Thanks to Disney Baby for sponsoring this post and giving me a Bumkins waterproof bib and NUK Learner Cup for free.
Aside from the day-to-day staples that I keep in my diaper bag for my little ones, there have been plenty of times when I’ve had “Oh! I wish I had that with me!” moments. Impromptu outings with little ones can inject some much-needed magic into the everyday, but without the proper supplies, they aren’t always possible.
Recently, I decided to start keeping some extra supplies on hand in the car so we could be prepared for spontaneous outings to the park, a last-minute trip to Grandma’s house, and a variety of happy messes in between. Here are my must-haves for encouraging more fun and spontaneity with my little ones.
1. Sunny Weather Staples
Living in the Pacific Northwest, we regularly encounter a wide variety of weather often in the same day. Just the other day, we had a day where it started off being cold and foggy, then it transitioned to wind and rain, then sun, then HAIL (yes, hail), and then it was cloudless and beautifully sunny again. Because of this, I always try to keep sunny weather must-haves in my car. Sun hats and sunblock are essential for impromptu trips to the park, because you never know when the sun will come out and surprise you!
2. Rainy Weather Gear
Keeping a light water-resistant jacket in the car is always a good idea in case we want to brave the outdoors. Sometimes a last-minute zoo trip during a light drizzle is exactly what our day calls for.
3. Change of Clothes
While we’re on the topic of keeping extra clothing on hand, having an extra change of clothes is an absolute must. There have been plenty of times when we’ve had to cut an outing short, because of a fall in the mud or a diaper disaster. While a change of clothes is something I typically keep in my diaper bag, there have been times I’ve forgotten to pack an extra outfit and had to head home with the heat cranked up and a baby wearing nothing but a diaper. Not an ideal situation. Keeping a basic outfit in my car for emergencies has saved us on more than one occasion.
I know you’re probably thinking: “A towel?! Huh?” But, I use mine ALL the time. Having a towel to wipe down slides and play equipment at the park after the rain or drying off my kids after getting caught in a torrential downpour has been a life saver for us!
5. Snacks + Mealtime Supplies
Sometimes after a hang at the park with friends, it’s fun to keep it going with a little lunchtime adventure. Often when I know ahead of time that we’ll be going out to eat, I’ll remember to pack a bib and a cup, but sometimes I forget, which is why it makes sense to leave these items in the car (these Bumkins waterproof bibs and NUK learner cups are our favorites). Messes will be avoided and the fun adventures can continue!
6. An Activity Bag
Sometimes when we have last minute lunch dates or visits with friends who don’t have babies, it can be helpful to have a little bag with fun activities and toys for your little one. This cute, wooden Melissa & Doug train set would make a nice addition to the activity bag.
Keeping a stroller in the car can seem a bit inconvenient, but a last-minute trip to our local children’s museum might not be possible without one. I like to keep a lightweight umbrella stroller available for situations like this. This Winnie the Pooh umbrella stroller is a nice option and won’t take up a ton of space in your trunk!
8. Play Yard
I’ll admit, a play yard might seem like an odd thing to keep in the car, but if you have room to store it, it’s really convenient to have. There have been so many times when we’re having a really fun time at a friend’s house for dinner and suddenly it’s bed time. If we want to keep the night going a little longer, all we have to do is set up the play yard in one of the rooms and put our little one to bed there. Easy peasy. If you don’t have a play yard yet, it is an absolute must that you will use so often, and I really like this cute Winnie the Pooh option.
Along with that play yard for unscheduled sleeps, you may want to keep some extra pajamas on hand too. That way you don’t have to do a quick change and can simply transition your little one right to their bed once you arrive back at home. Having a change of pajamas and clothes in the car also means you’re all set in case of impromptu sleepovers at the grandparents’ house, which happen pretty often around here.
10. Diapers + Wipes
Packing diapers and wipes in your diaper bag is a given, but I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been out for longer than anticipated and run out of one or both of these essentials. Not a pretty picture. Now I keep a few extra diapers and a clutch of wipes in my car for situations just like these. It’s nice to be able to extend our fun adventures without worrying about rushing home for more diapering supplies!
The most magical moments of childhood are often the ones that aren’t planned and keeping these things on hand helps to make more of these possible for our little family!
Image : Disney Baby