Summer is in full swing, which means we perpetually have party essentials on-hand at our place, ready to throw together a shindig in a flash.

giddy toddler with coke float

It's all sunscreen, twirly straws and smiling kids around here!

happy family hanging out

We've had a ton of friends and family coming through town (we do live in San Diego, after all, so people are always finding excuses to visit). I personally enjoy any reason to stock up on party essentials and host a backyard barbecue. Here are some of my go-tos that have come in especially handy this summer.

Party Essentials for the Prepared Host

party essentials for the best summer

I usually put out goody bags with party essentials that I know guests will end up needing. We've been working with Johnson & Johnson's Healthy Essentials line, and we rely on their Band-Aids and Neosporin for the inevitable poolside mishaps, as well as their kid-friendly sunscreens that help us get ready for the rays of summer. The brand is offering over $45 in printable coupons and savings for people who sign up for Healthy Essentials offers through the end of July. You can also save a ton with Target-specific coupons – I always take advantage of manufacturer and store coupons to stock up whenever possible!

party essentials include bubbles

Other party essentials I reach for include easy entertainment like bubbles, glow sticks and beach balls.

Create a quiet book nook at your next party to help over-stimulated kids de-stress

I like to put out a stack of familiar childhood books and create a quiet space for parents to read or talk to their kids if they start to get over-stimulated. Some Boy can get a little wound up and I often find myself at parties looking for a place to retreat to to give us a both a little breather (please tell me I'm not the only one?).

secret to the best coke float

And a party wouldn't be complete without one of my favorite party essentials: Coke floats! For parents wanting a little de-stresser of their own, try adding a bit of Kahlua in with your soda. Trust me. That rich vanilla coffee liqueur imparts the perfect grown-up touch to keep any party going till sundown. Just watch out to make sure the kiddos don't sneak off with your drink. Trust me.

What are your go-to party essentials?

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.