toddler toys

4 Summer Toddler Essentials

summer toddler essentials

Summer weather has just barely started here in Oregon. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen a few stories about playing outside with Forrest in the afternoon. One day, the weather even topped 75 degrees, a true feat! 

However, as the summer rapidly approaches, I start thinking about all the things that toddler's need during the day--especially during the summer. If your toddler is like my toddler, they are, essentially, needy creatures. 24/7 need. And again, if your toddler is like my toddler, they want to be outside, and playing, and not eating or sleeping or drinking, 100% of the time. 

For that reason, I made a list of our summer essentials. The 4 things that, if nothing else, I will make sure we have to keep Forrest entertained and healthy. Here they are. 

sunscreen for toddlers

1. Lots of sunscreen. 

If you've ever read my blog (and fingercrossed you have), you know that I wear sunscreen all year round. I'm incredibly pale and very prone to sun damage. Needless to say, my son did not inherit my husband's olive-toned, hearty skin. Ugh. He gets absolutely slathered before we go outside, even on overcast days. We are barely making it through molars; I am not adding sunburn to that mix! 

I'm a big fan of Babyganics sunscreen (as well as their other products) for my son. He has pretty sensitive skin (again, like mine, sorry kid!) and gets rashes very easily. I have found that Babyganics is the only thing that doesn't end up giving him a bumpy rash. Also, the sunscreen sticks are super convenient.

2. Hats.

Being totally honest, I really despite the hats that are available for toddlers. They're all bucket hats. Yes, all of them. It's awful. I guess they're cute, if you stretch your imagination and accept that anything slightly smaller than normal is cute. But they're still bucket hats. 

As ugly as I find them though, I put one on Forrest's little head every time we go outside. Why? It covers his face, protecting his eyes and face from the sun. Again: sun damage. If your toddler has more hair than mine (which, 98% of toddlers do, unfortunately), you might be able to skip a hat if you get a good layer of sunscreen on the face. But for the bald toddlers out there, solidarity; my kid has to wear one of these things. (This one from Carter's isn't too tragic, and even with Forrest's 66% size head, he can fit into the 9m size!)  

3. A toddler leash

You read that right! You see that picture correctly! I am recommending, yes, a leash for your child. Here's why: toddlers are super independent. Their growing independence is linked to their bad behavior (terrible 2s, anyone?), their sleep regressions (ugh), and their occasional refusal to eat. Those trips to the zoo, to Target, to Disneyland, to the grandparents, they don't want to be held. They don't want to be worn. They don't want to sit in their hot, uncomfortable stroller. They wanna walk, baby!

So let them. Buy the leash. I like these backpack versions. (We actually own a dog-shaped version ourselves.) They can love it by helping you put their things into it: a favorite toy or book, a sippy cup, a sunscreen stick, and then zipping it up. Then attach the leash and let them get their independence on while also being able to keep them close. It's a win-win. 

4. Some kind of outdoor toy

I am not personally a fan of the water table (in Oregon, these just mold within a few weeks), but some people (and climates) totally love them. If you're really coveting the one in the photo, you can check it out here. Otherwise, I have a few other suggestions: 

  • Bubbles
  • Sand toys (even if you don't have a sand box or table) 
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Toy brooms
  • Soccer ball or tennis balls

Basically, I'm a fan of keeping outdoor toys simple. Forrest has the most fun outside with his little bucket of sand toys, some bubbles, and nature, honestly.