Playing outside is one of the biggest hallmarks of summer. Long lazy days are spent running through sprinklers, playing in the pool, or flinging around a Frisbee — ideally. The truth is that a lot of kids prefer playing indoors, even on sultry summer days. But these 10 summer toys will definitely keep your child active, engaged, and most of all, having fun.
Of my four kids, two of them prefer playing indoors, while the other two want to be outside all the time. And I mean, all the time. But this summer has been different. I’ve noticed that all four kids have actively embraced The Great Outdoors (i.e. our front and backyard) and have made it a point to play outside together. We’ve drawn the coolest chalkboard characters in our driveway, taught the little ones how to start swimming in the pool, and flown Chinese lanterns at nighttime. It’s been magical in a very low-key kind of way.
So if you’re looking for fast and fun ways to have a good time together, try out any of these 10 summer toys—and make it a summer to remember.
This game captures (get it?) all of the elements of Capture the Flag, and then adds on some cool glow-in-the-dark lights for an added level of fun. The game has 25 light-up game pieces, plus 12+ hours of batteries, and 12 ways to play for fun that will last for hours. They can break teammates out of jail, sneak into enemy territory, all while trying to grab the glowing orbs. Your child won’t even realize how much running she’s doing as she works in a team to capture the flag. ($60)
Your child can have hours of imaginative play with the sweet Ribbon Wand from Mouse Loves Pig. Beautiful flowing ribbons are attached to a round wooden circle that can transform in your child’s mind from a wand to a sword in the blink of an eye. It encourages your child to dream big and become anything she wants—and most of all, have fun and play. ($13)
Go beyond the boring, “So, how was your day today?” mealtime conversations with the fun KIC Start game. Filled with a mix of 150 age-appropriate fun questions that you can ask your kiddo, the game is meant to inspire meaningful dialogue between you and your children. Hey, maybe you’ll learn something new about your kids—and yourself—in the process. ($20)
If you’re hitting the open road this summer, you’ll be thankful for BuddyPhones. The volume-limiting headphones are wireless, hypoallergenic, and have a sound control circuit that follows the World Health Organization’s guidelines for volume safety. Plus, they’re waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about your child getting them wet at the pool. ($70)
For a slam-dunk good time, nothing beats the Hoopman! Portable Basketball Goal by ciao! baby. The portable basketball hoop comes with a ball as well as a carry bag, and only weighs in at 5 pounds, so you won’t kill your shoulder toting it around. It’s great to bring to the park or the playground for an impromptu game, or can even be set up indoors on a rainy day. ($50)
Traditional beach buckets are so boring. The Playmobil Sand comes with everything your child will need to dig and dump to his heart’s content. He can serve up delicious desserts using the ice cream scoop and molds, or sieve through the sand with the bucket. The set comes with two play figures (an ice cream seller and a customer) for hours of fun in the sun. ($20)
Even vampires need to splash at the beach, too! Disney Junior’s Vampirina is all set for a day of sandy play with her Batty Beach Cruiser. The car comes complete with seats that conveniently convert into beach chairs. The set also comes with a surfboard, an umbrella, and a cute little ready-made sand castle. The car says a few phrases that will get your child’s engine going. ($25)
This is one ice cream cone you won’t mind your child playing with! This game of balance requires players to scoop, stack, and balance decadent ice cream scoops onto a cone without letting them fall down. But “Oops”, the ice cream cone, can get kinda cold with all those scoops on him, so he just might start shivering—and send your child’s perfectly positioned ice cream crashing to the ground. ($18)
Now your little racer can zip around the front lawn leaving bubbles in his wake with the Bubblecycle from Gazillion. The bubble solution attaches to the adorable mock motorcycle to allow him to race—and make bubbles, too. The toy even has a kickstand so that your child doesn’t leave it lying on the ground. ($15)
If you’re looking to take tummy time to the next level, your baby will love Crawl About Bee. The toy wobbles across the floor and has bright lights and sweet little songs that will get your soon-to-be crawler up and going. ($26)