My boys and I went to the zoo today and as I was cramming our stroller back into the car, I looked down into the large box in my trunk full of extra winter jackets, toques and mittens and realized that it’s time to update my ready-to-go box for the summer months.
What’s a ready-to-go box? It started after Big Dude’s first trip to the beach. We had been out with Big Dude, who was maybe eighteen months at the time and decided to drive out to Wabamum beach. We had snacks with us and a diaper bag so we figured we were good to go.
Flash-forward to the beach – no towels, no sand-toys, no extra hat (the first one got soaked) and no extra clothes for the adults. We sat on the sand and spent most of time trying to keep it out Big Dude’s mouth, we found a small plastic spoon in the diaper bag that he could dig with, squeezed most of the water out of his hat, and drove home with wet clothes.
The truth is though, that we like being about to do things on the spur-of-the-moment. Go to the beach, stop at a spray park, jump in a gigantic puddle or slide through the mud at the park.
The ready-to-go box is where I keep everything we might need for whatever adventure we find. We still pack what we need for the day but I know that if we forget something or change our plans mid-day that I still have everything we need. My spring/summer box contains the following:
- One big beach towel – one towel is enough to dry off both kids and also big enough for us all to sit on.
- Sunscreen/bug spray – we are pretty good about applying at home before leaving but this sunscreen is for those days that we are out longer than we thought or we just forgot to pack some from home.
- Empty water bottle – most places have a water fountain or a bathroom sink so we can refill the water bottle.
- Change of Clothes (both kids) – kids get messy in the most unlikely places. I try to remember to keep extra shoes even if it’s just rubber boots.
- Bucket and two shovels – my boys can usually share one bucket but past experience has taught me that both of them need their own shovels.
- Hats – Each of us has an extra hat that we keep in the box. It’s usually an old one but in a pinch it will give us a little sun protection.
- Bubbles – I buy the $1 bubble wands from Walmart and the Dollar Store like crazy. I always try to have 2-3 in the car. It’s a great distraction for Little Dude if he gets bored or he’s ready to leave before Big Dude.
- Socks – it’s sandal season but socks are needed for most indoor play places. I keep a pair for the Dudes and myself so that we don’t have to buy a pair on-site.
- Snack – In our house it’s usually goldfish crackers or pretzels but they can sit in the box unless we need them – once we open them we bring that container inside and put a new container in the car.
- Book – not for the Dudes but for me. I like to have a book in the car at all times. There’s nothing better than finding a great park that they boys are happy to play at and settling down on a bench with a good book (even if I have read it before).
It seems like a lot but it all fits in a box in my trunk. There is sits, reassurance that whatever our day brings and whatever I’ve forgotten to pack – we are ready to go.
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