Encouraging your kids to play can be a messy business. It seems that the dirtier a kid gets, the more fun is likely to be had.
Spring and summer are the time of sun and showers, of puddles and mud. And part of being willing to let your kids go and play is the knowledge that you are prepared for the consequences. Many times I have heard a parent shout at their kid to get away from that puddle! When frankly, puddles can offer more play value than the whole of the playground equipment at some parks.
BUT if you aren’t prepared, what choice do you have?
Solution: BE PREPARED.
You need to have your car stocked with the essentials. You need to be prepared for water, mud, rain, sand, sun, extra time away from home because the kids are having so much fun, all that stuff needs to covered.
So here’s my list of the Summer Car Essentials:
1. A change of clothes for each child. Having backup clothes makes all the difference, especially if you are planning on going out after your trip to the park. If you don’t have one other thing on the list, make sure you keep that change of clothes in the car.
1b. A sweatshirt/sweater/jacket for those cool evenings.
2. A bathing suit for everyone (shorts can do double duty as bathing suit or change of clothes for the boys), you never know when you might happen upon a nice body of water for some fun while you are out.
3. Sunscreen is important when you get caught out for much longer than you had planned, particularly if you have a fair skinned family.
4. Towels. At least one.
5. Food. For me, that means healthy snacks. I keep dates in the car all summer long. Nuts are also a good source of healthy shelf-stable calories. There are also granola bars, crackers, and things like that, less healthy, but anything that can keep you from stopping off at a fast food joint on the way home or tide you over while you are waiting for your kids to be ready to leave the park is good. I also tend to throw a couple of apples of bananas in my bag as we’re heading out, but it’s nice to keep food in the car in case you forget. And that way if your car breaks down in the middle of the desert you’ll have something to eat besides the crayons.
6. A Basketball. That’s for me, if we’re at a park with a hoop. 🙂
7. Frisbee, bubbles, balls, shovels, buckets, rackets these things are all nice, but who has room for everything in their car? This stuff isn’t essential, but a few toys in the car can really come in handy.
Being prepared can be the difference between being a “no” mom and a “yes” mom. And everyone knows that YES is always more fun. So pack your car, and enjoy your summer.