Summertime Toys for All Ages

By Chris Byrne

skyball1When I was a kid, the one sentence my mom, (also a single mom) would never allow any of us to say during summer vacation was, “I’m bored.” Her response was always, “No, you’re not. You’ve got your brothers, books, toys and the whole outdoors.” And I remember having the time of our lives. A little imagination, a few inexpensive toys and our bikes and we had all the equipment we needed.

The key is to give your kids balanced play experiences. Yes, it’s just like a good diet-a little physical play, some quiet play, perhaps a game-and it serves all the entertainment and developmental needs of your kids.

Remember to balance unstructured time with planned activities as well as family time. Summer is a time for kids to slow down, recollect, and of course have fun.

Here are some ideas to give your kids fun and balance within a budget this summer. Remember, it’s not about the money you spend; it’s about the imagination you inspire.


TaDoodles Slide & See by Crayola $9.99-A great, interactive, and colorful toy that encourages exploration and discovery. Easy for little hands and greater in play value for little ones than it may appear at first. by Publications International $7.99-A beautiful pop-up book with integrated songs that help toddlers learn animal sounds. A great way to experience Baby Einstein’s quality content.

Clipo Hippo by Playskool $19.99-A preschool block set that encourages building and imaginative play.

Baby Einstein Farm Friends Songbook by Publications International $7.99 – A beautiful pop-up book with integrated songs that help toddlers learn animal sounds. A great way to experience Baby Einstein’s quality content.


Animal Scramble by Wild Planet $19.99-This is a great memory game that keeps kids active as they race around trying to find the animals. It’s colorful, engaging, and adaptable to a variety of different preschool ages gazillion-bubble-rocketand abilities.

Gazillion Bubble Rocketby Funrise $16.99-It’s the classic stomp rocket on steroids. Set it up, place the rocket in the bubble fluid, and stomp! A trail of bubbles follows the rocket into the sky. We love this-and all ages got a kick out of it, too.

Planetcare Chime and Tap Musical Set by Toy Quest $14.99-This attractive toy, made of recycled materials, lets little ones be active and play music on the xylophone, drum, and tambourine.

School Age

Bakugan Battle Brawlers by Spin Master $4.99 and up-There’s nothing hotter for boys right now. Cool, collectible and competitive. Plus, new items and cards are being introduced every few weeks, making this a summer-long opportunity for fun.

polly-pocketPolly Pocket Shimmer and Splash Adventure Playset by Mattel $19.99-For girls who love Polly Pocket, this is a great addition to the collection. Lots of open-ended play. And what we like about this is that it brings out all the other Polly’s for a richer play experience.

Spongebugs Fun Soccer Set by Gamenamics $14.99-For kids just getting interested in soccer, this is a great goal and ball set. Easy to assemble and the right size for kids who are just starting out to feel successful.


LEGO Creator Street Speeder by LEGO $12.99-A great set for the LEGO fan who likes making realistic models. Follow the plans, or use your imagination. This is great rainy day fun.

uno-spinUNO Spin by Mattel $19.99-The classic game takes on a new fast-paced twist that can really change up the game and makes for great family entertainment, as well.

Bendaroos 500-Piece Mega Set by Toys “R” Us $19.99-Creative, open-ended play that’s reusable, decorative, tactile, and fun. It makes anyone an artist and anything a work of art.


Sky Ball by Maui Toys  (shown above)$8.99-Probably our favorite toy of the summer, and, yes, it’s a ball. But it bounces up to 75 feet and is great for all kinds of play. Lots of gem-like colors and non-stop fun. 

The Original Rummikub by Pressman Toys $12.99-A fast-moving game that combines strategy, luck, and laughs. Great to play while hanging in the basement on a rainy day.

Terrain Titans by Spin Master $19.99-Super cool, high performance mini radio control vehicles. We love these for their action, versatility, and power.


Other Toy Ideas 

The Green Toy Box


Chris Byrne, aka The Toy Guy®, is the Content Director of, as well as president of New York-based Byrne Communications and a leading expert on toy, play and children’s trends. You can also find and follow Chris on Twitter or at