Summer, summer, summertime. Time to sit back and unwind.
Wait, sit back and unwind? Clearly they don’t have kids because as every mom knows, summertime means your kids are on the go from sun up until that late summer sun sets.
So let’s fill those days with family memories of adventures camping outdoors and visiting amusement parks and water parks. Now, Mom, don’t start stressing because I’ve got your summertime sanity savers and parenting hacks to make these trips less stress and more summer joy!
If the great outdoors is your scene and you have camping or “glamping” in your family fun to-do list, try these parenting hacks. Just don’t forget, making S’mores every night is a camping requirement.
- Kids won’t miss a minute around the campfire once they turn a 5 gallon bucket with a lid into own their personal camping seat with a hidden surprise. Let kids personalize their own “seat” with markers, stickers, and attach a small pillow for extra cushion. Their seat can do double duty by storing their games, clothes, and special camping treasures inside the bucket.
- Is not showering for a few days making you and your stinky campers nervous? This hack and a box of wine is for you! The inside bag of a box of wine (called a bladder) can be cleaned and refilled once all the wine is gone. When you hit the campsite, fill the bladder with water and leave it in the sun to warm the water. Attach the wine box bladder to a PVC pipe or tree branch with clothes pins or clips (high enough above your head but you can still reach the spout) and you have a shower with WARM water! Refill with water and have your shower ready for the next day.
- Now you need your shower supplies camping friendly. Create a shower necklace by using a lanyard and attach a loofa (a bath sponge) to the metal hook. Fill small travel bottles with shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and shaving cream, and use thin plastic string to attach the bottles to the lanyard. Now all your shower supplies are in one, portable place, and it never has to touch the ground.
- Outdoors good. Germs bad. Create a handwashing station from a large laundry detergent dispenser (the kind that has a spout and you can control the pressure), attach a roll of paper towels to the top with a bungee cord, and attach a bottle of soap with string. Now go wash your hands!
- Multitasking moms need multitasking camping gear, so grab a large tarp (the kind with metal grommets), some plastic PVC piping and elbows, and plastic ties. You can create some privacy for the shower or potty, shade from the sun, a waterproof tent, and a dozen other uses. Super versatile and super helpful!
- Before putting down your sleeping bags, lay foam tiles (the kind for playrooms and outdoors) down on the floor. The tiles keep little feet safe and make a more comfy sleeping space.
- One of the best parts of camping is the food! Make cooking easier by organizer all kitchen supplies in an over the door shoe organizer so everything is visible, clean, and within reach.
- Don’t forget the spices but save space by putting them into a plastic seven day pill organizer.
- Need to bring eggs but don’t want an egg mess? Clean out a plastic bottle (we used a coffee creamer container) and add your cracked eggs. Use a sharpie too mark measurements so you know how many eggs you are using.
- Time for S’mores! Get that fire started with these fire starters: cover cotton balls in petroleum jelly and store in an egg crate or fill empty toilet paper rolls with lint from the dryer. Light that fire!
If roller coasters, water slides, and a few too many turns on the merry-go-round are on your family’s agenda this summer, here’s a few parenting hacks to make your day and night a whole lot more fun.
- In a sea of strollers, make yours standout! Add something noticeable to your stroller during the day (tailgate car flag or a neon bandanna) and at night (blinking bike light, light-up toy, or glow sticks)
- Before you leave for the park, grab a sharpie and write your cellphone number on your child’s arm. Paint a layer of liquid band aid on top of the ink to make a waterproof tattoo. It will last a day and can be invaluable if you are separated from your kids.
- Avoid busy locker rooms and create a coverup and privacy changing cover for your kids—with no sewing! Grab a beach towel, cut a diamond in the center (large enough your child’s head can fit through, but no bigger), stop fraying by using iron-on bonding strips and ta-dah! The towel will look like a poncho but be large enough you can help your kids get changed under the towel with complete privacy. They can still sit on the towel or just get warm after waterslides and wavepools.
- No need to carry around a huge bottle of sunblock! Fill an empty plastic spice jar all the way to the top with sunscreen. When you need to reapply, flip the lid and stamp the sunblock onto your kid’s arms and legs, rub the sunscreen in, and get back to those rides!
- Don’t let a hot day slow you down. Freeze washcloths overnight and throw them into plastic sandwich bags. Pack them in your cooler to keep your food cold, put it in strollers to cool down small kids and on the back of everyone's neck when waiting in long lines. Throw the bag back in the cooler when you're done, and when the washcloth thaws, use it to clean up messes and dirty hands. Throw it back in the sandwich bag for easy cleanup.
- Before you go into the park, take a picture of the section you parked in as a reminder at the end of the day. Take a full length family photo of everyone as a reminder of what everyone is wearing, and throw your phone in a plastic baggie to keep it dry and clean.
- That sweatshirt or hoodie you planned to wear at night, stop at the first souvenir shop, ask for a plastic bag, and turn it into a sit-upon. It's perfect for saving seats for parades, a soft spot to sit on a bench, and on water rides, you can turn it into a poncho for little ones that want to stay dry.
- Combat long lines, boredom, and meltdowns with small baggies of snacks, dollar store toys, and cheap souvenirs you bought BEFORE you came to the park. Bonus points if you corrdinated the bags with the ride they are waiting to get on.
- Keep an eye on your kids at night with dollar store glow sticks and necklaces.
- Keep fingers mess free from melting treats by grabbing a few extra plastic lids and putting the Popsicle stick or the bottom of a cone into the drink hole. Now you have a drip catcher!
- Never underestimate the power and versatility of dog poo bags!
Summer is short but so much sweeter with a few adventures (and hacks to make it easier)