Why do it?
- Any pretend play encourages a young child’s imagination and creativity.
- There are lots of fine motor skills involved in this activity, which might include filling, pouring and using utensils.
- Having kai together is a familiar activity for the child.
- All the kōrero that takes place at a picnic will help strengthen language skills.
- They get to practise co-operation through planning the game, sharing kai, taking turns, sharing toys and using the space.
- This could be a time to practise using manners like ‘please’, ‘kia ora’ ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’.
How to do it
You will need:
- unbreakable items to use for eating and drinking, they could be from the recycling, washed bottle tops, yoghurt cups, large lids for plates, and some plastic takeaway cutlery.
- alternatively natural resources like shells, sticks or leaves could be used.
- a cloth or blanket for setting out the picnic.
- some dolls or soft toys to join in as guests.
- food is optional. It can easily be ‘pretend’ kai or made from paper or play dough. If whānau are happy to include real food, cutting it into small bits makes it easy to share.
- set the picnic up with them, talking about what you’re doing.
- enjoy the picnic and let the child lead the game while whänau follow along.
- welcome the manuhiri (guests) and add in some suitable kōrero to extend the play, perhaps encouraging the use of ‘voices’ for the guests.
The picnic could be a celebration like a birthday, and could include the making of simple decorations, name tags or party hats for everyone.