I've been packing for day trips with my kids for so many years it's second nature to me. But recently when I was caught panhandling for sunscreen in the parking lot of Canada's Wonderland, I figured even I could use a little help. That help came from Facebook when I reached out to my cohort of mommy friends and asked for their best advice for must haves when heading out for the day.
The responses were numerous and wise, some people even using advice from their own mothers. "...pre wipes and pre ziplocks, my mom carried a damp/wet washcloth in a baggie on outings." Said my sister in law Anne. When Susan suggested bringing a plastic bag for garbage, I was reminded of all the times, I didn't bring a bag for wet swimsuits and towels.
Mom of 2, Victoria said, 'Sunscreen, food and water' which I thought was a good reminder that everything else is really icing on the cake. But home daycare providers Rachel and our own Mommy Blogger Jeannine both said that the kids were responsible for their own things each having a backpack to be responsible for, and to quote Rachel, "And I carry the mass amounts of food required to feed them all."
Homeschooling mom Theresa recommended blankets - for sitting on, or wrapping up in, and along with sweaters for cold swimmers. Which if you've been to any of Toronto's outdoor wading pools, you know how freezing the water is. You can find a list of Toronto's wading pools and splash pads in this blog post.
Two different friends recommended bubbles, which are a small, fun and portable activity and one I would never have thought of. As well there were a couple of calls for bug spray and after bite. I always kept Witch Hazel for mosquito bites, and even though it is probably an old wives tale, I still keep a penny with me to put on bee stings.
When my sister in law Anne said 'Two thin cotton tea towels dried 3 humans after we participated at a water park without regular towels,' Marina shared a discovery she made from a Canadian Company called Discover Trekking Outfitters. They have an Ultra Fast-Dry Towel. "We take them on airplanes, picnic or beach"
The list was rounded up with mom's who know that when you need them you never have them: band aids, and hand sanitizer. And Mom of 4 Sara, took it right down to the only thing that matters "Food!!!!" I think I'll ask her to help me with my next post: Picnic Foods Kids Will Eat.
But the most important suggestion was also first, from Supermom Clare. "A box of smarties or a lollypop for when it's time to leave" because let's face it, getting them home is almost as much work as getting out the door.
I want to say a special thanks to all my friends who helped me come up with this list. My contribution? I did think of something no one else did. A trick from my little kid days. Put juice boxes in the freezer the night before, then by lunch time they're still cold, and an added bonus, they helped keep the rest of your food cold too.
If you'd like to have a printable copy of the this list you can download a copy here
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If your kid hates onions, cut them into big chunks so they're easily removed-don't chop them into little pieces, because they'll always find them. My husband is the soup maker in our house, and never uses a recipe, but, there is a starting point for every soup he makes that is quick and easy and can be adapted to everyone's favourite soup.