From 6-foot unicorn sprinklers to classic cornhole sets, here are just a few ideas to help keep your kids entertained all summer long.
Summer's finally here, but it's going to be a little different to what you're used to. Thanks to COVID-19, all of your favorite warm weather activities (camps, outdoor brunches, lazy days on the beach) have been curtailed. But just because you're stuck at home doesn't necessarily mean you have to be cooped up indoors all day—and that's especially important if you have kids.
If you're still social distancing or quarantining (due to state-mandated measures or by personal choice), you can totally swap your public pool for backyard sprinklers and summer camp for outdoor playtime. While it might not be the social calendar you had in mind, ~trust~, these creative outdoor activities will make staying at home way more fun for your kids.
Health editors, Swearby users, and Amazon shoppers recommend these incredible summer-ready picks, so if you need a little inspiration, you've come to the right place.
"I’m feeling myself right now because back in April (when everything summer related was still in stock) I decided to stock up on outdoor games for my girls, ages 5 and 3, should summer camp be cancelled. Think water guns, water balloons, inflatable pool… I’m not sure we’ll see grass in the backyard this season. But a giant unicorn sprinkler? This one is still a surprise (and luckily still available for purchase). My five-year-old is absolutely obsessed with unicorns and my three-year-old is absolutely obsessed with whatever her sister is obsessed with, and my husband and I are absolutely obsessed with keeping the kids out of our way, so this is bound to be a big winner that’ll hopefully make up for any potential bad news about camp." —Dara Kapoor, Health's Executive Digital Editor
Did you ever think you'd let your kids kick a ball around in the house? With the Senseball, your children can practice their soccer skills outdoors or indoors—without fear of a broken window. And because many little league soccer teams won't be happening this summer due to COVID-19, your kiddos can keep their skills fresh until next season.
"My kid swears by this SenseBall because it’s an addictive and fun way to build soccer skills. He can play in the house with no worry of a mess! Gains footwork skills and it is for players of all skill levels and all ages." —Cricket Lengyel, Swearby User
Little kids (and teens) aren't the only ones who need entertainment this summer. Cornhole is a great game for the entire family to play outdoors, whether it's at a barbecue or just for a mid-day break. (Plus, you can hang onto this game for fall, since it's perfect for football season.) This solid wood cornhole set has over 700 glowing reviews on Amazon, an impressive 4.5 star rating, and is one game your kids won't outgrow.
"Beyond my expectations!! Well built, even came with a carrying bag to take it to the park with you! We have only had it a couple of days, and have had a blast with it. Three generations stuck in the pandemic together, this has been much needed fun for all of us! Thank you!" —Donna
M. Skeith, Amazon shopper
Mini Deluxe Scooter
If you're going on a lot ore family walks these days or trying to get your kids to be more active outside, this scooter is the perfect solution. The lightweight design and small frame makes it an ideal size for elementary school children, and it comes in a variety of fun colors. While you might have a hard time convincing your little one to join you on a long walk, this toy will allow you to stretch your legs while your kids scoot around on the sidewalk beside you.
"My daughter just had to be like her big brother and be able to zip around on a scooter. This mini deluxe is perfect for her to learn on with is easy glide wheels, lean to steer, and low center is gravity. The adjustable handlebars mean that it’ll be able to grow with her." —Marissa Feldman, Swearby User
Sea Turtle Float
Planning to hit the pool this summer? You're definitely going to want to bring this guy along. This super affordable sea turtle float is perfectly proportioned for kids and can be a great motivator during swim lessons. It's recommend for children older than 3-years-old, and has two grip handles for any tots who aren't too confident in their swimming capabilities.
"Bought for a Caribbean vacation...did the job... it survived the trip and rough play in the ocean without getting any holes." —Kerry, Amazon shopper
Three-In-One Beach Toy
A trip to the beach may be enough excitement for you, but for your little ones, you're going to need a few props to keep them occupied all day. But beach towels, kids' toys, and a cooler can really add up when it comes to trunk space—not to mention lugging it all down to the shore. This three-in-one beach toy is part shovel, part sand sifter, and part rake, so you can cover all of your bases in just one compact gadget.
"Best beach shovel/scoop/rake/poker/beach toy! My kids love it." —Lauren Manthripragada, Swearby User
Swing-n-Slide Nest Swing
While you might not be crazy about the idea of your kids getting their hands all over a germ-infested local park, you can bring the fun home with this easy-to-install swing. Its safe and supportive disc shape lets tiny tots go for a ride, even if they haven't worked up the balance skills for a regular ol' swing just yet. The best part? Amazon reviewers say it can hold adults too, so you can even join your little ones or use it as a space to meditate.
"It will literally hold all five of my kids while swinging at a moderate pace. The baby loves it as it is low enough to the ground for her to safely climb onto by herself and the big kids can slowly push her. I've laid in it myself (5'2" 140lbs) with my legs laying over the edge like an inner tube and swing with my toddler and the baby at the same time—very relaxing and smooth." —Brittney W., Amazon shopper
Modern Pogo Stick
Trade out that clunky old pogo stick for something a lot more portable and space-saving. This balancing, bouncing pogo board isn't just a good way to pass the time, but also a great workout for your little one. A few hours in the sun while trying to master the act of balancing is a great way to get the kids out of the house and on their feet.
"I gave this to my niece as a Christmas gift. She’s 6 and has a lot of energy so this was perfect for her. On the first day, she fell a few times- nothing serious. However, she’s now a pro and bounces easily. This is also a great rainy day toy if the adults in the house can tolerate the sounds of bouncing and music." —A. Laster, Amazon shopper
Maileg Suitcase With Tea Sets and Cakes
Your weekend brunch may be cancelled, but it doesn't mean your kids' has to be. This sweet high tea set—complete with tea cups and plates, cake slices, a cupcake, and an adorable tin carrier—can be taken on-the-go anywhere. Whether you're stuck inside on a rainy day or you're having a picnic in the backyard, it's guaranteed that your little ones will be highly entertained.
"I love this tea set. My daughter is very whimsical. She has a huge imagination, like many kids, and this helps her get into ‘princess zone’ in a second. It’s so easy to grab, whether you’re traveling or on your way out to dinner. Quaint. Adorable. Nostalgic." —Katya Libin, Swearby User
Wham-O Lighted Hover Ball
Some summer days (we're looking at you July and August) are just too hot to be running around outside. If you're trying to keep out of the sweltering heat, let your kids run around the house with this light up Hover Ball. They'll stay busy and active chasing this soccer ball-like toy, which glides across the floor when kicked (translation: no broken windows).
"The Hover Ball is great because your kids can really kick it across the room without it lifting from the floor. It helps them get their energy out even when it's cold or raining outside. It's fun for me and the kids. Love that playing ball in the house can be fun and safe." —Staci Hendrickson, Swearby User
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter