5 Playground Essentials to Keep in Your Bag

For us, summer is about spending lots of time outside — so we're always at the playground. Here are 5 items that we never leave home without:

Snacks: Yes, this one is obvious — but it's important. My daughter burns a lot of energy at the playground, so I always have a snack handy (crackers, an apple, or carrot sticks) to give her a boost.

Bubbles: I used to think that bubbles were only fun for the littlest children until I watched my nine-year-old nephew spend hours with my four-year-old daughter and various bubble wands. Grab a bottle before you head out the door and your children will instantly make friends with everyone else at the playground. It's a great option for a day when the swings and slides are packed.

Hats and sunscreen: Before you leave the house have everyone throw a hat on, and keep a small tube of sunscreen in your bag. You never know which friends you'll run into at the playground and how long you'll be out, so come prepared so you don't have to leave early.

The right shoes: In almost every playground, that means sneakers or Croc-style shoes. With all the running and climbing and jumping kids do, you'll want to make sure you minimize their tripping and scrapes. I may hate Croc-style rubber shoes for adults, but I'm pretty certain they were invented for my daughter to go from the slides surrounded by bark at our playground straight over to the sprinklers with just a quick toss of her socks.

Water: Last, but not least, is the essential bottle of water. Our local playground is only a few blocks from home, but keeping my daughter well-hydrated avoids public meltdowns and extreme fatigue that might plague her throughout the day. And don't forget to bring enough for yourself as well.

Photo: Getty

This post is sponsored by Mott's.