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This post was in partnership with Totes but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

5 Toddler and Little Kid Must-Haves for Outdoor Play


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kids outside must-haves"
kids outside must-haves

I may have found the magic key to keeping kids and parents happy, and it’s quite simple: Go outside.

Seriously, there’s something about watching your little ones in the fresh air with the ability to run and be free that makes parenting feel like a true joy. This is particularly true in the summer months, but honestly, it is great all year round. It’s more of a challenge during the winter, so I recommend getting yourself and your kids outside as much as possible when the weather is relatively good.

Though I say that it’s a true joy to be outside with happy kids, it’s not always that easy. There will be meltdowns, kids running where you don’t want them to run, and often a big wet mess. I recommend looking past that and enjoying the great outdoors with your kids (because at least the mess is outside and not in your living room!).

There are a few things that make outdoor play easier and better. Here’s what you’re going to want to get ready before getting your kids out the door.


1. Quality Footwear

Perhaps the most important aspect of enjoying time outside: Your kids need good shoes. They need to be comfortable and ready to take on whatever activity they are in the mood for. I’ve shopped around to find the perfect shoes for my little ones, and I have found that the best ones come from Totes.

We’ve been sporting the Totes Sol Bounce Splash & Play Clog non-stop so far this summer, and the name says it all: These are perfect for splashing and playing. For anyone that has struggled to get a shoe on a squirmy toddler, let me assure you that these are so easy to slip on and off, yet stay on my kids as they run around. My toddler can get them on herself, which is a big win in our house. If you have a 3-year-old who wants to be super independent, you know what I’m talking about.

kids outdoor must-haves

The Sol Bounce shoes are lightweight which makes them easy for kids to wear and also perfect for packing for trips. I love packing them in our pool bag, and since they are made with antimicrobial properties, I don’t have to worry about bacteria and germs spreading. Gross, I know, but kids can be pretty gross.

These really are our go-to shoes for summer. Plus, these shoes are easy to keep clean, even after the muddiest of play times. My daughter is a Peppa Pig fan and will go after all the “muddy puddles” she can find. You can easily spray these shoes down with a hose, wipe them clean, or even throw them in the washing machine.

Kid's Sol Bounce Splash & Play Clog

These shoes are the ultimate summer fun must-have. My toddler loved picking out her own color, and if you're feeling jealous, they come in adult sizes as well.

Use code EVERYMOM20 for 20% off the Totes Sol Bounce collection!

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totes kids slide sandals
Kid's Sol Bounce Ara Slide Sandal

For bigger kids, the Totes Slides are the perfect slip on for summer fun. They are lightweight and really last due to their quality.

Use code EVERYMOM20 for 20% off the Totes Sol Bounce collection!

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2. One Great Water Feature

I’ve seen backyards with waterpark-inspired setups. It does look fun to have a splash pad, a water table, a sprinkler, and a baby pool. But it’s a lot to clean up, and it’s really not necessary. Stick with one really great water play feature. This could be as simple as a sprinkler—I promise your kids will be happy with it.

We love our water table and it keeps both my 1-year-old and my 3-year-old happily playing for long stretches at a time.

Step2 Shower Tower Splash Pond Water Table

We have and love this water table thanks to all the accessories it comes with. Plus, it's spacious which makes it a good play area for multiple kids at once.

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kids outdoor must-haves


3. Easy Sun Protection

To keep everyone safe in the sun, sun protection is important. While I recommend a good slather of sunscreen anytime you go outside, in addition, you can consider setting up your place space in the shade, dressing your kids in SPF-protected swimwear and clothing, and finding hats and sunglasses that your kids enjoy wearing.

kids swim
Old Navy
Zip-Front Rashguard with Built-In UPF Sun Protection

Old Navy is a great place to shop affordable and very cute swimwear with sun protection built into the fabric.

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Amazon | Pipette
Mineral Sunscreen

This sunscreen is safe for kids and adults and doesn't leave a white residue behind. It's a favorite of ours. I use a makeup sponge to apply it on my kids.

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sun hat
Amazon | iPlay
Sun Protection Hat

This hat offers the highest sun protection available to keep little ones shaded while playing outside.

multiple colors available

Shop now


4. Handy Hydration

Keep plenty of cold water easily accessible so your kids stay hydrated, especially while playing in the sun. Give them reminders to take sips as they can easily forget during a fun play session. If you also forget, set a timer for certain intervals, and every time the timer goes off, make it a game that your kids run for their water bottles.

Though extra important on hot days, hydration is important for active kids no matter what the weather or temperature is.

kids water bottle
Rambler JR 12oz Kids Bottle

If you're a parent who loves Yeti, it's time to get your kid their own mini version.

7 colors available

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kids outdoor must-haves


5. A Comfy Spot for Parents (and Kids!)

It’s fun to get in on the play-action with your kids, but it’s also important to let them have independence and play freely. This is why I recommend setting up a nice comfortable spot for yourself so you can oversee the play from a bit of a distance. It’s amazing what can happen with a kid’s imagination if you give them the space to explore.

I used to be all up in everything my toddler was doing, but I recently have taken a step back and simply started to watch her play. She’s very content to play independently, and I know it’s great for her development. Sure, I play with her at times too, but I remind myself to give her some space as well.

And while you’re at it, set up a nice spot for your kids to relax as well when they need a break. Outdoor play is fun, but it’s also exhausting! Plus, this hopefully means a great afternoon nap for everyone involved when you head back inside.

Zero Gravity Chair

I like to keep these chairs set out on our lawn at all times for whenever an outdoor play moment happens.

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Amazon | Melissa & Doug
Kid's Lawn Chair

This lightweight chair is the ideal spot for your toddler to take a break and sip some water during outdoor play time.

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This post was in partnership with Totes but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.