Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Fun - Planned Spontaneity

Summer weather is finally here. School’s out and the children are ready for some fun in the sun, and so are we. The key to spontaneity is being prepared for it - sounds like an oxymoron? Well, being prepared makes it easy to get up and go at a moment’s notice. Here’s some tips to get you started.

Pack That Bag

Have a bag of those “must have” items packed and ready to go. You may want to include towels, swim wear, sunblock, hats, child friendly insect repellent, water/sand toys, rollerblades/skates and safety equipment. Plus all the necessary “stuff” for the children’s comfort (diapers, change of clothing, etc.), first aid kit, travel snacks, travel games or activities and books. You get the picture. Choose a sturdy bag that is easy to pack, something with compartments for categorizing items for easy access. I found a large bag that had wheels so it was easier to move around. I often left it in the car and just changed out items as needed.

Adjust your packing as to accommodate the activity. You won’t need all the beach supplies for a play date with friends at the zoo. I’ve used large size (2 gallon) plastic bags to store swim wear, special toys or other equipment. I keep them organized and ready to grab and go so we’re not spending time hunting for things. Then pick the plastic bags you need and slide them into your large bag. After each trip out you’ll want to take care of any wet or soiled items and replenish the bag with essentials. Then you’re ready for your next outing.

                In your large bag you may want to include a daypack (small backpack) so that you can carry your essential items with you anywhere. Also, using a daypack will leave your hands free to hold a child's hand, a kite string or an ice cream treat. Most packs are designed to be lightweight and comfortable. The daypack is also a great place to carry your first aid kit and those must have snack.
                Don’t forget to carry wet wipes with you. Not only are they handy for clean-ups but they can take the initial pain out of a bee sting until you can get to some ice. My theory is that the moisture from the wipes evaporates and cools the sting site. I discovered this through a personal experience with a five year old while riding in the car. We had nothing else at hand to sooth the sting. Everyone was amazed and delighted that this was a quick fix until we got an ice pack.

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’

                Keep your vehicle ready for those last minute runs to the park or over to a special play date. Having one or two over-the-seat organizers has made things so much easier. That’s where I’d keep a few choice books, paper, crayons, travel games, etc. It’s also a great place for sunblock, wipes, paper towels or other helpful supplies. Having different items for different seasons is makes sense (extra mittens, scarves or hat, umbrellas, light jacket, etc.). Changing out activities, books or games based on children's ages and interests is a good idea too.
Summer is here! Get out and enjoy! This is a great time to reconnect with school age children, let those infant through preschoolers explore and discover their world, and most importantly everyone can have fun together!  

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