Time for sunny weather beach games, blasters and coolers

These smaller Critter Blasters from Target are made for little hands.
These smaller Critter Blasters from Target are made for little hands. News-Democrat

With the weather not knowing that we are yearning for sunny skies and some pool/lake/beach time, I set out Tuesday in search of optimism. Here’s what I found.

You’ll be a standout on the boardwalk or at the pool pulling a colorful cooler from TJ Maxx in Fairview Heights. Cylindrical in shape and with fish, anchors and other designs, tangerine, navy and blue are the colors. The top is zippered; the lining waterproof; and the sides have mesh pockets. The best part is the pop-up handle so you can pull it behind you. Cost is $19.99.

Add a nod to island living with a snack bowl from World Market in Shiloh. This one is a carved-out and polished half of a coconut. On top is a retractable mesh cover to keep out the bugs. It’s just the right size for guacalmole and other party treats. Cost is $6.99. Guaranteed attention-getter with a chuckle.

This game is on my list of things to play on the beach with the kids: Ogodisks. They are a pair of soft, hand-held trampolines for hitting a ball, lightweight enough so youngsters can use one with one or both hands. Throw and catch with it; bounce with it; use it on land or water. It’s even flies like a Frisbee. You’ll find the Mini Ogodisk Set for $29.99 (two 12-inch diameter disks and a ball) and the larger set (15 inches in diameter) for $36.99. All are sold at Ben’s in downtown Belleville.

Those giant water blasters you see kids playing with in pools are way too big for younger ones to handle — and too powerful. Downsize to a Critter Blaster ($4.99) from Target. It’s just the right for small hands and it’s easy to use: Just pull back on the duck/fish/turtle/elephant/pink sea monster handle to fill, then push. Shoots water up to 20 feet. All the parts are soft, too. I found a bunch at the store in Shiloh, but check other locations as well.

Don’t forget that Gander Mountain is holding its grand opening this weekend in O’Fallon on Central Park Drive. It’s giant. It’s hard to miss. If you’re a St. Louis Cardinals fan, get there today at 9 a.m. to get an autograph pass (limited to 250). Then from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., meet Mike Matheny, Randal Grichuk and Trevor Rosenthal. On Saturday, get there at 8 a.m. for the same deal to see St. Louis Blues legends Brett Hull and Kelly Chase from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Plus, hey, they’ve got outdoor and sporting stuff at special prices through Sunday.

Through Saturday, save 30 percent on the entire stock of family bikes at Sports Authority in Fairview Heights.

At Basket Case in Belleville and Lebanon, get a free Brighton Summer Hearts mini bag with a $75, same-day Brighton purchase. Offer is good through June 7.