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Being Spontaneous (With Little Ones)

Before children, jumping in the car to head to the beach or even walking to the beach was an easy thing to do. Adding young ones in, and there are so many little things you need – diapers, wipes, snacks, etc. But having extra layers of “stuff” doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous.  But it does mean you have to plan ahead to be spontaneous.

Wait – what?

Yes – the key to success of being spontaneous is planning ahead!

Okay – so how?

This is how I do it.

I have a “Mom Adventure” bag always ready to go. And a to go diaper bag that is separate from my usual diaper bag. This bag is always in my vehicle so it is ready at a moment’s notice.

The adventure diaper bag has the basics – 5 diapers, a pack of wipes, a changing mat and extra clothes which I change out per season. I use a small backpack that I think I got at a conference – I like it because it has a buckle that can be buckled into the handles of my adventure bag so it is all in one place.

The Mom Adventure bag is chock full of necessary items that are specific to the region we currently live in – Southern California:

~ Sand toys: After living in Okinawa, we had a pack of little sand toys from the local Japanese toy store. We added an awesome Disney Castle sand toy from a Disney World vacation a few years ago. It was only $10! I don’t know if it still can be found, but we purchased it from the shop in the Grand Floridian (not where we were staying…I wish!).

Sancastle on San Onofre Beach

~Sunblock: I try to stick to sunblock that is safe to use on young children and adults so that it can be used on both. Remember to talk to your pediatrician if you want to sunblock in children under the age of 6 months.

~Bug spray: I pack family-friendly spray in case we are out in the late afternoon or evening. Per the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is not recommended that bug spray be applied directly to children’s skin, but can be rubbed on their skin or on the clothes.

~Sunhats: I purchased extra sunhats when our local Costco had them on clearance them the summer we moved to SoCal.

~Lined blanket: A TJMaxx find – but a lined blanket means I can put it on wet sand, wet grass, dirt without worrying about it seeping through.

~Frisbees: or some sort of outdoor entertainment toy that can easily fit in a bag. Collapsible Frisbees are great space savers! My husband just bought a mini-kite at the PX that will fit too, I’ll let you know how/if that works out!

~Bubbles. You can never go wrong with bubbles when it comes to kids. Bubble bottles come in all sizes so you can even get a couple small bottles. A word to the wise – makes sure they are in plastic bags if they are not sealed to prevent leakage.

~ Small sleeve of band aids, wet wipes, neosporin packs. No one wants a boo boo when out on an adventure, but taking care of them quickly means we can keep adventuring. In the past I have used a small plastic bag or a reusable cloth bag with quick first aid items.

Mom Adventure Bag
My Mom Adventure bag

~The bag: I found a large bag at TJMaxx that has a straw bottom and a drawstring top. This is great for getting wet or sand in it, and keeps everything in like it is supposed to.

Food

When I am leaving for morning errands, I almost always pack lunch. This prevents me from eating out unplanned in case there is a change in plans while out and also allows me the ability to make spontaneous parks or beach spots. I also grab snacks like nuts, dried fruit, and pouches for the kids. Seriously love those pouches! Whoever thought of a way to allow easily transported foods that did not suffer in the temperatures was a genius! Oftentimes I grab a small container of yogurt if I have sliced fruit packed too for a yummy dipped snack.

bynto box at the beach
Lunch on the go!

~Bento box: I have found a container that I like that I can fit enough food for three of us when we are out on an adventure. I make sure it is packed with something ready to go in the fridge making it is easy to grab when I am running out the door. I usually pack it when I am making lunches for the next day so there isn’t a lot of prep work involved.

~ Lunch bag: I use a roll top bag insulated lunch bag to store all the snacks in. With the roll top, I can secure it to the hook of the stroller without worrying about it dragging or hitting the the stroller wheel.

So now – whenever traffic congestion is just too much and our schedule allows, or I want to just get up and go (as much as possible as that is with children) – I can stop over at the nearest beach, playground or park with ease. Adventures are easier to navigate. And the beauty is – you can too.

Train at Trestles
Train watching at the beach!

*If interested, on Saturday there will be a post of specific products I like to pack meals in. If not interested, just skip on by that post and stay tuned to the next adventure on the following Monday. :)*

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