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Summer is here, and for many families, that means one thing: pool time! Having the right essentials can make your swimming experience safer, more enjoyable, and stress-free. Here’s a comprehensive guide to ensure you’re fully prepared for a splashing good time this summer.

For those in the Sioux Falls Area, check out our guide for swimming pools, waterparks, and splash pads in the area!

Safety First: Pool Safety Essentials

Before diving into the fun, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Here are some must-haves:

Life Jackets 

Remember that life jackets should never replace swimming lessons! It’s important for children to learn to swim without life jackets. If a child only spends time wearing life jackets then they can easily have a false understanding of their swimming ability. 

But life jackets can still be so helpful! If you are swimming in the lake or spending time on a boat this summer, make sure you have an approved life jacket for every member of the family. 

We love this Coast Guard approved life vest for kids! 

First Aid Kit

Having a small first aid kit with (even when just visiting the neighborhood pool) can be so handy! If you are spending time at a pond, lake, or river without lifeguards present it’s even more important!  Keep a well-stocked first aid kit on hand, including waterproof bandages, antiseptics, and other essentials.

This mini first aid kit is water resistant and in a hard shell!

Fun in the Sun: Toys and Games

Keep the excitement high with a variety of pool toys and games. Remember to check the rules for local pools about what kind of toys you can bring into a public pool. 

Pool Toy Ideas:

  • Inflatable Toys: From giant unicorns to simple float rings, inflatable toys are always a hit.
  • Dive Toys: Sinking rings, sticks, and treasure chests encourage diving and underwater play.
  • Water Guns: A classic choice for endless fun and laughter.
  • Volleyball and Basketball Sets: Floating volleyball nets and basketball hoops are great for family competitions.
  • Floating Pong and Ring Toss: These are fantastic for a more laid-back but equally fun poolside activity.

We LOVE this fun water blaster set that can be used in and out of the pool! Or grab this 30 piece set of water toys for hours of fun! 

Snorkeling Gear

  • Masks and Snorkels: Introduce children to the wonders beneath the water’s surface with masks and snorkels.
  • Fins: Add fins for a more authentic snorkeling experience.

Not all swim goggles are made equal! Having a quality pair will make a huge difference for most kids. We love these kid-friendly ones from Speedo! 

Stay Cool and Hydrated

Remember to keep cool and hydrated during those long summer pool days and grab some of these items!

Cooling Towels and Misters

  • Cooling Towels: These towels stay cool when wet and are perfect for quick relief from the heat. Check out some here
  • Misters: Portable misters can help everyone stay cool in between swims.
  • Water Bottles: Ensure everyone has a reusable water bottle filled with cold water.

Healthy Snacks

Make sure to pack some healthy snacks for pool days! Playing in the water is hard work. Pack some easy snacks that will give your family energy for the rest of the day. Some ideas are cheese sticks, beef jerky, protein bars, or fresh fruit. For a sweet treat, consider these sugar-free oatmeal banana cookies! 

Sun Protection: Guard Against Harmful Rays

Protecting your family from the sun is crucial. Even if your kids fight wearing sunscreen, it’s worth the effort to get them to wear it! 


  • Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen: Use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply every two hours and after swimming.
  • Face Sticks: Easier to apply on the face, especially for kids.

Face Sticks really are so much easier for kids! We love this one from Sun Bum

Sun Protective Clothing

  • Rash Guards: Long-sleeve rash guards provide additional sun protection.
  • Hats and Sunglasses: Wide-brim hats and UV-protective sunglasses are essential for everyone.

After-Sun Care

  • Aloe Vera Gel: Soothe any accidental sunburns with aloe vera gel.
  • Moisturizers: Keep skin hydrated with a good moisturizer after a day in the sun and water.

Have Fun This Summer

With the right essentials, your family can enjoy a safe, comfortable, and fun-filled summer by the pool. Dive in, stay cool, and make lasting memories with your loved ones this season!