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26 Toddler Summer Essentials to Keep them Safe, Happy + Entertained

Between all their energy, curiosity, and desire to be outside, it can be overwhelming to be a parent of a toddler. If you are like me, you probably want to encourage them to be outside enjoying the fresh air. But, how do you keep them safe, entertained, and happy? Here are 26 Toddler Summer Essentials that will help you keep your little one busy while being outside, and sunburn-free!

At first, I was a bit overwhelmed by how to keep my toddler entertained and safe during the summer heat. So, I started to do some research on what summer essentials would help us to make memories and keep me from worrying about her safety.

Here are the Top 25 Toddler Summer Essentials

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1. UV Swimwear Separates 

Every toddler absolutely needs these. Even if you don’t plan on going to the pool or beach. My daughter loves to play outside with our DIY water activities (I’ll share more about this later).

You know how sticky those bathing suits get and it’s almost impossible to get them off. Having swim separates makes taking off their swimsuit a breeze! Not to mention it has UV protection as well, so you don’t need to worry about lathering up with sunscreen!

Check out my favorite UV Swimwear Separates for Toddlers!

2. Swim Diapers

If your child isn’t potty trained yet, reusable swim diapers are awesome! At the beginning of the summer, I purchased a bag of size 3 disposable swimmies….. and we didn’t even finish the pack because she grew out of them! Essentially, we wasted money and diapers. 

Check out my favorite Swim Diapers for Toddler!

3. Wet bag

Every parent needs these!! Whether your toddler has a potty accident, or you’ve spent the day at the pool and they want to change into dry clothes, wet bags come in super handy. This will help you to keep those clothes separate, so they don’t ruin your diaper bag or clean clothes!

4. Adjustable Sun Hat

Is it just my kid or does every toddler refuse to keep anything on their head? I’ve found it so helpful to get an adjustable sun hat. It makes it much more difficult for them to take off, which will keep their little face safe from the sun!

Check out my favorite Adjustable Sun Hats for Toddler!

5. Breathable Shoes and Water shoes

Toddlers do LOTS of walking. It’s really important to have good quality shoes to support their feet.

Although I don’t mind my daughter going barefoot sometimes, I like to have a few different pairs of shoes for summer that will help protect her feet…. No matter where we are!

1. Breathable Shoes – Getting a shoe that’s breathable and doesn’t require socks is a win-win for summer! (Check out my Favorite Breathable Toddler Shoes!)

2. Water Shoes – The sun can make the concrete, your deck, and even sand unbearably hot for your little one. Having water shoes will help them to keep playing and exploring, no matter how hot it is out!

6. Outside ONLY Play Clothes

Toddlers are messy! Especially when they are exploring. I love to watch my daughter discover new things and play in the dirt, rocks, and sand. Although, this ruins so many outfits.

I’ve found it important to have play clothes so that I can let my toddler enjoy playing outside – without the fear of her ruining her clothes.

7. UV Shirt

Every toddler mama needs UV shirts. They will help you to keep your little one’s sensitive skin out of the direct sun, without needing to keep reapplying sunscreen. 

Check out my favorite Sun Protective Clothing for Toddlers (they even have dresses!)

8. Floaties or LIfevest

Swim safety is important to mamas of toddlers. I highly recommend investing in a good floaty or life vest. This will give you a little more peace of mind as your child learns how to enjoy the water.

9. Mini Pool

I’m going to be completely honest, I didn’t think we NEEDED this. But, my sister-in-law bought a mini pool for my daughter and it was her favorite thing. She could hop in and out as she pleases. I didn’t have to worry (too much), since we didn’t fill it with too much water.

10. Water Toys

What’s up with toddlers and their obsession with water? We just spent the week at the Silos in Waco, Texas…. And you know what my daughter’s favorite thing was? The water features throughout the grounds. 

At home, I fill up a bucket or tote of water and give her bowls, cups, spoons, a strainer, and other random household things. I couldn’t believe that she spent over 2 hours just playing… by herself! You definitely don’t need anything fancy.

11. Sunscreen

Yes, yes this might seem obvious. I want to encourage you to do a bit of research though into the best brand of sunscreen for your toddler. There are so many brands to choose from. You may need to do a bit of trial and error to find something that works for your kiddo.

I have made natural sunscreen in the past, although it’s a bit of work. If you want something more natural or your toddler skin is sensitive, you should definitely try this recipe from Our Oily House (I loved it!!)

Check out my favorite Sunscreen for Toddlers!

12. Bug Repellant 

Again, you might be compelled to skip over this one. But, bug repellants have so many toxins. Take some time to find a bug repellant that is healthy for your toddler and will keep those pesky bugs away!

BuzzPatch actually sent me a free sample of their Bug Repellant Stickers… and I’m OBSESSED! They work really well and are non-toxic…. so you could even put this on the stroller or carseat of a younger baby.

Check out my favorite Bug Repellant Stickers!

13. Joovy Tricycle

This is actually on my daughter’s birthday wishlist. My best friend’s daughter has one and is OBSESSED!!!! I feel like every parent needs this. It encourages your toddler to get their energy out and keeps them contained while you are walking. It’s a win-win for you and your kiddo!

Check out the Joovy Tricycle!

14. Wagon

If you are a mama to multiples, you have toddlers close in age, or you plan to make frequent trips that require a bit more packing, you need a wagon. I had no idea they had so many cool looking wagons, that seat up to 4 kids. They actually remind me of a stroller, but way more functional for older kids!

Check out the Wagon on our wishlist!

15. Portable Booster Seat

Whether you go to summer parties, picnics in the park, or plan on eating out from time-time, a portable booster is awesome! These can be set up on the ground or in a chair. It’s made meal time so much easier. I love that it’s versatile, too!

Check out my favorite Portable Booster Seat for Toddlers!

16. Outdoor Blanket

Whether you have an old quilt laying around that you can designate as an outdoor blanket or you decide to invest in one, you should have something on hand. It’s important to have a blanket that you aren’t worried about getting dirty (and is pretty easy to clean), so you can let your toddler walk on it with their dirty shoes and spill their milk without fussing over it.

Check out my favorite Outdoor Blanket for Toddlers!

17. Chalk

Remember how much you loved to play with chalk as a kid? This will definitely keep your toddler busy too. Just make sure you pick up something non-toxic in case they put it in their mouth!

Check out my favorite Easy Grip Chalk for Toddlers!

18. Water Table or Sandbox

If you don’t have room for a pool, or you want something else for your toddler to do a water table, sandbox, or a sand and water table will keep them entertained. These are really good sensory toys that also help them to use their imagination!

Check out my favorite Sand + Water Table Combo for Toddlers!

19. Balls

This is very simple and basic, I know. But, my daughter loves balls that are different sizes and textures. Every now and again, I pick one up from Walmart, the dollar store, and sometimes the grocery store – to add to her collection!

20. House Hold Sensory FUN

Did you know that you probably have sensory activities in your home? I highly recommend you check out this blog post by Carolina with Mama Instinct. She has over 28 DIY activities that you can do with your toddler… right now!

21. Lovevery Box

I was skeptical about these boxes at first, but after I partnered with Lovevery I am a HUGE believer in getting their play kits. My daughter stays entertained for hours and their toys will last for our future kiddos too. 

If you plan on having more children, I highly recommend you start getting their play kits. They will encourage your child to meet milestones, which helps to keep them engaged in playing with their toys! 

Check out Lovevery’s Playkits for Toddlers!

22. Deck Box to store toys

This has nothing to do with keeping your toddler entertained.. but it keeps us mamas sane! Having an outdoor toy box or bin makes cleaning up a breeze. If you end up getting a deck box, it will hide the toys too, so your space doesn’t look cluttered!

23. Easy Snacks

Summer time is busy!! As a mama, it’s important that my daughter has healthy snacks that are also relatively easy. You can get snack ideas on Pinterest, or make a special grocery trip just to browse the aisles for potential snacks!

We like cheese sticks, apple sauce pouches, That’s It Bars, squeezable yogurt, and freeze-dried strawberries!

24. Popsicle Maker

I remember begging my mom to make homemade popsicles in the summer. Here are 15 easy popsicle recipes (some only need 2 ingredients!!) from Living on a Dime!

25. Insulated Water Bottle

My daughter is obsessed with her insulated water bottle with a straw. We typically just fill it with water or coconut water, but if your child is a milk drinker this will keep it cold. 

Check out My Favorite Insulated Water Bottle for Toddlers!

26. Reusable Snack Bag

Last but not least, you need reusable snack bags. My daughter loves to carry these around. This gives her the ability to have her own bag (she’s all about independence) and if she spills them, she didn’t ruin her whole snack!

Check out My Favorite Reusable Snack Bags for Toddlers!

My Thoughts…

As a mom of a toddler, I know that it can be stressful navigating all the challenges that summer brings. I hope that these 26 Toddler Summer Essentials help you to get back to enjoying motherhood, so you don’t worry or stress about your kiddo!

Below is a Pinterest friendly photo… so you don’t lose this post!

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