We were outside a ton last summer since most people still weren’t doing indoor activities, and I learned a lot about what I need to bring or keep in my car to make our hot-weather outings successful.
It seems like summer weather and 100-degree heat comes early every year, and this year is hotter than ever! Here’s what we’ve been taking with us (or just keeping in the car) to have the most fun outside this summer.
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Every Kind of Sunblock
The Texas sun is no joke, and I promise that even on days you think your kids are only in the shade, they are getting some sun. I can’t decide what kind of sunblock I like best, so I’m always carrying at least 4 different kinds. It’s probably excessive, but if it means you’ll actually apply it, the more the merrier.
If you or your kids have thin hair or wear your hair parted a lot, get a powder sunblock. The top of your head is exposed to the sun’s harmful rays a ton when you’re outside, and this helps cover your scalp without being greasy in your hair.
A stick sunscreen makes it easier to put it on little faces. The kids may even want to do it themselves.
I bought some of these sunscreen applicators to put our normal cream sunblock in. The sponge gets a bit full of sunscreen so it doesn’t always rub it in well, but for the most part, I really like them!
Spray sunblock is great for big areas of skin — I use it on my daughter’s thighs and mine when wearing swimsuits.
And don’t forget your lips!
Water Jug for Refills
We can be out and about for most of the day as long as we have enough water. I always bring at least another regular bottle to refill the kids’ bottles. But this year, I also bought this Igloo jug to keep the water cold, carry a lot, and easily dispense it. I just put it in the back of my SUV.
Your friends will thank you if you buy a solid portable fan. We bring it with us whenever we’re hanging out at a restaurant or brewery during the late spring through early fall, and it helps so much!
We have this rechargeable GeekAire fan, and I just pop it in the back of my car whenever I think we might be sitting around in the heat for a while.
Small ones are also great if you have little ones still in the stroller. Get one that clips on to the shade, and they’ll be much cooler than you are!
Pail and Shovel
We bring a set of sand toys out anytime there’s sand or water. The kids will fill buckets over and over again at the splash pad, and it multiplies the time they’re willing to stay and play!
Texas summer means bugs. And boy, is it buggy this year.
My 5-year-old is really sensitive to mosquito bites (he gets it from me!). So I just keep a small bottle of DEET bug spray in my backpack.
Even with sunblock, if you’re out long enough or playing in water, your kids’ faces will probably still be at risk of sunburn. My kids are so red-cheeked when hot, that it’s hard to tell if they’re getting sunburned or not.
So of course a baseball cap or bucket hat is a life saver.
When it’s hot out, you never know when you’re going to end up in some sort of water. A splash pad, a creek, a park water fountain. Keep beach towels or microfiber towels in your car so you’re always prepared.
See above! Whether it’s water or an accident, an extra set of clothes is never a bad idea. This is something I sometimes forget now that we’re out of the baby stage, but we change clothes in the car a lot!
And if you want to be extra prepared for that water play, throw a swimsuit in the bag before you head out too!
Kids don’t always love being outside when it’s hot (I mean, neither do I, but we can’t stay home all day!).
The fastest way to save any outing from a meltdown: bubbles. Keep them handy in your car so you have them when the time comes. You’ll know when it’s time.