If you’re like most kids, then you’re counting down the days until school is out. Not that you don’t looooove school, of course, but who doesn’t look forward to playing outside all day, splashing in the pool or traveling to fun places? KidsPost’s Margaret Webb Pressler has been gathering great ideas for toys and games to enjoy this summer. Here are our top choices, which are widely available in stores and online, except where noted.
Splash Sword, Prime Time Toys, $9.99, age 5 and older. Fencing in the pool with spongelike swords is just what your summer needs. The super-absorbent swords spray water as you engage in swashbuckling play. They are not floppy but are soft enough that everyone can live to play another day! Available only at Toys R Us.
Tie-Not Filler,Tie-Not , $9.99, age 8 and older. What’s the worst part of a water balloon fight? Everyone knows it’s filling and tying all those balloons before you can have any fun. But this gizmo makes all that hard work a cinch, although it may take a couple of tries to master the twist and pull-off action.
Nerf Super Soaker Thunderstorm water blaster, Hasbro, $14.99, age 6 and older. Water warriors shouldn’t have to suffer from tired fingers, so this battery-powered Super Soaker shoots a constant stream of water. It makes the classic water-gun fight even more fun.
Djubi, $29.99, Moon Racer, age 8 and older. This great game of catch uses a net sort of like a shortened lacrosse stick, but with deep pockets so even the youngest players can master it. The cool launch hook lets older players throw the looped ball up to 100 feet for a more challenging game. The ball and nets also float for pool play.
GeoPalz Activity Tracker, GeoPalz, $19.99, age 5 and older. This pedometer is a terrific way to get you motivated to move, and comes in all kinds of great designs. Even better, you can register it online to track your steps and win prizes (such as balls and Frisbees) when you reach certain levels. You can also register a non-GeoPalz pedometer if all you want to do is track your steps. Go to www.geopalz.com. (Always ask a parent before going online).
The Official Foam Table Tennis Game, Endless Games, $19.99, age 8 and older. This wasn’t necessarily designed to be a travel game — but it’s perfect to take along to Grandma’s or a vacation house. Sets up easily on any shape table, and the foam balls are lampshade-safe yet really bouncy. Great for family tournaments on rainy days.
Kanoodle, Educational Insights, $12.99, age 7 and older. This is a great one-person game that you can also pass around the table so several people can play at once. This well-packaged, colorful and entertaining puzzle requires fitting different shapes together in 2-D or 3-D arrangements according to cards that come with the game. Cards range from easy to hard.
Rory’s Story Cubes, Gamewright, $7.99, age 8 and older. This compact game will get everyone’s imagination going. You roll the nine picture-covered dice and then create a story that uses all the pictures that land face up. You might have to include a teepee, a key, a castle and a cellphone, among others.
Where’s Waldo? The Phenomenal Postcard Book. Candlewick Press, $9.99, age 5 and older. You can send e-mails to your friends when you’re out of town, but who can play with an e-mail? Instead, use this clever book of Where’s Waldo postcards. Find him yourself, then write and send the postcard to your best friend back home to share the fun (along with some details about your vacation!)
Me vs. You Head-to-Head Brain Races, Klutz, $10.99, age 8 and older. Brain teasers are usually a one-person game, but kids like to compete with each other, so the smart people at Klutz came up with a split-and-share book that lets you do competitive brain puzzles. Includes mazes, word scrambles, word finds and other challenges that will keep two kids entertained at once.