But we do like to go places. And I’m not really a planner…we may hop in the car without much thinking and go hiking, or stop at a park with fountains while we’re out running errands. If you spend 5 minutes gathering these things to keep in your car for summer at the beginning of break you can have more impromptu adventures with fewer problems in general.
1.) A towel. For impromptu trips to parks that have creeks and streams and water fountains. I don’t keep one for everybody, just one to share and get everyone a little drier. Also useful for sitting on during picnics.
2.) Sweatshirts. One for everyone. ‘Cuz it’s usually the times you think, “Oh, it’s so warm out, we don’t need sweatshirts,” that it turns really cold and you need a sweatshirt.
3.) Diapers and wipes. Or, for older kids, a change of underwear and pants. Even for those who are done potty training — we’ve had kids get soaked crossing streams, or playing in fountains, or whatever it is kids do.
4.) Water bottles. I usually buy each of the kids a new one at the beginning of the summer (for around $1 at Target or Michael’s). I store them empty in the car and fill them at drinking fountains or sinks before we start a hike.
5.) Non-meltable snacks. A box of granola bars, or crackers, or raisins or something. In case you’re at the library and want to go to the park after. Or are just out and about longer than you’d planned.
7.) Hats. Definitely sunhats. Depending on where you are (say, perhaps, Colorado), also snow hats and mittens.
8.) Band-Aids. A car first-aid kit is actually the best way to go, but at least some Band-Aids for minor injuries.
10.) Colored pencils and a notebook or nature journal. On your way home from hiking, or the park, or wherever you go, have everyone jot down a few notes or draw about what they did that day. At the end of the summer, it’s a lot of fun to look through and remember your adventures! Use pencils rather than crayons since they don’t melt.
How about you — what’s the one thing you always bring on a day trip with kids?
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