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14 Kids Essentials That’ll Make Summertime a Breeze

Dec 30, 2023Dec 30, 2023

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Whether the kids are hanging around the house full-time or booked and busy with camp, sports, trips, and more, we’re going to bet your normal routine is changing up right about now. So stock up on everything you’ll need for a smooth summer, from sunscreen and bug spray to a pop-and-go beach tent and, yes, some baby statement sunglasses.

We love this stuff because it's great for kids and adults alike. Its cruelty-free mineral formula (with SPF 50) is recommended by pediatric dermatologists, and while it does tend to leave a white sheen on the skin, it also just works really well. ($18.29, Target)

These little sticks basically look and feel like deodorant, but have SPF 50+ mineral sunscreen that's great even on sensitive skin. Unlike cream from a tube, this sunscreen won't feel cold when applied — so you shouldn't hear any complaints on that account. Keep one in the car, one in the pool bag, one in your purse…you won't be sorry. ($8.89, Amazon)

Once you get the hang of it, the way this tent pops open and shut is kind of incredible. You might even set this up inside to test it out, then leave it sitting in your living room for months as a "fort" because the kids love it too much to move it outside (ask us how we know). Whether you need an indoor playpen, backyard play-yard, or sun-safe spot for hanging and napping on the beach, this thing will definitely improve your summer. ($149.99, Amazon)

There's just something about all that pouring and splashing that can keep kids occupied for hours. So set this baby up, cover everyone in sunscreen, pull up a beach chair, and enjoy your afternoon. ($46.99, Amazon)

Speaking of beach chairs, here's one with a whole lot going for it (including 10,000+ five-star ratings on Amazon). Use it to sit or lie down in five different positions, and take advantage of the storage pocket, towel bar, and insulated cup-holder once you’ve found your ideal sitting spot. Did we mention it's rust-proof and only weighs seven pounds? You’re welcome. ($75.83, Amazon)

This classic canvas bag comes in four different sizes, and you may need one of each. But for summer, we love the extra-large version with a zip top and long handles. This thing is really roomy, so you won't waste any more time trying to cram that last water bottle into an already overflowing day bag. Add a monogram for an extra $8. ($39.95+, L.L.Bean)

You didn't think you were getting away with just one beach bag, right? Not even the L.L.Bean tote can handle it all. If you’re lugging sand toys around with you, but don't want to lug any actual sand, you need something like this. It has backpack straps and a top closure, plus mesh fabric that's easy to shake out or throw in the washer when needed. ($8.69+, Amazon)

Yes, there are a ton of cute blue bathing suits out there. But experts recommend choosing brightly colored suits for kids, so that it's easier to spot a swimmer in distress. Hanna Andersson sells some of our favorite high-quality kids’ suits — most of which provide exactly that pop of color you’re looking for. ($36+, Hanna Andersson)

Minimum effort…maximum bubble fun. Kids of all ages will love to dance around and play with the bubbles this little dolphin churns out. Grab some extra bubble liquid, too. ($21.69, Amazon)

Not the most exciting item on your summer shopping list, but this one's important. This 20% picaridin bug spray works against mosquitoes, ticks, and more. Use it to help both kids and grown-ups stay bite-free. ($18.08/pack of two, Amazon)

Even if you remember the bug spray every single day, someone in your family's bound to get a few bites this summer. When they do, use this chemical-free gadget (which works using suction) to remove venom or saliva from under the skin. Nice try, mosquitoes. ($9.95+, Amazon)

This one's popular for a reason: it's basic and not too expensive, but keeps drinks cold with minimal leaks. Little kids love that it pops open with the push of a button, and parents love that the straw stays covered and safe from germs when not in use. Psst…It's not just for summer — it’ll be great for the school year, too. ($16.45, Amazon)

Your kids don't need sunglasses from this collection…but then again, maybe they do. In addition to providing sun protection, they’re also just ridiculously cute, the perfect accent for those special occasion (or regular-old-Tuesday) outfits you’ve meticulously planned. ($5.99+, Janie and Jack)

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