A list of 25 toddler summer essentials for safe outdoor play range from toys and water games to sun protection and safety
After spending 2 summers indoors due to COVID, we are excited to get outside and soak up some sunshine with our 14-month-old. Vihaan loves to play outdoors, and we encourage it more than anything. He enjoys playing in the soil and talking to the trees! I am eager for him to experience everything the warm weather offers.
Our favorite must-have items for a toddler in the summer range from toys and water games to sun protection and safety. Vihaan is 14 months old, and everything shared in the post is safe for a 14-month-old or older.
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Toddler Summer Essentials
Toddler Summer Essentials for Sun Protection and Safety
While I love taking him out, I also worry about protecting him from harmful UV rays, insects, and tick bites.
Sunscreen is an absolute summer must-have. There are so many brands out there that make baby-safe sunscreen. I encourage you to do some research to pick a brand that is safe and not greenwashed. I use Badger Mineral Sunscreen for Baby on my toddler; it’s one of the best natural, mineral-based sunscreens that offer superior protection without any dangerous chemicals or ingredients. It’s water-resistant and needs minimal rubbing for the white cast to go away. I found out about these UV stickers that change color when it’s time to reapply your sunscreen; this will be very helpful for beach outings.
2. Sponge Applicator
3. Bug and Tick Repellent
I learned the hard way that Bug Repellents don’t protect from Ticks. While we live and used the Badger Bug Repellent for years, it doesn’t work for Ticks. We recently bought this natural Bug + Tick repellent from Wholefoods, and it’s been working well so far. I also keep these Mosquito patch stickers handy when we go camping.
4. UV Swimwear Separate
When buying swimwear for toddlers, there are a couple of things to consider: ONE- Make sure the bathing suit has a UPF index, which means they are UV protected, similar to SPF. So you don’t need to worry about lathering sunscreen all over your child’s body!
Two- Opt for two-piece swimwear, as pulling off a wet bathing suit is almost impossible. Swim separates are a breeze to pull on and off for you and your child.
I prefer full sleeve Rashguard shirts for V for more protection and pair them with swim diapers. Linking a lot of cute UV swim separates below.
5. Adjustable Wide-Brim Sun Hat
Little V is notorious for pulling his hat off. If your toddler is the same, get an adjustable sun hat. It makes it a little more difficult for them to take it off. The wide brim and UPF 50 provide sun protection. The adjustable toggle on the head is a bonus as it creates a custom fit and keeps the hat in place.
6. Adjustable Sunglasses
Toddler Summer Essentials For Beach or Pool
Let your toddler have some fun with water whether it’s at home or pool, or beach
7. Swim Diapers
If your toddler is not potty trained, swim diapers are a must. Regular diapers swell up when in contact with water.
Note- Swim diapers are designed to withstand water and contain solids. They aren’t meant to absorb. Yep, that means pee will pass through to the water, but they will keep the poop inside. I have learned this the hard way 😀 Put the swim diaper on your child right before they get into the water and change them into a regular diaper when they are off the water. For some absorption, you can purchase absorbent inserts for the swim diaper while they toddle around on land.
These are the swim diapers we use; they are reusable. Get the ones that have snaps at the side. Easy to drag a poopy diaper off your baby’s legs and feet. Also, this brand runs really small, so size up. These are disposable swim diapers.
8. Water Shoes
Water shoes protect their feet from burning while walking near the pool or playing in the sand. I recommend getting a covered shoe rather than flip-flops for more coverage and protection. I got these water shoes for V last year; they are durable and have no-slip soles for traction on slippery surfaces, which is uncommon in most water shoes. This year, I am looking for a strap open so he can wear it by himself. I got these.
9. Puddle Jumper & Floaters
The Puddle jumpers are great floating devices for little ones. The design wraps around both the chest and arms so they can safely float in the water. This float activity center with a canopy is great for little ones.
10. Beach Tent
If you want to spend more time at the beach, consider investing in a pop-up beach tent or canopy umbrella. It would be great for the toddler to play in the sand without worrying about sunburns, or you can relax, take a nap or read a book while watching the waves. It’s totally worth it! These play sets come with a mesh bag which makes it easy to take the sand off.
11. Poncho or Hooded Quick Dry Towel
12. Sand Toys
Highly recommend getting a sand playset for your toddler; it promotes independent and sensory play. We took this on our beach trip over the weekend. It kept V entertained for a couple of hours; he didn’t bother if we were there; he was completely occupied scooping sand, pouring it into the bucket, and making sand molds. We enjoyed relaxing and chatting with friends. The playset is made with recycled plastic, so it’s a bit pricey compared to other options.
13. Talc Free Baby powder to remove Sand
Toddler Summer Essentials for Outings
14. Waterproof Picnic Blanket
We have had this portable waterproof blanket for a year and can vouch for it. It’s beautiful and folds into a compact bag with a shoulder-carrying strap. It’s lightly padded and great for camping and with active toddlers. Here is an affordable option (it’s $16)
15. Stroller Fan
A stroller fan can help keep the toddler cool and breezy in the warm summer months. It’s versatile; you can attach it to the car seat, stroller, or anywhere.
16. Stroller Mosquito Net
A stroller mosquito net is necessary if you enjoy taking strolls in the park or hiking. We have this one; it’s one of the things I added to my Baby Registry and received as one of the baby shower gifts. It’s large enough to fit on any stroller.
17. Insulated Water Bottle
Hydro Flask stainless steel water bottle is hands-down one of the best-insulated bottles I got. Water stays cold or hot easily for 2 days. We own them in kid and adult sizes, and I also bought them for my parents and in-laws. Another brand I absolutely love for Adults is Stanley, the best part about these bottles is they fit into the car and other cup holders and are made with stainless steel and recycled plastic.
18. Collapsible Wagon Stroller
We have Veer Wagon Cruiser, it’s expensive,, but you pay for this wagon’s quality and uniqueness. It’s solid and extremely well-made. The push is easy, and the wheels are good on all terrain. It’s the best all-terrain wagon on the market. If you do a lot of outdoor trips, it’s definitely worth every penny. We took this on our beach trip over the weekend. We had to walk for 10 mins to meet our friends; V enjoyed this chariot ride, it was easy to cruise in the sand and narrow and bumpy walk trails, and we totally loved it. It’s also quick and easy to fold and toss in the car. Affordable option here
19. Portable Travel Booster Chair with Tray
Instead of getting a camping chair for your toddler, get this booster seat which doubles as a camping chair and a portable high chair.
20. Balance Bike
Do you know you can introduce a balance bike as early as 18 months? What distinguishes a balance bike from a bike with training wheels? Balance bikes are lower to the ground and more accessible to younger children. They are also light and easy to ride compared to 12″ inch bikes with training wheels. My 2-year-old has been loving his Strider balance bike; he is learning steering and balancing, which are the foundation for leading to riding a pedal bike. The helmet above is a little too big for a 2 year. I ended up getting this smaller one.
Toddler Summer Essentials for Playtime
21. Kiddie Pool or Water Table
I haven’t met a toddler who doesn’t love playing in the water. A Kiddie pool or water table can keep them entertained for hours. We opted for a kiddy pool for several reasons-
- It’s affordable compared to the water table.
- The kiddie pool allows the little one to play in the water without a floatation device. It helps them gain confidence in the water and become familiar and comfortable with it.
- You can use the pool for sensory activities. I add food color and floating or bath toys and throw in ladles or butterfly net to scoop and play, or I add body soap and give my little one a bubble bath experience outdoors.
- My son loves the flexibility of getting in and out of the pool, which he doesn’t have in the bathtub. He also loves filling the tub with water with the hose.
We used a bike pressure pump to inflate it. If inflating this is a pain, here is a foldable kiddy pool
22. Bubble Machine
This automatic bubble machine is AMAZING. My son gets super excited whenever I turn this on; he says bubbbaa and chases them. You can use this for outdoor birthday parties and photoshoots as well.
V loves playing in the sand; we recently got this Sandbox. It’s bigger in size compared to most sandbox and affordable, too (currently on sale for $84). My husband and I can sit in it with my son in a spare room; it’s a good size and quality for the price—definitely a good buy.
If you’re trying to keep your toddler outdoors more, a sandbox will definitely do the charm. I am linking a few options to consider. Added few more options in the slider below
24. Bubble Bath Soap
Love this Tubby Todd bubble bath soap. You only need very little soap to fill the tub with bubbles; less soap means less dryness!
Toddler Summer Essentials for NightTime
25. Breathable Sleepwear
I can’t end this post without sharing these pajamas. They are soooo soft, lightweight, and breathable. Vihaan sleeps well in them. I also found some cute ones at Old Navy and Gap Kids and added them in the slider below.
Did I miss anything? Please add them in the comments below-