The 9 Best Kid Picnic Tables
Why You Should Take Your Kids On More Picnics
Hopefully, she'll take these practices to the school playground, her friend's backyard, and everywhere else she enjoys nature.
Though your child might request technology-centered activities like playing video games or using a tablet, it's worth it to convince her to attend a picnic. In fact, studies have found that too much screen time is linked to decreased connectivity between certain regions of the brain. Going on a picnic naturally removes young ones from outlets and devices; it's just you, your family, and the great outdoors. An added benefit of surrounding your child with greenery is that it gives her mind a chance to relax. According to Attention Restoration Theory, people need a break from the busy, bustling lives of metropolitan areas. In such spaces, humans are forced to pay very controlled attention to their surroundings because of all the dangers and distractions. But in nature, the mind is allowed to reflect and wander a bit more, which ultimately leads to better focus.
Picnics also provide an opportunity for your family to bond. Whether you're in a park or on the beach, you're at least away from ringing landlines, computers requesting updates, chores, and the many things that constantly demand your attention and pull you away from your family in the house. This simpler environment enables you to converse with your child and engage in activities that keep you a part of the same conversation, like naming the various flowers around you. When you're in the great outdoors, your child's only source of entertainment is the humans around her, so it encourages her to communicate more than playing video games ever could.
Another important benefit of spending time in outdoor recreational areas is that it encourages a sense of environmental responsibility. These outings give you a seamless opportunity to talk to your child about picking up trash she finds on the ground, not leaving a mess behind, and locating a recycling bin for cans and bottles. You can point out the beautiful surroundings and say that earth-conscious kids like her help those trees and flowers survive. Hopefully, she'll take these practices to the school playground, her friend's backyard, and everywhere else she enjoys nature.
A History Of Picnics
Some might argue that humans have been picnicking since the beginning of time, considering that our greatest ancestors had no choice but to eat outdoors. But this healthy pastime has some more interesting roots and milestones that go beyond cavemen dining on rocks. In fact, historians believe that this activity stems from a far more cultured, and even elite group. During Medieval times, the ultra-wealthy would have hunting feasts. These were elaborate meals they'd enjoy before venturing out to capture wild animals. Though consumed outdoors, they'd involve many of the luxuries one would have had at an indoor meal at that time — not unlike today's picnics, in which we load special backpacks with flatware and all the trappings.
In fact, historians believe that this activity stems from a far more cultured, and even elite group.
While, at first, dining al fresco in breath-taking settings was mostly only accessible to the wealthy, that changed in 1789. At that time, royal parks became open to the public, so nearly anyone could have a snack among well-manicured, luscious greenery. By the time the Victorian Era came around, picnicking was widely enjoyed by the masses. Any fans of notable Victorian writers such as Jane Austen or Charles Dickens knows that these individuals often depicted their important characters first meeting at relaxed but quite elaborate meals in nature.
Even though groups of hunters were having banquets in the forest as early as the 1400s, the first version of the actual word "picnic" didn't appear in writing until the late 1600s. Tony Willis wrote in his "Origines de la Langue Française" of something called a pique-nique. This, however, simply referred to individuals who brought their own wine to a restaurant. It wouldn't be until 1748 that we saw the full word "picnic", as we know it today. A British diplomat named Lord Chesterfield wrote of drinking, playing cards, and enjoying conversation during something he called a picnic, which leads some historians to believe it was the British elite who added games and activities besides eating to this past time.
How To Choose A Kid's Picnic Table
When selecting a picnic table for your children, you need to think about the specific habits and needs of young kids. There are several safety factors to consider. You may want a model that has a built-in umbrella to protect your little ones from harsh UV rays. Considering that nearly half of a person's sun damage occurs before the age of 20, it's important to start encouraging kids to stay in the shade early on. Also, make sure your table doesn't have any sharp corners since playful little ones can easily run into the bench or table and hurt themselves. If you go for a wood model, make sure it is finished so as to not cause splinters.
If you go for a wood model, make sure it is finished so as to not cause splinters.
Convenience is also important when picking out your table. If your yard is already covered with children's trampolines, swing sets, and other youthful items, you may be limited on space. Fortunately, there are options that have a small footprint, and fold up for storage when not in use. Some even have built-in shelves, so you can tuck away some of the other toys lying around. Since children aren't exactly the tidiest of eaters indoors, one can imagine how messy they'll become when dining outside. That's why a model that is easy to wipe down and doesn't stain would be a smart choice.
The style is another consideration since your child's picnic table will become a part of your patio or garden decor. If you'd like to keep your yard from looking like it's been totally overrun by rug rats, there are some sophisticated designs that look good enough for adults but are built with little ones in mind. Simple wooden models with classic striped umbrellas and bench seats fit the bill, as does a simple plastic molded model. That being said, if you need help enticing your son or daughter to take his lunch outside, then a more colorful model could be of use.