Trips to the beach or pool during summer can be hectic without kids, let alone with a baby or toddler. Things you never thought you would need end up in your Amazon cart. Your standard beach bag no longer can fit everything you need. Your beach and pool trips may be cut short by a few hours to accommodate a nap, a diaper blowout, or a tantrum. Welcome to parenthood during the summer. Luckily, I’ve found a few must-have baby and toddler items for summer that help make events and trips easier or more enjoyable, including the best baby sunscreen and a water table that will entertain your toddler for hours.
For reference, last summer Henry was 4 months to 7 months old , and this year he’ll be 15 months to 18 months old during the season. Obviously newborns require many different items during the summer than a baby that is 5 months old and can sit up, so that’s why you’ll see my list is missing a few standard items that a newborn may have needed.
Here are a few of my must-have baby and toddler items for summer.
Finding sunscreen that’s safe for/made for babies and toddlers can be hard. The first year of Henry’s life I didn’t have to worry about sunscreen, since he was too young to wear it during the summer months (I personally waited until he was 6 months old, but check with your own doctor). So when the next summer came around, I did my research and talked to our pediatrician (he gave us a list of sunscreens they recommend which was very helpful). I ended up going with ThinkBaby due to the good reviews, decent price point, and the scent (which isn’t overpowering).
Henry received this as a gift for his birthday, and we were anxiously awaiting summer so we could bring it out. He loves his water table! This comes with the table, various sizes of buckets, rubber toys, and more. He will spend an hour just playing with each toy and throwing water everywhere, so it’s a great way to pass the time in the summer. He actually started using this before he could walk, too — as long as your baby can stand up and lean/balance themselves on things, they can use this water table.
These shoes go on easily and stay on, which is huge for a squirmy toddler in a pool. Just leave them out or hang them up to air dry for a few hours and they’re back to normal. They come in lots of different colors and sizes, too.
I used to think these were silly, but after a few 90-degree days, my mind was changed. This fan is easy to charge, has 3 speed settings, and easily can fit on any surface (like stroller bars). Even if you only use it a few times a year, it’s worth to have in your arsenal for summer outings.
Although we usually try to keep Henry in the shade, there are times where we just can’t. For those situations, we make sure he wears this sun hat. The sizing is accurate/runs true to size, and also has a few adjustable clasps. It’s super lightweight, doesn’t wrinkle easy, and is very affordable.
This was a Christmas gift that we’re finally busting out this summer (now that Henry is old enough to sit up and enjoy being pulled around). This was one of the top-mentioned items when I asked friends what summer item I should put on Henry’s Christmas list. You can buy a version with or without the canopy (we got the canopy version for shade purposes), and they even make a beach-friendly version that has different wheels for the sand.
This waterproof, sand-resistant picnic blanket is reversible and easily folds up into a matching tote. I love that I can just throw it on like I’m wearing a purse, but it’s really a huge blanket for us all to sit on. This is an affordable must for any outdoor trip you take, whether it’s to the park or the beach.
This seat cracks me up — Henry looks so cute sitting in it, almost like he’s a Dad at his kid’s soccer game handing out orange slices to the players. But all jokes aside, it’s super easy to fold up and pack away, is sturdy enough to work on various surfaces (including grass), and seems comfortable. We use this when we take trips to places where there likely won’t be a booster seat. It’s a nice, more compact alternative to the portable high chairs that hook onto tables (they are often bulky and heavy), or a Bumbo seat (which I also love, but can be bulky to carry).