1. We all know that too much sun for tiny kiddos can be a bad thing. On top of good sunscreen (which is a personal choice I can’t possibly weigh in on), lots of shade is important for sun safety. When I first started looking for a portable shade structure I thought I wanted one that folded up and I could throw and it would magically pop out into the air. Turns out, the problem with those are that they don’t easily “pop” back in, and they aren’t terrifically stable or strong. That’s why we opted for the SportBrella and I am obsessed. It’s lightweight so you can sling it over your shoulder for easy carrying and it opens and closes like an umbrella (aka- easy setup with fussy kids). It’s not so small that you would probably regularly carry it in a stroller “just in case” but is definitely light enough to take it with you whenever you knew you were going outside. Or, if you’re a lucky city dweller with a car, you could definitely keep it in your trunk. I would go with the regular and not the XL because the XL is designed to fit a small soccer team (no really, it’s in their promo pictures) and is so large the reviews say you can’t fit it in a trunk. The regular size will fit a family of 4 with small kids.
2. If you need some more mobile shade that travels with your kiddo (aka a hat) this can be a particular challenge as babies love hats about as much as cats love water. After trying a LOT of hats that my houdinis managed to escape from, I’ve learned that velcro closures are worthless and you really need straps that you can double knot. Also, you need a bungee cord to make a custom fit to their head. This will make the hat more comfortable and lead to a slightly lower chance that your infant will immediately rip it off as if it is made of sandpaper and hot sauce. No question, the winner here is the iPlay hat. It’s light, cheap, has the straps and bungee you want, and is the only hat either of my kids tolerated (and we bought a lot).
3. With lots of outdoor time, you’re going to want a good picnic blanket to call “home base”. There’s of course only a 5% chance that your toddler or infant will stay on the blanket, but it’s nice to have a spot to put your stuff. The best blanket to stow in the bottom of your stroller is the JJCole Outdoor Blanket. I feel like they give these out like free samples somewhere because so many parents in the city have them. But, it makes sense: they’re the perfect size, they fold up small enough to toss in the bottom of your stroller, they’re cute prints, a great price, and best of all, they have a waterproof liner on the bottom.