We were excited to partner with Toyota for some fun 4th of July plans until Mother Nature made plans of her own! While our Independence Day outdoor plans might have been foiled, we still got in some great summer fun and perfected the art of packing the perfect pool bag!
Thank you again to Toyota for sponsoring some of our adventures this summer!
Pack the Perfect Pool Bag
Plans were all set for the 4th of July. Every year our neighborhood has a parade and then we head down to the local park for a fun community event packed with classic cars, bounce houses, good food and more!
The kids were ready to head down to the end of the street and watch the parade while they collected candy.
Then Mother Nature paid us a visit. It rained. On the Fourth of July. All day long. Now we did manage to make the most of it. Justin grilled when it was only sprinkling out and Carrigan embraced the rain.
But it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. Still the next week we embraced summer and made up for our rainy Independence Day celebrations. We took the Toyota Camry Hybrid SE to the pool and the park. It worked great for getting our family out to make some memories in the water and then enjoy lunch out together!
The Camry had plenty of space for all of us to ride together and great trunk space for loading up everything we like to take to the pool with us.
Packing the Perfect Pool Bag
When it comes to packing our pool bag, I’ve learned a lot this summer. I’m not sure why I felt like a complete novice when it came to the pool bag. Packing for the beach is something I mastered long ago. Maybe it’s because we travel so much lighter now that the kids are older.
But the reality is that beach bag packing isn’t much different than getting ready to hit the pool. Once I took a moment to think things through, it got a whole lot easier!
After our first trip to the neighborhood pool, I had also learned more about what kinds of pool games and activities the kids enjoy these days.
Let me keep it real. There is no perfect way to pack your pool bag. It all depends on you. But there are some things I think are important to pack in your tote, no matter how young or old your kids are!
If you hit these pool or beach checklist major categories then you’ll be pool ready and have the perfect pool bag ready to go along on your adventures!
1. The Bag Itself
The most important thing when you’re grabbing a bag to use at the pool is that it’s going to handle being around water well! You can get waterproof totes or just something that isn’t going to be a mess if it gets wet. Because it’s going to get wet.
So find a large bag that doesn’t mind getting wet and start filling it up with everything your family needs from the next few categories!
2. Swimsuits, Cover-Ups, Dry Clothes, Shoes
This is probably the one area that doesn’t need much explanation! We usually wear out swimsuits to the pool. I highly recommend that you get rashguards with SPF for your kids. It makes it so much easier to protect them from the sun and they also work great as cover-ups on your way to the pool.
Grambo and I usually wear our cover-ups over and just pull them back on after we’re done as long as we’re headed straight back home from the pool.
Some of the other things I always pack include:
- Dry clothes for everyone if we’re going out and about after the pool
- Dry clothes for the kids because you just never know what might happen a the pool
- Pool friendly shoes like flip flops or Crocs
- Hats that are okay to wear in and around the pool
If you have younger kids, things like swim diapers are important to remember too!
Towels, towels, and more towels. But not too many towels. That’s pretty clear, right?
Really, I always bring a towel for each person and a few extra. You don’t have to carry them all in with you. I actually leave the extras in the car. But the time that I didn’t bring any extra towels was the pool trip when we needed them!
So don’t be afraid to pack a few extra! Also, if you have some larger beach type towels, they work great in the grass to sit on in case there are no tables or chairs available!
Protection From the Sun
Sunscreen is a must. This summer I’ve struggled to find sunscreen that works great for us but I finally mastered it. Now I carry two different ones with us to the pool. One is for bodies and one is for the face. Paired with SPF rashguards, the kids stay pretty protected.
Some other things to think about adding to your pool bag are:
- Lip balm with SPF in it
- After sun care cream or aloe gel
We also got Weston some great goggles that are also like sunglasses so his eyes are protected in the water too!
Goggles, Floaties, Life Jackets, Oh My!
If your kids need any of these, make them a priority! Yes, I speak from experience!
Don’t forget the goggles!!
This is also the area where I would try to only bring what your kids actually use. The first time we rolled down to the pool this summer, I brought it all — life jacket included. I looked like I was moving in. Two minutes in the pool and I realized that Carrigan really doesn’t need her life jacket these days.
That thing was big too so it hasn’t been missed when I’m packing up our pool bags!
Snacks and Water
Don’t forget the water bottles! Swimming makes us all thirsty. So I always bring some water and drinks to keep everyone hydrated.
I also bring along a few healthy snacks. They sell some at our pool but it’s a lot of chips and candy so I bring along some crackers and fruit. My kids don’t always snack, especially if we’re planning to have lunch together after, but I’ve also forgotten before and the meltdown (yes, there was a meltdown) was not worth it!
I’m just being honest here. Summer has been amazing and packed full of memories, but it’s had it’s challenging moments too.
The Fun Stuff
This is where things get very specific to your family and your kids. I’ve found that one way to have a good time at the pool is to bring pool toys that your kids enjoy. It took me awhile to figure out exactly what the kids actually played with so I stopped bring everything we owned to the pool!
My kids currently love dive toys and small balls that float. Carrigan also likes to bring some of her Barbies that are made for water. Other than that, they don’t need many toys. They enjoy making new friends and making up their own games. It’s really fun to watch!
Something for All the Wet Things
Forget this one at your own risk! I’ve done it so don’t feel bad if it happens. We reuse our plastic grocery bags for this and I always stash a few extras in a pocket of our pool bag. They’re great for wet swimsuits and towels but also for trash!
All the Mom Stuff
Don’t forget things you need to be comfortable at the pool. Grambo and I like to bring our cooling towels with us to use if we’re sitting in the sun.
But I also pack some of the basics that I usually have in my purse, including:
- Ponytail holders
- Some cash (It’s true! If you forget the snacks, cash comes in handy at the pool snack bar!)
Just those little survival things. If you don’t have a stash in the car, be sure to put one in the swim bag!
With our pool bag in tow, we’ve spent some great mornings at the pool this summer! They’re memories that we’ll all carry with us for the rest of our lives. I feel like it’s the simple things that really build up those summer memories.
We enjoyed getting out and about in the Toyota Camry. I’m always interested to see how the sedans work for our family of five, especially since we’ve got three adults and two kids that all like to ride together!
The Camry worked great for our trips to the pool with just me, Grambo and the kids. We all enjoyed the spacious leather interior and the trunk gave me plenty of space to load up everything we need! (It was also great later in the week when I made a run to the grocery store!)
But it also worked well for us when we all went out to lunch together one weekend. We were able to fit the two booster seats and Grambo in the back seat and all ride to one of our favorite restaurants together! What a great way to spend some time together as a family!
Space is always one of the most important things for our family but I loved some of the other features the Camry had to offer, including:
- Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist – It’s designed to detect lane departure on roads with clear markings and provides an alert if you’re drifting!
- Hybrid – I loved having the opportunity to experience the Camry Hybrid and the power and fuel efficiency! We got great acceleration that I could definitely get used to having!
- Blind Spot Monitor – It warns you when a vehicle is approaching your blind spot! That’s a safety feature I definitely love when my family is in the car with me!
So don’t be afraid to keep it simple this summer. You don’t need elaborate plans to make fantastic memories that will last a lifetime. A few trips to the pool will make for a great summer. Just remember not to forget the goggles when you pack your pool bag!