A picnic at the beach is child's play. For party hosts unsure of how to satisfy both kids and adults, the solution is as simple as a pail--not for building sand castles, but for carrying the makings of a meal.

By Charly Porter
April 28, 2003

Forget tired standbys such as peanut butter and jelly. Instead,pack your sand pails with something interesting to all ages. Howabout Rolled Vegetable Sandwiches and Seashell Salad? Before yousay "Yeah, right. Kids will never eat that," read our tips andrecipes that prove you can put smiles on every face. Here'show.

Involve the children. They're more likely to try the finalproduct if they help in the preparation. Start at the grocerystore. Let your buggymates make some of the selections. For theveggie wraps, tell them they can pretend to be Bugs Bunny on asearch for carrots. And almost all kids love cheese, so let themchoose an assortment. Then wheel down the noodle aisle and let thempick their favorite shape for pasta salad. Chicken and shrimp areusually popular, so the final part should be a cinch.

Speak their language. When enticing children with new foods,keep it simple. Introduce such spices as curry, garlic, and gingerby making up stories about them. Let the little helpers measure andmix the ingredients for the marinade; then have them give it aname, such as curry flurry or bull shark dip. They'll be proud oftheir creativity and more likely to gobble up the fare.

Think sweet. Don't forget the ultimate crowdpleaser―dessert. Few treats are as heavenly as chocolate, ands'mores are fun for all ages to make. With our version, youngsterswill have fun breaking up the white chocolate into chunks to add tothe batter. They can pack one pail with cookies and another withmarshmallows to haul to the beach.

Ready, Set, Go. Now that you've finished prepping, grab theready-made wares and head for the sand. While adults linger overdinner, keep the kids entertained with our delicious ice-creamversion of kick the can. Little ones burn off energy while rollingthe can around the beach for half an hour. They can cool downafterward with scoops of the ultimate summer treat.

Thirty minutes, hmm. Just enough time for you to relax, sip on aslushy drink, and toast all those happy faces.