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!


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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!


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!

Potato Salad!

Materials needed:  Potatoes, mayonnaise, 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. Place the potatoes in a bowl of ice water (cold water with ice in it!)
  4. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove potatoes and the skins will peel right off!
  6. 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.

Parachute Games

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!

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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!

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!

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

Ant Farm

Yes, that's right!  An ant farm!  

Here is a great 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!


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Writing Activity Ideas for Your Picnic Theme!

Thank you, Bethany, for this suggestion:

Make invitations to the picnic!

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