If your kids ever get squirmy, bored, and whiny (never, right?), don’t miss this list of my 10 favorite items to increase your summer family fun!
“Can we go to the purple and green park?”
More playgrounds, I inwardly chuckled. We were visiting the grandparents, and the kids’ favorite purple and green park was only 10 minutes away.
Last year we traveled quite a bit to visit family, and travel looks a lot different these days compared to our childless European excursions. While we planned to take the kids on fun activities and show them the “sights,” we found that our biggest excursion besides the flight itself (3 kids on a flight can make you crazy especially if they’re your own) was our habit of visiting as many playgrounds as possible.
I began to call our summer trip the “Northwest Playground Tour” because with kids under 6, let’s be real: Playgrounds are the highlight of the trip. And they need to burn some energy anyway, so why not?
Regardless of how exotic (or not exotic) of a place you go, or even if you stay home all year, kids are kids.
They like simple things.
They can be entertained with the basics.
So in case you’re worrying about what to do with your kids all summer, take a look at my favorite every-day items that can make your summer magical.
Our library in Coronado had tons of kids activities throughout the year, as well as a kids play area and a ton of DVDs. When we visiting Oregon, the kids got to check out Grammy & Boppa’s library too.
Signing up for at card at your local library is as easy as taking in a piece of mail to prove your address. Many libraries are part of a network too, so you can get books from other locations if they don’t have what you want. And if you’re from out of town and can’t get a card, you can still spend time at the library playing and reading books.
We are excited to check out the libraries near us up here in Washington!
With a two and one year old, swim diapers are a must. You can get reusable ones that look like a swim suit bottom, so you don’t even need anything over it. I always bring two to the pool because if they soil one, swimming is over for the day, and that stinks. Literally.
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
You can also get disposable swim diapers which can be great for travel. However I’ve noticed that more and more pools are requiring the reusable ones.
Bag Clip for Stroller
Let’s face it. It’s never possible to fit everything you need into the basket under the stroller. That leaves mom or dad with a huge bag to carry, or trying to balance it on top of the stroller while steering.
It’s comical, until it all dumps out onto the ground.
I got a stroller clip and it’s been amazing. I can clip the extra bag onto the handle of the stroller and go.
A word of caution… putting too much weight on the back of a stroller can cause it to tip back, so make sure to balance things out.
I rely on pad devices the most during travel. At home we try to stick to recorded DVR shows for screen time, because if they’re on iPads I start to feel disconnected from what they’re watching and doing on there.
But when we’re in the car or in the air, iPads give me a bit of sanity, especially because the youngest is still a lap child. She doesn’t do iPads quite yet but they keep the other two occupied so I only have to manage one kid for the most part.
(When screen time is up, here are even more awesome kid activities for inspiration!)
Double Bob Stroller
If you have multiple kids, I recommend a Double Bob Stroller for neighborhood walks.
Originally we got a cheap double (side-by-side) stroller for walking around town. But we couldn’t fit all three kids on it. After one day at the county fair when our oldest got a blister and couldn’t walk, we realized we needed room for all three.
The Double Bob is great because the oldest can sit on the front of the stroller. If you only have two kids, I would still recommend it because you can carry a ton of extra stuff in front or in one of the seats.
I know they can be expensive, but we got one on Facebook Marketplace for $100. It is really beat up but it functions fine, so the looks don’t matter to me. I have another stroller for the car so we just leave the Bob in the garage.
Kids Life Jackets
One time, during a trip, my husband took the older two to a hotel pool while the baby napped. Our oldest had been in swimming lessons, but we thought she was a better swimmer than she actually was. They were right by the stairs about to head out of the pool to the hot tub, when my husband turned and saw our oldest struggling and gasping for breath in the water. It happened so fast, he said.
She was fine, but the incident prompted us to change a few things: We started her back in swimming lessons asap, and now we always travel with kids life jackets.
Life jackets are fairly squishy and light so they’re easy to travel with. With multiple kids, I always have more peace of mind during our summer family fun at the pool or beach if they’re buckled in to a safety device.
We discovered our favorite sunscreen recently: Hint sunscreen. It smells like real fruit and sprays on so easily! My kids and I serously want to eat it. Plus, it’s not aerosol, but compressed air instead.
If we run out of Hint or can’t find it, the other suncreen we like is Babyganics Baby Sunscreen Spray. Amazon has it in a pack of two.
Spray sunscreen is SO much easier with kids, and I like to use healthier options whenever possible, so these are my favs!
My kids love their scooters. Other wheeled vehicles are fun too, like trikes or bicycles. But scooters have a lot of perks.
Kids can learn to use scooters at a young age (even before 2) and they can continue using them for many years. Some have adjustable handles to change as they grow. We started our kids on the three-wheeled kind and then our oldest graduated to a two-wheeled one when little sister needed her old one.
I’m the mean mommy who makes her kids wear helmets when they’re on their wheels, even in the driveway. But I kinda like their heads and want them to stay in one piece. (Seems like we’d have more summer family fun that way)
And actually, my kids like their helmets and wear them around the house, which makes us look like super over-protective parents. Ha.
Bubbles are SO cheap, and provide SO much entertainment for kids. You can stock up at the dollar store on the huge bottles, as well as a variety of bottle shapes and bubble toys. If your kids are squirmy, bored, and whiny (never, right!?) then go forth and bubble!
Bubbles would even make the purple and green park more fun, if that’s even possible!
What are your favorite items to have on hand for the summer? Let me know in the comments!