Village. Patience. The End.
No, but really kids need way less than I ever was led to believe they did. It seemed like most commercials and rhetoric only speaks to how much STUFF comes with kids. Turns out, they like playing with sticks and rocks 😉 However, I will say, a few essentials do really make a difference at the farm for us. some of these are super affordable and some are pricey. When making my selections I looked for deals on eBay, Mercari, Poshmark, and Facebook Marketplace if I could, all while keeping in mind our cost per use.
Must Have Essentials for Kids on the Farm
Number 1 on the list that goes in no particular order —
I think when this first arrived my mom was super excited about it, but then when she found out how much a “pack-n-play on wheels” cost she became skeptical… TOTALLY UNDERSTANDABLE! We are value shoppers that do our best not to waste money. This ,wagon (bonus it’s currently on sale!) has an incredibly low cost per use for us and is super handy. We use it often when working cattle back in the barn. The kids can ride out there in it, it fits through all the doors, and the door in the front allows them to climb in and out on their own. Adding the canopy for summer sun protection is also super handy. Plus did I mention that it is super easy to grab and set a kid up wherever we are working? It’s been worth the investment for us!
No bells and whistles, simply a simple car seat to keep in the ranger, especially during calving with a newborn. We use a ratchet strap to secure it and it worked perfect for checking and tagging.
Gone are the days where I had an extra hand! Anyway to consolidate or make the most of what I can carry makes a difference. This backpack cooler has enough space to pack lunch, pump supplies, diapers, and essentials for a day spent in a cab.
Diapers & Wipes Kit
All these takes is a small amount of time and thought. Each of the vehicles I frequent with kids received a makeup bag with a couple diapers, a small pack of wipes, and a few monthly woman products. The bag makes it easy to grab, clean, and it keeps us from having emergencies without supplies! If you are in need of a water-resistant option, check out these cute ,bags!
,Infant Seat ,with no base required
During corn harvest before having my first baby, I watched an insane amount of YouTube video reviews on baby car seat options to make the most informed choice. One of the requirements for us was choosing an ,infant seat that didn’t require a base. If I needed to use a different vehicle at the farm or if someone was taking a semi, it was easy to buckle our infant seat in safely.
,Baby Hear Muffs
The farm can be loud. We started with these ,muffs right away and all the kids wear them well.
Farming and ranching is hard. Farming and ranching with limited, broken sleep is incredibly hard. We took ,Taking Cara Babies right away and later invested in a one-on-one session with ,Zen Sleep Consulting.
Joovy Jogging Stroller
This ,stroller goes through absolutely everything, has a high weight rating and is easy to handle. After comparing to all the most popular jogging strollers on the market, this was a clear winner for me. The recline goes almost flat, so we use it for naps a ton. It’s not technically a double stroller, but I frequently have a kid ride on the front step and make it a double. Actually, sometimes, we have a kid on the front, and a kid on the handle making it a triple, ha!
We needed a place to set baby down in the office and this ,swing had the smallest footprint. The motion was minimal so it didn’t develop any hard to break sleeping habits and it was a safe, clean place for them to rest that didn’t take up much room in our limited amount of space.
We don’t have a bathroom in our breakroom, so in the winter, and during toilet training times, it’s been super helpful to have a ,toddler toilet where we eat lunch. Otherwise, we frequent the outdoors.
We use this as a front and rear ,carrier often. Even at 2.5 years old, Karsyn still enjoys going in “the backpack” to take a nap while we are doing something where she should be contained. It’s quick to adjust and I can manage to put it on myself. Definitely a tool we grab often!
Before the structured carrier, came the ,wrap. The perfect solution to keeping baby close and being able to use my hands. It only takes a couple times to get the process down; it’s incredibly simple! Use the link above to get 10% off regular priced items!
,Reclining Booster Seat
Got this ,high chair for using in the buddy seat or on the floor of the cab for more support and less bulk than a convertible car seat. We’ve also used it around the farm for a place to sit. Bonus — the tray makes a great place for activities in the cab.
The perfect solution for a little in the cab that needs a little support and containment. I’ve found this works best for kids that can sit, but aren’t mobile yet. The laundry basket gives them the support they need to stay sitting up while in the cab. It also keeps their toys contained. Bonus — it’s a great place to lay them down to sleep. I line mine with a quilt.
These are the cutest and give me the biggest smile! But also practical. While working outside, it keeps the sun off most of their little bodies.
Quilts & Blankets
The quilts your grandma made or has in her collection — those are the best for being outside! The tight knit of the cotton shakes off debris so easily and it stays cool in the hot sun. My second favorite options is this ,bright blanket. Adds a festive punch to our cab decor and it’s held up well.
We have books everywhere. They are stashed in farm vehicles, cabs, the shop, the barn, everywhere. It’s worked well for us to not do screen time and teach the kids to look at a book or engage in conversation about what’s going on around us. Our favorite books are bible stories and magazines we received as a hand-me-down.
3 Drawer Organizer
This corrals diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, books, and any randomness they kids drag in and want to save. I keep this ,drawer set in the office tucked under the desk to minimize our kid footprint.
The ultimate cab ,activity! Keeps them entertained way longer than I expected. I bought it for the baby stage, which works great, but even at 4 years old, Kade will still play with it for a bit.
These ,braided clips washed up great through the washing machine. Initially, not on purpose, only because I didn’t catch it on an outfit, but it worked out fine! Plus no beads to worry about. And this works fantastic on keeping teethers off the ground too!
Over the course of many birthdays and Christmas’, we have amassed a nice collection of construction equipment. Kade could dig, load, and dump all day every day. CAT has been a durable brand for us. Another big hit is ,little shovels and rakes, again the digging. Otherwise, the kids play with random trash — the ends to net wrap rolls are super popular. It doesn’t take much to keep them playing and that’s always been the goal. Use what we have around us, teach them to find the joy in their surroundings, and be content rather than needing to always haul their toys with us.
I’m literally mind-blown at how well a 2-year-old can drive this! So much so, that we bought two to make sure they could both practice driving. I love the gator setup because, if needed, they can ride together, and the dump bed is always hauling something. We really do get our use out of them! Ours came from our local John Deere dealer, plus an extra battery, but you can ,order online if you need.
To install the flag on the back of the first gator, we drilled a small hole through the edge of the dump bed to slip it through for more support, then zip-tied the top to the headache rack. Our flag is courtesy of Pioneer Enlist soybeans, and makes all the difference in visibility!
We can get by with almost nothing, but having these few essential must haves for kids on the farm makes a big difference for us. I used to carry in my diaper bag from the car every day and it didn’t last long. It was never where I needed it and I didn’t have the hands to lug it across the farm all day. Plus it was so hard to keep stocked! So we set diapers and wipes in the office, breakroom, barn and a few vehicles I frequent. The sticks and rocks supply themselves 😉
Also, while making this list, it seems they will need less as they get older. Perhaps this will be a bit easier with each new rung on the independence ladder they climb.