kids sitting in garden crawl tunnel

9 Must-Haves for Your Playground Pack

9 Must-Haves For Your Playground Pack

When kids get antsy from being indoors all day at school or on a holiday break, opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy some physical activity are a must. Playgrounds are the perfect venue, changing the moods of cooped-up little ones from cranky to happy in no time at all. However, all too often, fun outings to the park are cut short when you realize you don’t have the right playground necessities.

Wet slides, potty emergencies, and scrapes and bruises can send you and your kids home early — unless you’ve packed a playground pack. Playground packs are survival kits that include all the park items you need for your kid to have a successful playground adventure.

In case you’re wondering what to bring to the playground, here is our list of nine must-haves that will ensure your time at the playground goes off without a hitch.

1. Playground Backpack or Convenient Bag

Every playground pack begins with a bag where you store all your kid’s park items. A backpack is a great option and much more convenient than your standard bulky diaper bag. You can easily wear it around the playground without it getting in the way when you have to chase down your rambunctious young ones.

2. Water

Whether it’s a hot summer day or a cool autumn morning, water is an essential ingredient for safe playground play. As your kids play, the increased activity level can quickly lead to dehydration. Having a water bottle will encourage you and your child to drink more. Plus, it comes in handy for sticky hands, pesky sand, and scrapes that need to be rinsed.

3. Sunscreen

We all know to put sunscreen on our kiddos when the sun is beating down. However, even on those cloudy days, you should never set out for an outdoor adventure without it. Keep those sunburns at bay by slathering your child up.

4. First Aid Kit

A small first aid kit can rescue your play day if your child falls or suffers a bump or scrape. Many first aid items come in small travel sizes, making them easy to carry in your playground pack. Here are a few things you may want to include in your first aid kit:

  • Gloves so your hands and your kids’ scrapes stay clean
  • Waterproof adhesive bandages
  • Antibiotic ointment or spray
  • Cold packs
  • Benadryl spray for bug bites or other itchy mishaps

5. Towel

Whether it rained last night or your playground is the victim of some thick morning dew, wet slides are a mess waiting to happen. A handy towel means you can wipe down playground equipment before your child gets a damp bottom. Towels can also be great for lying on the ground and cloud-watching.

6. Layers

Kids love to use playgrounds, whether it’s the middle of summer or deep winter. For the in-between months, bringing an extra sweatshirt to your playday can keep the fun going in case your child gets cold. You may also consider packing an additional pair of socks or underclothes so your child can change into something dry if they sit or step in a puddle. When kids get chilly, slipping into something warmer lets them play for longer and prevents fussiness from the cold.

Giving hand sanitizer to kid

7. Wipes or Hand Sanitizer

Baby wipes, moist towelettes, or hand sanitizer makes your time at the playground a little more hygienic. They’re perfect for those moments when your child decides to pick up something icky or you need to wipe them down before they get in your car with filthy hands. Wipes are also perfect for getting kids cleaned up before giving them a snack.

8. Snacks

You don’t want to experience a kid temper tantrum brought on by hunger or have to cut a park trip short because your little one needs to eat. Packing your own snacks for the playground allows you to stay there as long as you like without your kids getting antsy or hungry. Bringing food from home also means you control the nutrition level of their snacks — which isn’t always the case if you make a pit stop for grub when you’re out and about.

Just be sure to teach your children to be very careful when sharing food, as another child could have allergies.

snacks

Just be sure to teach your children to be very careful when sharing food, as another child could have allergies.

9. Games and Sports Equipment

Even at the best playground, kids sometimes need a variety of activities to stay occupied. Keep your kids’ imaginations running by packing their favorite games or sports equipment on a trip to the playground. Footballs and soccer balls are great for playing catch or kicking back and forth. Flying disks are another favorite and can help kids improve their hand-eye coordination.

Your kids may enjoy other activities like blowing bubbles and creating art with sidewalk chalk. Kids can pop bubbles, make hopscotch grids and work on their blacktop masterpiece. Be sure to write your last name on any equipment you bring, including bubble bottles, so you can quickly find your belongings when it’s time to head home.

What Not to Bring to the Playground

Now that we’ve covered our bases on what items to bring to the park for your kids, you should also be aware of certain items to avoid. We recommend you leave the following at home:

  • Electronics: Your kids could easily break their tablets and other gadgets on the playground, and using personal screens at such an interactive place defeats the purpose of outdoor play. Instead, encourage your kids to enjoy playing outside and bonding with other kids!
  • Other toys: We also suggest leaving all your non-electronic at-home toys in your child’s toy chest. You’re going to the playground to enjoy the outdoors, so let your child enjoy the equipment that’s already there. Doing so will also help you avoid toy envy with other kids and the risk of leaving your child’s favorite plaything behind.
  • Loose clothing with drawstrings: Playgrounds are the perfect location for active play, including climbing ladders, walking across structures, swinging high, and sliding back down to the ground. All that action requires clothes kids can freely move in. Baggy clothes and drawstrings can hinder kids’ play by posing tripping hazards or getting caught in equipment. As an alternative, opt for well-fitting, breathable clothing designed for movement, like T-shirts and gym shorts with elastic waistbands.
  • Special clothing: Young kids have a habit of getting into messy play situations, even while wearing their nicest clothes. While stain removers exist for a reason, you can avoid time-consuming laundry efforts by only going to the playground in clothes that can stand to get a little dirty or wrinkled. If you need to, bring a change of clothes in your playground pack so you’re always prepared for playtime.
  • Open-toed shoes: Play structures present many fun and challenging obstacles for kids, provided they have the footwear to help them on their adventures. Open-toed shoes, like sandals and flip-flops, are fun in the sun but can turn dangerous if your kid stubs their toe or gets mulch stuck under their feet. Opt for well-fitting, closed-toed shoes, preferably sneakers that stay on and have good traction to help prevent slips and falls.
  • Small accessories: Many kids love to get dressed up when going on an outing, and your kids may want to bring their favorite accessories to playtime. However, items like costume jewelry, small earrings, and fidget toys can easily get lost or broken while playing on the playground. Leave the small stuff behind and promise your kids they can accessorize at home or when going on a less active adventure.
  • Fevers: While active play is important for a healthy lifestyle, sometimes it can do more harm than good, particularly if your kid isn’t feeling well. Kids who are under the weather won’t enjoy playtime the way they usually do, and they could spread germs to other kids. If your little one is sick, stay home and make sure they get plenty of rest so they can be back on the playground again in no time.

Plan Your Playground Adventure

At Little Tikes Commercial, we understand the power of the playground. Outdoor play is crucial for your child’s health and development. Taking the time to create opportunities for outdoor play has a positive impact on your whole family. Your playground pack makes it that much easier to say yes to the magic outside.

If you’d like to learn how our play structures can encourage your children to explore the world around them, we invite you to contact us for more information.