Every once and again I feel like posting a tip or a recipe instead of the usual projects I've done. Today is one of those days!
With the warmer weather here to stay, I've taken the winter emergency supplies out of the trunk and replaced it with my summer bag. The summer bag was born into existence after I quit carrying around a huge diaper bag with supplies for every possible contingency I could imagine. I packed the summer bag and it's been a part of our trunk ever since. Here it is!
It is not a survival bag. Your survival supplies still need to be in the car. Don't toss out your jumper cables because I didn't put them in my bag. They're still in my van, next to the tool box, heavy duty flashlights and the jack. Be smart and be prepared!!!
A lot of our summer is spent exploring the city and taking advantage of all of its fine, free resources for kids. There are many times we don't reach our destination and choose to do something else instead. Yes, sometimes it's because of my poor navigation skills but sometimes it's because we find something better! This is what our summer bag holds.
A blanket. We have access to Symphonies at the Park, a Twilight Theater and an outdoor movies all summer long. A big blanket also comes in handy at the beach and for picnics.
A fitted twin sized sheet. Grab a fitted one! The twin sized sheet fits perfectly over the top of a picnic table to act as a table cloth. The wind can't catch it and blow it off and it's really easy to launder.
A stack of grocery bags. These are a must! They can be used to collect wet clothes, to carry the questionable souvenir, to double as a garbage sack, to put over car seats when said children are wet, to pick up doggy doo (if dogs are tagging along). . . . lots and lots of uses! We keep six in the bag, just in case.
A flashlight or two. These are not to be confused with your survival flashlight. We have a small flashlight for each of the kids in our bag. We hand them out when we take advantage of some of the night time activities at the park. The kids love to play with them before the show and it makes them feel important when they get to lead us back to the car with their lights.
Water bottles. We keep two per member of the family. Again, these aren't for survival but for fun! We've had many an excursion that ended up outdoors and dehydration is a serious issue, especially for kids! If we keep the water bottles back there, everyone can grab one and go play. Make sure to replace when they are used.
Sweatshirts. We keep a zip up sweatshirt per member of the family in the bag. These are great for nights that turned chilly and for covering ourselves up with after getting wet. A lot of our summer finds us wet and these help ward off the chill in the van when the AC hits us!
Sunscreen and Bug Spray. Keep a bottle of each back there. We always try to sunscreen up before we hit the road but sometimes we're out longer than intended. Sometimes we forget. Bug spray is nice to have just in case we have a need. It's no fun to have to quit a hike early because the bugs are feasting on you!
Box of Baby Wipes. This is another one of those versatile items. We use them for everything! Ever go into a porta-potty and found that it wasn't adequately stocked? Ever treat everyone to ice cream on a 110 degree day and watch how much faster it melts than it's eaten? Ever watch your kid go down the slide face first and end up with a mouthful of dirt? Baby wipes. They can take care of the muddy, the sticky and the dirty! They're also disposable so you don't have to take your mess with you.
That's what's in our summer bag. I have it all packed inside a tote that sits in the trunk of the van. If we decide to take the car for the day, I move it to that trunk. It isn't designed to take the place of good, planned family outings but it is designed to allow for some impromptu fun.
If I do it again:
Please note: We also have a nicely stocked glove compartment so I don't have to put things such as a first aid kit or hand sanitizer in my summer bag. If you don't have those things, make sure to add it! Customize for your family!