Summer Toys 2010

Off the couch, and get outdoors!

What parents haven’t found themselves in this situation? It’s 70-plus degrees outside, and your child is either watching TV, playing video games, or on the computer. You tell your child to get up and go play outside, and they look back at you and say: “There’s nothing to do outside that fun”. We’ve been there many times, but in my house, that problem has been alleviated.

There are toys in every imaginable category of play for the great outdoors. Are you looking for Sports Toys? There are pitching machines, balls that bounce 75 feet, flag football sets, T-ball training toys, stylish jump ropes, plus a whole lot more for the youngest of sport enthusiasts. Many of these toys are designed for younger children and have a learning component that can help a child grow into a sport without discouraging them.

It’s too hot to play outside? Not if you have some of the cool-you-off water blasters. There are water slides of every size and shape imaginable. While some carry a larger price tag, there are fun slides that are available for under $20.

What about pool play? Boring right? Nothing but laps to swim or a game of tag? Pool toys have really changed over the years. There are pool versions of classic games from basketball to volleyball, but there are new games and advanced water blasters that use the pool’s water. There are lots of balls and discs meant for the pool. Dive toys are great fun. And there are even toys that have timers and electronics that can be submerged in water for even more expanded play.

What about the old favorite, bubbles? There are lots of no-spill tumblers so your child doesn’t make a mess, and waste the solution. There’s still the basic bubble wands, but there are also bubble toys featuring favorite kids’ characters, wands of different shapes and sizes, and motorized bubble toys that take bubbles fun to a whole new level.

You think chalk, and you think hopscotch? How about Four Square? Today, you even have kits to make your own sidewalk chalk. 3-D chalk adds a new dimension to play and there are a variety of tools and accessories that will engage kids for many afternoons. Best of all, it usually cleans up with a squirt of the garden hose. All of this just adds new fun to classic, imaginative and creative play.

Do your child want to become the next Jimmie Johnson or Danica Patrick? Maybe even a Tony Hawk? The motorized riding toys have become more affordable. The scooter and “x toys” category is red hot, with more variations and choices than ever before, including bikes, caster boards, skate boards and all sorts of items that keep kids active and engaged. (Be sure to outfit kids with all necessary safety gear.)

In our different categories on TimetoPlay, we have our favorites featured. Next time your child is headed outside,  and tells you he or she is bored, you now know there are endless choices for fun in the sun! Just don’t forget the sun block because they won’t want to come back inside any too quickly!

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