The pandemic reminded people of how much fun can be had in our own backyards — and the toy industry has dreamed up more options to keep on enjoying time at home even as the world opens up.
"I have never seen such an awesome collection of summer toys as I have this year," says Laurie Schacht of Westbury, Chief Toy Officer for The Toy Insider, a consumer guide for parents. They promise what she calls "over-the-top" fun.
Here’s sampling of what’s in store — some new offerings and some tried-and-true favorites.
There’ll be no FOMO — fear of missing out — with this foam-making toy called FOAMO. Host your own backyard foam party using the 18-gallon bin, power blower, pump, tubing and foam solution. Just add water. For ages 3 and older; $184.99 at littletikes.com.
This summer is the rainbow after the storm — and this new backyard sprinkler for kids is a visual reminder of that. Works with a standard garden hose; $50 at poolcandy.net.
If animals are more your kids' jam, check out the newest sprinklers from Big Mouth. The 9-foot Ginormous Giraffe Yard Sprinkler anchors to the ground and sprays water out of its mouth. There's also a corgi and a snake option. Giraffe is $69.99 at bigmouthinc.com/collections/new-releases. Corgi is also $69.99 and snake is $49.99.
Too little to run through a sprinkler? These Splash & Play Water Mats are designed for toddlers, with a gentle water mist shooting up from the mat to introduce kids to water play. Designed for ages 18 months and older and comes in three different themes: "Sesame Street," Baby Shark and "Blues Clues." Attaches to any standard garden hose; available for $24.98 at amazon.com.
The H2OGO! Beach Bounce Kids Inflatable Water Park is designed for the younger kids. It features a bouncer with mesh safety walls and a small slide that leads to a splash pool. It also has a sprinkler that creates a short wall of water for kids to jump through. Inflates in less than two minutes using the included blower; for ages 3 and older; $199.99 at target.com.
For the older kids, the Crossnet four-section volleyball game sets up on the grass in five minutes. It's height adjustable for teens or tweens. Can also be set up in a swimming pool; $149.99 at crossnetgame.com.
Play cornhole with a twist – the Wicked Big Sports Tipping Point pivots on a center beam, so while you play, the board can tip toward you or your opponent. Comes with bean bags. Folds for portability and storage. For ages 8 and older; $59.99 at amazon.com.
The competition continues with Spyder Pong, which is a version of table tennis played on a net for maximum bounce. Comes with net, balls and paddles; $119.99 at franklinsports.com.
Chalk Alive brings kids’ sidewalk chalk art to life. Use the included stencils and chalk to draw a unicorn or a dinosaur or one of the other creations, and then download the free, interactive app and scan the drawing to bring it to augmented reality life on screen. Each set comes with six colors of chalk and three character stencils. Sets are available in three themes: dino, rocket and race car; unicorn, mermaid and butterfly and lion, tiger and dolphin. For ages 5 and older; $4.97 at walmart.com.
Get the kids into backyard yoga with the Chi Universe Yoga Mat. The mat has symbols that help kids get their bodies into the correct yoga poses. Comes with a free interactive app and a deck of position cards that show kids how to place their hands and feet onto the mat’s corresponding hearts, raindrops and other symbols. In sizes for kids or tweens/teens; mat and card sets are $55 to $57 at chiuniverse.com.
Crazy Bunch O Balloons creates the ammunition for a backyard battle royale in 60 seconds. The 100 water balloons now come in new colors and are recyclable through the new TerraCycle Recycling Program. For ages 3 and older; $8.49 at target.com.
Try out this game from Finland popular in Europe, like cornhole is in the United States. Players earn points by tossing the throwing pin, trying to reach exactly 50 points to win. If they go over 50, they return to the score of 25 and have to keep trying. It’s made in Finland and comes in a wood carrying case. Players can download the free app Molkky Game Tracker to keep score; available for 45.99 at bedbathandbeyond.com.