We are into full on beach and pool season now. In Texas, if we are outside between June and September, we MUST be in water. There is no way to be comfortably alive outdoors otherwise. So that leaves me packing up my two kids and the 23 bags of stuff we always need multiple times a week. Okay, maybe not TWENTY-THREE, but for real: diaper bag, towel/change of clothes bag, food and snack cooler, flotation devices (ya know, for their safety and my sanity) and TOYS.
Because going to these fun places is never enough. We also need to bring toys. Because if we don’t bring toys, my children will spend the whole time lusting over other kids’ toys. And my one year old? He’ll just snatch whatever he wants right out of a stranger’s hands. No remorse. So hard to reason with, those one-year-olds. So we bring our own pool and beach toys. Buckets, paint brushes, balls, shovels, trucks, floating things, squirting things–all of the toys.
But you know what? I’m SO SICK OF LOSING OUR TOYS. I am not MADE of pool and beach toys (or the money that buys them, for that matter.) I’m sick of kids we don’t know walking off with them (yeah bud, it’s fine if you play too but you may not pocket that tug boat!) I’m sick of other moms mistaking our ball for theirs. I’m sick of my own forgetful self leaving things behind and never seeing them again. I’m all for sharing, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve lost enough toys to want a real solution.
This post contains affiliate links that help support the family behind this blog.
So how do we do it? How do we strike the balance of bringing toys to entertain our kids all day but also keeping track of those toys?
Thanks to my pals at Minted.com for partnering with me to bring you some practical (and adorable) solutions to this summertime conundrum:
Yes. These labels are my new best friend–the long sought out solution I’ve been pining for.
Why won’t a sharpie do? Because that wears off too easily. Tried that. While personalized name labels could get picked off (with a LOT of effort, mind you), they will not wear off without a GOOD FIGHT. They’re waterproof and super durable. Not to mention, they’re amazingly cute. You can pick from dozens of sizes, designs and color schemes. I happen to love my little stationary from Minted with our last name on them.
What’s more? It’s impossible for another parent or child to think that your toy is theirs if they see a personalized sticker staring them in the face. Also, lost and found managers will know what’s up when they see a name on an item. They’ll think, “Someone is coming for this bucket, I better keep it handy.”
The stickers also help you and your own kids know what all is yours (because let’s face it, we aren’t photographically memorizing this stuff.) So if your buckets and shovels get spread out down the beach, collect everything until you count 16 stickers (or whatever your number is!) Then you know you’re good to go!
I love our stickers, and while due to the size, I can’t put them on every single toy we have, I’m definitely putting them on the big ones, the pricier ones and the favorite ones. And hey, with some vigilance, these toys just may make it to next summer!
Here are some more tips for keeping track of your pool and beach toys:
When you’re not playing with a ball–put a towel over it to keep it from rolling, blowing or floating away!
Tie a handful of toys (with plenty of slack) to the handle of one central bucket, umbrella or chair! Try walking off with that one, Sparky.
Keep your toys in one spot (like the aforementioned laundry basket) and only allow one or two out at a time. Want a new toy? Put one back. We do that at home, why don’t we do that at the beach? Put the rule into motion early on and it’ll help your kiddos to learn some responsibility while you save some sanity.
Clean up before snack or lunch time. Ensure all of the toys are back together before the food comes out. The hungrier the kids are, the faster they work! It’s magic!
Clean up before you go into the water. My kids tend to strew their toys across 15 feet of sand and then go swimming for 30 minutes only to forget what was theirs or where it is. I also notice that other families do the same thing, and it is PRECISELY those scattered and abandoned toys that my kids try to snag on the fly, like wolves to the weak stragglers in a herd of sheep. I, of course, will go crazy trying to pry a ball out of my one year old’s hand and put it back in the sand where he found it (just for him to grab again, *shake my head*) but it made me realize: I WISH we’d all put our toys away. Again, make a rule early on: if you’re going to play in the water, put your toys back together.
Getting ready for school?
Pool and beach season may be winding down for your family, but guess what, Minted.com is THE place to go to get all of your kiddo’s school supply labels. Clothes, shoes, lunch boxes, binders, notebooks, school books–get it all personalized so they will last through the year!
Here are some of my FAVORITE labels that Minted offers–click the images to see the details and tinker with the colors!
Fun Freebie Alert!
Check out these cute and FREE printable lunchbox notes–your kids will surely adore them!
If you appreciate tips for smart living, I think you might also like:
Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear your tips for keeping track of your kids’ belongings while out and about! Please leave me a comment, I’d love to chat.
Have you heard about the #MintedBox?
Throughout the summer, all stationary from Minted is being shipped in boxes that unfold into fun costumes that kids, pets, even moms and dads can enjoy! And by snapping a photo with your #MintedBox, you could win $100 of Minted credit! Here’s how:
1. After you receive your #MintedBox, take a photo of your most imaginative Minted Box scene. Roll up your sleeves and get creative!