If you have small children and babies, you’ll know that sometimes a family day out can be a bit of a challenge. From changing nappies and mopping up picnic spillages, to dealing with meltdowns because the snack box ran dry, one thing is certain - a day trip with your kids requires military organisation and preparation for almost anything.
So what are the essentials for a family day out?
To save you yet another action on your to-do list, we’ve created a checklist for a day trip with a toddler. Follow our list for a smooth, relaxing day trip with your little ones where you can make the happiest of memories.
Family Day Trip Checklist
A large bag
It may sound obvious but having a good quality, large bag is going to help you out massively on a family day out. But it’s not just a case of using any old large bag. No, you’ll want a large bag that:
- Has smaller compartments inside and outside so you can compartmentalise stuff
- You can wear on your back like a rucksack, leaving your hands free to deal with hand holding, buggy pushing and nose wiping.
Now, this is something you REALLY don’t want to miss off the list! Otherwise, you may be scrambling around looking for a shop instead of relaxing with the little one. When packing nappies for a day trip, there is one golden rule…
If you think you’ll need 3 then pack 6. That way you’ll always have enough to go around.
On top of the nappies, always keep some muslins and safety pins at the bottom of the bag just in case. Because if worst comes to worst, you can always use it as an emergency nappy and we’ve never once heard a parent complain about having too many muslin cloths.
Where would we be as parents without wipes? Kids are brilliant at getting messy, it’s sort of why we love them, but after the cute picture of a baby covered in chocolate cake at the zoo, it’s ‘operation clean up’!
Just like nappies and muslin cloths, we’ve never heard a single parent complain about packing extra wipes in their bag. But we’ve definitely heard more than a few stories about parents and kids being covered in also sorts of mess because they didn’t have enough.
Top Tip: Pack your wipes at the top of your bag so they’re easily accessible. Because when you need them. You need them straight away.
A small toy
Sometimes there’s only that one toy that will soothe your toddler, so when you’re packing for a family day out, remember to pack it. You can use their toy to distract them or help them take a nap too if it’s a long day out of the house. Or just use it to do anything that will stop them from having a nuclear-level meltdown in public when they get a little tired and cranky.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s cloudy or 30-degree heat - you want to make sure that your toddlers sensitive skin is protected from the sun. To do this, make sure that you:
- - Pack a high-factor sunscreen
- - Pack a hat
So they can enjoy their day out in the sunshine without needing a serious amount of aloe vera afterwards.
Top Tip: Plan time doing indoor activities or in the shade between midday and 2 pm to make sure you’re not spending all day in the Sun.
Don’t be caught out in a restaurant or cafe without your toddler-friendly cutlery. Babies and toddlers feeding themselves is a key part of their development, so it’s important they do this wherever they are, even on a day out with the family. Be sure to pack a little zip-up plastic bag or tupperware to house the dirty cutlery after lunch too.
A water bottle
We all know how important hydration is, and although your toddler may well demand fruit shoots and fizzy drinks, water is essential to keep them healthy and happy. Taking your own water bottle with you on a family day trip also means you won’t need to buy plastic bottles of water that are bad for the environment, instead you can fill your bottle up at water stations and cafes for free! And don’t forget yourself too - adults should drink around 2 litres of water a day to stay hydrated, and children under 5 should be having just over a litre a day.
Dribbly babies and toddlers are going to need bibs, so be sure to pack a couple in your bag for mealtimes and feeds to keep them (and you!) clean. You may need different types of bibs too, depending on the age of your children. If they're teething, they’ll need a soft, comfortable bib to wear throughout the day, and you will need to pop a fresh one on every so-often so pack enough for that. Bandana style bibs are good for this and are a bit more stylish and can be matched with their outfit! Mealtimes for your toddler may require a silicone bib that catches food, saving you the embarrassment of leaving a cafe covered in your toddler’s leftovers! Make sure you pack a bunch of bibs for these occasions, and you can’t go wrong.
Books are a great addition to your family day trip packing list. A book for yourself, if by some miracle you get some downtime, can be just what you need for a quick recharge before more shenanigans.
And a book for the kids can also be a great activity for them to do on the journey or if you’re sat down having a picnic somewhere. Not to mention if you pick the right book at the right time, there’s a good chance you could send them off to sleep for a little bit and get back to your own book.
A waterproof jacket
The British weather loves to catch us out. So, even during the summer, pack a waterproof jacket for your toddler to keep them dry during an unexpected downpour. If the weather forecast doesn’t look on your side then also consider packing them a pair of wellies so they can make the most of a soggy day jumping in and out of puddles.
Spare change for parking
There’s nothing more stressful than having to rush off and leave the car whilst you get cash out at the bank and then having to go to a shop to get change, to then get back to the car to find you’ve got a ticket!
Although most of our UK car parks will accept card payments now, some that are a little more rural will still only accept coins, so get yourself a small change purse and fill it with £5+ worth of small change so you can pay for parking without any hassle.
Accidents happen, they’re inevitable on a family day out and will most likely happen at the most inconvenient time. But, if you’re prepared, you’ll be able to take control and sort it all out in a flash.
Pack plasters in your day trip bag as an essential for those little scrapes our toddlers get into. Save the tears with some fun character plasters to take their mind off it all, then add a magic kiss to make it all better of course.
So those are some of the essentials you’ll need to pack for a day out with your toddler. If there’s any items we’ve missed or you have any hacks we’d love to hear from you on some of our social channels. If not, then we hope you’ve found this list useful and you and your little one can have a stress free day out together.