How to Throw a Picnic in the Great Indoors

Summer weather can be unpredictable, but don't let that ruin your picnic! Come thunderstorms or extreme heat, these ideas will keep you and the family in a picnic-perfect mood while dining in the great indoors.

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Photo By: Carlene Thomas

A Moveable Feast

This all-American menu features two make-ahead salads, plus classic picnic favorites like fried chicken, deviled eggs and fresh fruit that somehow taste even more delicious when eaten without utensils.

Don't Forget the Picnic Basket

You may be dining indoors, but you'll still need a wicker tote or traditional picnic basket to pack extras in a corner of the room. It will not only add the picnic ambiance but also corral your party supplies in one place. Gather your striped or gingham table linens and blankets for a classic Americana vibe.

Salad in a Jar

Help the family get their greens with a premade and preportioned salad. To eliminate the chance of sad, soggy greens, pour dressing into the jar first, add a layer of sturdy veggies, fruits or grains, then top with delicate greens and mix-ins. With visually stunning layers, it's easy to adjust each jar (no nuts, no cheese … no problem) and store in the fridge before the picnic. Get the kiddos to make their own salad jars — they'll be much more likely to eat their veggies if they had a hand in preparing them.

Upright Deviled Eggs

Nothing says picnic like deviled eggs. But by slicing a small piece off the bottom of each egg so it sits upright, you can make them easier to transport — and cuter! — than the usual sliced-in-half eggs.

Self-Serve Iced Tea Station

Skip pitchers, which are easy to knock over and hard for kids to pour. A large vessel with a spigot keeps everyone hydrated without a hassle. Serve up fresh herbs or peaches for pretty mix-ins.

Oven-Fried Chicken

If traditional fried chicken is a family favorite in your house, try this healthier take. Oven-"fried" chicken is still nice and crisp, but with less fat. And because it’s made in the oven instead of fried on the stovetop (which requires constant supervision), it gives you more time for dinner prep.

Get the Recipe: Oven Fried Chicken

Picnic-Perfect Potato Salad

Enlist your little helpers to scrub the spuds for this make-ahead potato salad. The cool, creamy flavor is the perfect contrast to hot and crispy chicken straight from the oven.

Get the Recipe: Aunt Eleanor's Potato Salad

Paper Fruit Bags

A picnic isn't complete without seasonal fruit! Take regular brown paper bags and cut patterns on top for a better look at what’s inside. Fill with colorful cherries or stone fruit and place them around the room for a healthy dessert that's easy for small hands to grab.