There’s nothing quite like the feeling of the warm sun on your skin and sand between your toes along with the sounds of sprinklers, fireworks, and children splashing in the pool, enlivening you and filling you with joy. That’s what summertime means for me. I LOVE summertime. I am gearing up to help my two-year-old enjoy the parks and pools the way he loves to while introducing my twin babies to water and sand and all sorts of summer fun. These are the things you need to have safe summer fun with your kids:
- Sunscreen is the most important item to have anytime you go outside. Even incidental sun exposure (like walking out to the car) can cause skin damage. You definitely want to protect your little ones (and yourself) by using some good sun block. There are basically two different kinds of sunscreen: physical sun block and chemical sunscreen. Physical, mineral-based sunblocks, like those made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are more effective at blocking UVA and UVB rays than chemical sunscreens, like those made with oxybenzone, homosalate, among many others. Last summer, my toddler and I used Neutrogena Baby every day, and I thought it worked really well. This year, I did a bit of research on sunscreen and learned that some mineral sunscreens have active ingredients that are nanoparticles, small enough to enter your cells and cause free radical damage. Seriously, what is there that doesn’t cause free radical damage these days? Anyway, to be extra cautious, I am going to try Babo Botanicals non-nano clear zinc sunscreen. The particles are larger than other mineral sunscreens, so it offers better sun protection and is supposed to be a superb moisturizer too. I could maybe write a whole article about sunscreen.
Alright, let’s move on to the fun stuff! Here’s the gear you actually need to enjoy this summer:
- Shade tent — Have you ever gone to a pool or a water park only to find that every single spot of shade is already taken? I sure have. This year, I’m bringing my own shade with the Quick Cabana. This way, my babies and my sandals and my snacks won’t have to bake in the sun. This shade tent is also perfect for a day on the beach.
- Hats give you extra sun protection and fashion all in one cute package! Babies and kids look adorable in hats; you just can’t go wrong.
- Baby pool float — Summer just isn’t complete without time in the pool. You need some proper gear to enjoy the water and keep your kids safe. Alden loved the pool float when he was a baby. He splashed and giggled the whole time we were in the pool. He was a water baby for sure.
- Waterproof baby wrap — For the twins this summer, I am planning on using a wet baby wrap so that I can keep them with me while I play with Alden in the water. I have heard great things about the Beachfront Baby Wrap! Stay tuned to see how well it works for us. 2017 Update: Last summer I wasn’t sure if I could fit both babies in a wrap, so I got two waterproof ring slings instead. I actually ended up using them more outside of the water than in it. They are really useful!
- Toddler life jacket — This is a good idea for any kid who doesn’t swim yet; my boy is a runner, so a life jacket was an absolute must for us last summer.
- Stroller — All-terrain strollers are amazing. They allow you to hike, get on and off the beach, jog, or do almost anything you want. Last summer, Alden and I when on a walk — usually to the park — every single day before I had to be on bed rest. We used the Graco Trekko, which easily got us over dirt, grass, rocks, sand, and uneven neighborhood sidewalks. I love that stroller: We’ve been everywhere together. This summer, the Valco Baby Tri-Mode Duo is at the top of my wishlist. I want to do everything I did with Alden with all three of my kids together.
- Summertime means cute sandals! Saltwater Sandals are my number one recommendation. They are incredibly durable and adjustable, so one pair can last a long time for little growing feet. My twins are now wearing the same pair that my oldest used to wear every day, and they still look perfect! You can get some on Amazon right here.
- Sand toys — Sand is such a fascinating thing for kids! My little boy will not get out of the sand once he’s in it. Sand toys make everything even better. You’ve got to have the proper tools to build an impressive sand castle!
- Waterproof blanket — I wish I had discovered this sooner! I’ve spent so many days at the park and at the pool without a good place to sit. This blanket is a game changer for me. I can take it anywhere and have less soggy laundry at the end of the day.
Alright, now that you’re all geared up, your kids will be safe, and your life will be much easier. Feel free to check out all of my recommended resources here. Now go have an awesome summer with your kids!