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I am a beach girl. I can sit in the sand literally all day. My kids love the beach too, but we also spend a lot of summer days at the pool. Honestly, managing elementary age kids in a pool is often easier than keeping them safe on a large beach and in the ocean.
When we head to the beach, I have the packing down. If you missed it, read my beach essentials post – everything you need to bring to the beach and great packing tips too! Today, I am going to share with you our must-haves for your day out at the local pool, keep reading for what to pack in your pool bag!
What to Pack in Your Pool Bag
We don’t have a pool at our house, but we belong to our local pool club and will often be invited to friends houses to cool off. We might head to the pool for just an hour or two to swim and beat the heat, or we might bring a picnic lunch and spend the whole day.
Anyone else have trouble getting their kids out of the pool? Mine never want to leave!
Pool Day Essentials
So you are spending the day at the pool, or heading on a vacation to a hotel with a great pool – keep reading for the ultimate list of pool essentials!
The Best Pool Bag For Families (Great for the Beach too)
After publishing my beach essentials post I realized I never wrote about our awesome pool/beach bag. And several readers asked about this as well!
Three years ago I bought the largest bag L.L. Bean offers! It’s personalized with our last name, and it’s a great tote for a family of four. Click here to order the Boat and Tote, Open Top, size Extra large.
I love this tote because there are a ton of inner pockets to keep our stuff organized. It’s also soft and malleable, so it can fit in our beach cart. When heading to the pool we will fill this with towels, extra sunscreen and all our pool stuff!
We keep this bag in our garage, pre-packed with sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and plastic bags. Anything we might need for the beach or pool. We then have our bucket of pool toys on the shelf next to it, and all of our sand stuff. That way we can swap out what we need each day!
Other Fun Pool Bags:
The Best Swim Vest
When little man was 2 we went to Puerto Rico and I bought him this swim vest. He first had a medium size (age 2-4 years) and then graduated to a larger size (age 4-6), and both have since been passed on to baby girl. She still wears the green one when she wants to swim in deep water, or if the whole pool (like in Atlantic City) is over her little head!
Both sizes of these vests held up for multiple summers. If your child is younger, like 2 or 3, you might need to also use arm floats to keep the child upright in the water. For the last few summers baby girl has just used the vest.
I highly recommend this vest because it is durable, does the job and dries quickly. It’s flat and easy to pack in your big tote, or in a suitcase for vacation!
The Best Pool Toys For Kids
Dive Sticks. These dive sticks can keep my kids entertained all day. Little man is a very good swimmer and loves tossing these even into the deep end. Baby girl is just learning how to swim and will play with these on the pool stairs or in the kiddie pool!
UPDATE: We recently added these dive rings to our pool bag! Big hit with the kids!
Water ball. This is little man’s other favorite pool toy. Hubby and him can spend hours throwing this ball back and forth! PRO-TIP: Parents don’t even have to be in the water with the kids, you can toss this from the lounge chair! This ball was designed for the water so that your smaller, soft, cloth balls do not get ruined!
Water Shooters. My kids love water squirters (parents, maybe not so much) but I also like the ones that do not look like actual weapons! We have these, that look just like tubes and shoot really far!
My Little Ponies. I don’t know how this came to be, but My Little Ponies have become baby girl’s favorite pool (and bath) toys. If your little one likes playing with little figures, these are great because they are small and easy to carry, but not too small that they will get lost in the pool. They are also easy to clean. (Barbies have fallen into this category as well)
Goggles. My kids are obsessed with goggles. These ones are really the best. We always have them with us when we go to the pool and I even have several spares for camp and travel. Not sure if these are really a toy, or more of a clothing item – but my kids cannot play with out their googles!
UPDATE: We picked these funny eyelash googles up at Wal-Mart and baby girl is obsessed! Plus they work really well!
POOL DAY PRO-TIP: keep your pool toys and goggles in a beach bucket ready to grab and go!
The Best Pool Floats for Families
Floats to Lay On. My kids love pool tubes and floats! Okay, I’ll admit, I love them too! Last year we got this fun popsicle float:
This year we just got this floating hammock and its really comfy!
Here are some other fun designs:
Giant Pool Floats Everyone Will Love. Okay so the trend the last few years has been giant pool floats that you can essentially live on – no just kidding, but big is in. And up until now we never really had a place to swim where we could actually bring these giant floats. But our pool club this year, these suckers are allowed, and they seem to be the coveted pool float! We just picked up a unicorn pool float and cannot wait to ride it!
Tube Floats. I love me sitting in a tube and just chilling out. We have a bunch of boring one-color ones, but there are some really fun ones out there that kids and grown-ups will love:
Basketball float. We bought this last year and needless to say, little man has spent many, many hours playing with this. He will play solo, with his dad, or me or what often happens is kids gravitate towards a toy like this and start playing together. This is easy to blow up and will provide hours of entertainment! This is also easy to pack for vacation because you can blow it up yourself, no pump needed!
Other Inflatable Pool Games:
Oh and don’t forget the little ones – check out these best pool floats for babies.
Float Pump. Okay all these inflatables are going to need to be blown up – and you can’t just do it with your mouth! Last summer I got one of these pumps and its awesome because its small, you can stick it in the trunk, and it does the job!
Eating and Drinking at the Pool
Rolling Cooler – Everywhere we go, we at least have a few snacks and drinks with us. In the summer, we will usually take lunch with us to the pool. This summer, I finally invested in a rolling cooler – much easier to manage with a day’s worth of food (and drinks) than a shoulder bag! I have this one – which is perfect for four people and easy to roll.
All different sizes and prices:
BottleKeeper – I saw this product on Shark Tank and knew it would be perfect for hubby! At our pool, the only rule (pretty much) is no glass allowed. Now hubby loves his Bud Lights, but he really prefers bottles to cans. A BottleKeeper allows you to slip a standard size glass bottle into a stainless steel bottle (insulated with neoprene) so that your bottle stays cold, and can’t break!
Insulated Wine Cup – Okay so mom needs her drink too! And I like my favorite chardonnay to be nice and cold. I like this cup because it’s dishwasher safe (and comes in many colors) although you can’t pack it with wine to go like you can in a Goverre (also a Shark Tank product)!
Other Pool Essentials
Don’t forget –
- swim suits
If you are visiting a public pool, be sure to check the rules about certain toys, floats and swim vests. Every place seems to have their own rules on what is allowed! But the more of these you have with you, the happier your kids will be. And the longer you might get to sit and relax!
What do you pack in your pool bag?
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