Even though warm weather is just barely starting to arrive, North Carolina has a tendency to be all or nothing, so I’m getting ready for whenever mother nature decides to kick up the heat. I’m making a few choices this year that will hopefully lead to an easy-breezy summer, at least in the sense of what to wear/pack/play.
One mistake I’ve made in summers’ past is having too many choices. It looked something like this:
“Ohhh jellies are cute; I’ll snag them a pair!”
“Hm, everyone needs flip flops, right? I’ll snag them a pair.”
“Sandals… I think we need sandals. I’ll snag them a…”
You get it. It left us with one favorite pair being utilized and the rest piled up in the corner of my laundry room.
No more! Each of my kids are getting one new pair of summer shoes – these pink Natives. I chose a light color so they’ll go with everything. They are waterproof, which is great for swim team. They are airy and lightweight, which is ideal for the playground. They slip on and off, which is wonderful for my sanity.
I’m applying a similar concept to the rest of our summer items.
Keep it simple.
And with that, I give you my must have items my kids will be rocking for fun in the summer sun!
Summer Must Haves For Kids to Wear
Natives: Every summer I’ve been a mom, I’ve noticed other kids wearing and loving their Natives shoes. They are pretty much the perfect toddler/kid summer shoe and I’m psyched to be ahead of the game this year.
Rash Guard Separates: The keyword here is separates. Like almost all human beings, my girls need different sizes for tops and bottoms. Kaitlyn, for example, is a 3T around her waist, but needs a 4T for tops. I found these darling mermaid rash guard separates (Hailey prefers the short sleeve rash guards) and of course bought them matching suits. They love them! How long can I get away with the matching?
Hooded Towels: Cover ups are great, but after two summers spent at the pool with swim team, I’ve learned that what my kids really want and need during adult swim/eating lunch is a towel that keeps them warm and doesn’t fall off. Hooded towels are the perfect solution and these are SO cute.
The ponchos are pretty great, too, so I’m currently deciding if I need both or not.
Sunglasses: We’ve never bought the girls quality sunglasses before because… kids. However, with our trip to the islands in May and a summer that we’ll spend out on the lake, we decided we decided we needed to step up their eye protection. We bought this pair of sunglasses for Hailey (7 years old) and she LOVES them. They stay on and feel great.
We have yet to find a pair that fits Kaitlyn right. Any suggestions for toddler sized sunglasses?
Life Jacket: When the girls were toddlers, this incredible swim floatie was our jam. We even bought two to always have a back-up on hand. But now that the girls are a little older, we needed something more substantial for them for our trip, for kayaking, for SUP’ing, etc.
We went on a life-jacket try on journey (it was as exhausting as it sounds) and ended up getting them different life jackets that suited each of them best. Hailey (7) chose this life jacket because it was sleek and comfortable. Kaitlyn (4) chose this life jacket because her arms could move around freely and there was no strap rubbing her legs raw.
Summer Must Haves for Outings with Kids
Waterproof Picnic Blanket: We have had this portable, water-resistant picnic blanket for years and can vouch for it. I always keep it in the back of the car for impromptu picnics. If you are after something that is simple and cheap but gets the job done, this is a good option.
Cooler Bag: Any mom can tell you, it’s worth it to invest in a quality cooler bag. Over the years I’ve dealt with leaks, straps ripping, or too small options, so this year I’ve decided no more. While yes, a YETI would be great, this highly-rates, well-priced cooler bag with removable hard insert fits the budget much better.
Large Tote Bag: Because we have to have somewhere to fit 12 towels, a bucket of sunscreen, and 572 Barbies. This over-sized water-resistant tote with a sturdy base is a great option, and cute, too. I’ve also heard great things about the Bogg Bag!
Beach Tent: If you have a family beach trip on the books, and little kids in tow, a sturdy beach tent is a great investment. Whether for naps, snacks, or just to take a break from the sun, it’s totally worth it. If you are only hitting up the beach once, or don’t think you’ll need it for years to come, check out a budget option instead.
Hydro Flask Insulated Water Bottle: Our go-to water bottles are the Life Factory Glass bottles with silicone sleeve. However, during the hot months, we need insulation to keep our drinking water from boiling. For that, the kids’ Hydro Flask is a perfect option- and it comes in so many cute colors, too!
Summer Must Haves for Having Fun
Easy Fill Water Balloons It’s easy to be the fun mom when you can fill up and tie off 100 water balloons in under 60 seconds! These are a summer fun staple.
Popsicle Mold: You knew popsicles had to be on this list because all kids LOVE them. Make them healthier by making them yourself using this easy popsicle mold (with drip guards!).
Bluetooth Speaker: We use our Bluetooth speaker on the daily- for music and for the girls to listen to audio books on Hoopla. We love our waterproof and shockproof Bluetooth speaker and always bring it down to the dock, to the pool, to the beach and to the back deck to grill out with us.
Water Table: There are certainly a lot of cutesy options for toddlers, but my girls have enjoyed water tables so much that I’m considering buying a sturdy version to set up on the back porch. While 7 might be getting a little old for a water table, I can still picture them enjoying splashing around in it together.
*And one last bonus item!* If you are a girl mom and don’t have one of these yet, buy one today! For after the bath, after the shower, after the pool, or after the splash pad. Forget tidying up, these provide the true life changing magic of tear-free de-tangling!
SHARE WITH ME!
What is one of your summer must-have items?