Summer is almost upon us – and with school ending any day now, parents are scrambling to figure out a summertime schedule for the kiddies. Here's a roundup of fun toys and activities perfect for playing with outdoors, all sure to keep them busy and out of your hair when the hot weather strikes. Give your kids some motivation to get up and moving this summer with water toys, tiny vehicles and exploratory tools for all ages!
Keep those outdoor critters contained and let your kid enjoy from a distance with this inexpensive and interesting 360 Bug Viewer by Safari. For $5.94 at StoreforKnowledge.com, this lets your little scientist safely examine the tiny creatures in your backyard. The best part? They can save the day by returning the spider in the bathtub to its natural habitat!
This cute little car encourages kids to get outside and play by using a fun and unique type of motion to move: centrifugal force. No pedaling or pushing required: Just a bit of wiggling from the hips is all they need to push themselves ahead of the crowd. It's perfect for the kid who's just not that interested in riding a bike. Recommended for ages 3 and up, but with a max weight of 220 pounds, the whole family will want to give it a try! Available at Target.com for $41.89.
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Everyone loves limbo (especially little ones who are limber enough to actually make it under the bar!). This wet and wild game plays music while squirting a stream of water, perfect for those hot summer days. Keep the kids entertained at your next backyard barbeque – and maybe even enjoy an uninterrupted conversation! It's $15.95 at Fat Brain Toys.
Help your child develop her hand-eye coordination with these adorable mitts and soft, self-stick balls. Thanks to Velcro, these crabby-hands make it easy for tykes to catch and release – great for playtime with mom and dad! Melissa & Doug makes it available for $12.99; recommended for ages 3 and up.
Perfect for fun summer nights, here is a light-up version of the good old Skip-It we all know and love, by Hasbro. The next time the tweens have a sleepover, break out this cool toy and turn the party into a rave. Take things up a notch with more than 20 light patterns to let you know which level you're on! Available at southeast Michigan Toys "R" Us stores for $19.99. Recommended ages 8 and up.
It's a scorcher and your little one wants to play outside, but, as every parent knows, the sun can be dangerous for baby's sensitive skin. With the Hideaway Pool there's no need to worry about harsh rays that can cause burns. This pool is shallow enough for your child to play safely with supervision, and the top is removable for the times when all around visibility is necessary. Find it on Amazon for $15.80. Recommended for ages 6-18 months.
When the ice cream man rolls down the road, all the kids in the neighborhood come running! Help your child explore new roles and exchanges (and become the most popular member of the household) with this cardboard paint-it-yourself creation. $54.95 from Build a Dream Playhouses.
For wee ones, this water table by Little Tikes combines plenty of sensory activities to get your kids excited to play. With a spiraling tunnel and kid-powered lazy river for balls, you won
't be able to pull them away from the splash zone! Recommended for ages 2-4. Find it at your local Toys "R" Us for $44.99.
These yummy and easy-to-make treats are sure to keep your kid cool – and his monster appetite at bay – even on the hottest days of summer. Filling this monster mold by MSC is so simple that even the wee ones can manage it! Bonus: Making your own treat beats getting store-bought Popsicles, because you know exactly what's in 'em. Freeze yogurt or fruit and milk mixtures for an extra-healthy summertime snack. Find the four-piece set at your nearest Bed Bath & Beyond for $7.99.