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You’re all dressed in sturdy walking shoes and layers for any kind of weather. You’re getting ready to go spend the day at the National Mall, and if you didn’t already know…it’s NOT a shopping mall, which means, there are a few other things you should make sure to pack, especially when taking younger kids.

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Minimalist Packing List for Visiting the National Mall with Kids

There are a few non-negotiables you’ll need when visiting the National Mall with kids.

1. You’ll need a stroller (they’re even making strollers that can fold and fit into a bag now 😲) and/or a breathable carrier backpack option, preferably one with a canopy to help beat the heat. If you don’t have a canopy, take a hat or umbrella to help shield the sun.

There’s quite a bit of walking to do on the Mall, and little legs get tired, so I always took at least one of these things when my kids were younger.

2. You’ll want to make sure you have the necessary snacks and reusable insulated water bottles or water bladder (I love cold water, so having an insulated solution is vital on those hot summer days). FYI: the U.S. Capitol does not allow you to take food into the building, so you’ll want to plan accordingly.

3. Take $1 bills with you, especially on a hot day. When your water runs dry, you can always find someone selling ice-cold water or Gatorade for $1-2. Some take Venmo and CashApp, but they all take cash.

4. This may sound strange, but if you’re going to be hiking or under the trees anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic region during the spring or summer, you’ll want to have a Tick Twister. There’s nothing worse than finding a tick embedded in you or your child’s skin without a way to get it out immediately.

Believe it or not, I actually found a tick crawling on my daughter’s head while inside the Air and Space Museum in DC in 2013. I’m not sure when it got on her, but thankfully it wasn’t embedded yet and I was able to easily remove and flush it down the toilet. Although that is an uncommon example, finding a tick on you after a hike is not uncommon at all, so always check yourself and your kids.

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How to Check for Ticks

Once home, check your clothes and body for any ticks. Always check between behind the knees, inside your elbows, and in your armpits. They love warm, dark places. Be sure to also check behind ears and run your fingers through the hair, feeling the scalp for any ticks.

I absolutely love the Tick Twister and tell everyone to get it. I’ve been able to quickly, easily, and painlessly remove a tick from myself with this thing and it’s the best money I’ve ever spent.