How to Create a DIY Picnic Kit for Family Adventures

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With longer days and better weather, summertime is ideal for a picnic with the family. Whether it’s a day at the beach or an impromptu trip to the park, having a DIY Picnic Kit is the perfect item to keep packed and ready. Learn what to keep in your DIY picnic basket so you’re always ready.

picnic kit packed with supplies on the grass.

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​A picnic in real life is never like those elegant affairs you see in British movies where all the children are dressed in immaculate white, and there are no bugs, and the butler is standing by to serve you. I don’t know about you, but luxury picnics just aren’t practical for families.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore the great outdoors with your kids and be able to enjoy a good meal at the same time. Be prepared with the right items to make your outdoor meal a pleasant adventure. 

A good picnic doesn’t need to be complicated, but there are several things that you can do in advance to set yourself up for success and make things easier. When something is easy to do, we do it more often. So you’ll need a DIY picnic kit.

And frequent picnicking is a good habit to get into, especially if you have small children. The kids can play in the sunshine and breathe the fresh air, and parents don’t need to worry about the mess or noise that might be going on in a restaurant. Sunlight and fresh air are good for parents, too.

​Pro Mom Tip: Hanger will always take your adventure sideways, so be prepared to feed your people!

Pro Woman Tip: Even though my kids aren’t littles anymore, I still keep a picnic kit and snacks when Bryan and I take vacation days. It is a game changer for fun outings!

Why You Need a DIY Picnic Kit

It’s customized to you. You don’t want to hassle with purchasing a picnic kit that might not suit your family’s needs. Many come with wine tumblers and a bottle opener. Great for the connoisseurs, not so great when you just want to get the people fed. Making your own picnic kit allows you the freedom to build it in the best way for your people.

It’s convenient and easy. If you have all your favorite things for a picnic already packed in the car, you’re more likely to picnic with the kids! A DIY Picnic Kit makes things easier.

A DIY Picnic Kit will save you money. Whether you have a grocery store picnic or pack from home, having your picnic kit with will make it easier for you to save money on food costs. And goodness knows, we could all use more of that.

Having Activity Bags packed will do all the above for you as well!

empty plastic box on a white counter.

What to Pack it In

A tisket a tasket, let’s forget the basket. I received a good picnic basket for a wedding gift years ago, but we soon donated it away because it wasn’t practical with kids. You know how hard it is to pack knobbly-shaped packages in the car when you’ve got loads of other stuff to include like strollers, diaper bags, and sports gear. Nope, no fancy baskets. Save the fancier picnic gear for when you’re empty nesters.

Instead, let’s start your DIY Picnic Kit with a solid plastic box with a lid. You can find these inexpensively at Walmart or Target. Some even stack, allowing you to stow them all the more easily. I prefer clear because then you can see when the supplies run low and can easily refill.

What to Pack Inside Your DIY Picnic Kit

The perfect picnic kit for families is the one filled with things you will actually use. The basic picnic supplies that you want to consider include:

picnic kit supplies laid out on white counter.
  • tablecloth or waterproof blanket
  • paper plates
  • napkins
  • disposable serving ware
  • hand wipes or hand sanitizer
  • plastic trash bag
  • shelf-stable snacks
  • sunscreen
  • bug spray
  • hats and/or shade cover like an umbrella 

Picnic Tips

  • Picnic food doesn’t have to be elaborate. Simple food is usually better for packing and eating out of doors. The most important part is to bring along food that you know your crowd enjoys. Picnics aren’t usually the best place to experiment with recipes unless you’re also bringing along a loaf of bread and the jar of peanut butter as back-up.
  • Remember there will be mishaps. Wind, rain, or bugs may put a damper on your picnic. Kids may fuss and argue. You might forget a crucial part of the meal. But, it’s just a picnic. So keep perspective. Even if things don’t go exactly according to plan, you and your family can still have a great time.
  • Include some a fun treat or two in your picnic kit, like Moon Fruit. We recently received samples, and I’m excited to try them. I also like to keep protein bars and snack mix in our picnic kit.
filled picnic kit on a white counter.

​More Great Kits to Pack

What works for you?

Leave a comment below and let us know what works for you.

This post was originally published on June 15, 2011. It has been updated for content and clarity.

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  1. I keep a picnic/park bucket with hand wipes, sanitizer, paper towels, tp, sunscreen, waters, and our picnic blanket. Our picnic blanket is a blank canvas drop cloth. It comes in handy when it’s all together and we are much more likely to have a picnic or stay at a park if we have those.

  2. Been a busy week at our house, but the weather man says it s gonna cool off tomorrow so I think we’ll take our pizza night to the park! I was feeling bad that we hadn’t been doing fun summer stuff this week and was wondering what I could do. Thanks for the inspiration! Love the idea of keeping a picnic bag/basket packed all the time. I have wanted to do that so many times and just never get around to it. Gonna have to get on that. PS: I love that striped tablecloth!

  3. I wanna go on a picnic now. Gotta get out my basket and dust it off.
    Games are a great picnic fun. Kites, frisbees, soccer ball or football.

  4. I always laugh at those picnics with the butlers and china dishes they packed up the hill like on Emma!!
    I was looking at backpacks that have all the dishes and stuff ready in it.

    1. I bought those YEARS ago at the dollar store. The funny thing is that same week Target was selling the EXACT SAME ones for $8 each — across the parking lot from Dollar Tree. LOL

  5. Timely post! I’m having about a million of my daughter’s toddler friends over to our house for a backyard picnic on Saturday. I’ve been stressing about food and it’s a good reminder to stick to the crowd-pleasers. Love the idea of having a bag packed and ready at all times. I’ll definitely have to try that.