The Top 10 Essentials Every Mom Needs to Survive the Summer

The Top 10 Essentials Every Mom Needs to Survive the Summer

You’ll be ready for any adventure if you have a bag filled with this list of great gear!

By Wendy Robinson

I love summer. I love the extra daylight to go on long family walks, I love the trips to the pool and the beach, and I love picnics at the park. As a mom, I’ve also come to realize that summertime means having to be a little extra prepared for all of our warm weather adventures, so this weekend I took some time to pack my “essentials of summer” bag.

I start with two sturdy tote bags (one for each car) and add the following items.

1. Sunscreen: A MUST for both moms and kids. I usually have one bottle of lotion and one spray bottle to do reapplications throughout the day. A sunburn-free summer is our goal.

2. Baby wipes: Even if you don’t have any little ones in diapers any more, a package of these wipes is handy to have for cleaning sticky faces, wiping off hands before picnic lunches, or for quick wipe downs when your child is covered head to toe in beach sand.

3. Change of clothes: If there is water, my children will find it. I keep an extra T-shirt and pair of shorts in the bag for each of them.

4. Towels: See above. A beach towel for each bag has saved me from having to load soaking wet kids into the car on many occasions.

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5. Cheap toys: I keep a bucket, a shovel, a small ball, and Frisbee in the car so that we always have something to play with at the park or the beach. I like to go with toys that I don’t expect to have a long lifespan, so I don’t get grouchy when things inevitably get left behind.

6. First-aid kit: My 3-year-old’s newest favorite way to injure herself is to spin around in circles with her eyes closed, and then, to try to run. So, yeah, a first-aid kit is a must in my world.


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7. Bug spray: I live in Minnesota, where the state bird is the mosquito, so I keep some spray on hand, especially if we are going to be out at dusk or in areas prone to ticks. I will be happy to never have to pull a tick off a child ever again.

8. Long sleeves: The temperature can drop quickly during a summer rainstorm, so I keep a hoodie sweatshirt in the bag for each kid.

9. Blanket or tablecloth: For picnics, I like to have a washable blanket or a plastic tablecloth handy. Pro-tip: Pick up a seasonal tablecloth on clearance. Then you won’t feel bad when it inevitably gets messy.

10. Spare underwear and diapers: Accidents happen. Even in the summertime.

This list might sound long, but I’ve found that I can easily fit all the items into a 15” X 17” bag.

Now, if I can just remember to refill the bag when I take things out this summer!

What are your summer essential items?

Wendy Robinson is a writer, working mom and graduate student. Someday she'd like to sleep in again. She also blogs at

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