A completely subjective round-up of our favorites products and toys to make outside time in Philly that much better.
The Best Sunblocks
My California friends tipped me off to BurnOut, and while it’s pricey (around $14 on Amazon), I find it well worth the cost: it’s a physical block that lasts a long time, is ocean-friendly, and best of all, goes on with little effort. (For a more affordable version of a block that also rubs in easily, I like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch.)
For Parks and Picnics
This giant (48 colors!) pack of Crayola sidewalk chalk is worth ordering online. The colors are bright and vibrant, the chalk is sturdy, and the carrying case keeps everything neat, dust-free, and portable. (And it’s still under $5.) Kids love bubbles, and this Gazillion Bubble Hurricane Machine buys you some time to finish your iced coffee in peace: It automatically blows out a ton of bubbles that the kids love chasing and popping and dancing in. This JJ Cole outdoor blanket makes for a great new-parent gift. It’s large, folds-up easily and is soft, but made out of a waterproof material that makes any spills, mystery spots, or stomped on cheddar bunnies a cinch to clean off … just put the hose to it. (We have two!)
Sun, Sand and Spray Ground Gear
Despite the fact that I think I’ve found the sunblock that is the easiest in the world to apply, nothing is better/safer/easier than covering up the kids. I’m a huge fan of iPlay’s rashguard shirts, which are super-light (especially the “Breatheeasy” line), dry quickly, fit well and come in neutral colors. (I also like their reusable swim diapers for those who aren’t potty trained.) For hats, these Patagonia bucket hats have a chin strap that actually stays put, aren’t too wide-brimmed to bother baby, and are reversible. They are pricy, but durable. If you go to the shore, this pop-up tent at REI is easy to put up and take down, airy and perfect for naps or breaks. Natives are our go-to summertime shoe. They are cute enough to wear to dinner, but perfect for spray grounds, beaches and pools. They dry in seconds, last all summer and are easy to slip on and off.
Looking for more warm-weather ideas? Here’s our round-up of the city’s best cooling treats (water ice! ice cream sandwiches!).