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.
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.
1. Natural Sunscreen
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 some rubbing for the white cast to go away, but it’s safe and works.
Shop Badger Mineral Sunscreen for Baby
2. Sunscreen Applicator
This sponge applicator makes applying sunscreen easy and quick. Alternatively, you can also use a beauty blender for smooth application.
3. Bug and Tick Repellent
I learned the hard way that Bug Repellents don’t protect from Ticks. We’ve been using Badger Bug Repellent for years, which works great as a mosquito repellent. Recently bought this natural Tick spray which has effectively kept ticks away.
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 with swim diaper. 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
These baby sunglasses are the cutest! I love that they have a comfortable adjustable strap to keep them on your baby’s face. Another cute option is with a stay-put band.
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 an adjustable one he can wear alone. Thinking of getting these. These are another popular option but expensive.
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 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!
11. Hooded Quick Dry Towel
The muslin hooded towel is soft and dried quickly. Highly recommend it.
12. Sand Play Set
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 our friends. The playset is made with recycled plastic, so it’s a bit pricey compared to other options. I got this beach toy set recently.
Toddler Summer Essentials for Outings
13. 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)
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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
18. Portable Travel Booster Chair with Tray
Instead of getting a camping chair for your toddler, get this booster seat, which is a camping chair and portable high chair.
Shop: Portable High Chair
19. 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 Having Fun
20. Mini Pool or Water Table
I don’t know a toddler who doesn’t love playing in the water. A mini pool or water table can keep them entertained for hours. We got the kiddy pool for several reasons-
- It’s affordable compared to the water table.
- The toddler pool allows a little one to play in the water without a floatation device. It helps them gain confidence in the water and become familiar with and comfortable with it.
- You can use the pool for sensory activities. I add some food colors, floating toys, and a butterfly net to scoop them.
- 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 the tub, but the balloon pressure pump don’t work
Shop: Mini Pool Option 1, Option 2; Water Table Option 1, Option 2
21. Water Toys
My little guy is obsessed with water. Whether it’s playing in the bathtub or water puddles or in the beach. I got this Bath toys set to help him transition from the small tub to the big bathtub and it worked like a charm. The toy set comes with a lot of attachments like stacking cups that can be used in the mini pool as toys. This Ferry boat toy is another favorite water toy of V.
V loves playing in the sand, I am sure all kids too. I was planning to get this Sandbox for him but Rajesh promised he will DIY it. I am eager to see how it unfolds. 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.
23. Bubble Machine
We haven’t introduced bubbles to V yet, I am waiting for this automatic bubble machine to get delivered. I read that toddlers love bubbles, it provides hours of enjoyment. I can’t wait to see how V responds to it.
Shop: Automatic bubble machine; No-spill Manual bubble blower (kids can blow their bubbles without the mess)
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!
Shop: Bubble Bath Soap
Toddler Summer Essentials for NightTime
25. Breathable Sleepwear
I can’t end this post without sharing these pajamas. I struggled to find good sleepwear for Vihaan. He doesn’t like wearing full sleeves to bed, he constantly pulls the sleeves so we had to say goodbye to playsuits and I don’t want to use up all the cute rompers that I bought for daytime at night. After weeks of hunting, I found these cotton summer pajamas on Amazon, they are soooo soft, lightweight, and breathable. Vihaan sleeps well in them. I also found some cute ones at Old Navy
Shop: Cotton Pajamas Option 1, Option 2; Old navy Option 1, Option 2
Did I miss anything? Please add them in the comments below-