Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #MyHonestTea #CollectiveBias
My Favorite Types of Parks
There’s really no beating summer in Seattle. It’s my favorite time of year because we can spend so much time outside! I love taking advantage of all our parks, especially since it’s a free thing to do! We try to mix it up by going to different types of parks each week.
We specifically moved into our neighborhood because it has 3 community playgrounds. One is just across the street so we’re able stop by any time of day for just a few minutes. We love running into neighbors, especially on sunny days!
OLD SCHOOL PLAYGROUNDS
I consider “old school” playgrounds the ones made of wood and metal that are usually on wood chips. They often have metal slides and swings. I like to see my kids challenge themselves. We try to go to these early in the morning before the slides get hot in the summer!
Our family loves spending time at the inclusive playgrounds in the Seattle-area. They are popping up all over! Basically, they are play areas that welcome kids of all abilities and usually feature some sensory activities. Our local inclusive playgrounds are on cushy mats, so it’s easy for me to sit on the ground with my toddler while my preschooler climbs on the play equipment.
I love unstructured play whenever possible. That’s when creativity comes into play, which is such an important skill. Mostly, my kids play tag, pretend they are trains, throw balls, or just run around!
In the Seattle-area, we’re lucky to have so many beach parks. Now, these are primarily on lakes or Puget Sound. My kids love splashing in the water, filling up buckets of water to dump on the sand, and digging in the sand. Plus, they like walking around the beach to find “treasure.”
What to Bring for a Summer Park Play Date
We go to different parks every week and I’m learning what to pack. I don’t like to over-pack (which is easy to do) so these are the items that make summer park play dates easier:
If you don’t already have a collapsible wagon, go get one! It’s so easy to load it with everything you need for a few hours at the park PLUS you can fit your kids inside! It’s so much easier than trying to load up a stroller (those storage areas are so small) and it’s much safer than trying to carry a kid (or two) and your stuff.
If you have a baby or toddler, a baby carrier comes in handy. I usually throw one in the wagon if the play date is going to run into my toddler’s nap time. He’s 27lbs and I can only carry him in my arms for so long. The carrier also lets him calm down a bit if he’s getting frustrated playing.
Here in Seattle, the ground is often a little muddy from rain. So, I’ve been obsessed with water resistant blankets and mats. They work great on mushy grass, as well as sandy/rocky beaches.
When we go to the beach or a big grassy field, I let the kids pick out some toys to bring with us. For the beach, we bring bucket or bottles or things they can use to carry water. For the field, we bring balls, big trucks, and toys we don’t mind getting a bit dirty. Our rule is that the toys we bring MUST be shared with our friends. That way, “special toys” stay at home and it’s not the end of the world if a toy gets lost or left behind on accident.
It’s so easy to forget that we can get burned, even when it’s cloudy. Lather up the sunscreen on your kids (and yourself!) before you head out. But, also bring it with you so you can reapply throughout the day.
SNACKS FOR KIDS
My kids are the ones who will ask other Moms for food. They have no shame. So, that’s why I pack 3x more snacks than should be necessary for a few hours at the park. I try to mix it up with something fresh (fruit/veggies) plus crackers or pretzels.
FOOD FOR MOM
Ok, I probably should have bolded, underlined, and drawn circles around this one. Don’t forget about YOU! Set aside a portion of food that you won’t be tempted to share with your kids. Put it in a special lunchbox, if that helps. I like to pack almonds, fruit, veggies, and crackers. Tell your kids it’s “spicy” and then make sure you eat it yourself.
LOTS OF DRINKS
I’m the worst at remembering drinks. So, it’s been my mission this summer to pack water bottles for my kids and a bottle of Honest Tea for myself. By the time I haul the kids in and out of the car with our stuff, I could use a bit of caffeine.
I’m the Mom who always forgets something. Usually, I pack lunch for the kids only to realize that I didn’t bring anything to eat or drink for myself. My kids inhale their food, so I’m left feeling a bit hangry and that’s not fun for anyone.
So, lately, I’ve been bringing a bottle of Honest® Tea with me. The kids know it’s a “Mommy drink” so they have stopped asking for me to share it with them. It’s been a good reminder to set aside time to take care of myself.
I’ve been drinking Honest Tea since before I had kids. It’s the only brand I’ve tried that tastes like freshly brewed tea. They just came out with new flavors in sleek glass bottles:
- Honest Lemon Grove Maple Black Tea
- Honest Moroccan Mint Green Tea
- Honest Tea “Just” Green Tea
What I like most about them is that they are just a tad sweet. Basically, enough to let the flavor pop without making it overly sweet. Exactly how I make it at home.
Where to Find Honest Tea
I found the new Honest Tea glass bottles at Fred Meyer in their Natural Foods section. The Bellevue, WA location just finished a big renovation and their Natural Foods area is HUGE! It’s like a mini store inside Fred Meyer! The Honest Tea glass bottles were on the shelf with other drinks and they have special pricing (2 for $3 or $1.99 each.)
I grabbed 2 bottles of Honest Lemon Grove Maple Black Tea and 2 bottles of Honest Moroccan Mint Green Tea. Might as well take full advantage of the deal, right?
I’m trying to be more aware of the products I use. Honest Tea tastes like the tea I brew at home. Plus, I like that it’s organic and fair trade.
Out of the two flavors I tried, my favorite was the Honest Tea Lemon Grove Maple Black Tea. I’m obsessed with black tea and this one has a little punch of ginger that really hits my taste buds! The Moroccan Mint Green Tea has a strong mint flavor that makes it a refreshing choice, especially for summer.
You can check here to find them at Kroger or Kroger-banner store near you.
Other Pacific Northwest Adventures
Spend the Day at Pier 57 in Seattle with Kids
Best Kid-Friendly Weekend Getaways from Seattle
Family Travel Guide to Portland, Oregon with Toddlers
Family Weekend Getaway to Winthrop, WA: A Wild West Town
4 Day Itinerary for Vancouver, BC with Kids