Ah, summer. That hot, heady season that evokes memories of playing outdoors, barbecues, and lazy days of no school, driving your parents crazy. Even in this age of technology and digital everything, summertime is the time to be outside, and with these best summertime outdoor toys, you can be sure that your kids will leave the iPad and computer behind…at least for a while!


If your neighborhood or local park is bike-friendly, you should look into these sweet rides for your kids. One, the Razor Flashrider 360, is an amped-up version of the old-fashioned bigwheel, packing three wheels of serious fun. It’s great for kids age six and up, costs around $100, and it shoots sparks out the back end at the touch of a lever! Too cool!

The Rockboard Scooter is a two-wheeled package of fun, powered not by pedals but by rocking back and forth on the seat. It can hold up to 200 pounds of weight, is good for kids age 8 and over, and costs around $200.

Water Toys and Guns

Few things say summer fun like water guns and toys. Nerf, one of the premier toymakers for safe and fun toys, has combined water pìstols and toys in several very harmonious combinations, such as in the Nerf SuperSoaker Thunderstorm, which is Nerf’s first battery-powered water gun–meaning the little kids have just as much chance of winning the battle as the big kids using pump-action guns. It shoots a stream of water 25 feet, and is easy to refill, and at $15 a pop, it’s perfect for any budget. Nerf also has several other water guns that will add to the wet and wild fun.

If your kids like tossing around the pigskin and blowing bubbles, the Gazillion Bubble Football is for you. It’s like a combination Nerf football and bubble wand; just dip the ball into the bubble solution and toss it around, with bubbles streaming from the tail end.

If you remember playing in the sprinkler and the Whack a Mole game as a kid, the Sizzlin’ Cool Wack N Splash will introduce the best of both things to your young ‘uns. This plastic mat has room to accomodate several little kids at once, where they can whack funny cartoon character heads, but they never know which head will spray them next! It’s perfect for kids ages 3-5 and has a rock-bottom price of less than $10. Other good little-kid water toys include the Step2 Splash and Scoop Bay, which combines splash play with sand play for around $50 or less.

Toys R’Us has a fantastic line of inexpensive and ultra-fun water toys under its Sizzlin’ Cool brand, such as the Sizzlin’ Cool Splash Bombs (launch water bombs into the air and at objects), the Sizzlin’ Cool Silly Mist Maker (blow a mist of cool water through various sizes and shapes of wands), and the Sizzlin’ Cool Octopus Sprinkler (like the WaterWiggle of times past, it sprays random streams of water out when hooked up to a standard garden hose). All these are less than $20!