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Don't Show Up Empty-Handed

7 thoughtful gifts for your weekend hosts

ferry

Chances are, you're going to mooch at least one weekend this summer. And while everyone likes a nice candle or bottle of wine, we love the idea of bringing something summery for the kids. As co-owner of Magic Beans, Eli Gurock knows his way around fun playthings and smart essentials. Here, his picks for summertime gifts.

Recommended for babies aged 9-24 months, the Swimways Spring Float is sturdy, well-balanced, and has a handy mesh area for keeping toys within baby's reach.

For pretend-play awesomeness at the beach, let them dish out sand cones with Hape's Ice Cream Parlour Set ($7.99).

As convincing as any Halloween mask (but made for underwater swimming), these cool Character Masks ($16.99) have a see-through scrim that allows the wearer to see out while everyone else just sees, you know, Spiderman.

The Aqua Play Sand and Water Castle ($39.95) is about as multitasking as a plaything can get: castle building, cause-and-effect play, and pretend play all wrapped into one.

Not-yet-swimming tots who like to hang out on pool steps can captain all kinds of imaginative voyages with Green Toys' Ferry Boat With Cars ($24.99, pictured).

Stash all the soggy après-swim gear in Skip Hop's roomy wet bags ($14.99). (They double nicely as odor-containing compartments for stinky diapers, too.)

With weighted edges to keep it flat, the Monkey Mat ($19.99) offers a wide, clean surface for al fresco playtime and snacking—plus it folds up into a teeny little pouch you’ll barely notice in your diaper bag.