Stock up on pool toys for summer
I really like the review of pool toys at the end of this story on pool prep work we need to do as summer approaches. I can never understand how anyone gets through a Florida summer without a pool. And when our kids came along, I added pool toys to my growing list of must-haves.
Now is a good time to take inventory of your beach and pool toys, chuck the ones that are worn or broken and check out some ways to play in the water besides a rousing game of Marco Polo. And this might be a perfect weekend to go before you have the gang over for a Fourth of July party.
I agree with my colleague Patti Ewald in that review on the ones worth checking out:
Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy ($17.99 to $19.99 from Swimways)
The lowdown: A safe haven for baby — but only while being closely monitored by an adult. The float features a mesh play area for babies to splash or play with toys and the canopy protects tender skin from the sun.
Toypedo ($9.99 from Swimways)
The lowdown: This footlong torpedo glides up to 40 feet underwater with a simple throw. Trust us, it's a lot more fun than you might think. Look for variations that light up or come with targets
Dive Balls ($12.99 for three at Toys 'R Us)
The lowdown: Forget scrounging on the bottom for the penny your mom tossed in. These rubber-tipped balls have colorful, fluttering tails visible across the pool.
The Splash Bomb Pets ($1.49) and Deep Sea Splash Pets are ($9.99-$12.9)
The lowdown: Splash Bombs are nothing new, but Splash Bombs with sweet little faces are. We also like the Deep Sea Splash Pets you can pull apart and reattach to make new creatures.
I'm not so sure about her recommendation for the Log Flume Joust Set or the Motorized Inflatable Bumper Boat. Cheap noodles make fine jousting weapons and a slow boat across the pool will get old and ignored in short order (and at a $100 price).
One of our new pool toy additions this year is this inflatable alligator found at just about any beach town store that sells touristy stuff. It's very sturdy and seems to inspire lots of creative games like playing chicken or see-saw until someone falls off. I spent $19.99 on it at the concession stand at Clearwater Beach, but I've also seen it at Beall's for $14.99.
Our other favorite is this Big Shot Water Gun "Stream Machine." Unlike those cheap plastic water guns that seem to break in a week or shoot a measly squirt of water, this one fills up easily and shoots far. Place the barrel in the water, pull back to fill, and then you have a water cannon. Just remember to buy at least 2 to 4 of them because it's only fun if both sides of the water war are well-armed. I've seen them at both retail stores and sporting goods departments for $9.99-$19.99.
~ Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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