Four fun ways to take mealtime outside

As the warm weather approaches, spice up mealtime by leaving the chairs behind and taking it outside.

Mealtimes at home can often turn into a desperate struggle just to get your kids to sit still for five minutes and actually eat something rather than throw it on the floor.

But with the luxury of more time during half-term or on the weekends, why not turn breakfast, lunch or dinner into a fun and leisurely outdoor activity?

Of course with the unpredictable British weather, you will need to go prepared with warm clothes and potentially waterproofs, but that just adds to the adventure!

So whether you feel like packing a picnic or making pancakes for a patio breakfast, we have some great ideas for meals beyond your kitchen table.

1. Go daytime camping

Camping trips don't have to be overnight ordeals ¬– you can just make it a daytrip. You can still set up a tent for shelter and go hiking, biking or fishing, but all in the knowledge you'll be tucked up warm in bed at home at the end of the day.

Pack your family's favourite campfire food, some drinks and some snacks and set off to your favourite spot.

To help keep everyone warm, pre-make a hearty stew or soup, and you can simply warm it in a pot over the campfire. See our slow cooker recipes for inspiration.

2. Pack up a picnic

There's nothing like sprawling a blanket on the grass and reclining to enjoy some tasty treats.

Why not double it up as a nature expedition, too? Go to the woods or set up by a lake and make it an adventure. Have the kids collect pine cones, flowers and snail shells, do some bird spotting and play hide and seek. The outdoors are sure to build up the entire family's appetite.

For perfect picnic food ideas, check out our Five budget-friendly homemade picnic treats, and for more activity ideas, see Five ways to get your kids into nature.

3. Dine al-fresco

If it's a nice evening, simply eat your dinner in the garden. Either spread out a blanket and some cushions, or go for a more formal table affair.

Have dinner at sunset and then switch on some outdoor heaters, light some candles and snuggle under blankets to stargaze.

So no one misses out, make washing-up super-quick with Fairy Liquid. Even better, with the easy cleaning and extra bubbles, the kids will have fun helping you out!

4. Soak up some morning sunshine

Little beats a spring morning, when the grass is wet with dew, the birds are singing and the sun is readying to warm the day.

Enjoying sunshine first thing is a great way of boosting your vitamin D levels too, plus it will get your body clock in check so you and your family will drift off to sleep more easily come nightfall.

Enjoy your breakfast spread on the patio, or even venture out to the local park for an early-morning picnic and play to start the day out right.

For healthy breakfast recipe ideas, click here.

These are our just some of our ideas, if have any of your own, we'd love to hear about them below.