Summer Essentials For Babies and Toddlers

Summer is here, and what better way to prepare for a season of swimming, hiking, outdoor fun and sweet heat escapes than by stocking up on seasonally appropriate gently-used baby and toddler gear. After all, even little ones enjoy the change of the weather and soaking in sunshine, fresh air and a lot of water play. Here are some classic ways to enjoy the summer with your baby and/or toddler, with the essential gear to make everything run smoothly and add even more fun in the sun.

Water Gear 

When we think of summer we think of water, lots of cool fountains, splash pads, pools and any other way to beat the heat. Babies and toddlers also love playing in water, which makes it easy for them to cool off and have fun at the same time. 

This is where a water table comes in. Good for any kid that can stand, these sturdy devices can host pool parties for a nest of plastic dinosaurs, let little ones play endless games of sink-or-float with rocks, leaves, sticks and other backyard findings, and allow tots to bathe their babies and toy animals as much as they desire. And, any bath toys can be used in a water table too. Yes, it can be messy, but with the heat of summer kids are sure to dry off fast. All you need is a corner of the yard and the water to fill it. 

For other backyard fun, a simple sprinkler for toddlers to run through or crawl around on is a great option. Or, pick up a simple splash pad that attaches to the hose and spouts water straight in the air. Even a baby can sit up in the center of one of these and have fun throwing the cool liquid around and floating boats in the shallow pool. 

Plan to spend time in a real pool too. For this adventure it’s a good idea to get a puddle jumper or life jacket for your toddler. This gear isn’t a replacement for learning to swim or having an adult by their side while in the pool, but it does help with some peace of mind both for the kids and parents. Babies can also get in on the pool fun with inflatable devices such as the Otteroo Classic Floatie or other tubes that allow the baby to "sit" in the water without its head going under. Toy boats can be fun for both ages, in the pool and outside it, fog horn sounds optional.

Outdoor Essentials 

outdoor toys

While being outside is a lot of fun, it can be a lot of work too. You need to protect kids from sun, bug bites, getting overheated and things like that. Shade structures can be very useful, such as a pop-up beach tent or sun shelter. Plus, this type of baby gear is lightweight and easy to bring along.  Speaking of simple pop-up gear, the Joovy Gloo Portable Tent Travel Bed or the Munchkin Brica Fold 'n Go Travel Bassinet are handy to keep in the car when you have a baby or toddler that may need to nap while at the beach, on a fishing trip, at the park or anywhere else where you're spending the day outside. Also pack up a portable changing pad, after all, no matter where you go your child will need a fresh diaper. 

Another great tool to bring for baby’s next alfresco adventure is an easy-to-cart pack and play. That way you can garden or grill and your little one can stay safe and shaded while still taking in the flowers, birds and sunshine. One great product that Good Buy Gear carries, often second hand at around 50% of the retail price, is the Summer Infant Pop 'N Play Portable Playard With Canopy. For really little babies add in a Snuggle Me Organic Sensory Lounger, which makes for a clean and safe spot to let your infant snooze while you keep an eye on them from the vegetable patch.

Another part of being outdoors is hiking, walking around the zoo and park, spending time at barbecues and other events that require a lot of standing and/or moving around. With infants and toddlers this can be difficult, which is where a solid baby wearing device becomes an essential baby gear item. Pick up a gently-used baby carrier by Lillebaby, Baby Bjorn or Ergobaby, to name a few of the many options on the market. A solid hiking backpack can also be handy since it allows your little one not only to ride, but to nap and snack on the go.

Baby and Toddler Sports

baby and toddler sports

Sure, you aren't going to be taking your 6-month-old out to play a game of soccer, but there are ways little ones can get into sports in the summer. For babies, gently-used Oball toys are perfect for rolling, shaking, tossing and squeezing. Activity balls too can be useful in the summer, when you want your baby or toddler to sit in the shade of a tree during a picnic. They easily fit into a diaper bag and are good not just for entertaining, but to practice hand-eye coordination and sound and light correlation. 

Toddlers may also like to play with a "real" football or soccer ball that's sized just for them. Or a sturdy plastic T-ball set can be fun for tots working up to being baseball stars. Golf too can be a winning game, especially when it’s made just for their size. Because you never know what your little one will take too, buying second-hand is an option that’s both more affordable and requires less commitment if your child decides they will never be the next Tiger Woods. 

Though it's not exactly a sport, when your child gets to be around 2-years-old it's a good time to introduce bikes to them. Start out with a trike such as the Doona Liki Trike, which can grow with your kid and be pushed by you while they are learning to pedal. Summer is also a good time to bring out a balance bike, something we get in gently-used often. Don't forget a helmet either, and knee and elbow pads too. 

Toys

toys for toddlers and babies

Though parks and splash pads are where we spend a lot of time during the hot days of summer, baby and toddler toys are still an essential this season. After all, some days are too hot, and then there's rainy weather and wind, and let's be honest, there are times when one has to do something other than entertain our children. That's where these gently-used toys come in.

One item we love that works well when it's warm out and to take on the go is a water painting mat, which involves the mat and a water pen and naturally erases when it dries out. The V-Tech Sit-To-Stand activity push toy is another toddler item that those learning to walk can move around outside or inside. Bonus, Good Buy Gear often sees these items gently-used for around $5 (retails for $35), so you can get one for your home and both grandparents' houses.

Speaking of things with wheels, toddlers love to pretend to be like mom or dad and scoot around on a ride-on toy. These can look like anything, a car, a bug, a train or animal, and move around on the sidewalk or driveway. On the wheel trend, a cache of chunky cars that can be driven around the backyard, into dirt piles and in and out of the sprinkler can offer a lot of summertime fun.
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