Family at beach

School's out for summer, which means that parents have to find ways to keep their kids entertained. Thus, we've compiled a list of the top summer must-haves that will not only bring the fun, but also keep your kids safe and make your life a bit easier all at the same time. No matter if you're playing in the backyard, at the beach, or somewhere in between, we have you covered when it comes to finding the best summer gear for kids!

What makes an item a summer must-have? We're glad you asked! The top items for this season:

  • Enhance outdoor play
  • Promote safety
  • Block UV Rays
  • Make parents' lives easier

Our intent is to make sure that summer is fun for everyone in the group, so parents can rest assured that these items will make their lives easier!

For all those 90s kids who spent their summers running through the sprinklers, this splash pad will bring back memories and elevate your child's outdoor play! Not only does this create a fountain of fun, but it also doubles as a mini toddler pool.My two-year-old son absolutely loves playing in this space! I specifically love that you can control the water level with the hose. This lets kids who are a bit more timid adjust to sprinklers slowly, making sure that you get the most out of this summer must-have.I also cannot resist the included geography lesson that comes with their map of the world design. Just hook it up and let the splishing and splashing begin!
Get the most out of your cooler space with this convenient summer gear! PackIt's patented EcoFreeze technology is designed to keep the contents of your cooler cold, without the need for ice packs. This is thanks to the freezable gel that's built right into the sides of the cooler.My parents love to travel, and they always pack their picnic lunches and snacks in this cooler. It holds up to 15 cans, so you can pack a hefty amount of food and drinks in the bag. It also collapses for easy freezer storage. Beat the heat and always have chilled drinks and snacks on hand at the beach, pool, or park with this simple travel accessory!
This is one of the most unexpected pieces of family beach gear that can extend your day by the sea and ensure that you stay on top of nap times! While this looks like a simple tent, it's made with UPF 50+ fabric. That means it blocks out 98% of the sun's harmful rays! It also fits three adults, and it comes with attached sand bags to help anchor it while you are away having fun in the water.
Let's be honest - kids tire easily. This makes longer excursions a headache for parents who end up having to carry their kids and all the supplies that they require. Save yourself the backache with a Radio Flyer Folding Wagon!It can fit two toddlers, it has cup holders for your much needed energy-filled beverages, and it folds up for easy transport. The canopy also offers UV protection. Best of all, even when your kids outgrow this item in a few years, you can still use it for flatbed storage and transport.This is one of our Family editor's top picks because of its spaciousness and how easy it is to pull.
I bought this water table for my son's first birthday and he has been obsessed with it since day one! Best of all, he turns three in mid-June and he still wants to pull this out every time we go outside!Sensory play is an amazing way to bolster language and cognitive development in young kids. Water tables are a fantastic tool for making this happen! Parents can let their kids splish and splash, pour, measure, and have fun in this elevated play space. It comes with 13 toys and a built-in waterfall.Add bubbles to enhance the experience or nix the water altogether and make it a sensory bin instead. Your child can have hours of fun every time you pull it out!RELATED_1685459753717|10 Educational Water Play Activities
Bubbles have a way of improving any outdoor experience. Sadly, when I'm the one holding the wand, creating these delicate floating spheres becomes old quite fast, especially when you have a child who is obsessed with bubbles (like I do)!Thankfully, with this amazing machine, you can produce over 10,000 bubbles per minute! Parents have the option to plug this in, or you can ditch the plug-in and pop in some batteries for a bit of portable bubble magic.
The easiest way to ruin a fun day in the sun is with a sunburn! Help your kids avoid this uncomfortable fate with a rash guard that is made with sun safe fabric. This is yet another item on our list that features UPF 50+ material. It's also quick drying, breathable, machine washable, and it comes in 10 colors!As a veteran meteorologist, sun safety is something that I am very passionate about. I always dress my boys in rash guards. It is such a simple way to protect their skin, and it greatly speeds up sunscreen reapplication times!
Another classic summertime activity is water balloon fights. Thankfully, long are the days where you had to fill these water weapons one-by-one. Zuro has made it easy for kids and parents to partake in this wet version of dodgeball with their rapid-filling and self-sealing water balloon nozzles that allow you to fill up to 100 balloons per minute! We also love that these summer must-haves are made with recycled plastic.
Staying cool on a hot summer day is imperative for staying sun safe! This handy little device is rechargeable, portable, and it has up to 10 hours of battery life. Not only that, but the fan has a tripod design with bendable legs so you can attach it to a stroller with ease.
Cornhole has been around since the 14th century, and there's a reason it has stuck around for so long. This is a great outdoor game for kids and adults alike - even toddlers can enjoy it (my son certainly does)! This is also a wonderful way to pass the time on rainy days. Just bring the boards inside and see who has the best aim! GoSports offers two size options, six designs and your purchase comes with eight regulation all-weather bags.
Being in the great outdoors is wonderful, but sometimes it is nice to have a small barrier between us and Mother Nature. This waterproof and sand proof blanket is durable, lightweight, and it even comes with corner loops and sand pockets to keep it in place. This makes for a fantastic piece of family beach gear! You can also use it at the park, for concerts, and even on hiking adventures.
Everyone knows that a beach day is incomplete without the building of sandcastles! That means having the right tools on hand! This 18-piece set comes with shovels, molds, a bucket, a watering can, and sifters so that your kids can get the most out of their beach day. They also come in a convenient mesh bag, which makes removing the sand a simple task!
This is the ultimate portable booster seat! It is perfect for restaurants, beach days, and even dinner with the in-laws. It folds up and slides into a small travel bag, which means it transports well, and most importantly, it keeps your child secure.We use this every time we have dinner with family at their house and it effortlessly attaches to their dining room chairs. When we aren't using it for its intended use, it doubles as a seat for my son in his playhouse!Did I also mention that the fabric portion of the seat is machine-washable and the tray is dishwasher safe? Talk about a parent's dream summer gear!
Swimming is another quintessential part of summer fun. Unfortunately, pools, lakes, oceans, and other bodies of water can bring danger for inexperienced swimmers. The best way to protect your kids is to be proactive in their safety!Stearns makes U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation devices for kids 30 to 50 pounds that have three adjustable straps and an additional leg strap for extra support. These are great for water play as well as for when you go boating and fishing.RELATED_1685474856943|More Boating Safety Tips
Nothing ruins a pool day faster than poop in the water. This makes swim diapers one of the top baby summer essentials! With its snug design, this reusable accessory keeps everything secure so that you can enjoy your time in the sun without the worry of an accident.I buy these for my son every summer! The reason we choose the brand - his Infant Aquatics instructor swears by these swim diapers and recommends them to all her students, and I can see why!These swimming accessories come in sizes for babies as young as six months and go all the way up to toddlers 2-3 years old. They also offer adorable one piece options for little girls as well!Quick TipIf you put a disposable diaper underneath, diaper changes will be a breeze!
The idea of giving your child a tiny car to ride around in seems spectacular until you realize that you have to hunch over to push them in it. This is an unfortunate epiphany that I had when we bought my son a different style of car. Apparently, once you push them in it once, you always have to push them in it. While ours has a handle on the car's top, I am 5' 9", so a backache accompanies these "drives."For the parents looking to avoid this fate, this beautiful buggy takes away the effort with its conveniently tall, wide-grip handle! The vehicle also comes with storage and it has a seatbelt for safety.Nix the stroller and make your summer walks extra exciting with this useful and fun summer must-have!
Crank up the tunes while on the beach, by the pool, or when cruising on a boat without the worry of your devices getting wet! This tiny JBL Speaker is an awesome bluetooth device that hooks to virtually anything thanks to the attached carabiner style clip. It has up to 10 hours of battery life, you can recharge it when needed, and it produces a solid sound.Fast FactThis is a fantastic stroller speaker as well! Whenever I walk my dogs and my son, I clip it to the back of our buggy. I can listen to my music or I can blare some Cocomelon songs to keep my son entertained.
Balance is key when it comes to wake boarding and wake surfing. This handy inflatable can help your kids find their center and gain confidence while on the water.The built-in seat allows them to wait comfortably until the boat gets to a steady speed and the integrated water ski bindings give them some added security until they are ready to upgrade to a board.
One downside to summer is the many critters that come out during peak outdoor play times. Keep your kids free of mosquito bites with these simple stickers! They are DEET-free, Citronella essential oil insect patches that you simply stick on and then get back to the fun.These waterproof stickers are most effective in the first eight hours, but can be worn for a whole day. Best of all, the pack of 60 has the whole family covered.RELATED_1685480450150|Other Ways to Prevent Mosquito Bites
Native Shoes are a fantastic choice for toddlers and kids. They are perfect for summer because they are lightweight, breathable, odor resistant, and they have a shock-absorbent sole. They can also double as water shoes, saving parents an additional purchase. Choose from an array of two-tone colors and then get moving!

Of course, this is just a taste of some of the many exceptional essentials that you may need in order to make the most of your time in the sun! If you plan to visit the beach or a water park, also check out our extensive list of items that you should pack to ensure that you have a stress-free vacation!