Savor the fun of a spring picnic

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By Beth Pinyerd
For the
Opelika Observer

New life is bursting out all over with beautiful flowers and luscious green foliage. In the early part of the evening, you can hear frogs croaking, katydids singing as the sun sets, and the stars and moon begin to shine.
The other day as I was running errands, I picked up the sweet fragrance of yellow and white honeysuckle flowers. Immediately, I recalled daydreaming as a child about the fun of summer approaching.
Near the end of the school year, it was hard to stay focused, as I daydreamed of swimming, free time, vacations, etc. As a teacher, I fully understand where students’ thoughts are as they review lessons, testing, and projects. during this busy time of the year!
Spring is also a busy time with baseball, recitals, graduations and all the end-of-the-year traditions. Sometimes family times of togetherness seem to get pushed out. A quick family picnic can be scheduled during spring time busyness. A picnic is not hard to plan, as you try to keep the family together during these busy times of the year.
The Auburn-Opelika area offers a perfect scene for a quick or prolonged family picnic, whatever fits your schedule. Picnics can also be enjoyed by grabbing a quick burger and sitting one of our beautiful city parks.
Picnics can take on the form of an inexpensive family activity that is carefully planned out. Children of all ages enjoy planning a picnic, and the delicious food and time spent outdoors. Whether there are just two family members or more, take the time with your child to enjoy a special togetherness that a picnic offers. It is so neat to dine in the spring.
Even your infants and toddlers can be a part of the meal-planning process. It’s best to keep the meal simple to tasty foods that both children and adults enjoy. Language skills and thinking skills can be developed and encouraged when planning a family picnic.
Making a list of foods that they would like to take on their picnic can be a part of a language arts lesson. Letting them see the list as you go over the different foods they want to bring can encourage reading readiness in your preschooler.
Picnic baskets whatever form or size are inexpensive.They can be made from brown paper bags and vegetable baskets. Ask your child what is needed in the picnic basket. Guide them to respond to the simple necessities of plates, cups, utensils, napkins and wipes to clean hands. Let your preschool child count out the necessities that are needed for your family and friends, this is a math lesson.
Placing items in a picnic basket teaches a preschooler about sorting or even patterning. Be sure to grab a quilt or blanket for your infant to crawl on and bring the stroller. One thing young children love to bring is their favorite stuffed toy such as a teddy bear. As a teacher I have always loved to take teddy bear picnics with my preschool students.
When you get to your picnic destination let your younger children set the table.This covers the math skills of one-to-one correspondence and patterning. “Can You Remember Game” is an excellent memory and comprehension exercise.
You put a tablecloth, blanket, or towel in the middle of an area. Put several items under the cover that you bring on the picnic. Let the children see the full group of items. Have your child or children close their eyes as you remove some of the items. Lift the tablecloth and have the children guess what you have removed. Children love this game!
I hope this helps busy families, as well as families searching an inexpensive fun of family togetherness. Capture the fun of spring and a picnic through the eyes of a child.
Pinyerd has taught young children in the early childhood classroom for 34 years. The Classroom Observer is here to serve the community in sharing the wonderful teaching programs in our local public schools, private schools, and homeschools. The column is provided to enrich the education of our children, youth, and families. Classroom Observer welcomes educational news, school news, pictures, and events by e-mailing her at donnapinyerd@att.net.

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