How to Make a Messy Fun Car Emergency Kit (+ a Recipe for Homemade Disinfecting Wipes)

July 14th, 2015 by Dionna | 11 Comments
Posted in Carnival and Special Series, Carnival of Natural Parenting, Children, Eclectic Learning, Ecological Responsibility and Love of Nature, Homeschooling, natural parenting, Preschoolers, Toddlers

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Welcome to the July 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Summer Fun

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about how to get out and enjoy the warmer season as a family.

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Ailia creek

We spend a lot of time outdoors when the weather warms up, which means tons of random grime on my kids from somewhere around the beginning of March to approaching the end of December.

And while I have been known to ask my kids to steer clear of mud puddles or nasty sandboxes when we are on a tight schedule (or let’s be honest, when I just don’t feel like dealing with it), I try to give them wide latitude to engage in lots of messy play at home and away.

In fact, one of our favorite homeschool co-op classes is called “Forest School.” We trek into a forest as regularly as possible, where the main draw is a huge creek that the kids climb in when it’s not frozen over. I quickly learned my lesson about what to keep handy so that I do not need to give my car’s interior a bath every time my kids need one.

It can be a huge pain to clean up muddy, sandy, covered-in-who-knows-what-goop kids before they climb in the car, but what would childhood be without the wonder of dirt and mud and nature?! In the spirit of encouraging kids to get really, really dirty, here are a few handy things to keep in the trunk of your car year-round so that you feel more comfortable with the mess:

  1. An extra change of clothes: I rotate season-appropriate clothes, including a pair of shoes. When my kids are still in potty-training phase, I keep extra undies, pants, and socks in this bag for those other types of emergencies.
  2. A towel: I have an old towel or two in the trunk to wipe up grime or set shoes on.
  3. Reusable (or plastic) bags: To put yucky clothes and shoes in after we’ve changed. I can dump everything in the laundry as soon as we get home.
  4. Hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and bug spray: The sunscreen and bug spray aren’t for cleaning up, but they are both useful to keep in the car for outdoor play. The hand sanitizer is for clean-up.

    Check out 5 Toxin-Free Recipes to Enjoy (and Scrub Away) Summertime Fun for recipes to make your own natural bug spray (Essential Coconut Insect Repellent) and hand sanitizer (Essential Hand Sanitizing Spray or Gel). Be sure to check that post out for other useful recipes, including a Dirt and Mud Remover, Summertime Stain Remover, and Summertime Mop Solution. You can get these recipes and many more in the book I co-authored, Homemade Cleaners: Quick-and-Easy, Toxin-Free Recipes.

  5. Bottled water: Our water serves two purposes – drinks, in case I forgot to pack our water bottles, and cleaning, in case the kids need a quick hand or face wash and there are no facilities available.
  6. Wet wipes: SO useful for dirty fingers! Below is another recipe found in Homemade Cleaners: Quick-and-Easy, Toxin-Free Recipes. For the car, you might want to use a ziploc bag instead of a canning jar.
  7. sponge with foam isolated

What do you keep in your car for kid-clean-up?

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*Photo 1 credit: Author
* Wipe recipe photo altered with permission (words added) from TNS Sofres via Flickr Creative Commons

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon July 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • All my Summers — The Barefoot Mama reflects on summers past and talks about the changing dynamics of her family life.
  • Wild summer days Stoneageparent shares some of the many delights the summer offers to her already nature loving, outdoor family.
  • How to Make a Messy Fun Car Emergency Kit (+ a Recipe for Homemade Disinfecting Wipes) — It can be a huge pain to clean up muddy, sandy kids before they climb in the car, but what would childhood be without the wonder of dirt and mud and nature?! Today Dionna at Code Name: Mama is sharing a few handy things to keep in the trunk of your car year-round so that you feel more comfortable with the mess.
  • The Best Part of Summer — Rachael at The Variegated Life has a portable escape route that helps her enjoy all of summer.

11 Responses to:
"How to Make a Messy Fun Car Emergency Kit (+ a Recipe for Homemade Disinfecting Wipes)"

  1. Life Breath Present   LB_Present

    We have a “water” bag that we keep handy and grab when we’re going to go adventuring. In our bag, we keep mostly towels, but also a diaper, snacks, a plastic bag, and a few bandaids. In the car, we keep another bag of clothes and shoes to change into, a bigger first aid kit, and even a blanket or two for sitting or sleeping.

    Our adventures can be pretty spontaneous and we do always try to include some form of water, but we’re likely to all get wet and dirty in the process ;)

  2. Thank you for this. I’m really keen on keeping products we use on our baby natural so I will definitely make use of some of these suggestions.

  3. Rachael   RachaelNevins

    For us (we have no car), these would be the contents of a canvas bag that we *ought* to keep packed by the front door, so we can just grab it on our way out. Instead, it’s usually a daily scramble to gather everything that has somehow gotten scattered all over the apartment. . . .

    • I doubt I’d have this organized in the house either – doing it and packing it away in the car makes it easier!

  4. Lauren @ Hobo Mama   Hobo_Mama

    I want to make up those wipes now! I keep all these emergency items in the trunk … and then my husband keeps gathering them up and bringing them inside when he cleans out the car. Sigh. At least he cleans? ;)

  5. Deb @ Living Montessori Now   DebChitwood

    Great advice, Dionna! I can’t wait to try the recipe for homemade disinfecting wipes. I pinned your post. :)

  6. This is such a great idea! I try to always remember to keep a towel or two in the car, but I have a tendency to forget to put it back once I’ve washed it… But I love the thought of having these other things in there, just ready for an unexpected adventure.


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