Whether it's just your immediate family, a family reunion, or something in between, using the park to bring the family together is a wonderful idea.
For one thing, a trip to the park can break the tedium of day-to-day family life. Even if things never manage to get boring in your household, there is something about taking a break or doing something different for a change that helps to recharge batteries and will in many cases bring a family closer together.
You or anyone else in the family may not remember what took place a week ago Tuesday, especially if it was a run-of-the-mill Tuesday where nothing of particular note happened. When you all get together for an outing in the park however, a good time will usually be remembered for weeks, if not for months or even years.
You don't have to have a picnic of course, but picnics are usually fun, and if a number of family members are coming along, especially if some are coming from some distance away, packing a picnic basket or two of homemade or takeout food is a must.
There doesn't have to be an event of one kind or another for everyone to enjoy themselves. If there are several parks in the vicinity however, it might pay to check to see if there is something going on that everyone would enjoy.
To Give a Few Examples
Some parks feature an outdoor art and craft show once or twice a year. These shows are usually held at some predetermined time - the first weekend in August for example. Arts and craft shows are fun for almost everyone to visit. They can be visited at any time and your picnic can take place any time, so there's no need to try to schedule anything.
Other events that at times take place in parks are automobile shows, trailer shows, art exhibits, and horse shows, to name a few. Even those family members who profess not to have any particular liking for automobiles, art, or horses, will usually express at least some interest in the happenings.
Some parks stage concerts at certain times and on certain days of the week. These concerts are most often free, and it doesn't always matter what type of music is being played when the performances are good.
Kids - and Some Adults, Need a Place to Play
Choose a park that has a play area if small children are along. That will keep the kids, and usually several of the adults occupied. Those who want to participate can always toss a football, throw a Frisbee, or have an impromptu softball or flag football game. Tip: Bring along a couple of balls of whatever type. Bringing your croquet set may not be a bad idea either.
If it's just Mom, Dad, and the kids, spreading out a picnic blanket may be all the 'furnishings' you need. For a larger family gathering, you might consider bringing along some extra gear, like a few folding chairs. Some family members might prefer not sitting on the grass, or for some reason should not be doing so. A folding picnic table is a good idea also, unless picnic tables are located in the park. If you are setting out a buffet-style meal, it's much easier for people to serve themselves when the food is on a table instead of on a blanket.
Don't Forget Camping Facilities
If the park is a state park, there will often be camping sites available for RVs or tent camping. If relatives are coming from out of town, they can always congregate at a state park or private camping facility, and the locals can join them. Parks that feature fire pits have a special attraction, and also lend themselves to tailgating.
Maybe not every zoo in the country features a park, but most of them do. Just as meandering through an arts and crafts show can be a good deal of fun, a family outing to the zoo, followed by a picnic in the park has the makings of a good day.
There is a very good reason for using the park to bring the family together. While it's probably true that your home is a friendly, informal place, a park setting tends to be even more so. It's easier for people to mingle, and it's often easier to just sit and talk. There may be occasional distractions, but they can usually either be avoided or be welcomed. Kids can run and play, where they can't in the house, or even in some back yards, and adults can run and play as well, something that a few of them might have forgotten how to do.
Set aside a day to take everyone to the park, inviting other family members if you wish. Do a little planning as to what to eat, what you might need to bring along besides a blanket and picnic basket, and what if anything you need to bring along for recreation or entertainment.
Then - just do it.
Find more about the author: Kristen Breedlove