Summertime with kids is exactly how it sounds... “perfectly imperfect.” Trust me when I say I’m speaking from experience, given I now have two children under two years of age (Ansel, 20 months and Austin, 2 months). It’s a zoo at my house!
With young kids in particular, stress-free summers are all about being proactively organized ahead of the potential boredom traps. But you must also keep in mind that you will likely have to just go with the flow when unplanned events pop up — i.e. a bound-to-happen toddler tantrum or a summer rainstorm — because the reality is that your kids don’t have the same expectations that you do. The more fun and playful you are, no matter the situation, the better they will react to unexpected circumstances.
Over my two years of parenting, one secret I’ve discovered is to always have an impromptu activity up my sleeve, like a sporadic picnic or playtime on any green space we happen to find. To stay prepared for these unplanned activities, I always make sure to pack an extra bag in our car with a picnic blanket, toys, bathing suit and towel (for you AND the kids), and non-perishable snacks. Don’t forget to pack clean-up supplies too. I always include a few trash bags and plastic bags for carrying dirty objects, and toss in a package of JOHNSON’S® HEAD-TO-TOE® baby cleansing cloths (a MUST for young kids who are always getting dirty or spitting up!) for a quick all over wash of just about anything. This allows for low-key entertainment without a ton of prep work.
Given we live in beautiful California, my husband and I also enjoy taking our boys out to explore the outdoors in the summer months. For us, that means we often find ourselves at the beach, at the zoo, on a hike through the redwoods, climbing ladders at the park, and of course, scheming up various messy outdoors DIY projects (Ansel is a HUGE fan of gardening!) The more you and your little ones are out exploring nature or stimulating your senses through creativity, the better. It’s both entertaining and educational!
Lastly, I love hosting early evening BBQs with friends and family, but as any parent knows, watching your kids while trying to have an adult conversation is quite a feat. So, we always put out a few lawn games like horseshoes, cornhole and ladderball to keep the kids entertained. Once they go to bed, all the adults jump in on the games as well. Win, win for everyone involved!
I am a contributor for JOHNSON’S®, the sponsor of this community, and compensated for travel and attendance at events. Every idea and word written is my own.