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12 amazing plastic-free toys for summer

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cotton swimming aids
credit: Life Without Plastic

Cotton Swimming Aids

Say goodbye to those phthalate-laden inflatable plastic armbands that seem to pop every season and get tossed in the trash. These swimming aids were invented in Germany in the 1930s and have, apparently, been popular ever since. They’re made from cotton canvas and inflate in an unusual way:

“You must first saturate the tightly-woven canvas material with water. The more saturated with water the better they will hold air, presumably because as the material gets wet, it swells creating a near-waterproof enclosure. Then, you must make a pocket in a corner, hold it tightly around your lips, and blow through the material to fill the inside pocket with air.”

Cotton Swimming Aids from Life Without Plastic, $30

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