Summer Essentials

Summer Essentials for your Preschooler | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.comLong time readers know that Dave and I are both working parents and Sadie has been in daycare since she was a few months old. That being said, Sadie gets summers off from daycare much like she will in public school. The only reason this is the case is because Dave is a teacher so he’s off in the summers! And why pay for daycare when we have Daddy Daycare for FREE!

This summer I’ve also been home for a few weeks while my office is being renovated so I’ve been around to see how Sadie is entertained while she’s home in the summer and I wanted to share some of the items that have kept her interest and also have been super helpful to us for different activities and outings. I always love when bloggers share their favorite things whether its for themselves or their children so I hope this is helpful for someone out there!

Keep in mind at the time of this post Sadie is four years old, so this may not be what you would use for a younger or older child. What works for my kid may not work for yours! (This may be long – just a heads up!)

Summer Essentials for your Preschooler - For the Pool | Perks of Being a JAP |

We have one of those big inflatable pools that we set up each summer (and were lucky enough to get secondhand off of a Facebook group – woo!) Sadie loves spending time in the pool and it’s been helpful in making her less afraid to get her face wet. She still needs to learn to swim but it’s low enough that she can stand up in it.

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Dart Dolphin Kickboard – Sadie loves this kickboard and we love it because it helps her learn to kick underwater!

Balance Living® Inflatable Donut Floating Pool Toy – I mean how could you not? I saw this at Target months ago and after a debate with Sadie between getting the donut, an ice cream sandwich or a slice of pizza we went with the donut.

Prextex Mini Foam Water Gun – I actually bought a cheap foam water gun from the Dollar Spot at Target and when I got home Dave reprimanded me for only buying one! I saw more later on by Prextex and scooped them up. We have a LOT of fun with these!

Intex King Kool Inflatable Lounge – This was for ME but Sadie has taken it over. It’s fun to lounge in the pool with a drink and a book but she likes getting tossed around on it. And my parents had fun using it as a shield in their own water gun fight. (Seriously, who is the adult here?)

SwimWays 25025 Princess Glitter Dive Wands – These are slowly becoming more of a win. I got them so Sadie would want to put her face underwater and at first it didn’t work because they start off floating and then slowly sink as they fill with water. Doh! But now we immediately submerge them and she’s not diving under for them but she will crouch down to get them, getting farther under the water.

Mesh Pop-Up Laundry Hamper – A cheap way to store the pool toys! I was searching and searching online for something and was going to get a cheap basket at the Dollar Tree when I realized Sadie needed a new hamper because hers had a hole in it and then I had a eureka moment when I figured out I could use her old hamper to store pool toys! I utilized the pre-existing hole, cut another one and tied the hamper to one of the beams of our deck. BOOM. Problem solved.

Summer Essentials for your Preschooler - For the Backyard - For the Pool | Perks of Being a JAP |

We also try to get Sadie outside and into the backyard as much as possible. That girl would watch TV alllllllllllll day if we’d let her. And while TV is a nice babysitter we do cut her off at a certain point each day.

Little Tykes Anchors Away Pirate Ship Water Table – Sadie cashed in some Amazon gift cards she got for her birthday for this water table and she LOVES it. She had a second hand water table we got at a garage sale when she was a baby but it got really gross over the years and it had no fun features – was just a rectangular piece of plastic you could put water in. I also love that the table has a plug at the bottom so you can drain the water out.

Big Bubble Wands – bubbles, bubbles everywhere! I swear I’m as easily entertained by bubbles as Sadie is. These big bubble wands are great because they’re sturdy enough she can do it herself and also they are usually cheap to find at any dollar store or Target.

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Blossom Garden Tools – We have some pretty substantial garden beds in our backyard and Sadie loves to help so this year we upgraded her to these tools – they aren’t cheap plastic like a toy – they’re metal and really sturdy.

Toy Wheelbarrow – the link is not the exact one Sadie has but its similar. She helps Dave when he’s doing yardwork and its super light for her to tote back and forth.

Kinetic Sand – We actually just upgraded our kinetic sand haha. We had bought some for Sadie over a year ago and it wasn’t very sticky (magnetic?) anymore. This brand is AWESOME and clumps so smoothly. I have literally sat there for minutes just letting the sand trickle and recollect in my hands. This is an outdoor toy because even though it sticks together it can get a bit messy.

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Grub Scouts Sprinkler – Okay I can’t lie – we also use this to water our garden beds! Two birds, one stone right? Sadie isn’t a HUGE fan of sprinklers but she will jump around this one.

Summer Essentials for your Preschooler - For the Beach| Perks of Being a JAP |

I’ve mentioned that we live very close to the beach and while we don’t get there as often as we’d like we do try our best to take advantage of our closeness. We’ve also picked up some great beach must-haves along the way.

Four Piece Sand Bucket Set – There are SO MANY different types of sand toys now! Cookie making sets, molds, brick molds, it is INSANE. I just wanted a regular old sand bucket set for Sadie so I snagged this one. She loves it and is happy as a clam digging away at the beach.

FocuSun Large Mesh Beach Bag Tote – HOWEVER the bucket of that set doesn’t hold the three pieces well especially when you have a klutzy four year old carrying it around. Enter this mesh beach backpack. Sadie thinks its cool to carry around which is a win and I can dump her toys in there and shake them out before heading home which is also a win. WIN-WIN!

Green Toys Dump Truck – Sadie has actually had this for a year or so but only recently grabbed it and exclaimed, “I want to bring this to the beach!” I thought sure, why not! Also Green Toys is a fantastic brand. I love getting their toys for gifts for friend’s kids.

Sport-Brella – This was a game changer for the beach! Easy to set up, doesn’t get picked up by the wind, easy to carry. I got it discounted on Amazon last year and it’s the best. We set up our chairs under it, store our stuff behind it to keep food and other items out of the sun and veg out. I also love having it for beach time with Sadie because she’s got a place to get out of the sun for a bit if she needs to cool off.

Baby Powder – You can’t help but get sand in your car after you leave the beach but you CAN get most of it off… with baby powder! I learned this trick years ago and now keep a travel sized bottle of powder in our beach bag. Sprinkle some on your legs and the sand (for the most part) will brush right off! Sadie gets sand EVERYWHERE POSSIBLE EVER so its a necessary item with her.

Disney Princess Patio Chair – God forbid we only have beach chairs for Dave and I! This folding chair that Sadie got awhile ago from my aunt and uncle comes with us now so she has somewhere to sit too. 🙂

Summer Essentials for your Preschooler - For Inside Days| Perks of Being a JAP |

And even though its summer and we want Sadie to be outdoors as much as possible, sometimes a girl just needs some indoor time (not TV related.) These have kept Sadie’s attention and kept her away from binge watching Dinotrux.

Pony Beads – Sadie spotted a gift of wooden beads I got for her friend as a birthday party gift and wanted it for herself. Luckily I had just read Meghan’s post about how she started making beaded bracelets as a craft project with her son Noah and already planned a trip to get the supplies! I ordered the bag of beads on Amazon because the primary colors are an add-on item so it was cheaper. 🙂 Sadie spent a good chunk of time beading with Dave and I cant wait to sit and do it with her too!

Jelly BeadZ Water Beads – Another blogger Stephanie gave me the great idea to get Sadie water beads (or jelly beans as she calls them.) I set these up for her the other night and she is obsessed! She has basically been playing with them non-stop and I only had to buy the bag of beads and I bought a Tupperware container to soak/keep them in. She’s been using household objects to play (like an egg crate, kitchen scoop, wooden spoon, toy dinosaurs, etc.) LOVE them! And they feel so weird and squishy!

Sofia The First Time to Shine Sing-Along Boombox – This thing cracks me up. Sadie got it for her birthday and loves to sing along to the pre-recorded Sofia the First songs. I haven’t yet told her that we can hook up other music to it – I can’t fathom having her rocking out to Shake it Off over and over and over again. 😉

Argee Luv That Tray with Raised Sides – And yet ANOTHER blogger recommendation are these trays! Andrea always has them featured in photos of her kids doing crafts and I finally bit the bullet and snagged a pack for Sadie to use. She loves grabbing one to color on, paint on and even play with glitter slime on them.

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game – The Educational Insights games are all the rage and this I think was the original or at least the most popular? It’s really cute and fun to play, is helping Sadie learn her numbers and its funny when you get to steal the nuts from another player! We’re very into board games right now which is also why we have

Chutes & Ladders – Another good one to teach Sadie her numbers and it’s always fun to see who will get so close to the top only to slide allllll the way back down due to an unlucky spin. Amazing how games we played as a kid are still around now!

Boon Pipes Water Pipes Bath Toy – Wow so four of these have been items I’ve purchased because of reading them on other blogs! Ashley received these in the Christmas in July swap and it was perfect timing because I needed to get rid of some of Sadie’s old bath toys that were getting kind of funky. These were the perfect replacement/distraction. She’s actually asked to take a bath to just play with them and they stick to the walls pretty well.

I hope this post was helpful for those of you with children or if you are looking for things to help keep kids occupied in the summer!


PS.This post does have affiliate links so I can continue to get Sadie these awesome things! 🙂 


  1. Ooh that bath toy looks so cool… Definitely looking into! And we have a large mesh bag to carry the sand toys to the beach and it’s a total lifesaver!!!

  2. Love all of the ideas! Those pool floats are so fun. I really want to get water beads for my kids. I have to remember that baby powder trick! Actually we are going to the lake tomorrow, so I should bring some along!!

  3. I really want one of this giant pool floaties!!! Must have.



CommentLuv badge