Long summer days call for dressing your child in adorable tiny linen suits and cute dresses for toddler girls. It also means hot, endless hours when the kids need to be entertained and kept safe from the elements. In addition to cute clothes, here are 16 must-have essentials that you need to get through the summer with toddlers:
1. Kiddie pool
A kiddie pool is an absolute must for summer if you have young kids (or, frankly, if you’re an adult). Get an inflatable one that packs down if you’re short on space or a hard plastic kiddie pool if you’re looking for something more durable. Always remember to keep an eye on your kids while they’re in the pool, no matter how little water you put in it.
2. Water tables
Sensory play is essential for toddlers exploring the world around them, and summer is the perfect time to set them up with a water table. These water tables come with various towers and attachments that move and turn when you pour water on them. Some also come with a separate compartment for sand so your kids can play with sand and water at the same time for maximum sensory play.
Once your infant outgrows their baby pool floatie, consider upgrading them to a personal floatie. These toddler floaties wrap securely around their arms, chest and back, making it hard to get off while still giving them a full range of motion.
4. Beach tent or canopy
A dedicated baby tent or canopy will keep your little one safe from the sun whether you’re on the beach, at a lake or in a park. Look for one with a canvas bottom to protect them from sand burns as well as the sun.
Almost every adult has fond memories of running through a sprinkler as a child. Get a sprinkler attachment and a garden hose, and your kids will have hours of fun running through it while you water the lawn.
If your child still isn’t potty trained, then you absolutely need swim diapers, which won’t swell up when they come in contact with water the way a regular diaper does. You will also need a two-piece swimsuit, which will make it easy to change the diaper or take them to potty. You should also consider getting them a rashguard to protect their sensitive skin from the sun, sand and water.
Babies have sensitive skin that is extremely prone to sunburn, so they absolutely need to be slathered in sunscreen if you’re going outside. Choose a fragrance-free, mineral-based sunscreen that will protect them without irritating their skin. Baby sunscreen is specifically formulated to avoid potentially irritating ingredients.
Sunglasses protect fragile young eyes from the sun. Look for a rubber frame that will hold up to hard use, and consider getting a pair with an attached elastic strap so you easily adjust it to get a firm fit on your baby’s head.
9. Sun hat
In addition to sunglasses, your toddler should also wear a sun hat for even more protection. Ideally, the sun hat should have an adjustable cord that you can cinch to keep the hat on their head during a windy day. You should also get one that is machine washable so you can just throw it in with the rest of the laundry whenever it gets dirty.
10. Water shoes
Water shoes are usually made of neoprene, the same material as wetsuits, and they protect your kids’ feet without getting waterlogged. Your toddler’s feet have probably grown since last year, so definitely size up and get them a new pair this year.
11. Hooded towel
Kids can wiggle out of towels like nobody’s business. Keep them dry and covered with a hooded beach towel sized just for them. Many of them come in fun designs, such as unicorn or dinosaur, which will encourage your kid to wear the towel even when they’re not sopping wet.
12. Wet bag
If you go to the beach, lake or pool often in the summer, then you definitely need a wet bag to help keep your car from being totally destroyed. These waterproof bags are designed to hold wet swimsuits, toddler boy pants, towels, toys, shoes and anything else wet and sandy that you don’t want to just throw in the car or mudroom.
13. Bubble maker
Is there any kid who doesn’t love bubbles? If you have the budget, you can splurge on an expensive automatic bubble maker, but your kids will have just as much fun with cheap bottles of bubble fluid from the dollar store. Once you use them up, you can even DIY your own bubble blowing solution to refill them!
14. Sidewalk chalk
Sidewalk chalk is the perfect medium for the artsy toddler. It keeps all the mess outside and the canvas washes clean with every rain. Sidewalk chalk can be used to make a hopscotch outline, create artwork and more on a summer’s evening.
15. Portable high chair
If you eat out a lot at picnic tables during the summer, a portable high chair can make a huge difference. These high chairs fold down into a very small package, but expand in a jiffy to form a makeshift high chair that’s the perfect height for your toddler, making it possible for them to eat at the same table.
16. Stroller fan
Your toddler will get hot under a black stroller canopy, so consider setting them up with a stroller fan to take the edge off the heat. These battery-powered fans attach to the front bar of the stroller, and some also come with a water chamber to provide a misting effect as well.
Did we leave one of your summer essentials off this list? Let us know in the comments below what you can’t live without during the summer if you have toddlers.