

Place the items or pictures in a pile.

The children place the appropriate number of picnic items in each bag.


Seed Counting

Save the watermelon seeds from a large watermelon (perhaps from your Watermelon Exploration activities 

Create paper watermelon slices with a space for seeds on each one.

Print the number word and the number on each slice and draw that many seed shapes on the slice.

The children place the appropriate number of seeds to each paper slice.


Picnic Board Games

There are many commercial games you may already have in your classroom to use for this theme!  Here are some of my favorites!

Ants in the Pants Game Great for finger/hand muscle development.
Candy Land - The Kingdom of Sweets Board Game Fun food pictures, color learning and counting.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Card Game

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Picnic Theme Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!

The Ants Go Marching One by One

Teach the children this fun song and act it out while you sing!


The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to suck her thumb
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching two by two,
The little one stops to tie his shoe
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching three by three, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching three by three, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching three by three,
The little one stops to climb a tree
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching four by four, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching four by four, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching four by four,
The little one stops to shut the door
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching five by five, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching five by five, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching five by five,
The little one stops to take a dive
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching six by six, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching six by six, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching six by six,
The little one stops to pick up sticks
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching seven by seven, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching seven by seven, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching seven by seven,
The little one stops to pray to heaven
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching eight by eight, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching eight by eight, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching eight by eight,
The little one stops to roll a skate
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching nine by nine, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching nine by nine, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching nine by nine,
The little one stops to check the time
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching ten by ten, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching ten by ten, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching ten by ten,
The little one stops to shut "The End",
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

Here's a fun youtube video of the song!

Picnic in the Park Dance and Dice Roll!

Create 2 large dice (using square tissue boxes).

Tape pictures of picnic items on each side such as lunch, ball, ants, watermelon, sunscreen, etc.

Teach the children the following song.

Then, have the children roll the dice and replace the ** words with the words on the pictures!


Picnic in the Park Song  (sung to She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain When She Comes)

Yes, we'll all go on a picnic in the park.
Yes, we'll all go on a picnic in the park.

Bring some lunch** and bring a ball.**
There will be such fun for all!

Yes, we'll all go on a picnic in the park.

Here We Go On A Picnic   Sung to the tune of "Mulberry Bush" 

Teach the children the following song.  And then act out the parts as you sing together!

Here we go on a picnic today, 
A picnic today, a picnic today. 
Here we go on a picnic today, 
On such a beautiful ________________(day of the week).

This is the way we spread our blanket,
Spread our blanket, spread our blanket.
This is the way we spread our blanket,
On such a beautiful _______________. 

More verses:

This is the way we eat our lunch...
T
his is the way we play our games... 
This is the way we clean it up... 
After a delightful picnic. 

Final verse:

We had fun on a picnic today,
Picnic today, picnic today. 
We had fun on a picnic today, 
On such a beautiful ____________.

5 Little Hot Dogs Frying in a Pan

I just LOVE this one!  It's a favorite!

5 little hot dogs frying in a pan,
the grease got hot and one went bam 

4 little hot dogs frying in a pan,
the grease got hot and one went bam, 

3 little hot dogs frying in a pan,
the grease got hot and one went bam, 

2 little hot dogs frying in a pan,
the grease got hot and one went bam, 

1 little hot dog frying in a pan,
the grease got hot and one went bam, 

No little hot dogs frying in a pan,
the grease got hot and the PAN went bam.

EXTENSION:  Create flannel pieces of the hot dogs and a pan.  Remove one after each verse, or have a child remove one after each verse!

We have actually tossed the flannel hot dog into the air when the children yell BAM!

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Picnic Theme Activities for Your Sand and Water Table and for the Senses!

Where Are You Ant?

Place soil (such as potting soil) into the table.

Add large plastic ants such as THESE cute little ones or these LARGE ants!! Provide children's sized plastic tweezers (these are fantastic to help develop their small motor skills!).

The children use the tweezers to find and pick up the ants!

Ice Cooler

Instead of a water table, ask parents to provide food coolers, the type you take on picnics!

Fill them half way with water and add ice cubes.

Provide a bowl and a slotted spoon for the children to scoop up the ice with and then place back in the water.


Picnic Predictions

This is a great way for your children to use their senses:  touch, hearing and smell!

Have a large bag of picnic items (but don't let the children see them).

Place one of the items in a picnic basket or a bag that they cannot see into.

Have them use their items to guess what it is.

Let them smell, touch, shake, etc.

Write down their predictions.

Once all the children have had a turn, show them the item!

I recommend doing this in small groups so that each child has a turn that is not rushed.  A large group will guarantee that children will get bored waiting for their turn.  Small groups are best for this!

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Picnic Theme Science Activities--For Your Preschool Scientists in Training!

Ant Farm

Yes, that's right!  An ant farm!  There are many ways to do this!

One idea is to make your OWN in a mason jar!  Here is a set of fabulous instructions on how to do so!

The other is to purchase an ant farm! Here is a great ant farm I have used in the past!

Watermelon Explorations

There are so many things you can do with a watermelon with the children!  Here we go......

1. Sink or Float?

Ask the children if they think the watermelon will sink (go all the way to the bottom) or float (stay up at the top) when you place it in water.

Write down their predictions.

Then do it!  Discuss.  Why did it float?


2. What is in it?

Ask the children what they think is inside a watermelon and record their predictions and inferences.

Then, cut it open and see!


3. How Many Seeds?

Ask the children to guess how many seeds are in this water melon.

Let them dig into the watermelon and remove the seeds.

Yes, this will be totally messy!  Go for it anyway!

Have them place the seeds in a bowl.

When done, rinse the seeds and count with the children!  

Save the seeds for some fun math activities.

EXTENSION:  In advance, create a page for each of these activities.  Have the children record their individual answers on each page.  Take pictures of each child during each activity to add to their journal!

EXTENSION:  Use your recorded answers and pictures to also create a class book for the library!


Ant Restaurant

I saw this activtity at Alphabet BlogSpot.  What a great idea!

You get a paper plate, add different foods and leave it outside to see which food(s) the ants are attracted to!

Be sure to have much discussion about this first and record your children's ideas and thoughts.

And, take LOADS of pictures to create a series of posters to show the progress and hang in your science area.

Or use the pictures and notes to create a classroom book!

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Writing Activity Ideas for Your Picnic Theme!

Letter A  Thank you Mandee for this activity idea!

Have the children create a letter "A" on a piece of colored construction paper.

Encourage them to draw items that begin with the letter A (that you might find at a picnic) such as apples, ants, etc.

Miss Cheryl's note: You might also add Letter and Shape Stamps related to this theme and washable stamp pads to your Writing Center for this activity!

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Go to the main THEMES PAGE for more theme ideas!


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