You know our house is all about DOING! From morning to night we like to be active, both physically and mentally, so as we prepare for the summer with a lot of free-play and outdoor messes we’re also stocking up on some summer essentials to keep the kids in motion!
My girls LOVE water! I try to do double duty when it comes to water play, especially because water isn’t free!
The Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Blossom Bright Sprinkler is my hero… for both water play and lawn maintenance. The girls will follow wherever it goes, so planting it all over the yard gives me a good 2 hours of watering and the kids an exhausting workout. Addie loves to play games, and teach her sister about being under the sea (even getting creative with our firepit cover), and Millie has truly found her passion in jumping over the sprinkler in and effort to accomplish the totally unavoidable feat of missing the water drops.
Oddly, this has been a great catalyst for more than just physical play as well, teaching the girls about how things grow, the difference between wet and dry surfaces (and how slippery things can get!), and it comes without the fear of sitting water… from mosquitoes to drowning, it makes me nervous.
This sprinkler is FUN and, most importantly, soft. I love that I don’t have to worry about the kids stepping on it because the flowers bend and the entire base is soft rubber. As a kid, my sprinkler had metal sides, which made for a painful toe stubbing device, placed perfectly on a slippery surface. Sure, I learned quickly, but enjoy not teaching the girls the same lesson- if you know what I mean!
Agility is one of the harder things to help a child learn, which is why I think basketball is so important! From lifting their head to shoot, to learning to maneuver their bodies and stop-and-go motion, it’s a great lifetime sport.
Fisher-Price Grow-to-Pro Basketball is the perfect starter net for kids, as it adjusts up to 6 feet, in 4 different height positions, AND can be weighted with water or sand- just like the bigger nets- to prevent tip overs! This adjustable basketball set helps kids learn to shoot hoops, regardless of their age or skill level. And as their aim and shooting skills improve, their confidence and self-esteem get a nice, big boost- love that!
This net will take you from summer play to indoor time, as well, as it’s perfect for indoor use as the seasons change… I’m thinking our play room floating floor will become a basketball court by November!
The girls got one for Christmas, and everything about it amuses them… and us! With a weight limit of 250 pounds, Dave and I can be found jumping around the playroom at 10:30pm blowing off steam as we squeak away- yes, there’s a squeaker in it- but it’s more of a fun sound that encourages jumping- it doesn’t even alarm the dog!
Kidoozie Foam Pogo Jumper can be used year-round, with comfortable handles and a soft, cushiony base, your child can safely use it and it won’t leave scuff marks on surfaces like hardwood floors! It is a truly fun experience each time, and an exciting toy for teaching children basic, yet necessary, physical skills like hand-to-eye coordination and dexterity. It also encourages an active and healthy lifestyle through play by strengthening core muscles.
And speaking of the core, a balance board is a favorite of mine! I use Bosu Ball for myself, so the ALEX Monkey Balance Board is a perfect addition to our home! Balance boards helps kids improve their balance and coordination, and this one is perfectly sized for little feet–yet able to accommodate larger ones (and support up to 200 pounds)–this sturdy wooden wobbly board features an adorable monkey graphic.
Science + STEM
As a child, I was obsessed with rockets! My dad helped me build a few, and my science teacher, Mr. Middleberg, was always doing something outside with them- we even got to build them from kits in class. So the Stomp Rocket: Jr. Glow in the Dark 4-Rocket Kit is right up my alley!
No batteries, and fast assembly make this the perfect starter kit for kids to get into rockets, and it’s all powered by them! This kit comes with 4 rockets, too, so there’s time to play… and then search and rescue! Jr. Glow will launch rockets up to 100 feet in the air and will stand out against a dark sky. HOW COOL IS THAT?!
This rocket is my top pick as Stomp Rocket has received numerous awards including The Creative Child and The Top Toy of the year award for 2016. When it comes to introducing STEM to younger kids, this toy could not be more perfect!
Marble runs are one of the best ways to spend a day inside because of the complexity and multi-layered activities involved.
I LOVE the Deluxe Track because it comes with everything I need so BOTH kids can create a track together, or on their own- depending on their moods. It’s bright and colorful, so there’s more to learn than the amazing task at hand of building and foresight needed to create a working track, but also about colors and the fine motor skills of connecting the pieces. Kids grow to develop problem-solving, reasoning, hand-eye coordination and STEM skills through building… and though there are small pieces, I find that big sister guiding little sister with a bit of adult supervision avoids any issues.
The kit comes with 85 pieces offering a great mix of spins, drops, seesaws and speed, and 50 marbles to help stimulate creativity and reasoning, even at young ages… this is a rainy day activity that doubles as an introduction to design and structural integrity. With functional gratification built right in to the design of the activity, this will help those summer storms pass quickly!
Through the Years
There’s nothing like our childhood swing sets. I still remember the blue and silver metal swing, monkey bars, and slide I had as a kid- some of the fondest memories. But those sets have gotten even more complex and expensive as the years have passed.
The Swing-N-Slide Orbiter Wood Complete Swing Set brings it back to the basics for kids to make summer days swing by without breaking the bank!
This 3-position swing set offers a quality, affordable and maintenance-free play solution that’s sturdier than metal. It comes complete with round wooden guard posts that have a five year warranty. Wood guard fully encapsulates wooden beams and protects from the elements- so needed here in New England! Each swing holds up to 115 pounds, perfect for the kids!
Now is the time… prepare your playing fields for the most active summer yet! Which activity would you like to get for your child first?