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18 cool, fun summer buys for the hottest months of the year

Kenny Flowers

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It's hot out there, folks -- real hot. If you want to make the most of your outdoor living space, take a trip to the beach or just have some summer fun inside in the comfort of air conditioning, the time is right to refresh your summer staples and shop some fun summertime deals that will put a smile on your face.

You don't need to spend a ton of money to enjoy summer 2021. From stunning outdoor lighting and seating to everything you need for a backyard movie night, from inexpensive popsicle molds to the perfect waterproof Bluetooth speaker, here are 18 smart must-haves, fun buys and accessories that can take summer fun to the next level.

Dinosaur popsicle molds

Tovolo Dino Ice Pop Molds, Flexible Silicone
Tovolo via Amazon

This dishwasher-safe silicone popsicle maker set creates dinosaur-shaped treats that hide a fun surprise -- eating the treat reveals a dino skeleton underneath. Reviewers note, however, that you will occasionally wind up with a headless dinosaur when you pull them free of the silicone mold, so be sure they're well frozen first.

Normally $16, this mold set is currently on sale for $12 on Amazon.

JBL Flip 4 waterproof portable speaker

JBL via Amazon

Take the party outside this summer with a portable Bluetooth speaker that Amazon reviewers absolutely love, the JBL Flip 4. Available in a variety of colors, the IPX7 waterproof Flip 4 offers 12 hours of playtime on a single charge. Though one speaker is enough for most people, you can connect multiple Flip 4 speakers together to fill any outdoor space with music, no matter how big. It's definitely one waterproof Bluetooth speaker that can handle the pool.

Keter Breeze outdoor patio bar

Keter via Amazon

The Keter Breeze bar, made of weather-resistant resin, is a smart addition to any patio, deck or outdoor space. When not in use, it looks like a handsome outdoor table. But when it's time for a drink, the pop-up top reveals a 17-gallon cooler big enough to hold 130 twelve-ounce cans with ice.

A trendy Funboy kiddie swimming pool

Funboy Tie-Dye Kiddie Swimming Pool

Kiddie pools: They're not just for kids anymore. Funboy kiddie pools come in a number of fun designer prints including tie-dye (shown), tropical palm, Moroccan dream and more. Measures 66 inches across.

This rotating, battery-operated cactus fan for your desk

Personal Fan Small Desktop USB Desk Fan, Cactus Mini Handheld Table Rechargeable 80 Degree Auto Rotation Portable Fan

When a space needs just a little bit of cool -- both in temperature and aesthetic -- reach for this cute, rechargeable cactus fan. Unlike many USB desk fans, this three-speed model has a battery that lasts up to 3.5 hours (at top speed), so it doesn't need to stay tethered to a laptop.

Don't forget to clip the 5% off coupon before checkout -- it'll save you an extra dollar.

Whynter automatic ice cream maker

Whynter via Amazon

The usual process for making ice cream at home can be a chore -- especially the part requiring you to freeze a bowl overnight. The 4.5-star-rated Whynter ICM-15LS removes all the waiting: Just add the ingredients into this self-freezing automatic ice cream maker, and in as little as 30 minutes, a 1.5-liter batch of fresh homemade ice cream is ready to eat. (Pro tip: Pick up a pair of silicone ice cream containers to store your creations.)

SwimWays Paddle Paws dog raft

SwimWays via Amazon

Dogs love the pool, but they can't rest on most pool floats -- their paws and claws can cut through and sink them. Not so with the SwimWays Paddle Paws raft: It's a reinforced fabric float for dogs. The small, 51.5-inch-long float supports pups up to 65 pounds; the larger, 64.5-inch-long float supports dogs weighing 65 pounds and up.

Bug Bite Thing suction tool

Bug Bite Thing via Amazon

Warmer weather means bugs, and in many parts of the country, mosquitos. This drug-free suction treatment for mosquito bites (and other insect stings) is simple, yet effective: Use it to apply suction to a bite for 10-20 seconds to shrink the welt and provide near-instant itch relief. Though a handful of Amazon reviewers say the tool doesn't work for them, most say it does help: Enough, anyway, for the 4-star product to be Amazon's No. 1 best seller for insect bite treatments.

Host freezable wine tumbler

Host via Amazon

Stop drinking warm wine! This BPA-free plastic wine drinking tumbler has insulated walls filled with a cooling gel that keeps beverages cold for hours. A built-in silicone band (available in 13 colors) keeps fingers comfortable. Put one in the freezer for white wine and rosé -- or any other drink you want to keep ice cold -- and one in the refrigerator for red wine.

Outdoor dimmable LED string lights


Brighten any outdoor space with class with these weatherproof dimmable LED string lights. The individual bulbs are made of plastic, not glass, so they're a safe choice for hanging over pergola, or just stringing between trees in a backyard. Each kit contains two 48-foot strings with 16 bulbs each. There is a catch, however: To actually dim the lights, you'll need to buy a separate, remote-controlled dimmer ($31).

Normally $68, these patio-perfect lights are currently 30% off at Amazon when you apply the available coupon before checkout.

Bug-a-salt gun version 3.0

Skell via Amazon

Here's an interesting, non-toxic solution to those pesky flies and mosquitoes: Skell's Bug-a-salt, a gun that kills insects with a shotgun blast of table salt. One shot is powerful enough to kill most bugs, but safe enough that it won't damage furniture or window screens. It currently has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon -- reviewers say that using it is a blast.

Vankyo Leisure 3 mini-projector and screen

Vankyo via Amazon

Turn any summer backyard into an outdoor movie theater with this 1080p portable Vankyo mini-projector -- it's an Amazon No. 1 best seller. The budget-friendly device connects via HDMI to DVD players and smart TV boxes such as a Roku, so you can watch the classics or stream the latest Hollywood movies with a projected image size of up to 176 inches. And speaking of projected image: This model comes with a 100-inch projector screen. For even more fun, the Leisure 3 can be connected to a Nintendo Switch or other gaming console for larger-than-life competitions.

Normally $100, this handy projector is now $45 off when you apply the available coupon before checkout.

Lilith outdoor wicker patio sectional


Take any outdoor space to the next level with this contemporary wicker patio sectional from Highland Dunes. The set, available in beige and blue, includes an ottoman, corner chair, right chair, left chair and all the cushions you'll need for it. Dimensions: 76.8 inches by 76.8 inches.

Chalk City sidewalk chalk bucket

Chalk City via Amazon

Here's proof that you don't need to spend a lot of money to have a lot of fun this summer. This bucket from Chalk City contains 20 four-inch long pieces of sidewalk chalk in seven different colors. Not only is the set fun and safe for kids, but also a simple, colorful way to unleash their creativity.

Kenny Flowers matching his and hers bathing suits

Kenny Flowers

Aqua and pink are hot colors this year. That's one reason why this Kenny Flowers retro-inspired The South Beach reversible one piece bathing suit is a good choice for 2021. Another reason: The SPF 30+ sun-protective fabric (80% polyester, 20% spandex) is treated to resist fading from salt and chlorine. But perhaps the most compelling sell of all: Kenny Flowers makes a matching pair of men's swim shorts for a cute coordinated couple look.

Kenny Flowers moisture-wicking golf shirt

Kenny Flowers 'The Business Lunch' Golf Shirt
Kenny Flowers

If your adventures take you out to the links this summer, be sure to dress for the occasion. The new Kenny Flowers line of athletic-fit golf shirts are perfect for hot summer days: The 80% recycled polyester and 20% spandex polos are anti-odor, moisture-wicking, wrinkle-resistant, UPF 50+ and super soft too. 

Lawn Chair USA classic webbed folding chair

Lawn Chairs USA via Amazon

One of the most iconic folding chair designs of all time is back, and it's better than ever. These lightweight webbed chairs come in 41 (!) color combinations and are perfect for tailgating, outdoor concerts or just hanging out on the front porch. Yes, you can find cheaper folding chairs at the big-box stores, but this one from Lawn Chair USA has a sturdier aluminum frame and thicker webbing than most. Plus, the webbing is replaceable.

ENO SuperNest Hammock

ENO via Backcountry

Take advantage of breezy summer nights with this comfortable, padded 2-person hammock from Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO). It features dual plush pillows (removable and washable), hanging pockets to hold books or your phone, UV fade resistance and a moisture-wicking mesh lining that dries quickly after rainstorms. As an added bonus, ENO will plant two trees (via Trees for the Future) for every hammock sold.

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