International Picnic Day - June 18

June 14, 2021 | Katherine McG

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Grab a basket, a blanket, some food and your sunscreen because June 18 is International Picnic Day!

Bicycles; sandwiches; a blanket and a shady tree are the ingredients of an old-fashioned city picnic.
Bicycles, Sandwiches by Climbron P. 1991. Toronto Star Photograph Archive.

A picnic can be as simple as taking your sandwich outside to eat on your lunch break, or as extravagant as a giant outdoor party with friends and family (when social gatherings are safely allowed again). And even though Britannica Kids Dictionary defines a picnic as "a meal eaten outdoors often during a trip away from home," you don't really have to go outside or too far away to have one. You could spread a blanket out in your living room and eat your dinner while sitting on the floor!

Recipes and Ready for Reading

Kids can help with the picnic preparations. And this can give caregivers an opportunity to include some fun learning activities.

Ask your children what they would like to bring with them on your picnic. Get them to draw a picture of what they would like to eat. (Perhaps they could use a piece of paper that looks like a typical picnic blanket with red and white squares on it!) Or ask them to help you to make a shopping list. If you are able to take them with you to the grocery store, your child could read out the listed items or look around for matching words on signs and labels.

Starting to scribble with crayons and printing out words that represent everyday items are great ways for kids to practice writing, which is one of our five Ready for Reading activities.

And remember, preparing food together is also a great way to add some STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to your family's day. Cooking is a science and a great way to do some yummy experiments. And with all the counting and measuring involved, there is plenty of math to be found when following a recipe. 

Here are a few cookbook suggestions with some yummy picnic possibilities in them.

The Picnic

The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Blanket to Basket by Marnie Hanel


The Complete Summer Cookbook

The Complete Summer Cookbook: Beat the Heat with 500 Recipes that Make the Most of Summer's Bounty by America's Test Kitchen

There's a whole chapter dedicated to picnics in this one but remember that picnics don't necessarily have to be a summertime activity!


Salad People and More Real Recipes

Salad People and More Real Recipes: A New Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up by Mollie Katzen

And there are more picnic inspired cookbooks in our collection.


Reading and Relaxing

After eating a delicious meal, there's no better way to relax than finding the perfect spot to stop and read a book. Here are some picnic-themed suggestions.

Beginner Readers

The Bears' Picnic

The Bears' Picnic by Stan & Jan Berenstain


Gulp  Gobble

Gulp, Gobble by Marilyn Singer


A Picnic Adventure

A Picnic Adventure by Lisa Gallo


Henry and Mudge in the Green Time

Henry and Mudge in the Green Time by Cynthia Rylant

Picnics are often one of the stories in collections, like this Henry and Mudge book. Lots of beginner books may include children's favourite characters having picnic adventures together. 


Picture Books

Bats at the Beach

Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies


Bears and Blossoms

Bears and Blossoms by Shirley Parenteau

The Lost Picnic

The Lost Picnic by B.B. Cronin


Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic

Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic by Alexandra Boiger



Picnic by John Burningham


Picnic with Oliver

Picnic with Oliver by Mika Song


The Simples Love a Picnic

The Simples Love a Picnic by J.C. Phillips


Truck  Truck  Goose!

Truck, Truck, Goose! by Tammi Sauer

There are lots more picnic-themed books in our children's collections, available in both print and eBook formats. What are some of your favourites?


Picnics and Play

Of course, picnics aren't just about food, friends and family. They're also about having fun! And like stories, games and songs can also be part of any picnic day.

Playing a pre-meal game of tag or baseball might help to make you hungry. Going on a photo scavenger hunt or a nature walk after you've eaten might help with your digestion. And a sing-along is great at any time... as long as you don't sing with your mouth full!

Looking for a picnic song? Try changing the words to the familiar tune like "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush" to describe how your family is "Going on a Picnic Today." You can sing about the way you spread out the blanket, share your food, and all clean up at the end. Or sing about some familiar but unwelcome picnic guests with this song about ants that can be found on

Ants at the Picnic

(sung to the tune of "Skip to My Lou")

Ants at the picnic, what'll I do?
Ants at the picnic, what'll I do?
Ants at the picnic, what'll I do?
Guess I'll eat real quickly!


Let's play a picnic-themed game in the comments section below. It's a version of the Alphabet Game called "I'm Going on a Picnic..." (TripSavvy tells you how you can play it at your own picnic, too!)

I will add the first comment saying "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing..." and list something that begins with the letter A. The next person will add to the list by commenting with something that begins with the letter B. And then someone will say that they are bringing something that starts with a C and so on. Let's see if we can get all the way to the letter Z and celebrate International Picnic Day together!