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From inflatable palm trees to a magic wine chiller: Barmy toys for balmy beaches this summer!

Britain has been sweltering in the heatwave. 

But, if you’re heading to the beach, you can leave the deckchairs, buckets and spades at home. 

A host of new seaside gadgets and gizmos — from self-inflating loungers, to solar-powered iPhone chargers — is making the old favourites seem positively pedestrian. 

Antonia Hoyle took her children, Rosie, eight, and six-year-old Felix, to try out the best seaside gadgets and gizmos

ANTONIA HOYLE took her children, Rosie, eight, and six-year-old Felix, to try them out. 

Did the new arrivals make a splash, or fuel less excitement than a wet (beach) blanket?

Inflatable ice bucket

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What do you mean what’s the point of a 1.7 metre-high inflatable palm tree?

Fill the bucket at the bottom with ice, bring it (quickly) from hotel to beach and use it to keep drinks cool, of course.

Fun in the sun: Antonia's children Felix and Rosie try out the gadgets including this inflatable ice bucket

Fun in the sun: Antonia’s children Felix and Rosie try out the gadgets including this inflatable ice bucket

Felix has other plans. ‘Can I climb in now?’ he pleads, before Rosie follows suit… and both promptly topple over.

Inflatable Palm Tree Ice Holder, £19.99, superfunstuff.co.uk 

Lounge on air… and it inflates itself

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Fancy reclining on something squishy without the faff of having to blow or pump it up? 

Simply take this pink polyester contraption out of its small carry bag, waft it along to catch the breeze and, within seconds, it will inflate. 

The lounger is impressively comfy — a little too comfy, perhaps, as I sink so deep I can barely get back up!

The lounger is impressively comfy — a little too comfy, perhaps, as I sink so deep I can barely get back up!

The lounger is impressively comfy — a little too comfy, perhaps, as I sink so deep I can barely get back up!

Lounger to go, £20, menkind.co.uk

Reconnect with your kids

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The sand is no place for the fiddly counters in a conventional Connect Four, but this jumbo inflatable version of the classic children’s game, with tennis ball-sized coloured balls that pop into the contraption, makes playing in the dunes a doddle. 

This jumbo inflatable version of the classic children's game Connect Four makes playing in the dunes a doddle

This jumbo inflatable version of the classic children’s game Connect Four makes playing in the dunes a doddle

My fiercely competitive children can’t wait to start playing. 

It can take more than 15 minutes to blow up and dismantle the frame, however.

Giant inflatable ‘Four In A Row’, £13, argos.co.uk

Very clever beach bag

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Keeping children occupied can mean carrying more toys than will fit into a conventional beach bag. 

This adaptable waterproof bag expands to fit even the clunkiest game and opens out into a handy beach mat when emptied

This adaptable waterproof bag expands to fit even the clunkiest game and opens out into a handy beach mat when emptied

This adaptable waterproof bag — made from turquoise laminated polyester — expands to fit even the clunkiest game and opens out into a handy beach mat when emptied.

Play & Go Toy Storage Bag, £34.99, 1two.co.uk

Floating flamingo bar 

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This rose-gold inflatable flamingo for floating drinks in the pool has three cup holders and a tray to keep beverages steady (it can also hold people up to 100 kg). 

This rose-gold inflatable flamingo for floating drinks in the pool has three cup holders and a tray to keep beverages steady

This rose-gold inflatable flamingo for floating drinks in the pool has three cup holders and a tray to keep beverages steady

Enticing to cocktail-loving twentysomethings, perhaps, but it holds little appeal to my kids and, presumably, is not safe in the open sea.

Sunnylife Inflatable Flamingo Pool Bar, £20, johnlewis.com

Sound of summer   

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This floating, ‘drop-proof’ waterproof speaker wirelessly plays music through Bluetooth and your smartphone and has a button to change tracks.

This floating, ‘drop-proof’ waterproof speaker wirelessly plays music through Bluetooth and your smartphone

When Rosie holds it under water with her beloved Annie soundtrack blaring, we can still hear It’s The Hard Knock Life, albeit slightly muffled.

‘Love it!’ she says.

Boom 3, £99, currys.co.uk 

Forget the frisbee, throw a Howler! 

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The humble Frisbee is decidedly dated next to this ‘howler’, whose rugby ball shape makes it spin through the air, its three inbuilt whistles singing as it goes. 

Felix threw the Howler, a modern version of the humble Frisbee, 20 metres thanks to its rugby ball shape

Felix threw the Howler, a modern version of the humble Frisbee, 20 metres thanks to its rugby ball shape

My son Felix threw it more than 20 metres (its record is an astonishing 90 metres). 

‘I love it because it blasts off like a rocket and makes squeaky noises,’ he says.

Nerf Vortex Mega Aero Howler, £14.99, Menkind.co.uk

Have a posh picnic

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This jug and wine ‘glass’ set lends a certain star quality to a beach picnic. 

Made from crystal-effect acrylic, they look like the real deal, but won’t smash. 

This jug and wine 'glass' set lends a certain star quality to a beach picnic and is ideal for a grown-up gathering

This jug and wine ‘glass’ set lends a certain star quality to a beach picnic and is ideal for a grown-up gathering

Ideal for a grown-up gathering.

Crystal-look acrylic wine glass, £4.49, and jug, £14.99, lakeland.co.uk

 Splash out on a selfie

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Any self-respecting Instagrammer knows that if you haven’t posted a picture of yourself in the sea, you may as well not have been there. 

This robust, battery-operated camera contains two screens to make aquatic self-portraits even easier to show off with. 

This robust, battery-operated camera contains two screens to make aquatic self-portraits even easier to show off with

This robust, battery-operated camera contains two screens to make aquatic self-portraits even easier to show off with

Waterproof up to 3 metres, I get it working in five minutes — before ceding control to my daughter Rosie, who, I’m delighted to discover, plonks it enthusiastically into the shallow waves in search of fish instead.

Polaroid IE090 18MP Waterproof Camera, £53.99, argos.co.uk

Having a ball

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Why bring an ordinary inflatable ball to the beach when you can carry this jumbo contraption at about ten times the size? 

This jumbo inflatable beach ball takes half the afternoon to blow up and it's impossible to put away without deflating

This jumbo inflatable beach ball takes half the afternoon to blow up and it’s impossible to put away without deflating

Well, it takes half the afternoon to blow up, the children can’t get their arms around it to play catch and it’s impossible to put away without deflating.

Giant Traditional Red & White Beach Ball, £14.99, superfunstuff.co.uk

Play it safe

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Most beachgoers worry about their valuables going walkabout. 

This portable safe — the size of a handbag — has a three-digit passcode, but I can't find anywhere around which to wrap the steel cable handle

This portable safe — the size of a handbag — has a three-digit passcode, but I can’t find anywhere around which to wrap the steel cable handle

This portable safe — the size of a handbag — has a three-digit passcode, but I can’t find anywhere around which to wrap the steel cable handle, so there’s nothing to stop a thief wandering off with the lot and then breaking into it later. 

Not so safe, then.

Outdoor Vault, £24.87, amazon.co.uk

Tutti frutti

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The lilo has been transformed from nondescript summer staple into seaside status symbol with this enormous inflatable pineapple. 

At 1.97m long, this lilo feels decidedly decadent and even comes with a repair patch in case of any accidental punctures

At 1.97m long, this lilo feels decidedly decadent and even comes with a repair patch in case of any accidental punctures

At 1.97m long, it feels decidedly decadent and even comes with a repair patch in case of any accidental punctures.

It is very pricey, though.

Sunnylife Luxe Lie-On Float Inflatable Pineapple, £50, johnlewis.com

A shade too wacky

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For those too cool for caps, this 26 in umbrella with elastic headband is wide enough to protect shoulders as well. 

But, when we try it, it waggles irritatingly and makes us all look crazy. 

For those too cool for caps, this 26 in umbrella with elastic headband is wide enough to protect shoulders as well

For those too cool for caps, this 26 in umbrella with elastic headband is wide enough to protect shoulders as well

Rosie’s verdict? ‘It’s good to cover up, but I think I’m better off wearing my normal hat and a T-shirt.’

Tiswell umbrella hat, £8.58, amazon.co.uk

Rolling in it…

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My children tend to wriggle incessantly when I apply their sun cream. 

So they love this beaker-size device, into which I dispense 100ml of sun cream before they apply it themselves with the roller top. 

This beaker-size sun cream device helps children apply the lotion but you need an adult to check

This beaker-size sun cream device helps children apply the lotion but you need an adult to check

You need an adult to check, though, as both my kids missed the tricky-to-reach areas.

Solar Buddies Sunscreen Applicator, £8.99, prezzybox.com

Power up 

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For anyone who panics when their phone battery dies, this solar-powered charger will ease your fears. 

For anyone who panics when their phone battery dies, this solar-powered charger will ease your fears

For anyone who panics when their phone battery dies, this solar-powered charger will ease your fears

It has four solar panels and a USB cable to plug in iPhones or tablets.

Impressive, but on the heavy side.

Addtop Solar Charger, £38.99, amazon.co.uk

The big chill

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If you’ve managed to haul ice from your hotel to put in a drinks cooler, but your beverage isn’t yet cold enough, adding a sachet of these mysterious blue granules to the water in the cooler apparently speeds up the process.

It chills my bottle of wine in just four minutes.

Zero Rapid Drinks Chiller, £3.99, lakeland.co.uk

Adding a sachet of these mysterious blue granules to a drinks cooler will speed up the process

Adding a sachet of these mysterious blue granules to a drinks cooler will speed up the process

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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