Summer is my very favorite time of year, so I figured I share some of my very favorite items for the girls! Most of these things have been in rotation in our house for years and it doesn’t feel like summer without them! Hope you find them helpful as you kick start your own summer! 😉
Ok, so I have this thing for white shoes and tan little legs in the summertime! Most think I’m crazy for entrusting my children with anything white, but I just bleach those bad boys in the washing machine and they look brand new! Aside from all the white shoes, a good pair of tan sandals are a summer staple for us! Since we travel so much in the summer, I like to keep our shoe selection simple for easy outfit matching/packing!
- white athletic sneakers perfect for cheer/tennis/athletic camps
- White Mary-Jane Sneakers We love these for anytime the girls are going somewhere where sandals aren’t allowed/appropriate (i.e. church, a school day camp, etc.)
- White Slides lots on the market right now but I find these so durable and easy to keep clean! THESE from Walmart are a cheaper version & look almost identical! Not sure how well they hold up though!
- Saltwater sandals When we are going somewhere in the summer where shoes don’t need to come off, the girls wear these neutral sandals!
- Red Swim Suits- I love this big/little sister combo…and the price! 😉
- Also these 1 | 2 | 3
- Otter Wing Rashguards We love these! The water wings clip on & off of the rashguards making them the perfect transition piece at the beach or pool! Of course these are not a life saving device and children should always be monitored in or around water by an adult! 😉
- My girls are goggle lovers and they can’t quit this brand! Ardyn loves these eyelash goggles and Q likes these candy ones!
- Tribord Swim Masks My girls love these for short snorkeling stints. This is the brand we use & trust!
- sensory table -we fill with ours with water beads (I prefer these to the orbeez beads because water beads dry up and can be reused!), sensory tools, and anything else you can think of!
- scrunch bucket -great for travel because it’s made of silicone & folds up!
- Bike Chalktrail –My girls love making “roads” and designs with these! Don’t forget a bin of chalk!
- Rainbow Sprinkler– My kiddos all love a good sprinkler day! Love this rainbow one!
This is something new we are doing this summer! Here are the materials I used.
- composition books (I love how this one has a space for writing and a space for an illustration on every page!)
- 3-pack plastic zip pouches I held these together with a binder ring and I chose this method of storing materials instead of tools on a desk because I wanted the journals to be portable for travel! (I filled the big bag with the notebook, the medium bag with pencils, sharpener, colored pens, white out, & a glue stick and the small bag with fun stickers!)
- pencil pouch (filled with erasable colored pencils & twist crayons -my girls prefer these to regular crayons because they “stay sharp”)
- Concept: I ask the girls to journal once a day (that’s the goal, anyways!) We set a timer for anywhere from 10-20 minutes and I usually play some music, typically while I am prepping dinner. I encourage them to write about their day/feelings/fears/accomplishments/travels/dreams, etc. I also encourage them to take pictures with their POP polaroid camera and add photos to their journal pages! If you need a list of prompts, I like this one! For kiddos who can’t write yet, ask them to doodle or write out letter sounds and then have them tell you what they “wrote”/drew and you transcribe it on the page for them! Fun Tip: Encourage relatives, friends, camp counselors, etc. to be “guest writers” in the journal throughout your summer adventures!
- Summer Camera– The kids love Polaroid cameras but the “automatic shoot & print” feature on most Polaroids equates to lotssss of wasted film in our house! The Polaroid POP is pricey but I love that the images are stored in a gallery for the kids to edit (think: adding borders/stickers, adding black & white filters, etc. Nothing fancy!) and then CHOOSE what pictures to print. The initial cost was steep, but it has saved us a TON on expensive Polaroid film, otherwise wasted on cheaper Polaroids that automatically print blurry/over exposed photos!!
- Hydraflask Water Bottles The kids love the straw feature on this water bottle. I love the simple, easy-to-clean parts and the non-sweat silicone boot that comes on it! Perfect for camps or days at the beach.
- I’ve been using this Aveeno Zinc Oxide sunscreen on the kids & love it. It has a EWG rating of 1, which means the formula is super clean & low in toxins & harmful chemicals! (The EWG scores go from 0-10, with 0 being the “cleanest”) We’ve also been using the SunBum Mineral Sunscreen (also rated a 1) and the face stick! I have the SunBum Mineral Spray as well. I know we aren’t “supposed to” use sprays, but let’s be honest, sometimes I’m lazy! I find it much less gooey and easier to apply than other mineral sprays!
- Let’s talk hair/scalp protection. On beach/pool days I typically have the girls wear hats, but when they don’t have their hats on, their little scalps/hair lines are exposed to the sun. So, I’ve been trying out these two products: Coola organic Scalp & Hair Mist spf 30 & Supergoop Poof Powder spf 45 Here’s my review: The Coola is a sheer spray, so it goes on clear, but definitely left the girls hair a little bit greasy (which I don’t really mind, since we typically bathe after a full day of having sunscreen on) But if you were going on a quick outing in the sun and wanted to protect your scalp without needing to wash your hair afterwards, this may not be for you. The Poof powder is a white-ish powder that you spray onto scalp and then sort of “dab” in. I used it in Ardyn’s dark hair and it blended just fine. It did leave a bit of a cakey crust by the end of the day and needed to be scrubbed out in the bath, but did not leave the girls’ hair greasy. I will say, my girls’ scalps never once got sunburn in the Caribbean using either one of these products so I give them both a thumbs up!!
- Roberta Roller Rabbit Cover Ups– I know they are a bit pricey, but let me explain why we love these beautiful cover-ups so much. My girls LIVE in their RRR coverups basically anytime a swim suit is involved and every time the girls wear them, I get asked where they are from… so, I figured I would share the method to my madness. I’m a little picky with cover ups and here’s why.
- I like them to be a lightweight material- I’m not a huge fan of heavy terrycloth coverups & neither are the girls. (Especially after a long, hot day on the beach!) I get the girls dried off, de-sanded, throw underwear on them and then they like to put something cool and lightweight on. Sometimes the girls will ask to take off wet bathing suits and wear their coverups for a “break” in the middle of our day…so we like them to be breathable & comfortable. The RRR tunics are 100% cotton!
- I like our coverups to be long sleeves. My girls wear a lot of long sleeve rashguard swim suits so: a.) I like the coverup to actually “cover up” the arms where you can see their swimsuits and b.) when swim suits come off and coverups & undies go on, I want their little arms to still be protected from the sun. Although I think the poncho style cover ups are SO cute, they don’t have the ahem, “coverage” to work as dresses when we take off bathing suits.
- Since we usually go from the pool/beach directly somewhere else, (like out to eat or to get ice cream) I like the coverup to be able to double as a little dress.
For those reasons, the 100% cotton Roberta Roller Rabbit coverups have become our favorite! They are an investment, so I buy them several sizes up and the girls wear them for a few years before having to buy new ones. I also look for them on Poshmark and our local consignment store. Bonus points for them doubling as cute tops with shorts once they grow out of dress length! navy stripe | aqua botanical (I have this one in my size!)|pale blue (DY-ing for this one!)|pink | These are the girls’ tunics pictured above– they’re on sale! (and for reference, since these are “tunics” and not dresses, I bought Ardyn a size 8 & Quinlin a 12!)
- Denim Jacket These are my FAVORITE for summer because they are so light and stretchy! They live in our car all summer and get packed on EVERY trip! Also, a simple white cardigan is a summer staple in our house/suitcase for those chilly beach nights!
- Initial Hats we LOVE these from rey to Z!
Great Summer Read-Alouds:
Never underestimate your little childrens’ ability to listen and comprehend a story. I’ve been reading chapter books to the girls since Quin was tiny, and it’s actually my youngest, Ardyn, who picks up on certain things and asks questions about parts I didn’t even think she was paying attention to! These are some of our very favorites!
The Penderwicks | The Doll People | Amelia Bedelia Means Business | Mercy Watson | Little House in the Big Woods | The Magic Tree House Series |Nate the Great |Cam Jansen | Freckle Juice|Judy Moody and Friends |Toys Go Out |The Littles |A to Z Mysteries |Ivy & Bean |Mrs. Piggle Wiggle |Charlotte’s Web | James and the Giant Peach |Matilda |The Boxcar Children | The Chocolate Touch |All of a Kind Family |Poppy | Caddie Woodlawn | A Dog Called Kitty |Anne of Green Gables
That’s it for now! Happy Summer, everyone!