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Let’s kick off this blog with a topic near and dear to me-going to the pool with my kids! We are lucky members of a pool that boasts a large grass area to play in with a playground, sandbox, beach volleyball, and, of course, a large pool. On the weekends, we have been known to spend twelve hours a day there. I am much too lazy to drive home to get anything I might need so I learned early on what was necessary to pack in advance for our marathon days in the sun!
The first thing you need to go to the pool is a great pool bag. I’ve tried MANY different bags. Ask my husband, our closet is full of discarded tote bags. I have finally narrowed it down to the Saltwater Canvas Whale Bag . This bag is AMAZING! It holds so much stuff but remains light enough to comfortably carry. As a bonus when we go to the beach the bag doesn’t fill up with sand. I can give it one quick shake and it’s good to go
Last year I switched all of our beach towels to Turkish Cotton Towels. They are absorbent, soft, and they dry super fast. Have you ever gone swimming and an hour later wanted to wrap yourself in a nice, dry towel only to find that yours is still cold and soggy from your last dip in the pool? Me too! And I hated it. I was thrilled to find these towels that dry in half the time so are perfect for our long days at the pool.
Your day at the pool or beach will end in disaster without a great sunblock! But if your kids are like mine, you fight to get that sunblock on them. And if you are like me, you’ll obsess about the benefits/pitfalls of chemical vs. physical sunblock, spray vs. cream, and spf 15 vs. spf 30 vs. spf 100. I try to choose a sunblock with a rating of 4 or below by the Environmental Working Group and they have to work. My favorite, never fails, sunblocks are COOLA Unscented Spray Sunblock, Thinksport Kid’s Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+, and Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sport Stick. Every summer I strive to find a balance between sunblock that is easy to apply, contains the least amount of toxic chemicals, and actually prevents my kids from burning. These three consistently work.
You know how swimming in the pool without goggles can cause eye irritation? Yeah, I recently read that it’s not the chlorine irritating your eyes. It’s urine. URINE! I stocked up on goggles after reading that article. My kids are picky and want goggles that are comfortable and don’t leak. After some trial and error, we found the Aqua Sphere Moby Kid Goggles . These goggles are a hit with my kids.
5. Packing Cubes
The Saltwater Canvas Whale Bag is huge. To keep all the bathing suits, towels, goggles, swim toys, etc. organized I use eBags Packing Cubes. I throw two in the bag. One holds the goggles, dive toys, and sunblock. The other holds our bathing suits. I have a million of them around the house because I use them when we travel. If you don’t have them (I highly recommend them when traveling!), you could also use gallon size ziplock bags. They won’t hold as much but they work to hold wet suits and to contain the chaos.
6. Activities to keep the kids busy!
I find that tossing a few toys into the bag helps preserve my poolside reading time. For my craft loving daughter, I keep a set of Crayola Colored Pencils and coloring books in the bag. For my sports loving eight-year-old son, I keep a baseball glove and tennis ball. Those are essentials in my bag but, at various times, I’ve also brought books, a chess set, deck of cards, dive toys, and watercolors. The goal is to bring something that is relatively small and light that will keep them busy long enough for you to get one full chapter finished!
7. Beach wagon
Imagine when you have a pool bag filled with toys, towels, bathing suits, and clothes. You also have a cooler full of food for the day. You pull into the hot parking lot and find a spot as far away from the entrance as possible. It’s 1,000 degrees out and your kids bounce out of the car and go running to meet their friends. They “can’t hear you” when you call to them for help carrying everything. Resigned, you shlep all the stuff yourself. By the time you make it to your picnic table your frazzled, hot, and cranky. And your hair is frizzy. Does that sound familiar? That was me before we bought this baby: Beach wagon. We actually bought ours at Costco, but this one is similar. It folds up in the back of my car, is lightweight, and it holds everything I need for a day out. Bonus, it also holds my four year old for the days when she decides walking is beneath her.
These are my 7 essential items in our pool bag! What do you carry in yours?