Hey guys, so October is here which means there will be more outdoor events for the whole family until the weather remains cool and nice until April-May. The last and first quarter of the calendar year is always exciting in the UAE. With temperatures dropping, it’s a prime time for the country to embrace the cooler months with lots of gust.  And with all that, nothing is better than a lovely alfresco lunch for the fam to get together to enjoy this glorious time of the year; especially a good opportunity for the kids to run around freely at the park or the beach. 

With years of organizing flawless outdoor picnics for Little A, our family and his friends under my experience, I’ve partnered with Marks and Spencer to bring you a kid friendly survival guide, or to say, a few tips that will make your picnic day a lot more fun than toiling in coordinating the picnic essentials.  I’d rather prefer going easy on myself by learning to pack a kid friendly picnic basket that will keep everyone’s tummy and souls happy.

Choose a location:
Dubai, for one, isn’t short of places. But, it is always good to have an idea where you are going so you plan accordingly. Beaches and parks have different needs and can totally change up your menu or requirements; eminent if you are going with the kids as you wouldn’t want to scout at the last moment. A few towels might be needed if you are going to the beach and some mats may just do the trick if you are heading to the park.

We always look out for a park close to our home as driving back after a whole day under the afternoon sun can get a bit tiring and the children drowsy. So choosing a location wisely always top my list.

Food safety:
If you are packing food from home, especially the items that are normally stored in fridge like cheese, it is essential to keep them as cool as possible. Marks and Spencer Cooler Bag is all the feels – it comes with an insulated lining, is spacious, has a good depth and the design is very pretty too. Add a packet of ice to keep your drinks cool because ice never gets out of fashion in Dubai market.

Kid-Approved Food: 
Believe me when I say that it can get very tempting to create a feast of picture-perfect food, but in reality simple is best for the kids. Go easy. Pick up cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, rocket leaves and lettuce for a salad, fresh berries and fruits and pack them up in small jars or containers. It will make your work a whole lot painless. 

Marks and Spencer has a dedicated FOOD section in their Dubai Festival City and Dubai Marina stores. They have an extensive collection varying from fresh cuts, veggies, fruits, cheeses, beverages, chutneys to a dedicated bakery, which in my opinion, is a one stop shop to pick picnic food from. 

When carrying food from home, stick to those components that kids can get involved and work themselves as well. Sandwiches, trail mixes, wraps, quesadillas, salad and the likes fit the bill perfectly.

Water is crucial to keep everyone hydrated; but feel free to bring other drinks too. Lemonades work quite well for outdoors. M&S win points for beverages too – picnic or not I am definitely adding this apple, beetroot and blackcurrant pressed juice in my little one’s diet {ingredients are short and worthy for mom nerds like me: apple juice, apple puree, blackcurrant juice, beetroot juice and ascorbic acid}. If you are child likes fizzy drinks, then consider adding this sparkling mango and passion fruit drink to your cart.

Non perishable food items:
These are the packaged food items that kids can munch during the play or an hour after a proper meal. Water biscuits, crackers, dry fruits, chips, nut butters are some of the options I always swear by. M&S have some great British variety to pick up on the go!

Melamine over glass and plastic:
I cannot say we have gone completely plastic free yet, but melamine is always a star of any picnic. Largely, you’d want to avoid glass and ceramics when out and about with the kids as it poses the risk of breakage and accidents. I found a set of colorful melamine plates and blue printed melamine bowls {not pictured here} from M&M  perfect for such events.

For beverages, colorful set of IKEA glasses are a great rescue.

Go clever with the cutlery:
Just like the plates and bowls, it is wiser to carry bamboo spoons/forks or eco friendly plastic cutlery. The ones at the back of your kitchen drawer are the real grab instead of precious flatware when going out with the kids. 

Other essentials:
A few hours under the sun appeal for certain must haves. Be sure to pack lot of sun screen and hats for the little ones. I never proceed my house without baby wipes and paper towels to take care of any spills, clean hands after eating and any messes that may happen. Carry trash bags to make sure you leave the place clean for the next person/group. 

Here are the items I picked up from Marks and Spencer that can make your picnic planning with children a breeze :

  • Cooler bag
  • A set of colored melamine plates {comes 4 in each set}
  • Sparkling mango and passion fruit juice
  • Pressed apple, beetroot and blackcurrant juice
  • A pack of lettuce leaves
  • A box of cherry tomatoes
  • West country yogurt in coconut and dark chocolate
  • Croissants from fresh bakery
  • Wild cheddar with onion and chives
  • A packet of wholemeal pita bread {six in each bag}
  • Spicy hummus
  • Water biscuits and Crackers
  • Apple and pear chutney
  • British strawberry jam and clotted cream roll

Food is available across Marks and Spencers stores in Mall of the Emirates, Ibn Batuta, Marina Walk and Dubai Festival City in the UAE.

Disclaimer : This post is written in collaboration with Marks and Spencer UAE, however, all opinions sincerely are my own. 

4 thoughts on “Planning a family picnic in Dubai for kids with Marks and Spencer {Part 1}”

  1. Your styling for this picnic is gorgeous – so fresh and colourful. Picnics are something we don’t do often enough, this really has left me inspired!!

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