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Pool season is upon us and today there are many more enjoyable ways to enjoy your summer splash than with a game of Marco Polo. (No offense to Marco, but, really, why did Christopher Columbus get his own national holiday when all Marco got was a game where everyone gives up in the first few minutes? I digress.)
Forget boring games and opt to play with fun gadgets instead! Here are a few of my favorites, as showcased on TODAY.
Sun Station, $100, frontgate.com
This sun protector is easy to use and portable. I don’t ask for much in life, maybe just the latest Star Wars movie to be amazing, a chocolate covered bacon bagel to taste sinfully delicious, and a personal assistant to hold an umbrella for me while I’m at the pool. Is that too much? Well, thankfully, Sun Station has me covered when I’m in the pool and sitting poolside. The station weighs only 8 lbs and comes with four height settings (31” to 40”). To make things even easier, it comes with a small weight you can fill with sand (4 lbs) or water (up to 32 lbs) to anchor it while you’re in the pool or on land. So convenient! *Note: Umbrella must be purchased separately.
HMDX JAM XT, $60, amazon.com
It is my belief that good things come in small packages. The HMDX JAM XT is one of my favorite little Bluetooth speakers because it comes in a compact, rugged form and is easy to throw in your purse on your way to the pool. The devise is splash-proof, dirt-proof, drop-proof and pairs wirelessly with your smart phone or tablet. And don’t underestimate the product’s size. It is small but mighty; you will hear serious sound quality up to 30 feet away. Attached carabiner to make carrying even easier. (Note: not waterproof.)
Inflatable Pool Party Pong, $40, perpetualkid.com
They say you should always wait 15 minutes after you eat before swimming, but, thankfully, those rules don’t apply to inflatable pool party pong! This is a gift that keeps on giving. Bring your favorite game to the pool on this 5-foot inflatable table. The table even has extra cup holders on its sides for cleaning your balls…um, Ping-Pong balls, that is. (Balls are not included.)
Giant Ring Toss, $55, perpetualkid.com
Imagine if there were giant babies that could play this Giant Ring Toss – that would be amazing! Well, this might be as close as it gets. Giant Ring Toss is an inflatable game to play in the pool. Think of it as an upgraded game of horseshoes. The product is 5 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter with six colored rings, each with a different point value. I recommend pairing this with Inflatable Pool Party Pong to kick your pool experience up a notch.
Nerf Super Soaker Arctic Shock Water Blaster/Nerf Super Soaker Hydro Pack, $20 a piece, hasbrotoyshop.com
Super Soakers take me back to my youth. And by youth, I mean last month when I blasted my neighbor’s kids like my name was John Rambo. This one is an upgraded model with a capacity for 25 oz of water and even allows for ice cubes to be dropped in for a seriously icy blast. The stream reaches up to 30 feet! I recommend pairing it with a hydro pack for an additional 100 oz of water so you never run out of ammo.
Sea-Saw Water Rocker, $70, toysplash.com
When you can’t junk up the yard with Christmas yard inflatables, junk it up with awesome pool inflatables! It’s a two-fer with this fun sea-saw water rocker. Your kids will be amused for hours. The rocker measures 100” x 60”.
CoolPod Pool Lounger, $50, toysplash.com
While some people may use the summer to accomplish impressive athletic feats from marathons to bike rides, I plan to set a record of my own: consecutive hours spent in the CoolPod Pool Lounger. This slice of heaven has all the best amenities, including a headrest, beverage holder and built in shade from the sun. It measures 62” x 44”.
Light Show Pool Noodle, $20, toysplash.com
Impress your Star Wars-loving friends with a lightsaber, pool noodle style. LED pool noodle is so much better than a regular pool noodle because it lights up under water and offers three different light functions. Batteries are included and the noodle measures 4.5 feet.
Katie Linendoll is an Emmy Award-winning technology expert contributing to ESPN, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. She hosts a tech show on Spike TV and can be seen as a tech expert on TODAY. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.