Photo: D Sharon Pruitt/Creative Commons
Blow-up dinosaurs, bubble machines, sno-cone makers, and baby pools are not essential. Thankfully there are precious few things that kids really "need" to have fun in the summer. Of course we want them to be un-sunburned and not so hot they beg to come inside after five minutes. Here are a few need-to-haves and a few fun-to-haves to help you gear up for summer, without spending your vacation money before it's even started.
Spray-on and Smear-on Sunscreen
The dreaded sun block keeps getting faster to slather on. We love the ease of spray-on sunscreen: Even though it comes on kind of cold and sticky, it dries fast and covers little bods in seconds. And we always carry a stick of sunscreen to protect those little areas that look up to the sun all the time -- noses, cheeks, shoulders -- whether we're by the water or not.