Make Your Life Easier and More Fun

It might be spring across the United States, but you wouldn’t think so in San Antonio.
In fact, this winter was the second warmest on record in San Antonio! While that might sound pleasing, it begs the question: What will summer be like?

Despite my aversion to blazing-hot temperatures, skin-burning leather seats and mosquitoes, we’ve managed to survive the summers relatively easily here. As with all mommy matters, it’s all about planning and preparation, and having the right tools can make all the difference.

So before the looming threats of heat, bugs and outdoor activities have you planning indoor activities all summer, here are 10 must-have items to help you survive the summer with little ones in San Antonio:

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Canopy
This is the most important item to have for the summer. Before you head to the river, the park, the beach or even your own backyard, consider bringing a canopy. It acts as a shield against harmful sun rays and provides the cool shade needed to make outdoor activities enjoyable.

Inflatable Pool
When temperatures start to rise, an inflatable pool can help children to cool off. Coupled with the canopy, it makes a great place for little ones to have fun outdoors. Inflatable pools can also double as a safe place for toddlers to play indoors, and if you throw in some plastic balls, you have an instant ball pit.

Collapsible Wagon
Compact and easily portable, collapsible wagons have a multitude of uses. You can conveniently cart all of your beach or river items (including the canopy) to your desired spot or use it as an impromptu bed for a toddler nap, and it’s great for towing the kids to the park. It comes in handy at festivals or anywhere your kids want to be free from the stroller, but you still need a place for them to sit. At home, I’ve also used it to cart heavy loads from the car into the house, so it’s useful year-round. (TIP: It’s worth splurging for the one with the removable canopy.)

Mesh Bag
It’s perhaps the cheapest and easiest item to carry around, so having a mesh bag on hand for summer activities is incredibly useful. You can use it to store and carry all the pails and shovels your little ones need for the beach. When you’ve done playing, just throw all the sand-covered items in the bag and shake. The sand falls out, the toys stay in. This limits the amount of sand you put into the car and/or bring into your home. The bags are also great for sports equipment, wet towels, wet shoes and deflated, wet inflatables, allowing them all to breathe or dry more easily while being transported. Perhaps the best part about mesh bags is that they’re washable and dry quickly — definitely a summer must-have.

Electric Air Pump
With all the floaties, tubes, inflatable pools and air mattresses awaiting summer visitors, an air pump makes inflation quick and easy. Setting up for summer fun can be done in five minutes, which is something excited (and impatient) kids will be happy about! We especially like the electric air pumps that can be powered via your car’s cigarette lighter. It makes filling your inflatables at your destination possible, while saving space in the trunk and making transport easy.

Collapsible Cooler and Reusable Ice Packs
Gone are the days of toting around a giant heavy plastic cooler. A collapsible cooler with reusable ice packs is so much easier. They keep food and drinks chilled just as well, with no ice to buy, with no water spills, no heavy load to carry, and afterwards, they’re great space-savers.

SPF/Sunscreen and Insect Repellent
With harmful sun rays and the threat of West Nile, protecting your little ones from the sun and bug bites is important, so keeping these two items on hand is a must. According to the CDC on repellents, “Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of 3 years.”* They also recommend that you use your hands to apply the product to your face, being careful to avoid your eyes and mouth. For children, they suggest not spraying their hands, as young children tend to touch their eyes and mouths often. Always apply sunscreen before repellent, with repellent being sprayed above clothing, and try to avoid cuts or scrapes.

First-Aid Kit
Whether you’re out exploring Government State Canyon Park, collecting seashells at the beach or enjoying a tube ride down the river, accidents happen. For all the minor cuts and scrapes that accompany outdoor summer activities, being prepared is easy by keeping a first-aid kit in the car.

Finding things to do in the summer is the easy part — the hard part is combating summer woes. Putting together an arsenal of tools like the ones mentioned above can make summer fun more enjoyable for you and your little ones!

*Insect Repellent Use & Safety. (2015, March 31). Retrieved March 27, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html.

By Pamela V. Miller