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Why not make and enjoy spring's first picnic?

The Met Office forecast suggests the weather is set to hot up in April and will stay warmer until at least May, so now may be a good time to start planning the first of many picnics.

EASTER-HOLIDAY THEMED PICNIC

If you’re not sure about venturing out while the temperatures are still relatively low, then why not organise an outing during the Easter holidays?

You don't have to go far; just a trip into the garden can provide little ones with a much needed change of scene, particularly if they're starting to get cabin fever from being holed up indoors.

Easter egg hunts are always a hit with children, so why not combine a scramble for chocolate goodies with a picnic?

SAVOURY SNACK IDEAS

Obviously, you don't want your little ones to only eat chocolate, so it pays to make up some savoury snacks too.

A Greek salad makes for a good, filling and relatively healthy dish. Just cook the pasta as usual, toss it in some oil and vinegar and leave to cool at room temperature. You can then add some feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and olives (if you think the kids like them) and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Chicken drumsticks are great if your kids are meat-eaters, as little ones love the freedom of eating with their hands.

For a little extra flavour you can squeeze lemon on the meat and squash some cloves of garlic over the drumsticks, then season with pepper and mixed herbs before cooking in an oven at 180 degrees centigrade or gas mark 4 for approximately 40 minutes.

Pizza pies are great hot or cold and you can get the little ones to help you out. All you need is a packet of shortcrust pastry, two eggs, 150 ml milk, 50g of grated cheese and some herbs.
Simply grease a muffin tray and let the children roll out the pastry - they'll love getting stuck in and giving you a helping hand.

Next, cut out ten centimetre circles of pastry and put them in the tray. Then whisk the eggs and milk together in a jug and add the herbs.

Once you've grated the cheese, you can get the kids to help you add it into each pastry case, then you can pour in the milk and egg mixture.

The pies will need to be baked at 180 degrees centigrade or gas mark 4 for between 15 to 25 minutes until they are lightly browned.

If you're a bit short on time, there are plenty of ready-made treats you can buy as well. Scotch eggs, hard-boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, carrot and cucumber batons, hummous and breadsticks all make great, easy to put together picnic food. 

SWEET AND HEALTHY SNACKS

If you want your child to eat more fruit, then why not get them to help you make up some fresh fruit kebabs. Just buy some wooden skewers and some bright, sweet favourites such as strawberries, melon, pineapple and grapes and let them help you put them together.

MAKING THE GARDEN MORE ENTERTAINING

If you have a garden and want to encourage your children to spend more time in it, then investing in something like the TP Kingswood tower, which acts as a lookout, sand pit, slide and outdoor play area, may be ideal.

The TP Explorer Den can be put up or taken down in minutes, making it the ideal garden accessory. If the weather's not great, this can provide ideal coverage for your little ones to enjoy a picnic without having to worry about soggy sandwiches.

Likewise, the UFO Climb & Swing gives shelter from the rain and is fun to use indoors and outside.

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