Keeping busy! Milwaukee area families tested a few items to help you meet that summer goal. There’s something for everyone, from the active baby to the crafty parent.
A combination of bowling, bocce and horseshoes. 2–4 players, ages 4+. $39.95 www.rollors.com
This is an exciting outside game the entire family can enjoy. We found it surprisingly challenging, but it only takes a few seconds to set up. It also comes with a carrying case, which makes it easy to transport to the park, beach or wherever!
–Marquel, aunt of Gavin (12) and Christian (10)
Flip flops with LED lights on the outsole that flicker with each step. $12.95, www.flikflops.com
Kids love flip flops and lights in shoes; these are the perfect combination. My daughter loves that they light up and says they fit well and are comfortable. They are a nice quality and very cute.
–Cara, mom of Sydney (6)
ZipStix Mega Pack
Zip and launch for distance, crash cones and do stunts. Ages 4+. $19.99, www.hogwildtoys.com
Launching things over ramps to knock stuff down? A 4-year-old boy's dream! It is tricky, however, to get the hang of launching (maybe because he is a lefty and the launchers are set up for right-handed people). He still enjoys playing when I do the launching and he sets up the obstacles. Overall, this is a nice toy (and doesn't take up too much space)!
–Jana, mom of Rhett (4)
Create 25 paper, cardboard and wooden accessories for your home. $24.99, www.pottercraft.com
This book is beautiful and inspiring. The pictures are motivating; the words encouraging. The author emboldens me to use items around my house to make the projects. I recently finished the “Once Upon a Time” bookshelves and posted the picture on Facebook—to an abundance of praise! As a novice, I did need to rely on the wisdom of another handy person (i.e. when it says to apply wood glue, how much exactly?), but if you have ANY crafting experience, you will do fine.
–Autumn, mom of Will (4) and Max (1)
Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat
Linkable toys keep baby entertained while sitting in a soft, fabric seat. $36.99, www.fisher-price.com
This is awesome! My baby loves sitting and watching his older sister play, and I'm not worried about him falling out or over. The toys are easy for him to grab and chew on. We have also used the chair at meal time as he sits so nicely in it! I wish it didn't take up so much space when set up, but it folds for storage. Great item!
–Amy, mom of Maggie (3) and William (5 months)
Finders Key Purse
Safety accessory that hooks onto your purse so you can easily find your keys. $6.95, www.isntthisclever.com
I have always had a difficult time finding my keys. I have purchased so many gadgets but none work as nicely as this. It's a simple long hook with a pretty charm that hangs on the outside of a purse, while the keys hang on the inside. I have already purchased a couple for my mom and sister—who are much worse than me when it comes to keys!
–Zayda, mom of Sajia (17), Ayris (14) and Rianna (11)
Matter-of-Fact Magic: The Trouble with Magic by Ruth Chew
Barbara and Rick open a dusty, forgotten bottle and free a wizard. Be careful what you wish for! Ages 7–10. $5.99, www.randomhouse.com
Our whole family really enjoys this book. It's definitely a classic. My 7-year-old says it’s "awesome" and "magnificent.” My 5-year-old is thoroughly captivated by the serpent. We will be adding more of this series to our reading list!
–Liz, mom of Madeline (7) and William (5)