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zulily’s Top 10 Toy Picks for the Dog Days of Summer

by Amy E. Goodman, Lifestyle Editor zulily

Lemonade stands. Sprinkler hopping. Melting ice cream cones that drip faster than you can lick. It’s definitely sum-sum-summer time.

My family has been living for the outdoors. Our art projects take place in the cool of the morning shade. Come afternoon, we check on the progress of our peach tree. Even dinner is an al fresco affair, often barbequed and served up with hot, buttery corn.

But after riding bikes and drawing with chalk and chasing down our peach-stealing squirrels (never caught mind you!), my kiddos yearn for something new and fun to do.

At zulily we picked our top 10 summer toys to keep your kids happy and engaged…and buying you more time to relax in your lounge chair and quietly sip your margarita and enjoy the bliss that is summer.

#1 Float Away!

With my daughter on the swim team for the first time this year, we’re spending an inordinate amount of time at the pool. So when she doesn’t have to swim laps, cool pool floats are a welcome respite and can be lots of fun.

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Game Station & Chair Float Set, Swimline

#2 Battleship

A pool float that sprays water at your friends? Are you kidding? A child’s dream. (And when you get too hot in said lounge chair, you can ask for a refreshing squirt.)

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Swimline, Battleboards Water Squirter Float Set

 #3 Roly Poly

This certainly livens up a trip to the park or a family reunion, and will undoubtedly provide your kids with hours of entertainment. Just steer clear moms…no sun bathing while the Mammoth Beach Ball is in motion or you might just be balled over!

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Mammoth Beach Ball, S&S Worldwide

 #4 At-Home Parachuting

Okay, so no jumping out of planes just yet, but kids love a massive parachute for tossing, rippling, running underneath and disappearing under. Add some balls on top and you have your own “popcorn” maker. What’s nice is that this is great activity for kids of all ages.

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30’ Parachute, Pacific Play Tents

#5 Tether Ball…is Back

I’d like to think that my beloved tether ball never went anywhere (I can still feel the arm rope burns to prove it), but apparently it’s made a comeback. This new and improved version is portable and dignified with chic paddles. While kids have at it, mom and dad can secretly make Napoleon Dynamite references: “You wanna play me?”

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Paddle tether Ball Set, Alex Toys

#6 Lanterns for Lightening Bugs

With these warm muggy nights, the fireflies are out. And while flashlights are too bright and having no light is too dark, these cutie pie headlamps are just right. Your kiddo might even be mistaken for a lightening bug in the hunt!

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Frog & Monkey Headlamp Set

#7. Water Balloon Slingshots!  

There is nothing better than a good water balloon fight on a hot summer day. These water balloon slingshots make for a great addition to the game…quick, get to your battle stations!

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Water Balloon Slingshot Set

#8 Up, Up and Away!

It’s amazing how much joy my kids get out of those single loop, glow-in-the-dark necklaces; yes, the plastic ones that last only one night. Imagine how much fun they’d have with these LED ultra glow Stomp Rockets? It’s the nighttime version of one of their favorite daytime toys.

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Ultra LED Stomp Rocket Kit, Stomp Rocket

#9 Movie Night

Want to be the cool family on the block? This 132” outdoor projection screen from Camp Chef will promote picnic family dinners and make you an instant neighborhood hit, especially if you play new releases. And if there’s a sudden summer storm? No worries, it works indoors too.

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Entertainment Gear 132” Indoor/Outdoor Projection Screen, Camp Chef

#10 Grill Like a Grownup

Though my husband does most of the grilling, I know how to fire up our grill thank you very much—and now my little ones can too with their very own miniature grill set by American Plastic Toys. I dare you to place them side-by-side and see who produces the best burger!

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My Very Own Grill Set, American Plastic Toys

Get Ready for Summer: Top 5 Essentials

Between a bump in the barometer and days of endless sun, there’s nothing that puts a pep in your step like the anticipation of Summer fun. While Summer might not be here just yet, it’s never too early to prep for warm-weather festivities. From backyard barbecues to soaking up sun by the surf, we’ve gathered together five of our favorite Summer essentials to get you out the door and enjoying the sun in style.

1. Tote

 

From the beach to the farmers market and everything in between, you need a great tote to carry all your goodies to and fro.

2. Swimwear

 

Whether is a swim diaper for baby or your favorite polka dot bikini, Summer by the sea is always better with a vibrant swim wardrobe for beachside retreats.

3. Barbecue Accessories

Tis the season for baseball tailgates and backyard cookouts. From heat resistant mitts to tongs and kid proof plates, having an arsenal of barbecue accessories is sure to garner any cook a few smooches.

4. Pool Toys

 

From lounging poolside under the umbrella or doing cannonballs into the deep end, pool toys just make Summer more fun.

5. Get Fit Gear

 

With warm weather comes a plethora of outdoor activities to get the whole family up and moving. From state of the art rapid-ready gear to totally zen yoga apparel, summer isn’t complete without a wardrobe that’s ready to get fit.

the newbie: Swimming!

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com


June’s first summer means something very fun: Her first pool days! She’s got a cute little bathing suit, complete with daisies and ruffle, and she enjoys the bath now, so we didn’t think she’d fear the water much.

But… she does. Maybe she senses the danger that a pool can pose, maybe she doesn’t like the water temperature, or maybe she just needs to get used to it, but she cries quite a bit when we put her in (holding her, of course). She’s only 11 months old, so the floatie arm things won’t work yet, but we’re thinking of trying to find some sort of floating bathing suit.

Of course, one day soon we’ll want to sign her up for some swim lessons, but maybe that’s next summer, when she’s two? I have no idea what age is right for this!

I would love to hear from any parents who have a great way to introduce a baby to swimming. It will be fun to see her turn into a little fish with no fear.

Our favorite trend of them all and perhaps the most popular trend of the season in kids wear right now is being called "Urban Jungle." Your wild one is sure to stand out with this fierce style. Check out some items and brands on zulily today that aren’t afraid of a little street jungle:

  • Adventurous styles
  • Vibrant colors 
  • Exotic patterns
  • Street wear and urban silhouettes
  • Rich wildlife graphics

Let your little one travel the world through their clothes!