I don’t know about any of y’all, but my kid literally could live outside. Rain, sleet, snow, fiery pits of hell blazing sunshine – he is begging to go outside. When he was smaller, I could push it off and distract him, INDOORS. Alas, those days are a distant memory. We don’t have a pool, and we aren’t members of a country club (that I would drive to nor be in my swimsuit at). We live in Midtown where pools are just about as rare as left hand turn lanes on Union Avenue. Ya feel me? But we have big Southern porches with ceilings fans and lots of shaded yards, so here is what I stock up on EVERY summer. For my sanity and survival.
*DISCLAIMER: My backyard is ugly. It is abused by 3 dogs and a kid, and our parking area is back there so please excuse my ugly pics.*
- Chalk – So much. Buy buckets (boxes) full. Massive quantities. My big chalk purchases this year have taken place at none other than Walmart for under $5. That’s right. I went outside the loop. Beyond the parkways. You don’t even know how deep this Walmart addiction runs. Also, chalk brings everyone together. Sidewalks, porches, driveways, basketball courts. We pack it in Ziploc bags if we are heading to an outdoor event. It gives Theo something to do, and recently he made a new friend at a shrimp boil via–CHALK!
- Bubbles – Yup. Buy the giant tubes for optimal bubble size – Target or Walmart. They sometimes come in packs. Don’t forget refills because you know how well kids listen and totally turn the tube upside down and then cry about wasting bubble juice. Consider investing in a battery operated bubble blower to prevent yourself from having to be the manual bubble blower.
- Water hose/sprinklers – We have two water hoses (front & back). We have a handheld watering wand for the plants that has actually provided more fun for Theo than I would’ve imagined. We do have an old school oscillating sprinkler that I introduced him to this year, however, he did not quite grasp the concept of running through it and instead got blinded by the water. So…slight mom fail there. Whomp whomp. We also purchased a Little Tikes sprinkler for less than $15 that shoots water and balls out of it. I can only assume it is great because with the lack of rainfall here lately, the ground has been too dry to anchor it down, so we wait. Honestly, as long you have the hose and you put your hand over and literally “make it rain” you’ve won summer. But if you don’t want to have to do it 200 times in 15 mins…get a sprinkler of sorts.
- Plastic pool – Clickset or hard plastic. Whatever, whichever, just get one. Throw it away at the end of summer. They are in abundance at about any store you can think of. I was raised on these pools and TCB is a proud member of this club.
- Water table – We are on our second one. Sometimes we set it up on the porch when I’m being lazy. Sometimes we set it up in the yard with the pool, and he chooses to climb the table and sit in it. Obviously, not safe and not the preferred choice of mine. But if he falls out, and he will, he will just get a mouthful of grass. Survival of the fittest here.
- Climber/Swing set – The summer after Theo turned one we got him a little Step 2 climber for his age for less than $90. It made its home in our front yard under our tree and has never left. We also use this bad boy as our water slide. Again, while not safe, I did far worse water related activities when I was a kid, and I survived. Also, this is childhood unplugged so ease up on the “I would never”. Yes, you would. You have. You will. Theo has really outgrown our front yard climber, and for his 3rd birthday,, his grandparents got him a much larger climber for the backyard. We love it! No water activities have been created on this one, but I’m sure we will get there. I anticipate this climber being replaced with a swing set in a few years. I had a swing set as a child, and it was my absolute favorite. Along with a giant oversized picnic table that I used to sit underneath and pretend I was working the drive-thru at McDonald’s.
- Tree/Porch swing – Every baby, usually 6 months until weight, limit needs a swing. Hanging from a tree or hanging from the porch, it will be the best $25 you ever spend. Our trees didn’t have good low bearing branches, so we opted for our covered front porch. We still have it hanging since I can’t accept that Theo is too big for it. So many baby belly laughs and naps in that swing. Ahhh, the memories. Seriously, do yourself a favor and get one!
- Water guns/water balloons – Just introduced this year. Not super great at squirting them yet, but in due time. The water balloons are mostly for sabotaging my husband when he gets home from work. Theo is working on his arm though. We are going to nail this next summer. Super soaker life, here we come!
- Chalkboard fence – We made this thing in an afternoon, and Theo and his best gal pal love it. If you’re tired of your child drawing on your porch like I was, then you should invest in this.
- Tic Tac Toe Board – Okay, so this is gonna take a minute for a 3-year-old to learn, however, we like it, and I feel like any school age kid would enjoy this. Also, it’s just super cute to look out your window and see in your yard.
There really were no directions for this – just a picture on Pinterest.
- Bins/Buckets – We have storage bins that we hide away in the winter in our storage sheds, and these hold all of our summer outdoor toys that we don’t want ruined and full of bugs. A bin of water toys, a bin of outdoor sports (golf, baseballs, soccer ball, football, basketball). When summer is done (in November), we tuck them away until March.
- Kid-sized Watering Can & Garden Tools – We have rakes, all different sized shovels, and watering cans. So much joy if you need to kill time, but not enough time to stay outside forever getting soaked. Fill up a watering can, and let the kid go to town for 15 minutes.
This is merely a starter guide. Yes, I could go down the street to the park and fight over playground equipment in 100-degree heat and leave within 15 mins with a crying child. But let’s be real, just because they are on summer break doesn’t mean we are. The household doesn’t do its own thing because of “summer break” –mom responsibilities still exist. So invest in a few things for outside or request outdoor toys for birthday gifts (we did that this year). Spare 15-30 minutes…grab a beverage, take a breather, and let your kids have at it! Then sneak back inside to the comfort of your A/C and continue on with your Mom routine.
Happy Summer Survival in the 901!