Alright, people, summer is here and most of the kids have been out of school now for at least a couple of weeks! And, I am just going to put this out there, I know you are going to think I am crazy, but here it is – as much as I love summer, I dread the long long days where we feel this need to constantly keep our kids entertained!! Oh my gosh, it is almost like everything you do is good for only 15 minutes increments! Please tell me I am not alone in feeling this way.
We live in a neighborhood where there are kids in every direction you look and one would think that they would just entertain each other and for the most part they do (thank goodness!). But we also have a great collection of summer toys that helps keep us sane for the days that they don’t! My kids are 4 and 2 and they do great with pretend play and love spending time with their friends at the pool. However, a good collection of summer toys are also built up for those days around the home and in the backyard when I need to get stuff done around the house. Because, guess what, summer or not, things still have to be done! Some of these toys last just one season but the ones that have stayed with us year on year are the ones that I am listing here.
- Water Table – This is truly my favorite toy in the world for the summer. On a good day, they can play at the water table for hours! We have had ours for four years! Over time, the original little toys that came with it have been lost or destroyed but now I just give them measuring spoons, plastic cups, their toy trucks and superheroes and they are good to go. I spend the day chasing the shade, yep, I am that girl. I CANNOT deal with full-on sun! So, we start in the most shaded spot in the backyard and in the evening we are on the other side of the house – if they still want to play with the water table. I can put them in their bathing suits in the morning and watch them as they play while I can get stuff done around the house or get some writing done for the blog. Let me also be real with you though, there are days when they play with it for 15 minutes and call it done, just like with any other activity.
- Sand pit – We don’t own one because all the sand that would eventually be out of the sandpit would drive me insane! But I know that if we did have one, the kids would probably be the happiest just hanging out in there. When we go to the beach, mine are the ones who will play in the sand ALL day versus coming into the ocean with me. Here is one that has some shade on top and bonus that it comes with a water table too! (you already know my obsession with running away from the sun)
- Water sprinklers – So, you can totally go buy one of these at Target or order it off of Amazon but honestly if you have a sprinkler for your backyard, just turn it on and kill two birds with one stone! Put your kids in their bathing suits and watch them run through as your grass gets watered too!
- Side walk chalk – We buy a couple of boxes every year and the boys love playing with these when they are tired of all the water play. If I am feeling particularly ambitious, we will practice our letters or draw shapes and animals and play “sidewalk pictionary”. But, once again, in the true spirit of keeping it real, they usually create some abstract artwork (AKA random squiggles)!
- Trampoline – This one is awesome because you can use it inside and outside. It is small and so easy to move around! Set it up outside in the summer so they can bounce their way into nap time or bring it in on the cooler summer evenings and it still gets you the same end result of easy bed time. My only goal at the end of the day is that light at the end of bed time routine tunnel! I know you feel me.
- Water slides and inflatable pools – Although, these may be on the slightly expensive end of the spectrum as summer toys go, they also last way longer than a single summer. If you don’t have a pool in your backyard, this one is perfect to inflate and have ready for the days you don’t necessarily want to drive to your closest community pool. As with any pool, always ensure that you are within hugging distance and that they are wearing age appropriate safety gear. This water slide, is not super expensive but also gives them hours and hours of fun! There are some really amazing slides out there (this one with a bouncy area and this one seems really cool too) which will give you hours of water play fun if that is the route you want to go. Here are a couple of links to the ones on Amazon. You could also get this slip and slide that the kids (and sometimes, grown ups) love to use. When my boys were really little and had only just started to sit this one worked like magic to let them get just the right amount of water action! It has that shade on top that I never had to worry about them getting sunburnt for the little time that they spent in there at that age. It is perfect from the time that they are able to independently sit up to the age of maybe 18 months and there are so many similar options available out there.
- Water Balloons – I can’t tie knots in balloons to save my life! So, these are perfect for someone like me who would basically be disowned by her kids for being the slowest and worst balloon filler ever! Fill these up and have the kids have a water balloon fight. Although water balloon fights are always over too fast they are always a blast!
- Roller Coaster Thomas – we have always had this one inside the house but would work so well outside too! My four year old and his friends still ride on it too and it has held up well with all of them riding it backwards and forwards for the last couple of years! We might have to pull this one outside so the kids can maybe ride it through the sprinkler.
- Outdoor sports paraphernalia – We have this mini basketball hoop that grows with your child. If your kids are older, you can buy some soccer nets and let them kick the ball around or even this triple hit baseball set that shoots the balls for endless batting practice right in your backyard.
- Backyard jenga and bean bag toss – This is perfect for the quiet hours in the afternoon when they have tired themselves out. I think this actually works great for kids and grown-ups. If you are having a backyard barbecue, set this up outside and you will probably find that it will keep both sets of your demographics entertained!
Toys are great and all but I am a fan of having the kids help with chores too. Thankfully, my boys enjoy helping me with yard work and to them, it is a fun summer activity. We bought both of them their own little gardening tools and they are all about it! Whether it is weeding, mulching or planting new flowers, they love to help. Nothing like getting my chores done while actively engaging the kids. They will sometimes bring out their trucks to carry things back and forth or have their excavators and dump trucks help with the digging and dumping. It may take a lot longer than if I just did it on my own but this is way better because they get their little hands dirty and learn a valuable lesson of making a flower bloom!
Do you have a list of favorites summer toys that your kids love playing with? Comment below to let us know what is the most played with summer toy in your household!