From the start of our match relationship, I learned a few things about my Little Sister- 1) she was intensely creative, 2) she spent most of her time indoors, and 3) she is a picky eater! I picked up the first two characteristics in conversation with her during our first outing, and the third- well, I learned firsthand when introducing her to a picnic.
With its pristine parks and unparalleled weather, Santa Monica was the perfect spot for our second outing. In our first conversations, it was clear my Little had a love of drawing. What better way for her to demonstrate her talents than a picnic in Tongva Park!
That morning, I prepared a simple salad, sliced mangoes, cut turkey and cheese sandwiches into heart shapes, and packed pita chips and hummus for our picnic lunch. I also brought packs of markers and colored pencils with printer paper for us to draw with, and a blanket for us to sit on. Hoping they could serve as some inspiration, if not makeshift tables, I brought some of my Calvin & Hobbes comic books along for the ride.
When we arrived, there was a family-focused event on the lawn, where young kids were hula-hooping and dancing. We took in the sights of the park (playground! fountains! beach overlook!) before settling in on our blanket. It didn’t take long to realize that although she could appreciate heart-shaped sandwiches, my Little was actually not a fan of sandwiches, salads, or much of any food besides pizza. As an adventurous eater myself, I made a mental note to work on expanding her palate. To avoid her getting hungry in the meantime, though, she should probably start bringing a lunch or eating before our outings.
I was impressed by the characters my Little enjoys drawing, and the backstories she creates for them. I shared some of my own drawings, and after a bout of creativity, we headed over to explore the playground area. My Little, though intimidated by the climbing structures at first, made her way to the top with immense pride. We had multiple runs on the slides before throwing in the towel, tuckered out from the activity.
In retrospect, we’d wished we had brought the appropriate attire to try out the very popular splash pad, but overall, we enjoyed our time at Santa Monica’s Tongva Park! If you aren’t yet aware of your Little’s culinary preferences, I recommend asking them or their parent before making a picnic for the two of you. Parking was relatively easy on that Saturday morning in the spring. I recommend parking in one of Santa Monica’s free-for-90-minutes structures close by, otherwise there are meters. You can also Metro in from the easily accessible Expo Line!