Ok - we have a lot of picnics. Even if it's just in the lounge or with play food, we're ALL ABOUT IT. And there's many reasons why.
Firstly. Lockdown life is boring and we were very used to having our lunch out and about. Sitting at the table for 3 meals a day is incredibly boring for adults let alone children. I find that August tries more new foods and eats more when we have picnics.
Secondly, all the food is in little bags, foil or containers. This poses a new challenge for little fingers to explore and it's a sneaky way to work on those fine motor skills. August is very motivated by food and will work HARD to dig his crisps out of the little, reusable @ohbabymagazine bags!
Thirdly and MOST IMPORTANTLY the language opportunities are vast. We talk about the food (mmmm you have a sandwich), the flavours (that banana is sweet), the texture (it's a juicy pear), the temperature (your water is cold), how it makes us feel (my tummy is all full up now), where it is (your raisins are in the bag), and where we are (we're having a picnic on the grass).
If you add a favourite cuddly friend or doll, this adds another level of imaginary play and language. You can talk about sharing and feeding the toy and how they feel. You can count out the pieces of food. You can model how to care for the toy (wipe his mouth, he's finished). SO MUCH LANGUAGE!