A list of 25 toddler summer essentials for the 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 has to offer.
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, 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 a bit of research to pick the brand that is actually safe and not greenwashed. I use Badger Mineral Sunscreen for Baby on little V, 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 a little bit of rubbing for the white cast to go away but it’s safe and works.
2. 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 and it works great as a mosquito repellent. Recently bought this natural Tick spray which has been effective in keeping ticks away.
3. UV Swimwear Separate
When buying swimwear for toddlers, 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 both you and your child.
I got this full sleeve Rashguard shirt for V and I pair it with a swim diaper. Linking a lot of cute UV swim separates below
4. 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.
5. 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.
Toddler Summer Essentials For Beach or Pool
Let your toddler have some fun with water whether it’s at home or pool or beach
6. 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 are getting 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 re-usable. Get the ones that have snaps at the side. Easy to drag a poopy diaper down off your baby’s legs and feet. Also, this brand runs really small, so size up.
7. 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, they are durable and have good quality sole compared to other water shoes. We also use them as lawn shoes sometimes when I can’t find the Crocs. Very Cute looking, with no-slip soles for traction on slippery surfaces and dries out quickly.
8. 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.
9. Beach Tent
If you are looking to spend more time at the beach, consider investing in a beach tent or a canopy umbrella. It would be great for the toddler to play in the sand for long without worrying about sunburns or you can relax, take a nap or read a book while watching the waves. It’s totally worth it!
10. 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 care if we were there, he was completely occupied scooping sand and pouring it into the bucket and making sand molds. We had a nice time relaxing and chatting with our friends without worrying about him. The playset is made with recycled plastic which is why it’s a bit pricey compared to other options.
Shop: Sand PlaySet
11. Hooded Quick Dry Towel
The muslin hooded towel is soft, big, and lightweight. Highly recommend it.
Shop: Hooded towel
Toddler Summer Essentials for Outings
12. Waterproof Picnic Blanket
We have had this portable waterproof blanket for a year now and can vouch for it. It’s beautiful and folds into a compact bag with a shoulder-carrying strap. It’s lightly padded, great for camping, and with active toddlers.
13. 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 or stroller or literally anywhere.
Shop: Stroller Fan
14. Stroller Mosquito Net
If you enjoy taking strolls in the park or going on a hike, a stroller mosquito net is a must-have. We have this one, it’s one of the things I added to my Baby Registry and received it as one of the baby shower gifts. It’s large enough to fit on any stroller.
15. Market Tote
Get this market tote and thank me later. Great for outings, picnics, camping, and grocery shopping. Highly recommend it, it’s affordable and the prints are so fun and cute.
16. Insulated Water Bottle
Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Water bottle is handsdown the best-insulated bottle. Water stays cold or hot easily for 2 days. We own four of these bottles, it helps me to stay hydrated, and also bought them for my parents and in-laws. They also come in kid-size.
17. Collapsible Wagon Stroller
We have Veer Wagon Cruiser, it’s expensive but you pay for the quality and the uniqueness of this wagon. It’s solid and extremely well made. The push is super 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 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 love it. It’s also quick and easy to fold and toss in the car.
18. Portable Travel Booster Seat with Tray
Instead of getting a camping chair for your toddler get this booster seat, which duals as a camping chair and portable high chair.
Shop: Portable High Chair
19. Trike or Tricycle Stroller
I recently learned that we can introduce trike at age 1. What distinguishes a tricycle from a bike (besides the obvious wheel count!) is that they tend to be lower to the ground and have larger wheels, making them better suited for young children. We have a Bently trike, it was a gift from the brand. We haven’t started using it yet so can’t share my review today but will surely update the post on how we like it soon. I linked a few trikes I found based on the reviews.
Toddler Summer Essentials for Having Fun
20. Mini Pool or Water Table
Choosing between a mini pool and a water table was not an easy decision. We went with the mini pool cause you can deflate and store it, takes very less space compared to the water table. I think the pool offers more open-end play compared to the water table. Lastly, you can re-use all the water toys that you already own in the pool. Did I convince you to get a pool yet? lol! It wasn’t my intention, just shared my thought process behind getting a pool. You can totally get both if you have the space.
Vihaan loves the pool, well he loves everything that involves water, he loves the flexibility of getting in and out of the pool which he doesn’t have in the bathtub. This pool is very affordable but we had to use a bike pressure pump to inflate it, the balloon pressure pump didn’t work.
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.
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
Did I miss anything? Please add them in the comments below-