Surviving Summer (with Toddlers)

I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that we’ll have TWO very wild and crazy toddlers this summer to entertain. 

The one thing my kids absolutely hate is being stuck inside on the weekends so we usually do our best to be out and about or try to spend as much time as possible outside playing. We’re currently trying to spruce up our backyard in preparation for lots of outdoor entertaining and play time. We also just power washed our tried and true favorite toys from last summer and it got me thinking that I should share our top 10 items (in no particular order) with y’all today. Most of the toys are inexpensive and we’ll get mileage out of them for years to come…

Surviving Summer with Toddlers

1. Mini Pool: We picked up a plastic pool last year and have filled it with water for some activities and sand for others! An easy way to cool down, we get so much use out of this pool!

2. Sand Tools: To go with your water or sand play in the mini pool! Caroline also uses hers to “garden.”

3. Contigo Water Bottle: Pretty much the kiddie version of the Yeti.

4. Tree Swing: The popular and most fought over backyard toy for our kids. 

5. Radio Flyer Grandstand 3 in 1 Wagon:
Y’all know my love for the wagon so I won’t even go into a long explanation as to why it’s worth every single penny. See this, this, and this.

6. Water Activity Play TableA gift for Caroline’s first birthday
that has been one of our favorites!

7. Gazillion Bubble Hurricane Machine: Cheap entertainment!!! Bubbles are always such a hit.

8. JJ Cole Picnic Blanket: We’ve used this at the beach, at the park, in the backyard and more! See this previous post for more information! 

9. Velo Balance Bike:  Caroline is just starting to get the hang of this but she loves her bike. Right now she’s still just walking with the bike between her legs but by the end of summer I foresee her going 15 mph down the sidewalk. 

10. Pop Up Play Tent Set: This toy is so versatile. We love busting out the tents inside the living room on rainy days or popping them up outside for play time. I love that all 3 pieces fold up into a tiny circle for easy storage and transportation.


Also, not toy related but I wanted to share a game changer popsicle my friend Lisa introduced to us last year – Slow Melt Mighty Minis. These popsicles stay frozen longer than regular popsicles which helps cut down on the number of destroyed shirts, sticky fingers and stained furniture around our house. I stock up the second these suckers go on sale at the Teeter. They are also a wonderful bath time bribe tool for us.

And one more thing – Natives! We love Natives shoes for daycare, outdoor play, splash grounds and more during the summer! In fact, I wrote a whole post on these shoes here and am always getting questions about Caroline’s pink shoes! Keep an eye on Amazon because they run sales all the time. Sometimes as low as $11!

Okay, seriously the LAST thing and then I’m done – skin protection. I highly recommend grabbing a ThermaCell for your backyard fun this summer to avoid mosquito bites and Blue Lizzard sunscreen to prevent sunburns. The ThermaCell is the only mosquito repellant we’ve found that works and it does not require spraying our kids down. We use ours for parties, picnics and other outdoor fun.

Now tell me, what are some of your mini’s favorite outdoor toys?! We are always looking to add to our collection!




  1. Three boys and a girl blog
    April 27, 2016 / 11:05 am

    This is a great list!! My little is loving his water table. He would be outside from sun up to sun down and with a 6 month old I tow I've got to get creative. I'm going to get those pop up tents. How fun!! Chalk is a great outside thing and lots of balls! Our backyard had 4 or 5 in varying sizes. A simple fun toy! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Julia Autry
    April 27, 2016 / 11:45 am

    We have a Little Tykes playhouse that sits year round on our balcony at the beach. We've had it 7 years and still looks great.

  3. Julie
    April 27, 2016 / 12:51 pm

    Love this roundup! We have that water table and bubble machine – both of which are a hit. I may have to scoop up that pool though!

  4. amelia.barrows
    April 27, 2016 / 2:51 pm
  5. Leah McPherson
    April 27, 2016 / 3:27 pm

    This is such a great list! My daughter loves each and every one of these things. We are on the hunt for a new swing set this year because she is just too big for the tree swing now. -xx Leah || Chasing Texas

  6. Becky Goerend
    April 27, 2016 / 3:47 pm

    I love this list! A water table was probably my favorite addition to our back yard. I just got natives for my boys this year and I'm in LOVE! Our middle man who just turned 3 still enjoys the cozy coupe, too!

  7. Lindsay at Lindsay'sSweetWorld
    April 27, 2016 / 4:40 pm

    I love that the pool has an umbrella to shade their delicate skin! We always, of course, slather them up with suntan lotion, but I still always worry when it's 95 degrees and the sun is beating down on them!

  8. Sierra: Beautifully Candid
    April 27, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    I'm right there with you on wrapping my head around this summer with two little ones! I know we will make it work and hopefully have some amazing memories. We have a lot of these items so now I feel somewhat prepared lol. Beautifully Candid

  9. Alicia Rowland
    April 27, 2016 / 4:45 pm

    How do you think those shoes run size comparison? We are just now into a 4, but can wear some smaller 5s. But then some 5s are wayyyy to big! Ha it's so hard buying things online, but I've been eyeing those and would love to get a pair. I know Amazon does easy returns, I'm just impatient! :). Thanks!

    • Alicia Rowland
      April 27, 2016 / 4:45 pm

      Too* big.

  10. Meghan
    April 27, 2016 / 7:24 pm

    I bought those sand toys after you mentioned them the first time and we loved bringing them on our vacation! Great toys and loved the compact packaging! Also love a good water and sand table!!!

  11. Caley-Jade Rosenberg
    April 27, 2016 / 8:41 pm

    So many fun ideas – Summer with toddlers and being outdoors is just the best!! I don't want Winter to arrive for us… We are also on the hunt for a gorgeous little outdoor house for my girls x

  12. Kimberly
    April 28, 2016 / 2:58 am

    Chalk chalk and more chalk!

  13. Julie @ Just the Joy's
    April 28, 2016 / 11:56 am

    This is such a great list of suggestions! Definitely saving them to my want list! This is my first summer with chasing a little one around! 🙂

  14. Alysa Friesen
    April 29, 2016 / 2:36 pm

    this is such a great list! this year I have one toddler and one newborn, but I'll definitely want a lot of these things for next year when I'll have 2 toddlers as well! :)xoxo,

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