There is a huge list of things that we as moms feel we need to have, from caring for infants to toddlers when playing outside, going to the beach, camping etc but what is really worth getting? Some of this gear is expensive so you want to be sure you are getting items that have one years of value and two have good resale value if you are buying new (find as much of this used, its definitely worth searching out in your mom groups and kid consignment stores). I’m going to break this down by age groups, so scroll to what age you need but some of the items listing in the younger years are still used as they get older. Enjoy my top outdoor gear picks and to make it easier shopping links.
Infants 0-12 years
Get a baby jail….yup you read it right. The top pick for this age group is keeping these crawling and rolling babies safe while playing outside. Now a playpen will work for this but its bulky, heavy and you will need to rig up some sort of shade, (easily done with a crib sheet over the top) I waited until my third to get this baby jail and it was the best thing. I regret not having it for the others, light weight and sets up fast I take it everywhere and my 18 month old even napped in it.
Be sun safe, the little sun suits are so cute and available at any of your favorite kids clothing stores. Finding a sun safe hat is another thing, this hat from MEC is worth the high price tag, it is adjustable so it will grow with your baby. I have gotten 2 years out of this hat, its adorable and keeps baby safe while giving comfort. Get a clip on highchair or this pop up high chair it makes feeding a baby at the picnic site a breeze.
My other list of items for infants is muslin blankets, they are light weight and help keep them bundled but cool. If your baby is standing or pulling up it might be time to get a water table….you will get years out of all of these items it is defiantly worth the price tag.
Toddler 12 months -3 years
Now, I still use the items listed above until they will no longer allow me to……keep those little’s contained as long as you can. Once they are running around like crazy banshees its time to get some good gear.
I’ll start with shoes because my kids can burn through shoes like nobodies business, I almost died when I bought my first pair of native shoes for the kids but they have great resale value and if you are lucky you can find them used too. I have a pair for myself and I love them, I can run after them at the park and play in the water they are comfy, light weight and last….the kids have yet to destroy a pair so yeah they are worth the price. Although it is a summer addition it still can get rainy on the coast which equals mud, these amazing Muddy Buddies are perfect for wind, rain, mud, puddles, you can layer it and have it act as a outer layer in the spring and fall. I made the choice to stick with the same color, so my brats don’t freak out that one has a different colour…..it happens a lot plus I chose gender neutral and visible yellow so I can spot them as they explore.
Now lets get into gear, because the kids love activities but can’t walk or bike long distances yet. Hiking backpacks and run bikes are now your best friend because they will likely refuse to sit in a stroller at this stage. We have used our baby backpack for years, it has traveled with us to Iceland and local trails it is worth getting a high quality pack IF hiking is your thing, if not then its probably something you don’t need.
Run bikes or balance bikes are your first step into riding a bike, our kids have enjoyed gliding on bikes and it drastically reduced the time they needed training wheels basically until they knew how to petal and break. If biking is your thing (I hate biking) there are tons of great options for taking your kids along for the ride.
So we traveled a lot with our kids and we needed a bed that would fold up easy, small and light weight. I bought this pop up tent for our first over seas trip and it didn’t work well mostly because our son was too young ( only 10 months old) and would wake every time I zipped up the sides. But now that they are older it gets a ton of use, its perfect for hotel rooms, even at the beach if you need a little spot for them to sleep in the shade.
Little Kids 3-6
Now at this stage the gear you need is very specific to your families activities and needs. Your gear choices will depend on what you child is into and what you want to do together as a family. I won’t get into it on this post, once you get to this stage you will know what you need and want. But there are a few things that you might want to get, a pop up sunshade is great to have a spot out of the sun and to eat and change. I bought a huge folding outdoor mat at Costco and it is the best, the link is very similar to the one I have. I use it camping, picnics and at the beach. Its easy to fold up and comes with a little bag, plus I can clean it with a garden hose win win for low maintenance. I am waiting to get a wagon…currently I haul all of our crap in my stroller but once we are no longer using that I am definitively getting my self one of these babies.
I hope this helps you enjoy the summer months a little easier and to get the best bang for your buck try to find these items used, if your planning on having multiple children buying new is a good idea because you will use it with all of your kids and then sell it for a little money back.