The main event is the picnic itself, with lots of tot-friendly blankets for seating and fun finger foods for eating. Kids this young are entertained easily, so focus on sweet decorating and a simple menu, and their parents will love you for it.
Red, White and Polka-Dotted
Decorate your yard with red and white helium polka dot balloons, and send each tot home with one—the perfect party favor. Stock up on checked tablecloths—if you can find the oilcloth variety all the better, since they can be wiped down easily for the spills you can most certainly expect. Garden decorations will fit right in—colorful pinwheels staked in the soil, mesh butterflies hanging from fishing wire, and anything adorably insect related.
- Set up a station to make buggy antlers. Parents can help their little ones make antennae out of pipe cleaners, and glue on colorful pom-poms at the ends. If you can find red wings, glue black construction paper circles on them and let the little ones fly around the yard with them on. Watch as all the cameras come out of the diaper bags.
- Fill a sandbox, sensory table or water table with sand, plastic critters and play nets, and the kids will stay occupied for a good hour playing with the spiders, caterpillars, and butterflies.
- Play “Pin the Ladybug.” Draw a large leaf, tape it up on an exterior wall, tie a red bandana around the kids, and let their parents guide them with ladybug stickers. In this game everyone wins! Give each kid a favor bag filled with mini magnifying glasses, gummy worms, and plastic ladybugs, of course.
The best foods to serve at a party like this are the kind that parents don’t have to obsess about cutting up into tiny pieces, and that can be eaten out of hand. Serve fruit skewers, ants on a log (celery slathered with peanut butter and dotted with raisins), and goldfish crackers (always a favorite) as snacks.
For the main course, make crazy critter bagel sandwiches
—sliced bagel pizzas that the guests can help decorate. Ladybugs might have tomato halves for the body and sliced olives for the spots; butterflies will sport sliced peppers for wings...
Get creative with dessert—cupcakes shaped like ladybugs, or individual dirt cakes.
And to drink, label a few pitchers with “bug juice” —a delicious picnic lemonade.