Family bonding… picnic style

Is the family picnic a lost art?  Maybe I’m just not in the right place at the right time but I rarely see families out picnicking anymore.  There was a time, not to long ago, when families would load up the old station wagon with their 2.5 children, the dog, a frisbee and a basket of goodies as they head out for the perfect Sunday drive.  Sometimes the destination was predetermined, sometimes they’d just follow their hearts and the open road.  What a great way to spend a day!

So why aren’t folks out enjoying a family picnic more often these days?  I have a couple of thoughts on that.  The first being…gas is soooo expensive!  Who can afford to fill up the tank and head out for that long Sunday drive anymore?  I know it takes about $60 to fill up our mini-van and for that price I could take the kids out to dinner and back and still have a little money left over.  

It also seems that all of us, kids and adults alike, are too caught up in our gadgets.  Whether it be our ipads, ipods, video games or the old laptop computer I work on every day; we are all stuck in the virtual world and sometimes it seems so hard to pull away from all of the “have-to’s” and “want-to’s” ~or~ as I hear from my 7-year-old on a regular basis, “I just have to finish one more level!”

Lastly, I wonder if some of us may get caught up in a little bit of perfectionism by thinking we don’t have the “right” food, picnic basket, thing to wear, etc.  We need to let go of the idea of the perfect checkered blanket, cheese cubes and picnic sandwiches.  When we get caught up in the details, we miss out on the fun and spontaneity.

Last night, my kids and I decided to have a family picnic of our own.  We put down the gadgets, gave up on the perfectionism by filling our water bottles and picking up a pizza from Prettyboy Market on the way (delicious, by the way!).  We saved on gas by shortening the drive and heading to the NCR Trail.  After parking the car, we walked about a mile to the waterfall, taking turns carrying the pizza, and cozied up at the covered table while enjoying our “Pizza Party Picnic”.  The rest of our time there was spent climbing over rocks, inspecting leaves and learning to skip stones.

When we got home the kids were so excited to share every last detail with their father while throwing in phrases like “It was so much fun!”, “I wish you would have been there”, “You won’t believe what we saw!”.  No one ever mentioned that we didn’t have a checkered table-cloth or that we forgot the frisbee or that we skipped the Sunday drive.  All they knew was that we had tons of fun, spent quality time together and they got a little something in their belly for dinner.  The one and only downside was that my husband missed out on all of the fun.  So, I think we will be heading there again this weekend, maybe with fishing poles and bait in hand this time. 

Jennifer Kline is a wife, mother of three, resident of the Hereford Zone and Executive Editor of The Zone Magazine.

The long holiday weekend ahead is the perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy some quality picnic-time with your own family!  Be sure to take some photos and send them to us at  We’d love to post photos of you and your family enjoying the great outdoors that our communities have to offer!


About The Zone Magazine

The FREE, all digital, local magazine focusing on good news in Northern Baltimore County, Harford County & Southern PA. Visit our website.
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