It’s officially summer time in the city! Hooray! Although I must admit it’s not as much fun being a mommy on summer break, as it was being a kid. But I’ve found it can be a lot more fun if I plan accordingly.
We make almost daily excursions to local NYC playgrounds and if I pack up the night before there is much more fun to be had by all than if we try dropping by spontaneously. (Preschoolers don’t seem to do well with spontaneity, in my experience.)
Here is my checklist. Hope it helps some of you other moms and dads out there whether you are packing for a trip within NYC or beyond.
1) Sun protection – Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are all tossed underneath our stroller on a daily basis
2) Sidewalk Chalk – A couple of chunky chalk sticks can be great fun and I always pack more than we need since we always seem to attract new chalk-loving friends.
3) Water bottles – My kids love water fountains but I’m kind of creeped out by the germ factor since all kids, my own included, seem to put their lips directly on the spout. I try to lure them away from the fountains with icy cold water in their dinosaur and princess-themed SIGG bottles.
4) Towel – NYC has officially turned on all the water sprayers in their city parks so we are typically drenched within our first 10 minutes of our visit. Add to this the close proximity of the sandboxes and now the kids are wet and then ‘breaded’ with sand. The towel comes in handy to wipe off the sand and dry off the soaking clothes on our trip home to the bathtub, or the ice cream truck depending on my sweet cravings (See there are some perks to being the mom in the summertime)
5) Water Shoes – Crocs are my mom lifesaver. I love how I can wash them with soap and then put them back on their feet almost immediately without any dry time. I’ve found water shoes to be the best for walking to and playing in sand and water in our local parks.
6) Snacks – I find that my kids eat best on their way to and from our destination so I try to plan accordingly by bringing sandwiches, cut up apples slices, nuts, pretzels, and cucumber or carrot sticks. In all honesty, this is all part of my mommy master plan to fill their tummies with healthy food before they get enticed by the smoothies stores, ice cream trucks and other temptations between our home and the playgrounds.
7) Emergency Potty – okay here is where the glamour of mommy-ing ends (ha) It’s inevitable that a bathroom break is necessary at the playground. In my experience, it’s rare to find convenient and clean public bathrooms in the public parks so I pack our portable potty. Kalencon Potette makes a great compact one that works with any type of bag as a disposable liner. This is also a survival technique if you have more than one child and don’t want to have to drag the other child on a field trip to the local facilities. Our double stroller seems to give us all the privacy we need for a quick pit stop.
8) Bucket and shovel – Although there is sandbox etiquette understood by most that everyone shares sand toys, it helps to bring your own to trade when necessary. I do my best to limit toy options and deter them from bringing other toys that can get lost. In a crunch, plastic spoons and my empty Starbucks cup have sufficed when the usual toys have been forgotten.
The NYC Parks and Recreation Department even has an entire web page devoted to playgrounds in the city where you can search for options by zip code. http://www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/playgrounds/ So pack up and have fun out there this summer!