Above: Think eye safety for summer’s outdoor sports. Go for a pair of Rec Specs ($149.95), the world’s leading brand of protective eyewear. Most Rec Specs are tested to withstand impact-resistant standards for racquetball, basketball, handball, squash, paddleball and tennis, while other designs are for water sports. Visionworks, 891 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 953-5522.
Sarasotan Emily Stroud had her finger on the pulse of chic beach bags from the day she launched the now local fave Hayden Reis. The ever-evolving collection has grown to include a cool shell pouch ($34), designed for shell-searching kids of all ages. The collection pouch of mesh holds your shell finds in while letting unwanted sand out. Island Pursuit, 357 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, (941) 388-4515.
Slip-on shoes are a must for summer, so pump up their kicks ($45 for toddler; $55 for youth) with a pair of BucketFeet. Founded by do-gooder creatives driven to connect consumers with all manner of artists through limited-edition designs. Shore, 465 John Ringling Blvd., #100, Sarasota, (941) 388-3535.
Rash guards have become fashion-forward. Not only are they breathable and quick-drying, these styles by SwimZip are embedded with 50+ UV Protection and block 98 percent of UVA and UVB rays. This cheeky Shark Attack set ($29.99) from the baby boy and toddler boy swimwear collection offers protection that won’t cramp their style. T.Georgiano’s, 1409 First St., Sarasota, (941) 870-3727.
Your sandbox trucker will love hitting the road with this Melissa & Doug durable wooden six-wheeler ($19.99). The dropdown ramp is easy to lower to load the fleet of four brightly colored wooden cars. Unlimited summer play from indoors to outdoors. Dillard’s, 200 University Town Center Drive, University Park, (941) 527-4878.
Don’t let them get the rainy-day blues. Bring sandbox play indoors without the mess with Brookstone’s Sand. The non-toxic kinetic sand ($14.99) sticks to itself for easy cleanup and never dries out. It’s packable, soft and stretchable, and infinitely moldable whether their ideas are big or small. Brookstone, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 955-0149.
Nothing more adorable than a little guy in a fedora, like this one of woven straw ($24) at Janie and Jack. The charming grosgrain ribbon sailboat band will complete any look, whether swim gear or dinner jacket. Janie and Jack, 140 University Town Center Drive, Suite 146, Sarasota, (941) 893-1069.
If this is the summer to teach your little one how to ride a bike, consider the Smart Gear Balance Bike ($79.99). Children gain confidence on a lightweight two-wheeler without training wheels or pedals. Nice, too, are the safety features like spokeless disc wheels to prevent little tootsies from getting caught. And that limited steering radius prevents jackknifing. Target, 5350 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, (941) 379-6660.