8 Essentials for Your On-the-Go Summer Survival Kit

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Stock a bag with a few key items and you’ll be prepared for all kinds of adventures.
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By Betsy Voreacos

It’s summertime and the living is easy. That is, if you’re prepared! Summer means you’re on the go, and on the go means kids are in tow. And any time your kids are in tow, you need to expect the unexpected. These supplies can help.


Image ©iStock.com/Christopher Futcher

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Aloe there!

Chances are the sunscreen is already stashed in your car and beach bag. But every now and then the sun gets the better of even the most conscientious protectors and the resulting sunburn is not pleasant! A bottle of aloe will help to soothe and cool unexpected burns.

Image ©iStock.com/Jill Fromer

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Get lost in a book.

Always, always keep a book in your bag. And make time every single day to read. Pick a summertime story to read aloud to the kids and pull it out whenever you have a chance, or let them choose a book to read alone if they’re old enough. You’ll be surprised at how many opportunities there are to read in the summer. It will keep your kids’ minds sharp, teach them the love of reading, and help you bond as you all get lost in a book together.

Image ©iStock.com/petrograd99

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Blow some bubbles.

Kids of all ages love blowing bubbles. Travel with a bottle of bubbles (with a lid that seals well – and stow it in a zipper-top plastic bag to be extra safe!) and when that inevitable crankiness starts creeping into the fun, pull out your magic wand.

Image ©iStock.com/wundervisuals

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Kids never outgrow baby wipes!

Even after their diaper days are over, keep a container of Pampers baby wipes in your car to clean kids’ hands and tackle small summer messes when you’re out and about. (Melted ice cream, we’re looking at you!)

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Have a ball!

A ball brought out at the right moment turns an ordinary afternoon into unforgettable fun. Whether it’s a soccer ball, a beach ball, or a tennis ball, there’s a game to be played and a good time waiting to happen.

Image ©iStock.com/FamVeld

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Take charge!

Don’t get caught without a charging cable and portable battery! It’s worth the money to purchase a dedicated spare that always stays in your bag or the car. You don’t want the kids’ entertainment running out of juice when you’re still miles and miles from home!

Image ©iStock.com/gradyreese

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Avoid hunger pangs.

No matter where you’re going, take snacks! Whether it’s a piece of fruit, some granola bars, or a turkey sandwich and an ice pack, bring it along! Even if you’re going to an event where food will be served, don’t leave home without the snacks. Ever. There’s nothing that grumbles louder than a hungry kid!

Image ©iStock.com/vanna Reznichenko

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Scribble away!

As the world becomes more electronic, the fascination with old-fashioned pen and paper grows! Keep a pad with you at all times and whip it out when your little one needs a distraction. Have your child write your grocery list, draw a picture, jot down what he or she wants to do for the rest of the summer, or compose a letter to the grandparents.

What are your best summer survival tips?


Betsy lives with her family a stone’s throw from New York City. An overly involved mother of three children, Betsy has always been acutely aware of her shortcomings as a parent, not to mention those of her children. She documents her life in the brutally honest Old Minivans Die Hard.

Image ©iStock.com/BraunS

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