10 Parenting Tricks for a Less Messy Summer

By Good Housekeeping

Summer vacation is finally here! Use these genius ideas to make days at the beach and afternoons in the backyard less messy and easier to clean up.

Prevent Sticky Drips

Nothing is more frustrating than scrubbing streams of sticky drips off of a wriggling kid’s arms post-Popsicle. To skip that step, poke a hole in the middle of a cupcake liner, then insert the stick to catch the drips.

De-Germ Beach Toys

The fastest way to hose down toys that have been taken out to play in the backyard or in the sand? A quick cycle in the dishwasher after your trip. Then you can throw them back into the play room with worry.

Keep Fries Off of the Floor

Instead of passing the fast food bag from the front seat to the back, use a plastic organizer—like a shower caddy—to stash each kid’s meal next to them before the car starts moving.

Create a Safe Zone at the Beach

Instead of using a blanket that always ends up covered in pesky sand, use a fitted sheet. When you stretch the corners with your cooler, bags and more, the sides help create a barrier from sandy situations.

Banish Bugs From Drinks

Flies in your lemonade? Yuck. That’s protein you no one wants to ingest. Punch a hole through a cupcake liner with your straw to make a cover from unwanted guests.

Keep Wipes Close at Hand

The next time your kids have messy hands (or a messy face!) in the backseat, let them grab their own wipes. Hang a shoe organizer on the back of the front seat and use it to stash a pack or two of wipes in a pocket, plus tons of toys to keep them entertained after they’re cleaned up!

Roll On Sunscreen

Dispensing the right amount of white stuff into your kid’s hands (or your own!) is like shooting blind. But when you roll it on, using devices like this bottle top lotion applicator ($13, thegrommet.com), it’s easier to get the right quantity for each body part.

Protect Pacifiers in Containers

Sand gets everywhere, and the last place you want it is your baby’s mouth! The next time you go to the beach with a baby, pop their pacifier into a plastic, disposable condiment container to keep it clean before hitting the sand. Then you’ll be able to give it back, nice and clean, when they’re tired and cranky on the way home.

Use Mess-Free Chalk

If you don’t let your kids play with chalk because the rainbow mess on their hands and clothes afterwards is too much, try this: DIY sticks (with holders made out of old deodorant dispensers!) that keep the colors on the sidewalk instead of their hands. Step-by-step directions can be found at De Tout Et De Rien.

Keep a Kit on Hand

Part of the fun of summer is being able to be spontaneous! Before you take that impromptu trip to the park, put the essentials in a box in the back of your car. Bug spray? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Wet Wipes? Check. When you’re prepared, summer’s messiest situations can be solved in a snap!

Get the best Summer treats for your kids!

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For more great parenting ideas, visit GoodHousekeeping.com.

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