Make Your Next Family Meal an Indoor Picnic

Staying in is the new going out. Even amidst these unprecedented challenges, this time also gives us the opportunity to bond with our loved ones in new ways. If you’re social distancing at home with your family, your new normal may have inspired you to take on fun or meaningful activities.

Need another activity to keep your family engaged and entertained? Why not create an indoor picnic? No matter how much fun it is when held outdoors, picnics can also work inside your homes. It’s time to step away from the dining room table and have an indoor picnic for your next family lunch or dinner. The simple set up can be traditional or not, cozy, fancy, or whatever your choice. Yes, even casual indoor picnics can be elegant—maybe even more so than the traditional outdoor variety, since the logistics are so much easier. This could work in a backyard for those who would prefer to be outdoors. Check out the following indoor picnic ideas to use for your next gathering.

Indoor Picnic Set Up

It does not take that much to have an indoor picnic. First, push most of the furniture to the sides of the room, so you have a big empty space in the center. Even though you’re inside, proper picnic crockery and cutlery is a must. Buy brightly colored plastic plates and wooden disposable cutlery for an authentic feel. Simply lay out blankets or a quilt and pillows for cushioning to make you comfortable. You can also use a nice area rug by moving it out from under your furniture and into another room if need be. It’s only temporary! If you’d like a raised dining surface but your coffee table is a bit too high, you can use a low bench, or overturned bin, crate, cooler or sturdy box and drape it with a beautiful piece of fabric. To make it look pretty, buy flowers or gather them from your garden. Don’t forget your picnic basket to complete the picnic experience!

Picnic Food

Create a simple spread and make your food the center of the picnic. It is a good idea to stick to food you can eat with your fingers, and smaller bites that are good at room temperature. However, because you have the comfort of all the indoor amenities including a full kitchen, it’s a nice opportunity to add some warmer dishes to your picnic menu.

You can never go wrong with an abundant cheese plate with plenty of fruit, peanuts, olives, and other extras like artisanal crackers, delicious condiments, and charcuterie. Skewers are always a great option like these West African Beef Kabobs or Spicy Peanut Grilled Chicken Kebabs. Make sure you have a vegetable or potato salad. It’s perfectly acceptable to throw in some salty snacks like potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn.

A refreshing glass of lemonade adds in the essence of summer to your floor picnic. However, if you want to make adult beverages, try this PB&J Martini and keep a pitcher nearby so you can top off your glasses as needed without going back to the bar (or kitchen). An indoor picnic is not complete without a tasty PB & J sandwich in your picnic basket—America’s most popular sandwich. It’s loved by kids and adults alike, packed with plant protein and is so easy to make! For dessert, consider these No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars, pastries picked up from a local bakery, or homemade Ultimate Peanut Butter Cookies.

Play Some Fun Activities

What indoor games did your family love to play growing up, and what indoor games do you play now with your kids? Indoor activities are guaranteed to release pent up energy and keep your kids entertained.

  • Set up a scavenger/treasure hunt. Kids love finding hidden objects especially when there is a prize at the end. Get creative and simply write your clues on some slips of paper or hide anywhere from 15 to 20 items. Place the first clue/item somewhere easy to find then leave as many clues as you like around the house, making a trail to the final clue.

  • Play a board game. Even better, introduce your children to a classic one from your own childhood. Scrabble, Checkers or Monopoly, anyone?

  • Complete a puzzle. Perfect way to encourage teamwork. Have the whole family work together to complete a puzzle.

  • Play cards. Have a deck on hand? There are endless games for kids of all ages like concentration for younger kids and let the older ones play poker.

  •  Look at old photographs. Get out your old photo albums and have fun reminiscing with your kids. For those with digital photos, let your kids help you organize them into photo books.

  • Sing karaoke. Don’t have a karaoke machine? Just pull up the lyrics on your computer or phone and rock it!

There you’ve got the food and drinks and everyone special in your life around you. Have fun at home!

You must be logged in to view this item.

This area is reserved for members of the news media. If you qualify, please update your user profile and check the box marked "Check here to register as an accredited member of the news media". Please include any notes in the "Supporting information for media credentials" box. We will notify you of your status via e-mail in one business day.