Picnic finger foods for kids: 30 quick and nutritious ideas

By Penelope Henderson, MSc, RNutr/ 08/10/2022
picnic finger foods

Picnics are always more exciting for kids than sitting at a table. Being outdoors or being somewhere new makes it all seem more exciting and in a relaxed mood for enjoying food. Picnic finger foods are a great way to huddle together on a picnic blanket or towel and share the experience of eating together.

However if you find you’re fed up with just eating the same picnic foods and your looking for quick and nutritious ideas then these picnic finger foods for kids and the whole family are just the ticket. 

What are finger foods

picnic finger foods image
Finger foods

Finger foods are smaller pieces of food that are easy to pick up and hold, ideally without breaking. If you think of the shape of your finger then a food should be a similar shape and size. 

Many foods can be cut into this shape of strips making them perfect for all the family and for those picnic occasions. 

What are good first finger foods

When we are talking about first finger foods (from around 6 mths), if your doing baby led weaning then ideally first finger foods would be soft to begin with whilst your baby gets used to the new textures and chewing foods. 

So to start with foods like soft fruits, cooked vegetables, cooked pasta, toast and cheese strips are all great. You can incorporate these into the picnic ideas below for the whole family. 

first finger foods to take as picnic finger foods
first finger foods

What do I need for a picnic?

picnic finger foods and what do i need for a picnic?
what do I need for a picnic

Besides the food a little organisation is a good idea. These are generally what is required. 

  • Ideally a picnic basket, hamper, tote bag, cooler bag or backpack is needed to put everything in. Which one of these will depend on where your going and how far you need to walk, carrying it etc. 
  • A blanket, rug or large towel to sit on.
  • A plate or board with a knife for cutting food smaller (optional)
  • Plastic or non breakable plates to put food on (optional)
  • Ice packs if your taking chilled food
  • Thermos flask if your taking hot drinks
  • Plastic cups for drinks
  • Paper towels or wipes
  • A plastic bag or the like to put rubbish in.

What food is good to bring on a picnic?

  • Food that is easy to transport, so portable and wont end up broken into pieces by the time you get to eat it. 
  • Food that’s not messy- i.e more solid foods (not soups or salads)
  • Foods that dont require cutlery – easy to get hold of and eat. For example finger type foods, sandwiches and mini foods.
  • Food that is ambient and/or chilled – those that will go in a cooler bag or box.
cool bag or box for picnic finger foods
cool bag or box

Picnic finger foods ideas

No cook picnic food

Dips are great for sharing on picnics making sure you have a tight fitted lid for the tub whilst being transported. The below recipes can be served with finger strips of bread, breadsticks, crackers, pitta bread. 

  1. Avocado dip
  1. Tomato and chickpea dip
tomato and chickpea dip image for picnic finger foods
Tomato and chickpea dip
  1. Toasted pita with pea and feta dip
  1. Sandwiches – these dont have to be boring. You can also mix it up with lots of different types of bread from white, wholegrain, rye, spelt, focaccia, rolls, seeded types and so on. 

Fillings could include egg mayonnaise, tuna, various cheeses, cold cooked meats like turkey or chicken, corned beef. Then add some vegetables, salad or even fruit. 

  1. Wraps – similar to sandwiches, using white or wheat wraps. 
  1. Pinwheels – take a bit of effort to make but are great if the kids aren’t keen on crusts. Try these smoked salmon and watercress pinwheels
  1. Spring rolls – using rice paper wraps with raw vegetables like carrots, cucumber, beansprouts, radish, salad etc. 
  1. Fruit loaf slices or buns – slice them up and butter them before going out. You could get them into finger pieces too if you like. 
  1. Malt loaf – cut into slices and buttered or served on their own. 

Fun toddler picnic food

Think about using colourful foods, shapes and making it look more interesting.

  1. Fruit caterpillars
fruit caterpillars
  1. Vegetables on sticks – either roasted vegetables like tomatoes, courgette & peppers or raw vegetables like cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, celery etc. 
  1. Fruit and cheese on sticks/kebabs such as melon, mozzarella, halloumi and ham or proscuitto
  1. Pinwheel sandwiches- using soft crustless bread to roll up fillings like pesto, ham & cheese, salad or chicken and avocado.
  1. Savoury pastry swirls made with puff pastry and your childs favourite topping
  1. Pastry windmills like these easy ones using your favourite jam or marmalade.
  1. Mini pancakes cut into fun shapes using large cookie cutters.
  1. Gingerbread men
  1. Sandwiches cut into shapes with cookie cutters e.g flower sandwiches
  1. Homemade popcorn plain or coated in a little cinnamon.
  1. Strawberry tots

Quick finger foods

  1. Mini scones – sweet or savoury like these cheese and chive scones
  1. Fruit mini muffins – such as blueberries, raspberries or dried fruit. 
  1. Omlette strips
  1. Mini Quiche – use bun tray size like these tomato and pancetta picnic quiches 
  1. Filo rolls or parcels – such as these tuna filo parcels
  1. Vegetable croquettes  
  1. Mini pasties like these cheese and onion pasties. Save time by buying ready made pastry. 
  1. Savoury mini buns or bites like these pea and courgettes buns
  1. Fritters – served cold e.g broccoli and sweetcorn or any seasonal vegetables
  1. Sausage rolls

Picnic finger food for the beach

If you’re heading to the beach then you don’t want to take anything too wet and messy as its not so easy to clean up on the beach. This is why finger foods are ideal. You also don’t have to worry about cutlery as you can eat mostly with your fingers.


Picnic finger foods are perfect for all ages from 6 months upwards. They are great for picnics as they are easily portable, not messy, easy to travel and easy to hold and eat without the need for cutlery and plates. 

I have given lots of ideas for no cook picnic food that can be whipped up in a hurry or a last minute picnic. There are also ideas for fun foods to try to make it more creative and willing to try new foods. Finally some other picnic finger foods that require a bit more effort to make but you could also batch make them for the next time.

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Author Penelope Henderson

Hi I’m Penelope Henderson RNutr Registered Nutritionist specialising in children’s nutrition and responsive feeding therapy.

I am a mum of 2, with over 15 years of experience in nutrition. I support parents to feel confident in how and what to feed their child. I hope you find my recipes and nutrition posts useful, so you can enjoy stress free cooking and mealtimes.

More about me

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