The warm weather is here! It’s time to raise the seat on the kiddo’s bicycle and dust off my giant outdoor bag. Last summer, I got frustrated with multiple trips to the playground each day. We would go and swing for a while, but then Elliot would get bored, hot or hungry and we’d have to trudge back home for a break.

I wanted to stay outdoors for longer stretches. I stayed outside all day when I was a kid. I was older than Elliot is now – old enough to come and go as I pleased, as long as I was home for dinner – but I wanted to plant the seed of sustained outdoor play so it will be a natural transition when she gets older.

When kids play outdoors, they engage in healthy, imaginary play because they don’t have access to the same toys that they do indoors. And that is a wonderful, wonderful thing. The playground can become a pirate ship or a castle. The swings are how superheroes fly, right? And outside the playground, there is a field or grass or woods that can serve as the stage for all sorts of imaginary play. Plus, there’s a lot of running.

So when we leave the house, I grab my Outdoor Kit. It sustains us for at least three hours:

Elliot playing outside.

  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Scooter or bike and helmet
  • Soccer ball
  • Bubbles
  • Snacks. Make it a variety – crackers, fruit, and protein such as cheese and nuts. Kids burn more calories outdoors than indoors. Bring more food than you think you’ll need.
  • Water. A big, ice-filled jug of it.
  • Sunscreen
  • Large towel or picnic blanket – I use this one
  • Sun hats
  • Swimsuit
  • Duck food
  • Book or magazine for mama

I shove it all in 1-2 bags and we walk, bike or drive to a park. It’s even more fun if you are meeting a friend or two at the park.