Turn off the devices and tune into old-school, people-powered outdoor fun with these 16 toys and games.
It’s summer, which means it’s time to turn off the devices and tune into old-school, people-powered outdoor fun.
Here are some timeless favorites and new ideas so the whole family can get outside and play.
FOR THE ROAD
Summer road trip planned? Up your game of “I spy” with Toysmith’s Road Trip Bingo ($3 at Shine, South Lake Union), made in Sumner, Wash. The lightweight boards take up little room while keeping kids entertained as they try to spot five roadside objects in a row.
Younger kids will stay occupied with a Galt Toys Water Magic Pad ($9.50 at Top Ten Toys). Reusable cardboard pages reveal color when the water pen is applied.
Wherever your travels take you, don’t forget to document those memories. The Hygloss Passport Booklet ($1 at Top Ten Toys) has blank pages and serves as a keepsake long after the vacation is over.
FOR THE BEACH
Hape Sand Toy Molds ($3 each at Top Ten Toys) take you places — even if you’re going no farther than Alki Beach. As kids have fun building the Eiffel Tower, Parthenon or Taj Mahal, they’ll also be learning about the world.
The Green Toys Ferry Boat with Mini Cars ($25 at Clover, Ballard) connects kids with our local ferry culture. Made in California from 100 percent recycled plastic milk jugs, they’re good for the imagination and the environment.
Don’t settle for a boring beach ball when you can bounce the 4-foot-wide, inflatable BigMouth Inc. Giant Burger Beach Ball (on sale for $20 at Target), which is sure to produce smiles.
Go fly a kite, and make it a local one. Prism Designs’ Bora Kite ($25–$35 at REI), designed in Fremont, is an easy-to-fly, frameless parafoil kite that fits into a tiny pouch. Three sizes fly in 6–25 mph winds, with a flowing tail. No assembly is required, and a hoop winder makes it easy to wind the line after a flight.
FOR THE YARD
The Ultra Stomp Rocket ($18.50 at Top Ten Toys), with foam-tipped rockets, is just as much fun as when you were a kid. These soar up to 200 feet in the air with a single stomp.
Oversized Bubbleworld Bubble Wands ($6 each at bubbleworldinc.com), designed in Bothell, are fun for kids (and adults) of all ages. Colorful, durable wands come in turtle, flower, ladybug and star shapes, and include a recipe for the ultimate bubble-making soap.
The EastPoint Sports Advantage Badminton Set ($40–$50 at Fred Meyer and Big 5 Sporting Goods) includes everything you need for a game of family-friendly fun: a net and poles, four metal badminton rackets, three birdies and a wheeled portable caddy to tote everything. It sets up easily and quickly in your backyard or on the go.
Tweens and teens will enjoy the STRGHT Mel Diamond Tail Skateboard ($165 at urbanoutfitters.com), hand-carved in the U.S. from eco-friendly bamboo to look like a slice of watermelon — with a big bite out of it. Light green wheels complete the stylish, summery look.
FOR THE POOL
Cool off with Hurricane Reusable Water Balls ($12 for three at amazon.com). A fast, fun alternative to water balloons, these soft-shelled balls soak up water with a squeeze, splash on impact and can be reused up to 1,000 times.
Add some suspense to your summer with Wet Head ($12 at major retailers) — a water roulette game where players put on a silly hat and risk getting soaked.
In the pool, the little ones will “just keep swimming” with the Disney Finding Dory Mr. Ray’s Dive and Catch Game ($10 at Target). The set encourages them to find Dory, Nemo, Pearl, Sheldon and Kathy and scoop them up into Mr. Ray’s net.
Big kids will love the Super Sharkpedo ($9.50 at Target), an 18-inch plastic shark that glides 40 feet across the pool, and The Original MAX Liquidator ($14 at Top Ten Toys), a floating foam cylinder that blasts a stream of water up to 30 feet.