This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase using one of these links, I make a small commission. All opinions are my own. See my full disclosure here.
With summer on the horizon, it’s time to start gearing up for water play with your child! Whether you’re going to the beach, the pool, the local splash pad or just having some fun in your own backyard, it’s important to be ready with all the necessities to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.
For some moms, water play is how to survive during summer. Living in Arizona has its perks, but man is it hot. With temperatures getting up to 118 degrees, finding opportunities to incorporate water play into our everyday activities is a must.
So it’s no wonder why we started our son in swim classes as early as 3 months old. Looking for ways to cool down and pass the time during the day, pool time was the perfect option. But, as a new mom, I remember feeling pretty overwhelmed when it came time to figure out what my son needed to be comfortable with his surroundings. There was a lot of trial and error, which means I spent money a lot of things that I probably didn’t need. Also, it took time to figure out what items made water play easier on me too.
Now that my son is a toddler, water play has been amplified and includes a lot more toys and fun to keep him occupied. I also love that I still use a majority of the items I bought for him several months ago—making the money I spent worthwhile.
Below is a list of my most recommended baby and toddler water play products that parents everywhere should have ready for summer!
Reusable Swim Diaper
Reusable swim diapers are a popular option for babies and toddlers to use while playing in the water. They can be used over and over again (hence the name) and hold up better for long durations in water. After purchasing a couple of different brands, I found the reusable swim diapers from Beau & Belle are the absolute best.
Made for children 8-36 lbs., Beau & Bell diapers are unique because they are covered in easy-to-use snap buttons that can be open and closed in order to adjust to your child’s growth and adapt with their bodies for months to come. That way, you don’t have to keep spending money on a new pair of swim diapers each time your child grows out of them, which will be often if you start water play at a young age! The diapers are also reasonably priced for the quality you receive, and there are so many cute prints available.
Disposable Swim Diapers
If reusable diapers don’t seem like your thing or you want to double up for insurance purposes (I worried about an extra explosive diaper during swim lessons!), there are disposable options as well. We use Huggies Little Swimmers and have found them pretty useful. If you have a smaller baby, it may be hard to find some that fit, and thus, the reusable swim diaper I mentioned above may be your best option for water play. Also, reusable diapers may hold up better for a full day of beach and pool fun.
Looking for a safe sunscreen for your baby? Mom’s love Babyganics anything, and that goes for their mineral-based sunscreen. Perfect for water play or just a walk around the block. I use the spray form, but it’s not designed like regular sunscreen spray. I spray the sunscreen into my hand and smear it all over him. A little goes a long way. You can definitely feel the thickness on your own hands, but it works really well.
Check for deals on Amazon through their Subscribe & Save program or Target through the Cartwheel app. To learn more about these programs, check out our post on how you can save on baby products.
UPF Protective Hat
If your child is going to be out in the sun, it’s important to protect their head and face as best as you can. Not only would it provide them with discomfort, but exposure to harmful sun rays can also have devastating effects later. One easy way to protect your child is this i play. Baby Flap Sun Protection Swim Hat. I love how the hat provides coverage to the sides of a child’s face. This hat can also be easily adjusted around a child’s cranium and tied secure under their chin. Warning, not all children will enjoy wearing hats. Ours fought it for a while, but, as a toddler, has learned to accept the hat as part of his outdoor attire. The battle is worth the 50+ UPF protection this sun hat provides during water play.
UPF Protective Shirt/Rashguard
Similar to the hat, you want to have as much of your child’s body covered as possible when they spend long hours in the sun. This UPF Sun Protective Shirt from City Threads provides 50+ UPF, making coverage easy. With tons of colors and sizes to choose from, they also make your child look even cuter while splashing in the water. They are a pretty tight fit, so I would suggest one size larger so your child can grow into it.
Swim Floatie with UPF Protective Cover
Another option for UPF protective gear and a way to make water play easy for mom is to get a flotation device for your little one. We love the Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy! Its top has a UPF protective shield to keep baby and toddler safe from the sun’s rays and it’s easy to piece together before the pool. Your baby needs to be able to sit up unassisted before using this.
Baby Beach Pool
Beach trips are fun when you are baby-free, but with a baby, it can complicate things. My husband and I used to lounge on the sand for hours and take a dip when needed, but life is not the same with a baby. We still want to enjoy the beach but needed to find a way to keep it enjoyable (and cool) for our son at the same time. To make it nice and comfortable for our son when he was younger we purchased the Monobeach Portable Baby Pool Tent. It’s basically a little tent with a space to add water to make a little mini beach for your child. It’s the perfect way to keep baby entertained while you soak up the sun! FYI We do find it was a little tricky to get back into the carrying case once you’ve taken it out.
Plastic pools are good for baby and even better for your toddler. Easy to fill up, dump out, and can keep your children occupied for a bit while keeping everyone cool. Add some fun toys and get splashing. I use measuring cups as cheap toys for my son, and he loves them!
Why do I suggest a plastic pool over a cool blow-up one? Well, although the blow-up ones look really cool, they can easily get destroyed, especially if you have a large dog. The plastic ones are also cheaper, so if anything happens to it, it won’t be such a big deal.
This product is something you’ll need to get at your local grocery store, hardware store, or Target, as Amazon typically ships inflatable ones.
Mesh Beach/Pool Bag
Heading to the pool or the beach? Then, a giant bag is necessary! On our first couple trips to the pool, I found I was carrying a bag, towels, spare clothes, snacks, sunscreen, diapers, wipes, oh yeah, and my child! It’s a lot of stuff. That’s why I found one giant bag that could hold everything… except my baby (obviously!). I love all the compartments the beach bag has to offer and also love the fact that it has perforated holes so sand just falls out rather than getting trapped inside. Easy to shake everything off after a day at the beach.
Looking for a towel that’s perfect for your baby? Hooded Towels are a great option because they are practical and so so cute! After our first time at the pool, I realized that getting out of the water was the tough part for my son. He was cold (even though it was 80 degrees out!). Having this towel handy made it easy to quickly wrap him up and warm him up. Not a lot of fabric to mess with and easy to keep his head nice and toasty. Did I mention these towels are really cute?
Beach days are a lot of work even without a child. Lots of stuff to trek through the hot sand. Now imagine that with a baby or toddler! Double the stuff, and about triple the work. A wagon is the perfect thing to make it easy on parents wishing for water play down at the ocean.
Try this collapsible wagon with large wheels to withstand sand from Timber Ridge. I love that it’s easy to store when it’s not water play season, but can still be used for trips to the park, camping, or any other outings with your child that require lots of items.
Recently, my husband and I went on a babymoon together and left our son at home. We rented an umbrella and some chairs to lounge beachside. After the day was done, we decided we never wanted to go to the beach again without an umbrella. Unfortunately, they can be a lot of work but would be worth it if you plan on spending a long period of time at the beach with your child. I like this beach tent as a potential option. It’s lightweight with windows on the sides to see out. I also love that it’s 50+ UPF protection from the sun’s rays. This would make a great option if you have a baby or toddler that may need to nap on the beach, but you don’t want to go all the way home to make it happen.
Another option is your standard beach umbrella. I haven’t used one with my son yet, so I cannot speak to a particular one that I like. There are several to choose from on Amazon. Keep in mind, you will need to make sure that umbrella is properly anchored into the sand, so it doesn’t fly away. This anchor seems to be popular and highly rated. Let me know if you have any other suggestions on this front.
Ready for Water Play With These 12 Products
With warm weather months ahead, it’s important to be prepared for water play with your little one. Whether it’s a trip to the pool, beach, or in your own backyard the various products to keep your baby and toddler safe and entertained are numerous. Use this list to help you get ready for some fun in the sun.
Looking for more lists from Real Time Mom? Download our FREE baby registry checklist for the modern mom by subscribing to our blog. Along with the awesome checklist, you’ll receive other tips & tricks into the world of momming. Sign-up below!
Super helpful article! I’m expecting my grandchild soon…for a beach house visit…lots of good info for me!! Thanks!
Thank you! Your grandchild will have a blast with these and you. Enjoy!