I really love that we’re heading into summer with longer days – which means more time to be outside with our kids. Here are some of our new favorites for the season…we’ll be continuing to update this list in the coming weeks.
Nature Station Playhouse (Step 2) I love this little playhouse that is designed for older toddlers and preschoolers – maybe because it looks like Pooh, Tigger and Piglet should be there too. Kids enjoy having small spaces that are designed just for them. This playhouse has a working periscope (really fun), a sink, a working shutter, and a fenced in area so if you’re invited in- there’s a bigger space for adults. This product is pricey at $249.99 but will be used for a long stretch. (This playhouse is marked 3 & up due to all the extra things that come with it–but the structure itself will be enjoyed by younger children. There are larger play sets from Step 2 that have more height–our recommendation is take your kids along when you’re shopping for this type of equipment. If you decide to bring this product home to older toddlers, put the goodies away until they’re older.)
Sandbox Vehicles Eco Trucks from Sprig Toys were a hit with our testers. These are very lightweight – making them easy for kids to use and to take along to the park or backyard sand box. Made from recycled materials. Our favorite is the Dump Truck.
Dump Truck (Green Toys) The new line of green trucks from Green Toys are heavier than the Sprig trucks. They feel more like a traditional plastic toy truck- with the upside here being that they are also made from recycled materials. Handsomely designed – they got high marks from our testers.
Hot Wheels Color Shifters Blaster (Mattel) I’ve already blogged about this toy and I think I’m a little sad that I gave our sample away! My mother doesn’t agree with my over the top enthusiasm for this play set–but I really think this is one of the best toys going. I’m suggesting that it’s even better if you play with it outside–because truth be told-it does get alittle wet if you’re really playing with it full tilt. The cars react to cold and hot water–and will turn a different color when put into either temperature (I KNOW!) Best yet, it comes with a squirt bottle so you can change the cars by squirting them. If you don’t want to buy the whole set–I’d suggest buying one of the cars–you can use any squirt bottle to have the same experience. If you want to be the super cool grown up, bring this toy home to any three year old you know. I do think the car that turns from blue to yellow is much more dramatic than some of the other color changes (yellow/orange).
Drive, Chip and Putt Golf Trainer (Little Tikes) There are two different”ts’ to hit the golf ball from…making this a little different from your average plastic golf set. Our testers really enjoyed the sport of this game and the sturdy design made it a solid choice for the 2-4 crowd.
Monster Badminton Set (International Playthings) This set will be ready next month but I had to show it to you now. These over-sized rackets and birdies are just what our family needed. They are fun for little kids–but truth be told, if you’re not the most athletic person–this is a set for you! You’d be hard pressed to miss this birdie! It does not come with a net–our toy testers just liked playing with it alone.
Maxi Scooter (Kickboard USA) Maybe because I’m not the most coordinated person, I loved the idea of this scooter. It comes with three wheels and a wider platform for added stability but still looks cool. As I hoped, our new scooter testers had no trouble with this scooter and really enjoyed it. It comes with two handles–a traditional T-handle and a joystick. We recommend the traditional handle as a starting point. It’s designed for kids 6-10. The company now also makes a Mini Kick Scooter (smaller in scale for younger kids 2-5)…also with three wheels. Helmets are a must!
Razor Spark Scooter (Razor) The granddaddy of scooters just got a very neat feature. When you break, it sparks out the back. Our testers thought this was pretty cool–although if you’re the one doing the braking, it is hard to see the spark–but your friends will!
Freeze Pop Factory (Little Kids) According to the company, more than 7 billion freeze pops are sold each year (makes you think we should all go into the freeze pop business!) ….in any case, this do-it-yourself kit is really fun. Comes with those pop sleeves (which magically close up and don’t leak) and plastic molds for making bigger pops. You can experiment with making your own family recipes and limit the amount of sugar your kids use. Every grown-up I’ve mentioned this kit to has asked the same question, “Could you make grown up freeze pop for a party?” and then they say…don’t say that out loud….but it’s true. Just don’t get them mixed up. It comes with 36 sleeves for making the pops…and the good news is that you can also order more ($4.95 for 50 including shipping) from the company’s site or by calling (800) 545-5437.