Ten Items for an Always Ready Summer Fun Bag


Many of you probably keep an emergency kit in your car for the winter time because you have an inkling that things come up that you might want to be prepared for. You might not use it that often, but it sure does reduce your stress level knowing it’s there.

Thankfully, summer fun doesn’t typically constitute an emergency, but my summer fun bag gives me a sense of relief knowing that when impromptu fun comes my way, I’m relaxed and ready!

Sometimes, it’s when I’m halfway across town and someone invites me to an impromptu backyard splash.

Or when I find out about a family-friendly event an hour before I pick up the kids from daycare.

Maybe it’s just that the weather predicted a downpour and yet suddenly, it’s 85 and sunny!

In any of these events, sure, you could run home.

Unload everyone.

Get stuff together.

Manage mini-toddler crises.

Reload everyone.

And then, maybe, MAYBE get to the event 20 to 40 minutes late.

OR, you could keep a pre-packed, all-things-summer-fun bag in your car and be that I-planned-so-I-can-pretend-to-be-spontaneous mama!

Here are ten suggestions of items to pull together so you can have fun all summer long!

#1 A cute, oversized bag.

I got mine on sale a couple summers ago at Target, but there are a lot of adorable bags out there this season!

Ten Items for an Always Ready Summer Fun Bag
Oversized bag is a must for summer fun!

#2 Bottled water or plastic bottles that can be filled.

Personally, I try to keep a 24-pack of bottled water in the car all summer long. But, whenever possible, I try to draw from drinking fountains and just fill my Camelbak. Keeping a couple of refillable water bottles or take-and-toss sippy cups means everybody can stay hydrated whenever fun comes your way!

#3 Snacks that won’t melt.

I love me some chocolate, but the goal is to have a kit you can leave in your car. The Iowa summer sun will not be kind to your unwrapped Twix bites. Applesauce packets, pretzels, or teddy bear crackers are all good options (remember, this is for when you didn’t have a plan — when you have a plan, bring your fruit, baby carrots, and string cheese along). I love being able to bless other kiddos with snacks, so if it works for your budget, pack extra in your kit!

#4 Sunscreen.

I’m a redhead, so I get a sunburn as soon as I think about going outside — so a high SPF is key. I find that spray-on works well for my kiddos, and I like that the top locks in the off position so it won’t leak.

#5 Swimsuits & swim diapers.

Summer fun seems to just come with WATER! Splash pads, aquatic centers, sprinklers, and wading pools. I’ve picked up some spare swim trunks at consignment and garage sales so I can keep them in the car. Throw in a few swim diapers, and done!

#6 Plastic grocery bags for wet clothes.

GAH. I usually forget this one (benefit of blogging — having to intentionally think through what you do!). But the best way to keep everything else in your bag in tact is to have something to put those wet clothes in.

#7 Frisbee, deflated beach ball, & sand toys.

You want a few things that would work if you end up at a park, a splash pad, or even just a friend’s back yard. Pick a few versatile options (inexpensive, won’t be a big deal if they get lost/broken), and throw them in a small bucket that will fit in your bag.

#8 Sunglasses, hats, & hair ties.

I love that many of my impromptu summer fun times are with my sister/nieces, best friend/her little girls. Needless to say, with two boys and mama rocking a shorter ‘do, we aren’t typically stocked with hair ties. But with the spirit of fun for all, throw a few in a baggie and call it good!

Ten Items for an Always Ready Summer Fun Bag
Towels, and snacks, and swimsuits–oh my!

#9 Blanket & towels.

I scored this gorgeous, hand-sewn quilt at an estate sale for $25 a few years back. I like to think that the woman who lovingly stitched it loves that it’s being used by my family to create memories. Technically, it doesn’t fit in the bag, but I stuff it right beneath. Since it’s HUGE it’s perfect for picnics! For towels, I use a couple thin towels and let the sun do the rest of the drying.

#10 Book or magazine.

Okay, maybe this one is optimistic. But it is possible that while your kiddos are playing, you can read a chapter or skim an article or two!

So, take a few minutes (you probably have everything throughout your house), load up that bag, stuff it in the trunk, and wait for the fun to roll in!

What else would you include in a summer fun bag?


  1. The first aid kit is a must. We have way more skinned knees in the summer. And you can throw it all (even the blanket) in a 31 utility tote. They make perfect carry all for the car or pool. 😉


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