It’s officially summer. The kids have been out of school for over a month, and the daily temps have been close to 100°F.

With summer here, we’ve been enjoying our fair share of meals from the grill, summer snack trays, and all the homemade popsicles. We’ve also been putting our summer essentials to use, from hats and sunscreen (a summer camp and beach day must) to nail polish (#sandalseason).

Summer Essentials

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Today, I thought it would be fun and helpful to share some of our summer essentials with you. You know, the items that we just can’t live without during the summer. I hope this list helps you find some new summer favs, and maybe even some natural and non-toxic swaps for things like nail polish, dry shampoo (a summer must for me), and sunscreen.

playing at the beach for summer

Summer Essentials

 Natural sunscreen for the face

Summer Essential No. 1: Tinted SPF (Sunscreen) for the Face

I love the lightweight formula and non-greasy feel of the tinted moisturizer with SPF 30 from W3LL People. I use this daily on my face as a sunscreen/foundation. This cream can go on very orange, so I stick with the lightest shade (Fair). If you’re looking for a non-tinted SPF for the face, Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream is my favorite.

When I want/need more coverage, I use FitGlow concealer, in shade C2 Light, with the W3LL People tinted moisturizer. Check out all my makeup favorites in this post. And I shared my skincare essentials in this post.

Natural Sunscreen

Summer Essential No. 2: Sunscreen for the Whole Family

Sunscreen can be incredibly toxic, that’s why it’s important to know your ingredients and what to look for: a mineral barrier protection versus a chemical barrier protection. When shopping, look for active (mineral) ingredients: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. And avoid (toxic chemical) ingredients like: oxybenzone, octinoxate, and fragrance (parfum).

I recommend checking out the EWG’s information about sunscreen. Also, I’ve created a guide to the sunscreen products I’ve tried over the years and love.

Currently, my favorite brand is Think Baby or Think Sport.

Water Bottle

Summer Essential No. 3: Hydro Flask Water Bottle

Hydro Flask is my go-to water bottle brand. I use the 32-ounce bottle and my kids use the 16-ounce bottle. This bottle keeps a liquid perfectly cold (or hot) for hours. The kids also use this water bottle during the school year and for summer camp.

Natural Deodorant

Summer Essential No. 4: Deodorant

A deodorant that works is a must in the Florida heat. A good deodorant should allow the body to sweat without an accompanying odor. A good deodorant should also absorb wetness, but shouldn’t prevent you from sweating. My favorite (at the moment) is Primally Pure, Lemongrass. Check out all my recommendations for non-toxic deodorant in this post.

Non-toxic nail polish

Summer Essential No. 5: Nail Polish

Summer is sandal weather, which means it’s time to break out the nail polish. My favorite less-toxic polish that wears well is AILA brand. And if you want to get a pedicure, some salons allow you to bring your own polish–just ask before your appointment.

non-toxic dry shampoo

Summer Essential No. 6: Dry Shampoo

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I only wash my hair twice a week. In between washes, dry shampoo is my best friend. My favorite options: a homemade recipe and Innersense (a non-toxic hair line). During the summer, I live in cute hats and reach for the dry shampoo regularly. #YOLO

PS: I wrote a post about my favorite shampoo and conditioner options. Check it out here.

snacks for travel, camp, or home

Summer Essential No. 7: Snacks for Travel, Summer Camp, Beach and Park Days, and Home

Summer can be a busy time of year, between travel, camps, and outdoor activities. I’ve created a list of my favorite store-bought snacks for travel (or to keep in the beach or lake bag), and a list of homemade snacks and the best snack containers.

homemade popsicles

Summer Essential No. 8: Homemade Popsicles 

Popsicles are an essential summer treat. When you make your own popsicles (or any summer treat), you know exactly what ingredients are going into that treat. That’s the beauty of making your own food. I’ve gathered together my favorite popsicle recipes all in one spot.

The kids have been loving the yogurt popsicles pictured above. I make a bunch of yogurt popsicles every couple of weeks and store them in the freezer for afternoon snacks.

snack tray meals for summer

Summer Essential No. 9: Snack Tray Meals 

My favorite way to keep lunches simple during the summer (when home) is with something we call the summer snack tray. Actually, at least one dinner a week looks like this, too.

By the way, this is also a great way to serve a salad: build your own style. Put everything out and let the family build their own salad. This serving style encourages exploration in our kids because they’re in charge of what they choose and the beautiful presentation scores some mega points—we eat with our eyes first.

Here are some of my favs to include on a summer snack tray:

  • Hummus: plain hummus or add variation by blending up a cooked beet, carrots, or roasted bell pepper
  • Assorted cut veggies: cucumbers, snap peas, bell peppers or mini sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, kohlrabi, etc
  • Ranch Dip: homemade ranch is always a favorite
  • Pesto: Go with traditional basil pesto or change it up
  • Broiled or grilled sourdough toasts: Brush sourdough bread slices with olive oil, and grill or broil until crisp
  • Crackers (I love Mary’s Gone Crackers, Jovial, or Simple Mills) or pita
  • Meats: deli meat (I like Applegate, Niman Ranch, or True Story), prosciutto (try serving with cantaloupe ?), other cured meats (I like Applegate or La Quercia), shredded chicken, grilled steak, chicken salad or tuna salad
  • Assorted fruit: cantaloupe, berries, watermelon, honeydew, grapes, cherries, etc.
  • Cheese: parmesan slices, fresh mozzarella balls, different stinky cheeses (as my kids call them), cheddar, asiago, manchego, soft cheese (like goat cheese), etc.
  • Honey for drizzling: particularly if serving blue cheese–yum!!
  • Nuts or seeds: try roasting them in the oven until fragrant or serving raw. Hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews are my favorite
  • Olives or pickles 

To make a summer snack tray, simply mix and match a few options. So many possibilities and so little work. #summerwin

snack tray meals for summer

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