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Luckily I’ve never been stuck up a creek without a paddle…wait a minute, actually I have! But that’s another story, for another time. Being at a beach without a towel is like being stuck up a creek without a paddle. This is how the Summer Survival Tote came to be!

I can’t even remember how many times I’ve wished I had a ball… or a towel… or a bandaid in my car! Well this summer I vowed to change that. I will never again pass up a beach opportunity because we don’t have bathing suits and towels. Or suffer through the relentless whining of bored children.

Last summer I even told myself, “You should keep a ball in the car.” Yet, I never managed to remember to put one in.

Inspiration finally struck me, with the idea to pack a SUMMER SURVIVAL TOTE.

Now if I can just remember to put it in the car…

Being at a beach without a towel is like being stuck up a creek without a paddle. Pack a Summer Survival Tote for your car today! Click To Tweet
summer survival tote

"I wish we had a ball!"

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said something like, “I wish we had ball” or “Do we have a towel?”

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As I started gathering things to include in my Summer Survival Tote, I kept coming up with more and more brilliant items as I walked around my house. A large blanket was number 1, because you never know when the picnic mood will strike. Towels and a pop up beach tent were next, for those times when your little one (or you!) needs to grab a bit of shade. “Extra bathing suits, extra underwear…why not? Bandaids! Great idea! Oh! May as well have an antibiotic ointment too!” The list just keeps going. Use whatever you already have and what your kids like or check out this list for some inspiration.

Summer Survival Tote

Essential items for your Summer Survival Tote:

  1. Large blanket
  2. Pop-up beach tent
  3. Fun Beach Towels or any old towels will do
  4. Blow up Floatie or Boat
  5. Sand toys
  6. Balls, like a soccer ball or blow up beach balls to take up less space
  7. Quality sunscreen (This one’s important! See my note below)
  8. Bathing suits for the kids and maybe you too! I’m also a fan of UV protective shirts and big fan of Carter’s stuff.
  9. Bucket hats, sun hats, or baseball hats
  10. Extra underwear and socks
  11. Swim diaper / Diaper / Pull-up
  12. Water guns
  13. Bubbles
  14. Sunglasses
  15. Tissues / Bandaids / Antibiotic ointment
  16. A couple books
  17. Paper plates / utensils / napkins
  18. Also VERY important… SNACKS!
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The last thing you want to worry about this summer is having the water essentials your kids need while enjoying the surf and the sun. Before you load up the car and head to the beach, make sure you have these items in tow for your little ones. 


Shark 2-Piece Sun Protection Suit

This 2-piece suit is a cute and effective way to protect your child from harmful UV rays. It keeps all the essential areas covered from sunburn, especially the back and shoulders, so he can enjoy the beach longer. Lightweight and quick drying, this suit won’t stick or irritate as he goes from the water to the sand. 


Girls’ Floral Sun Protection Hat 

Keep her little face sunburn-free with this floral sun protection hat. Designed with UPF 50+ fabric, it even features a long flap at the back to keep her neck protected. The snug elasticated fit means it stays put all day, even if the beach gets breezy. 


Monogrammed Kid’s Beach Chair 

Your mini-me is sure to love their very own beach chair to match yours. Available in pink, purple, and blue, your child’s name or initials are monogrammed right onto the chair and accompanying umbrella. This chair is sure to see many days at the beach this summer. 



I am a huge proponent of making small changes wherever I can to help me and my family live healthier lives. The little things add up and simple changes can make a big impact.

I am a huge proponent of making small changes wherever I can to help me and my family live healthier lives. The little things add up and simple changes can make a big impact. Choosing a natural sunscreen is an important and simple… Click To Tweet

Choosing a natural sunscreen is an important and simple change that you can make easily. Natural means mineral or plant based. So look for ingredients like Zinc and Titanium, or Raspberry Seed Oil. Avoid chemical and synthetic ingredients, like oxybenzone and parabens. Think about it… Sunscreen goes all over your skin, which your skin then absorbs into your body.

Quality, natural sunscreens can be found at local health food stores usually, but are usually cheaper on Amazon.

These are some of my favourites:

Badger All Natural Sunscreen

Badger Balm Lavender, Badger Balm Chamomile and Calendula

Coolest thing ever… Badger Face Stick – for quick and easy application to nose and cheeks!

Green Beaver Organic Sunscreen

Banana Boat Natural Reflect Lotion

Don’t forget your lips! Badger Lip Balm Sun Stick

Sunscreen and the Environment

It is becoming evident that chemical based sunscreens are affecting our oceans and coral reefs. If sunscreen is killing coral, imagine how it’s affecting your body after absorbing it!

There are even hotels in tropical places that only allow mineral based sunscreens now – because they recognize the importance of protecting the land and surrounding waters.

Check out this amazing article that goes into more detail on the issue: Sunscreen May be Dangerous to You and Coral Reefs.



Remember to replenish your tote throughout the summer. Add new items to change it up.

Find a tote you are sure will fit in your trunk and pack accordingly. Bonus if you have an SUV.

Keep your sunscreen and snacks in a box near your front door, ready to grab as you head out. Sunscreen and snacks are best not left in the car!

Yes, I’ve included a lot of affiliate links in this post… but I put a lot of effort and research into it! Many of the items you will already have… like extra bathing suits and underwear. You can search your favourite dollar store or second hand store for some of the items, but sometimes Amazon offers better prices, especially for the sunscreen.

More resources:

For more on sunscreen or for recipes to make your own if you’re feeling ambitious, visit Wellness Mama, one of my favourite places on the internet.

Check out the EWG’s Guide to Sunscreen. They also have lots of great articles and resources. You can search any sunscreen or product (like make-up, helloooo, it goes on your skin!) to see how it measures up.


There you have it…

Your summer survival tote is ready! Now go put it in your car.

Did you think of anything I forgot?

Let me know!

Summer Fun

Activities for Summer Survival

  1. Go swimming! (Obviously!) Community pools and splash pads are usually cheap or find your nearest beach.
  2. Find places nearby for easy day trips – Nature trails, strawberry patch, blueberry farm.
  3. Go to a baseball game
  4. Have a family get together in a park
  5. Go to a Farmer’s Market
  6. Do some baking! Great for rainy days.
  7. Weekend road trips
  8. Indoor play centres
  9. Make smoothies and lots of healthy popsicles

Activities to keep them occupied (and out of your hair – so you can work!)

  1. Set them up with a picnic in the backyard
  2. Coloured ice and paper outside
  3. Cardboard boxes and crayons outside
  4. Squirt gun painting. So fun! Found this and other great ideas at Fireflies and Mudpies.
  5. Painting outside. Just paint and paper or canvases works or cute activities like painting rocks.
  6. Basically anything crafty to keep them entertained…maybe for at least 30 minutes! Ha! Rachel at has TONS of great ideas!
  7. Play-doh! Inside or outside. Play-doh picnic?
  8. Set up a bubble bath in a little pool, with lots of balls and toys. I use this Honest Company Bubble Bath, and the bubbles seem to last a long time in the bath, plus it has better ingredients than many soaps and lotions out there.
  9. Set up a lego station outside in the shade or on a blanket
  10. Build a Crazy Fort. Inside on rainy days, outside on nice days.
  11. Pull weeds in the backyard and/or garden

Make them EARN Screen Time

Keep the school spirit alive and the education continuing with practice and workbooks. In order to play video games or apps on a tablet, have your kids do some work in an activity book or play flashcards together. I have tons of different flashcards and workbooks for different ages. Keep it simple and age appropriate. Take a trip to a dollar store together and let them pick out a notebook and pencils for writing. Have them copy words or write little sentences and stories.


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