Summer in the East Valley starts in May and seems to last well into the fall. For us that means our days are full of splash pads, city pools, picnics in the shade, BBQs and pretty much bouncing around town all day to try to avoid feeing cooped up in the house.
Inevitably, I end up out of the house wishing I had this or that with me, so I have started to keep a few things in my car for those occasions. It’s perfect for those afternoons when you decide to make an impromptu stop at the splash pad so the kids can get out a little energy before dinner.
I like to call it my Summer Car Kit. I’ll share below my must have basics for our kit, but it can be tweaked to fit your needs. I have toddlers, so mine if full of things like snacks and diapers, but feel free to swap out or add things that you think you’ll need.
First things first, you will need a container to hold all your stuff. I picked up a clear plastic tote bin from Walmart for a couple bucks. Next is the fun part -filling it!
I’ll be sure to caution that anything you keep in there needs to be able to withstand excessive heat. Keep that in mind when packing it up and be sure to check on things every so often to make sure all the items in there are surviving the summer.
- Change of clothes. This one is pretty obvious, kids get dirty/muddy (or you know, poop happens). I also keep a spare pair of socks in there, too.
- Swim suits. I got back up suits just for this car kit. My little guy practically lives in swimwear in the summer, but it doesn’t hurt to have one for on the go! I also keep an extra for me just in case I want to jump in, too
- Hats. I’ve got a cute little bucket hat and a baseball cap for each of my kids and myself. These have come in handy more than I expected.
- Shoes. I like to have a pair of sandal style shoes for those last minute splash pad trips. I have some cheap, Old Navy $1 flip flops for all of us in there.
- Sunglasses. It’s Arizona – we live in these, right? I don’t think it hurts to have them stashed everywhere, especially for the kids who seem to lose them.
- Beach Towels. I like to have a small lighter weight one so it doesn’t take up much room. It can also double as a blanket for the grass. I keep one for each of us!
- Sunscreen – This is a MUST! I use a baby one for my little guy and a spray sunscreen for myself. Watch out for stick sunscreen because they tend to melt in the heat. I would make sure these are stored in a Ziplock and under the towels to protect from the heat as much as possible.
- Suds2Go – This portable hand washing system was created by a local mom and it’s super convenient for hand washing on the go. Sometimes hand sanitizer and wipes just don’t get the job done and hauling kids to a public restroom can be a nightmare. This is easy to use and super handy to keep in the car!
- Toys. I have a small little set of sand/water toys from the Dollar Spot at Target. Cars, cups, bubbles are also fun little things that are good for impromptu park or splash pad visits. Goggles and floaties are also good if you end up at a pool.
- Baby Wipes. As we phase out of diapers in my house, I can’t imagine life without wipes. Baby wipes and sanitizing wipes are both good to keep in the car.
- First Aid Kit. Kids are clumsy! Plenty of bandaids, some gauze and a few lollipops are good to have on hand.
- Snacks. I love having packets of freeze dried fruit on hand for snacking or raisins. A bar or two for me is helpful, too! Basically anything that won’t melt or spoil is good.
- Reusable Tote Bag. Or a couple grocery bags work too. Great for trash, stinky diapers, wet clothes…you name it!
- Diapers. I have both swim diapers and regular diapers on hand.
- Stuff for Mom. Hair ties, bobby pins, a hairbrush(for the kids, too) period essentials, Kleenex, snacks and a change of clothes for me, too.
I also like to keep a fold up picnic blanket and a light weight stroller or foldable wagon in the car, too!
So there you have it! My Summer Car Kit all ready for summer adventures around the valley! Here is a fun Summer Car Kit Checklist for you to make sure you have everything you need!