Summer Essentials List
Summer Essentials List

When the school announces the last day, I am one part YAY and one part OH HECK. It means the kids will have more freedom to roam and explore, which is exciting but also daunting. I want them to enjoy their summer and I want to enjoy mine as well. So it’s a matter of finding a balance of being structured, easy breezy and prepared.

The stores know, too, so you’ve likely been seeing a lot of ads for things to help you find this magical balance. Over the years, I’ve found a few things that work well for my household. These are things I like to have on hand that I can use at home, on the road, at the pool and whenever, wherever.

My Summer Essentials List

Links to my favorite items are below.

  1. Drink pouches.

    Remember CapriSuns? Well, I shouldn’t say remember - they are still very much a thing. Well, now you can buy the empty pouches. This means you can take an empty pouch with you to the airport and then fill with water before boarding. You can fill them with your kids favorite drinks before going out for a little jaunt. You can mix libations for yourself and friends before heading to the pool or beach. The world is your oyster.

  2. Popsicle molds.

    I love a popsicle. There’s something nostalgic about them and they're just plain fun. (Fun fact: whenever my son goes to my parents’ house, he always asks for a banana popsicle. There is nothing nutritious about this. I bought them for our house and they went uneaten. Go figure.) Also, I think all foods on a stick just taste better. I love how we can make them be whatever we want them to be. Make up smoothies that kids would otherwise never drink and suddenly they magically disappear when frozen on a stick. You can add juices, yogurt, really anything you want. And the kids like to help make them. Popsicles make summer days better.

  3. Popup tent.

    This is a game changer for beach days and park outings. When the sun begins to get too much, pop that baby up and get some relief. Perfect for naps.

  4. Water balloons.

    There’s nothing quite like throwing a water balloon at your kid. If you know, you know. Seriously, water balloon fights are the best.

  5. Bluetooth speaker.

    You gotta be able to crank the tunes and do a little sing along whenever the mood hits you. That means having a fully charged bluetooth speaker.

  6. Portable phone/tablet chargers.

    There’s nothing like getting ready to film your TikTok and having your phone on its last leg. Or being ready to order pizza delivery at the pool and having no battery. I buy a few and keep them charged and ready to roll. And don’t forget the waterproof phone pouch.

  7. Sunscreen.

    I like to keep a few bottles on hand at all times so we stay ready. This skin is the only one you’re going to get - protect it. Be sure to get one based on your activities and any special skincare needs you may have.

  8. Beach shoes.

    I like to keep flip flops in my car, in my beach/pool bag, in the house. This way, I’m always ready for pedicures and impromptu water activities. Also, it’s pretty much guaranteed that when you’re ready to go, you or a kiddo won’t be able to find your shoes.

  9. Sunglasses.

    Sunglasses. I have my fancy shades and then I have my shades that don’t conjure tears if they get lost or stepped on. Both are essential for summer. (Keep the latter in bulk.)

  10. Waterproof blanket.

    I like a waterproof blanket to put underneath a regular blanket when we’re having a picnic, as a place to have a seat when we’re outdoors and need a rest and on the beach when we’re building sandcastles.

  11. Large tote.

    If you’re going to be prepared, you need a bag. My tote usually doubles as my purse and can close with all of my things inside. Get a nice one so you can go effortlessly from place to place.

  12. Ponchos.

    These inexpensive pieces of plastics come in handy when you’re out and about and get caught in a shower. I usually keep a few ponchos in the car and put one for each person in my bag. They have saved the day countless times - at Disney, the beach, the park, concerts, and other places where an umbrella is either not allowed or not ideal.

  13. Good towels.

    You deserve good towels. Keep a solid set of beach towels on-hand so you are ready for beach and pool time whenever the occasion arises.

  14. Wagon.

    My wagon is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I use it to transport items to school (teacher gifts, class party items, etc.) and when I am Team Too Much at the beach. Save yourself the back and forth and get one. No regrets.

  15. Collapsible cooler.

    If you’re living life, your cooler will be much emptier on the way back than it was when you arrived. The collapsible version will help you save space.

  16. Disposable plates and cups.

    Who’s washing dishes in the summer? Ha! Let’s get the disposable plates and cups and keep it moving.

  17. Refillable cups.

    I like buying large bottles of perrier and whatnot and taking them with us to the beach and pool. Refillable cups with lids keep bugs from getting in our drinks and stops spills. If you get insulated cups, you can make sure your drinks stay icy. And don’t forget the beach drink coaster.

  18. Outdoor games.

    Some games are just meant for the summer. Cornhole. Ladderball. Giant Connect Four. Baseball. Football. Bocce Ball. Frisbee. Spikeball. Some are great on the go and some are better suited for home. All are a good time.

  19. Picnic basket.

    I love a good picnic and there is something retro about having a real picnic basket.

  20. First aid kit.

    My kit includes: bandaids, neosporin, wound cleanser, instant ice pack, benadryl, and individual dissolvable acetaminophen packs.

These are my top 20. What’s on your essential list?

Links to My Favorite Summer Essential Items