How to create the best teddy bear’s picnic
A teddy bear’s picnic is a great way to encourage children to let their imagination and creativity run wild. Creating some tasty treats, making decorations and planning some fun games are all things little ones can lend a helping hand with.
For this article, we spoke to bloggers for their top tips on how to ensure your teddy bear’s picnic goes as smoothly as possible.
Teddy bear’s picnics are great for birthday parties or just an extra special play date. Either way, sending out invitations to friends, is not only an important way to keep track of numbers, but it also helps to kick starts the magic and intrigue.
Children love sending and receiving party invites, so encourage them to get involved in their teddy bear’s picnic planning. Let them design their own picnic invitations to decorate and hand out to their friends. The excitement of picking out, writing and addressing the invitations is something children and adults can do together. As well as the important information such as the date, time and address of the picnic, it is crucial to include a contact number or email address so you can receive correspondence.
Merith from Merith’s Miscellany told us: “Make sure you include teddies on the invitation! Or go one better and address the invitations to each child's teddy (consult with parents and guardians first) and say they may bring their child along too.”
It may seem obvious, but it is worth making it clear on the invitations that children can bring their favourite cuddly toy to the picnic as Sarah from Tea Time Monkeys explains: “Bring bears! It seems like a no-brainer, but if you invite children to bring their own bears from home, make sure you have back-up bears just in case! Sometimes children have other activities beforehand and parents may forget to pack the bear. Families are busy, so I always have extra teddies to make sure no kids are left without one.”
Create some tasty treats
Part of the fun of a teddy bear’s picnic is serving up exciting food for the children to enjoy, anything bright and colourful is sure to impress.
Victoria from Lylia Rose told us that making food into fun shapes is another way to give the picnic an instant ‘wow factor’. She said: “A great tip for a teddy bear’s picnic is to use a bear-shaped cookie cutter to cut out bear-shaped sandwiches and biscuits as part of the food. Use a mini bear-shaped cutter to cut out smaller versions for the bears. This is a great way to really make it feel like a teddy bears picnic as they even have their own food.”
Including a mixture of sweet and savoury foods as well as hot and cold finger foods means you are catering for all tastes. Things like cucumber, pepper and carrot sticks are quick and easy to prepare so are fruit kebabs. Mini sausage rolls, pizza slices, garlic bread and other hot items can be prepared just before serving. For a quick and easy sweet treat, consider making tray bakes or Rice Krispie cakes which can be made the night before.
There are also many pre-made teddy-bear shaped snacks available to buy in shops as well, including Pom-Bear crisps which come in a variety of flavours or Haribo Goldbears which, despite the name, come in a variety of colours.
If parents are staying for the picnic as well then stocking up on some teddy bear’s picnic themed beverages such as Bears Like Marmalade tea from the Bird & Blend Tea Co adds a special touch. The company wrote: “We heard that a prudent bear always carries a spare marmalade sandwich under his hat in case of emergencies. We brewed up this fruity concoction of orange blossom, rose and lemon that turns a delightful rosy pink once brewed.”
Decorate the picnic area
Set the scene by having some colourful decorations which will entice and excite guests as soon as they arrive. Rachael from Rachael’s Thoughts says: “Borrow or buy some plastic tea sets and arrange them alongside the teddy bears so they can join in the fun too. You can also lay out different coloured blankets and get a gingham tablecloth from your local market or haberdashery and use it to cover a table, or as a floor mat for an outdoor picnic. Next, use chalk to draw large paw prints on the path leading to your front door to build up the excitement when the party guests arrive.”
Children love bubbles so it is worth getting a battery-powered bubble machine which adds in yet another element of surprise. All these added extras are worth looking into to ensure you create the most magical teddy bear’s party.
Play some party games
Fun games and activities are a must when you’re hosting a children’s playdate, party or picnic. Merith says: “If the party is in a garden, park, or woodland, have a mini scavenger hunt. Things to look for include leaves, pebbles, flowers, pinecones, acorns, twigs in a particular shape, spiderwebs and bugs.” Give each child a pencil and a few sheets of paper so they can record their findings, set a time limit and let them enjoy searching around for nature’s hidden treasures. When the time is up, gather everyone back so they can tell their friends all about the things they have found during their scavenger hunt.
Other games to include are ‘What’s the time Mr Bear’ which is a variation of the childhood classic ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’ and a teddy-bear dress-up competition. Each child receives a pile of scrap pieces of material, ribbons, and colourful paper so they can get creative and make a fancy-dress outfit for their teddy bear.
After all that excitement Rachael suggests helping the children to quieten down before home-time with a more relaxed game: “Calm children down at the end of the day with a game of sleeping bears. This is the same as sleeping lions and helps with a bit of mindfulness and calms everyone down after all the excitement from the picnic.”
Don’t panic if it rains
Even with the best intentions, sometimes things don’t go according to plan.
If the clouds start closing in and it starts raining on the day of your picnic, don’t panic! You can create an equally magical experience inside. It is worth being prepared for every eventuality and that includes bearing in mind a change of weather forecast.
To avoid disappointment, Sarah says it is always good to have a backup plan: “Obviously, a teddy bear's picnic is best as an outdoor activity, but if you don't have access to a green space or the weather isn’t on your side it’s good to have a plan B. You can recreate a grassy picnic patch indoors with a large piece of green fabric, if you can get hold of green towelling, that's ideal, and play the famous Teddy Bear’s Picnic song as children arrive to help set the mood.”
If you do find yourself pushed to hold the party indoors for whatever reason there are a range of things you can do. Make sure you have cleared a space for the picnic on the floor and create a colourful ambience by switching on a variety of lights. Fairy lights are no longer reserved for gardens or the Christmas tree; you can use them to help add some sparkle to an indoor teddy bear’s picnic.
The key to hosting any type of children’s party or playdate is to be prepared for every eventuality. Hiring household staff can be a great way to help ease the pressure off families and gives you that extra pair of hands to help set up the perfect teddy bear’s picnic.