Now that my kids are older and I don't have to carry around eight bazillion diapers and six changes of clothes and two sterilized bottles and tiny jars of baby food and miniature spoons, getting out of the house is usually pretty easy. Most of the time, I just try to remember a couple of extra diapers for the baby and maybe a small snack or two packed in a ziploc bag. Occasionally I take an empty sippy cup along, which I can fill with water from a soda machine or drinking fountain if the need arises. And yes, I make them share it. VIRUSES FOR EVERYBODY. But I have found it very helpful, especially during the summer when we spend a lot of time outdoors and have more opportunities to do spontaneous things, to keep a stocked diaper bag in the trunk of the car. Want to know what I keep inside it?
A change of clothes for each child. This one is kind of a big duh, but this way we can get soaking wet at the play fountains or muddy at the creek and we don't have to soil the seats of the car on the way home. I make sure the clothes I keep in the car are Official Play Clothes, so that if they happen to be wearing something nice when we make a spontaneous decision to get dirty, I can put them in the other set of clothes before our adventure begins.
An extra-large pack of wipes. Great for wiping mud off of shoes or sticky ice cream residue off of little hands and mouths. Also great for a quick underarm swipe for mom, if things got a little sweatier than anticipated. (When I'm involved, everything's sweatier than I anticipated.)
Garbage bags. Great for collecting wet clothes or bathing suits, and also can be used in a pinch as seat protectors. And if you poke a head-sized hole in the top, you have a quick poncho or a good excuse to eat a messy popsicle.
A big blanket. Perfect for a spontaneous picnic or people-watching at the park. Also great in case it's way colder and windier where you're hanging out, not that that ever happens to me as a devotee of weather.com.
An assortment of one-serving-size snacks. These are usually either snack-size ziploc bags filled with pretzels or crackers, or little boxes of fruit snacks or raisins. They're great for when I've run out the door without grabbing something little for the road, and they're also great to have in the event we meet up somewhere with friends for lunch and there's very little on the menu that the kids will eat. (Fruit cups FTW!) I also always have lollipops on me. I like to be able to reward for really awesome behavior with a really awesome treat. OR FINE, YES, BRIBE.
A pouch filled with pennies. There is nothing my kids like more than throwing my spare change into a fountain. But I rarely carry cash these days, and I don't really want to watch them throw $5 worth of quarters away, so I keep a big penny bag in the car, and each kid can have twenty or thirty to throw if we stop somewhere with a fountain.
Sunscreen. Obviously. I like to keep one of those spray on cans for full coverage, as well as one of those sunscreen sticks (they look like glue sticks) for faces.
Assorted toys. My favorites are a bouncy ball, a few select bug-related things (magnifying glass, small container to catch them in), and a container of bubbles. This makes it easy to entertain kids almost anywhere, I SWEAR.
Is there anything you can think to add? I'd love to hear your suggestions!