This really works! We tracked cars (we don’t recommend this to kids—but we couldn’t help ourselves), baseball pitches, and bicycles going by. Fun for outdoor play. (800) 542-8697. Our testers also tried the Discovery Speed Detector ($39.95 ) and gave it strong reviews as well. In a head-to-head competition, the Mattel gun is more sensitive and responds better than the Discovery version, which takes more finesse to work. That said, both did well with our kid testers. Both 8 & up. These toys have been discontinued.
Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.
Hands down one of our new favorite products of the year! The unique bubble wand consists of two long wooden handles connected by soft rope. Dip the wand into the bucket with the handles closed. Take the wand out of the solution and open the handles slowly and amazingly, extremely large bubbles that will impress even the most "I'm so over bubbles" teenager. Great fun for the backyard with mixed ages. New for 2010, Dip Stix. The big handles on the wands are now painted (they look less homemade)--and you can mix your own bubble solution in the built in container. For the Tang generation, the mix your own mixture will seem like fun. Some of our parents (with younger kids) prefer the "it's good to go from the start" approach. You can still buy the original bubble mixture. While we found that younger children were delighted with running after these super big bubbles (and their parents had fun making them), this is truly one of the few outdoor toys that will capture the attention of teens and adults. If you're having a family reunion--this is fun to have around!
Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
What we love about bocce is that it really can be enjoyed by a multi-generation team of players. The pace is just right for a lazy summer afternoon. Perhaps because we are not a very coordinated family, bocce has always had a special place in our summer rituals (you really don't need to have too much athletic ability to play!) This set comes with a brown canvas bag for storage.
Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .
Ok, so it's probably too early in the season to declare our favorite toy...but these butterflies and moths are clearly front runners! Easy to launch- you just hold the button down on the launcher until the wings really start to go-and then pull it back all the way-the butterfly or moth will take off! Also available, a pretty sharp looking red and black Mosquito (only on-line). This is the type of toy everyone will want a turn playing with- including the adults. (Editors Update: So these remain one of our top fun picks of the entire year.)
The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.
Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
The Maxi Scooter is designed for kids ages 6-10. Based on the 3-wheel design of the Mini Scooter, the Maxi is the Mini's big sister and big brother, designed for bigger kids. It is - bigger, cooler, tougher, stronger for the action it is sure to get. Our testers like the convertible handle that can be used upright, like a joy stick or sideways in the traditional style. Available in black or purple. 6 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.
Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.
Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.
Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.
Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2004.
Age: Preschool,Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2000.
Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.
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