Ah, summer. It seems like we wait so long for you to come and grace us with your warmth, your sunny days, and summer beach fun. Wait, who am I kidding, we have kids and that means summer can be anything but relaxing while soaking up some sun. Want to get through this summer alive and with as few disasters as possible? Don't we all!
Luckily for you I have compiled a list of 15 summer hacks to help any mom (or dad, hey, you guys are in this fray with us too) deal with any summertime headaches that are poised to put a damper on your family's summer fun. Are you ready to tackle the rest of summer like a pro, or at least not have it be a giant fail? Then scroll on down for some fabulous summer survival hacks that any mom must have.
15 Say Goodbye to Sandy Towels
We all know that part of beach going is bringing a towel with you that will inevitably get covered in sand. If you have an infant or toddler, then sand might not be their favorite thing, yet. Keep the kiddos sand free and you happy by bringing a queen size,or larger, fitted sheet. Take your cooler, beach bag, and anything else weighty and put them in each corner of the sheet to make a nice clean area for you and baby.
Planning on getting out and taking a dip in the water? That poses a problem, you will be sure to get sand on that blanket then! Not so. Grab a smaller towel and read on to see how to get the sand off you and your little one without a hassle.
14 Sandy Cheeks
Sand, sand, everywhere--and I do mean everywhere. Want to get that pesky stuff out of all the kiddos cracks and crevices, as well as your own? Take a bottle of baby powder with you. When you want to de-sand yourself or the kids, simply apply it to the sand covered area and gently brush it away. It will be gone in seconds.
Want to keep the sand off your feet and inevitably your beach towel? Grab that smaller towel (hand towel size will work), and apply baby powder and brush off your feet. This trick works wonders! I used this recently on my daughter after we went to the beach and she decided the sand she was digging in was best for dumping, right onto herself. The sand was everywhere.
Thankfully I happen to have baby powder with me and in no time flat she was sand free before we headed home.
13 Don't Bring The Sand Home
When you bring toys with you to the beach some sand will try and travel home with you, only to be found in your car and home seemingly forever. It's like glitter that way, it just doesn't go away no matter how hard you clean. Or does it?
Pro tip: get a mesh bag for those beach toys. The holes in the mesh will help unwanted sand stay at the beach. As an added bonus you can dip the mesh back full of sandy toys in the water and shake to get any remaining stubborn sand off the toys. Plus, then the toys are clean, the car is sand free, and you can be happy.
12 Diaper Decoy
This trick is down right genius. Where do you put your valuables when you go to the beach? Do you leave them in your beach bag or purse? Nope! If you've got kids of diapering age, then grab a (clean) diaper and put any valuables inside. Nobody is going to chance seeing if it's a real diaper or something more.
Don't have kids of a diapering age? There is no saying that you can't go pick up a small cheap bag of diapers to aid you in your summer survival. If that truly won't work for you, then don't toss that empty or expired bottle of sunscreen. Just clean that baby out and viola, you have another great place to store valuables.
11 Too Much Sun
I think it is safe to say we have all been here before, didn't apply enough sunscreen or you simply forgot to apply it somewhere (like the tops of your feet, ouch!) Now you or your kiddos have a nasty sunburn? I've seen tricks for freezing aloe gel into fun shapes for kids, but let's be honest, most kids under the age of 5 probably won't hold that to their sunburn.
I know my toddler won't. So now what? Aloe gel can give some relief, but it can be messy and will need to be reapplied many times a day. I'll tell you a secret, apple cider vinegar. For kiddos, mix one cup of the apple cider vinegar to a bath of lukewarm water. Then let them soak in it. It might smell a bit, but the relief will be priceless.
Adults, don't want to soak in the tub or maybe you burned the back of your neck? Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and cool water, then soak a towel or paper towel in the mixture and apply to the affected area. Let it dry a much as possible. Do this twice a day for best results. Oh and since this is vinegar based, please don't try this on anywhere that you might have a cut or open wound.
10 Beach Baby On Board
As fun as it is to bring baby to the beach and marvel in their wonder at all the new stimuli, what do you do about naptime? Pack up and go home? What if you only just got here? Lug the pack & play? What a pain, it's not as if you don't have enough to carry what with the diaper bag, cooler, umbrella, blankets, sunscreen, toys and everything else.
Well you are at the beach and the sand is moveable, so why not dig a shallow hole big enough for baby, place a cushy towel inside and let them nap there? Remember to keep your baby covered in sunscreen and under the umbrella. Nothing is worse than a sunburned baby. You'll still get to relax at the beach and baby will get a cozy napping spot.
9 No More Sticky Popsicles
Popsicles are a wonderful summertime treat for kiddos. The sticky mess they make as they melt, not so wonderful. Avoid the mess by keeping cupcake liners with you. Simply poke the popsicle stick through the bottom of the liner and you have a mess free kiddo. Well, at least while they are eating that popsicle. No guarantees in other parts of their daily habits.
Another neat use for cupcake liners is to keep bugs out of your drinks. Take your straw and poke it through the upside down cupcake liner and place the straw in your drink. The liner will cover the opening of the cup keeping out nasty bugs and unwanted debris.
Summertime means barbeques, and barbeques mean you're going to need a cooler to hold all those drinks and keep them cold. The only problem is when the ice melts, this is especially a problem if you have juice boxes in the cooler for the younger crowd. Nobody likes a soggy juice box.
The fix is simple, and dual purpose, momma's favorite words. Fill up water balloons and freeze them before the barbeque, use the balloons to keep drinks cold and when the water has melted let the kids have a water balloon fight. Heck, I won't judge if you join in the fun. Who doesn't like a good ole water balloon fight?
7 Red Solo Cup
Fireworks seem to scream summer, and why not with holidays like Memorial Day and the 4th of July? Certain fireworks are great for all occasions and keep kids entertained, which is a bonus in my book. The most kid friendly firework being sparklers, though kids can still get burned by them. Let's make them safer with, you guessed it, a red solo cup (or any plastic disposable cup really).
Take your plastic cup, and poke the sparkler handle through the end so it is sticking out the bottom of the cup. Give the unlit sparkler to your child, with their hand inside the cup holding the sparkler handle. Remember to have them hold it away from their face and body, then light her up!
6 Easy Splinter Removal
Kids love to play outside during the warm weather months, so it should come as no surprise that eventually they will get a splinter. I have a couple of fool proof methods for easy removal, tried and true.
My daughter loved climbing all over the deck at this house we rented when we first moved where we are now. The only problem was she would get covered in splinters, from big ones that were easy themselves to remove to teeny tiny ones that were like fighting a bear to remove.
It was horrible, I worried that they would get infected if we didn't remove them, and some of them looked like they might, but she wouldn't let us near them. Thank goodness I found a few tricks that worked for us.
The first trick is for splinters large enough to remove, but are deep in there. Instead of digging at the splinter site, which I'm sure your kid will love, make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the splinter, cover with a bandage and let it sit for a few hours or overnight if you can.
Then remove the bandage and quickly grab the splinter with tweezers. The baking soda helps bring the splinter to the surface of where it entered for easier removal.
The next trick is for those tiny splinters that are nearly impossible to remove, but still pose a threat for infection. For this one you will have to go to your local pharmacy and pick up what is called a drawing salve. It's a homeopathic remedy that helps stop infection and remove some of the splinters, it won't get all of them though.
The main ingredient you want to look for in the salve is Ichthammol. Any splinters left over will eventually work their way out or the body will dissolve them.
5 Rainy Day Fun
It stinks if you have little ones and it's raining. Especially if your kid is anything like mine and always wants to be outside. Finding fun new things for little kids and toddlers to do is tough work, but if you have paint and gallon sized plastic zipper bags, then you have a solution.
Simply pour some paint, not too much, into the bag and zip shut. You may want to double bag these though as kids can be rough and these might burst, so having that extra layer will help contain the mess. Also if your kiddo is good at opening zippered bags you may want to fold the zipper part over and tape it shut.
If you even tape these bags to a table top, then these become mess free finger paints.
4 Fight Summer Doldrums
Kids of all ages can easily become bored during the long summer months. Who, then, do they look to for activities and fun? Why, you, of course! I mean, clearly, the woman (or man) scrubbing dishes and doing laundry knows how to have a good time. To avoid having to play court jester, make some activity sticks. The making of said sticks can be an activity in and of itself!
Simply save (or purchase) popsicle sticks, gather some colorful markers and a black sharpie and brainstorm. It might be good to note that you should keep on hand all the supplies for said activities you come up with, or you may run into a tiny mob scene. Also make sure the activities and supplies needed are age appropriate, or have the proper supervision needed. Can't let those toddlers run with scissors now can we?
3 We All Scream For Ice Cream
There is no better summer treat than ice cream. It's cold, creamy, and downright delicious! Though going to the local ice cream parlor can get expensive, and where's the fun in buying a gallon at the store? Don't have a fancy ice cream maker at home? No need! This simple recipe uses ingredients you probably already have at home, plus it's all made in zipper bags.
Bonus, the kiddos get to take turns shaking the bag to help make it into ice cream! A fun science experiment you get to eat afterwards. Yum, yum. To find the recipe follow this link and enjoy.
2 One Order Of Outdoor Fun, Hold The Bugs
What is the worst thing you can think of about summertime? Besides the sunburns, it would be bugs, wouldn't it? Those pesky little buzzing bugs biting you and your little one. While you might run for the bug spray for you, I don't blame you if you hesitate when it comes to your baby.
Most sprays are loaded with nasty chemicals, some of which you probably can't pronounce. If you still want to get outside for fresh air and fun for you and your little one then I have one suggestion. Bring your pack and play and a fitted sheet. A twin will probably do the trick, hey even an old crib sheet might work.
Simply place baby, and some fun age appropriate toys, inside the pack and play, cover the top with the fitted sheet and it becomes an instant bug shield. Also, it's a bonus sun shield to keep baby and her sensitive skin out of the harmful rays.
1 Vacation, All I Ever Wanted
Hooray for summer, and hooray for a vacation getaway! After writing your packing list, checking it twice, then begin packing all of it (and then some), afterward, you're ready to relax. Until you get to your vacation destination, realize it's crowded and now you're worried about keeping everyone together.
But, heaven forbid, you and your kiddos do get separated! Do you make them wear those DIY info bracelets that you know one of them will probably lose in the first ten minutes of the trip? No, you can take that one step further, and cooler in your kids eyes, by getting some temporary info tattoos made up. What kid wouldn't want to sport a cool temporary tattoo?
Plus then you can rest assured that your angel won't lose the info and it will be easy to read.
Whatever summer throws your way, I hope this list of hacks was able to help. Just know that for those of you with school aged kids, I too wish for autumn's speedy return. (Mostly cause I'm 8 months pregnant with #2 and I want cooler weather).