1) Infuser Pitcher
I drink a ton of water during the day and always push it on the girls, and I bought an infuser pitcher on Amazon to make it easier and more appealing for everyone to stay hydrated. Our favorite "core" flavors are cucumber and mint (fresh out of the garden!) and lemon.
2) Silverware and Condiment Caddy
We have been spending a lot of time outdoors in our backyard, and the girls and I often have picnics out there, either in the grass or at the table. I almost always use my silverware caddy to easily carry down napkins, silverware, and ketchup/mustard/water bottles, so I don't have to make multiple trips up the stairs. It's very easy for Anna to carry too, so I can juggle the plates and food. I bought mine years ago from Target, but this one is pretty cool too:
3) Good Sunscreen
I am extremely diligent about sunscreen, both for myself and the kids. Unfortunately, many sunscreens are full of harmful chemicals, including most of the ones on the grocery store shelf (you can check out the EWG 2015 Sunscreen Report to see the best and worst), so I always try to stay stocked with ones that I know are healthier to spread all over our skin. Our favorites are California Baby, Babyganics, and Jason Sun. It's always a balance, in my opinion, with the sunscreens. Read the ingredient info, compare it with EWG, and compare it with your budget to help you find the ones you like.
Maddie also has very fine hair and trying to put liquid sunscreen in there looks very greasy, so I use a mineral powder sunscreen that's applied through a brush on her scalp. This is also great for when the girls have their hair in pigtails or braids and I need to protect their scalp. This will not work in the water though, so I use it for school days, outside playtime, or errands. It's easy to keep in my purse, too, for touch-ups during a long outing.
We try to spend as much time outside as we can, usually in the morning to avoid the heat. Kids get hot and sweaty though, and it's always fun to be able to pull out some cold treats like popsicles. I always make sure to have some stocked for play dates!
Our favorite store-bought popsicles are these from Outshine. I do have to be careful though to avoid the ones that have Splenda in them - the sugar free ones are sweet enough, no need for artificial sweeteners!
We also invested in some silicone popsicle molds this year, which have been fun. I bought these from Amazon, mostly because they can lay flat in the freezer, and they have been fairly successful with the kiddos. Maddie has a bit of a hard time with coordinating the push-up component so hers usually gets stuck in a cup, but Anna has no trouble at all with them. We've had fun experimenting with flavors, and the current favorite is raspberry lemonade!
5) Good Play Shoes
Summer fun always involves being either outside or in the water...or in the mud, if your kids are anything like mine! My friend Susan recommended a brand of shoes called Natives, which are similar to Crocs but in a slip-on style. I love that they are easy to put on, and easy to wash off, and comfortable enough to run and play at the park. Big high five to the fact that they can be worn at a splash park, since the ground around the water can be so incredibly hot. If you order them online like I did, I suggest buying two sizes and seeing which ones fit the best - I ended up sizing down with both girls.