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Imaginative Summer Snacks for a D.I.Y. Picnic

Photography by: Sophie Mulgrew

We can't contain our excitement that summer is in full swing! Since dining al fresco is a highlight of the season, preparing a picnic filled with imaginative snacks is the perfect way to spend the day with your kiddos. Here are a few super simple, delicious, and whimsical recipes that we hope will inspire you to bring playtime to the picnic blanket! 

Bear Toast


- Toasted Bread

- Peanut Butter (or Sunflower Butter)

- Jam

- Bananas 

- Blueberries 


Encourage your children to get involved in the creation of their snacks whenever possible! Bring a plastic knife and ask them to spread jam or peanut butter over the pre-toasted bread. Slice three banana rounds, two for the ears and one for the nose. Allow your children to arrange the banana and blueberry on the toast to create their bear, cute and delicious! 

Cucumber Snake 


- Cucumber

- Pomegranate Seed

- Apple Skin


Cut cucumber pieces into half circles and invite your children to create a snake body with the shapes. As they work, bring the process to life by asking questions like "How do you think a snake moves?" Once they have created the body, use a pomegranate seed for an eye and a ripped piece of apple skin for the tongue!

Parasol Fruit Kabobs


- Toothpick Parasol

- Blueberries

- Grapes


This super simple snack is a tasty way to help your little ones develop fine motor skills. Encourage your children to create fruit kabobs by adding grapes and blueberries to the toothpicks. As they work, invite them to make a pattern, group by color, or count the number of pieces they are adding onto the toothpick. 

Apple + Grape Race Cars


- Apple slices (pre-cut into half moon shape) 

- Grapes



Place two toothpicks horizontally through the apple slice, one at the front and one at the back. Cut grapes in half and invite your children to attach a piece of grape to each end of the toothpicks. Once completed, allow your children to play with their snack before digging in. Maybe you make a watermelon city that the cars drive through or maybe the apple racer is cruising through a cucumber speedway. No matter the story their imaginations create, playing with this food before digging in is a must! 

Sprinkle Sandwiches


- Wheat Bread (or your favorite kind!)

- Sprinkles

- Peanut Butter

- Jelly 

- Cookie Cutter (optional) 


This snack is a serious favorite around Rose & Rex! Use a cookie cutter or knife to make identical shapes out of two pieces of bread (i.e. two stars, two squares). Encourage your children to spread peanut butter and jelly over the top of one piece. Cover the peanut butter and jelly in sprinkles. Use a cookie cutter (or bottle cap) to cut a circle out of the center of the second piece of bread. Place the bread on top of the sprinkles and chow down! 

Toys Featured:

Origami Bath Boat

Mini Fox

Karuma Car 



About the Author

Allison Klein is the founder of Rose & Rex. She received a B.A. in Anthropology with minors in Psychology and Writing from Washington University in St. Louis, and a dual M.S.ED degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education. While in graduate school, Allison studied the importance of imaginative play on early childhood development, and later applied this research in pre-kindergarten classrooms where she worked. As she watched her students grow and transform through play, Allison knew she wanted to start a broad conversation about the importance of play for children in today’s results-driven culture.

Now a play-based tutor, when Allison is not working with children or playing with blocks, she loves to explore Central Park, drink matcha tea and practice pilates. A native New Yorker, Allison lives on the Upper East Side and appreciates the abundance of experiential learning opportunities that exist on every block.

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