I am not saying never wear dresses. I wore a maxi to the farmer's market today. however, If it is just you and your toddler, opt for a romper instead of a dress. It gives you the look of a dress but allows you to bend over and crawl through tunnels without flashing the neighbors.
This one is the Erin Romper from Alizeh
This may seem counter intuitive when talking about summer style, but I enjoy wearing legging instead of shorts if I am playing inside. We went to the WcWane Center in Downtown Birmingham a few weekends ago, and I was so thankful that I had on leggings. I was sliding, climbing, running, and dancing all over that place and I didn't have to worry about my butt hanging out. You can't tell in this picture, but these pants have a mesh panel down the side that help make them breathable. I never get hot in these.
I am not sure where I got them, but any mesh paneled legging would work.
Stripes are perfect for hiding dirt! The busier the pattern the less you will notice any spills. I am not a fan of super busy patterns, so stripes work well for me. I rarely wear any solid colors when playing because it is like wearing a canvas and asking for ketchup to be painted on you.
I love this shirt because it is loose and flowy yet functional for play. It is from Lucy and Lyla but is sold out. However, they have some other shirts that would meet these qualifications.
Any shirt that has mesh, open shoulders, or any kind of opening will help keep you cool while playing is a huge plus. A tee-shirt is most mom's go to but they can get hot and sticky. If going for something stylish yet functional, I like a light fabric with open shoulders.
This grey one is from my friend's store Cooperly Boutique. It is the "Into the Grey" top. The material is amazingly soft and the open sleeves make it nice and cool.
This is my BEST tip! During the summer, ditch the shoulder bag and grab a backpack. I can't stress how much nicer it is to carry a backpack while chasing a toddler around in 98 degree weather.
My new one is from Anna and Nova and I am obsessed!! It is from the Denim Vogue Collection
I hope your summer is cool, active, and stylish!