Sports are a great way to have fun and escape the stress of everyday life. It teaches kids discipline, perseverance, and gives balance to screen time. No matter what sport you’ve signed up for, there are a few essential items you’ll want to bring along. I’m a proud soccer mom and my boys love to play in the sun. I love that they have fun, but I also like to be prepared – just in case. Check out this handy list for tips on packing for your first day on the field.

What to Pack for Summer Sports

Water Bottle. Hydration is no joke, especially when it gets hot out there. Don’t rely on nearby water fountains. If it’s out of order or not near your game, you’ll be out of luck. Look for an insulated stainless-steel water bottle to keep your water cold for hours under the sun. And remember, sharing drinks with teammates is a surefire way to catch a season-ending illness (or worse), so make sure to bring your own. Nobody wants to get sunstroke and staying hydrated is so important. Plus, you just feel better when you’ve had enough water.

Safety Equipment. Sport-related injuries can be serious and could keep you on the side lines in the short term, or lead to long-term problems. Protective equipment like helmets, elbow and knee pads, eye protection and mouth guards can help to reduce your chances of getting hurt or the severity of your injury. Concussions are no laughing matter, it’s so important to protect yourself on the field. Find out what gear your sport requires and pick it up before your first game.

Summer First Aid Essentials for Sports Teams

First-Aid Kit. The type of first aid you’ll need varies by sport, but there are a few general supplies that will come in handy no matter what. Make sure you have instant chemical cold packs, bandages, cleansing wipes and distilled water for cleaning wounds. Pack a pain medication to give you relief to keep you in the game.

Sunscreen. Sun protection is key all year round, but especially if your game will keep you in the hot sun for a couple of hours. Apply your sunscreen before you get dressed for the game and keep it on the sidelines to reapply after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, and reapply immediately after towelling.  If time is a factor, try a spray. Apply just 15 minutes before sun exposure. It goes on fast, has a light and breathable feel, and stays on strong when you sweat. Keep in mind that sprays should be rubbed into the skin just like lotion to avoid missed areas. For a small and portable option, pick up a sunscreen stick – also great for babies. Try to find some shade if you can on the sidelines.

Spare Clothes. Keeping an extra pair of clothes on hand keeps you dry and comfortable on the way home, not to mention protecting the interior of your car. As an added bonus, you’ll be ready for any unexpected outings with the team, lunch with the family, camp or your next adventure.

Have you joined any sports leagues this summer? What are the most important things in your duffel?