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Packing A Perfect Picnic

Summer is in full swing, and with social distancing keeping us from frequenting restaurants as often as we might typically, picnicking is a great way to get your family outside for some meal-time adventure. Yes, we know it is hot here in the Valley of the Sun, but a day trip to the cooler mountains is a beautiful change of scenery and a chance to cool down!

Here are some tips to make it extra fun for the whole family.

• Instead of packing one large cooler that might be cumbersome to transport to your picnic spot, use smaller coolers for food and drinks, and totes for supplies. Let each family member be in charge of carrying one item, so mom and dad don't bear the work's brunt.

• Pack some playthings. Kids get bored fast, so bring games, balls, bubbles, or outdoor toys to give them more to do than eat.

• Keep everyone comfortable with sunscreen, insect repellent, hats, and sunglasses. Remember that as you play and snack throughout the afternoon and the sun goes down, you might need to switch from sunscreen to sunshades. You won't want the fun to be forced to an early end due to an onslaught of mosquitoes, a bad sunburn, or the sun shining in everyone's eyes.

• Make your picnic spot more comfortable by bringing a small rake. A child-sized rake is easy to pack and will allow you to clear your site of prickly pinecones or pebbles quickly.

• A nice large picnic blanket is a great idea and makes for pretty pictures, but camp chairs and a small folding table are more comfortable and keep you away from the ants.

• Make your outing educational. You may be able to find some teaching moments among the trees, plants, insects, or critters that live nearby. If you are headed to a park, visit their website first and find out a little about the area's history or the plants and animals in the area. For nighttime excursions, a location away from artificial light will make stargazing easy. Bring a strong flashlight to point out constellations.

Remember, whether you head out with your family, friends, or that someone special, allow yourself to relax and enjoy your surroundings.

We can all use that right now!

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