The kids are finally out of school for the summer and they couldn’t be any more riled-up. Meanwhile, you’re now realizing that it’s one thing to keep the kids busy for a weekend, but keeping them entertained for the entire summer? That’s a totally different ballgame. But don’t panic yet! We’ve rounded up the best outdoor toys and local family events of the summer, plus a sweet treat the kids will love.
HOT SUMMER TOYS
Crayola Special Effects Sidewalk Chalks, $3.99, Shop.Crayola.com
Crayola reinvents this summer must-have with a line of four unique “special effects” chalks. From tie-dye to glitter, to neon and multicolor, your child will be busy drawing colorful sidewalk creations all summer long.
Slackers Balance Blox, $99.99, SlackersLine.com
This one is a bit of a splurge, but it was dubbed Best Toy of 2014 by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, and is the perfect outdoor toy for any thrill-seeking child. They’ll have a blast challenging themselves by walking the slackline while also building motor skills, confidence and concentration. Plus you’ll feel good knowing it’s a safe and designed just for kids.
Ogo Parker Picnic Blanket, $34.98, HearthSong.com
Taking the kids for a summer picnic in the park seems like a great idea —until they complain they’re bored 20 minutes later. The Ogo Parker Picnic Activity Mat from Brooklyn-based company OgoSport is a 54” picnic blanket that’s perfect for sitting on while you snack, and then entertaining the kids afterwards. The water resistant picnic blanket is printed with a colorful target and foursquare court, and comes with four Ogo Bola balls to allow for an endless possibility of games.
Nerf Rebelle Super Soaker Tri Threat Crossbow, $19.99, HasbroToyShop.com
When the pavement heats up, there’s no better solution than a water gun fight. The Rebelle Super Soaker is a vibrantly colored, unique crossbow alternative to the typical water gun. Plus it can shoot a triple stream of water as far as 35 feet. With this toy, you’re in store for a summer of action-packed water gun battles.
Apple Monsters from "Cooking Class" by Deanna F. Cook, $18.95
After you and your kids work up an appetite playing outside, head home and whip an easy, fun snack together. Who says you shouldn’t play with your food? This recipe from "Cooking Class," a cookbook made just for little ones, is super simple and kids will have a blast making creepy monster faces out of a healthy apple and nut snack.
Here’s everything you need to create these fun treats:
1 cup assorted nuts and seeds, such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds and sliced almonds
½ cup assorted dried fruit, such as raisins and cranberries
Paper umbrellas (optional)
Here’s what you do:
1) Cut a wedge out of each apple for the monster’s mouth.
2) Press the seeds or nuts in place for crooked teeth.
3) For eyes, use toothpicks to attach apple pieces with raisin or cranberry centers.
(Edited and adapted from Cooking Class (c) by Deanna F. Cook, photography (c) by Julie Bidwell, used with permission from Storey Publishing.)
LOCAL EVENTS IN NEW YORK CITY
Nicki Sebastian Photography
Family Day at Jeppe Hein: Please Touch the Art
Brooklyn Bridge Park, July 26 1pm, Free
With walls of water that rise and fall, benches kids can climb like jungle gyms and mirrors that challenge perception, this is one art installation you can actually take the kids to. The installation opened in late May, but on Family Day children and families will not only be able to explore the pieces, but also create their own works of art with teaching artists from the Children’s Museum of the Arts.
Bastille Day on 60th St.
Between 5th and Lexington, July 12 12-5pm, Free
This massive street fair has got crepes and macaroons, a Citroën car show, Can-Can dancers and more, making it an event you won’t want to miss. They even have special activities just for the kids, like arts and crafts, face painting, games, story times, French family films and children’s French cooking workshops (RSVP for workshops required).
Hip Tot Family Day at Lakeside
Prospect Park, Second Sundays June-Sept 11-2pm, Free
Every month families gather at Lakeside, a 26-acre recreational space in Prospect Park, for a live children’s concert, proceeded by story times by well-known authors, performances by community groups, crafts, and giveaways. This year, Family Day kicks off on June 14th with the reggae sounds of Grammy Winning children’s artist Father Goose. While at Lakeside, children can also skate around the outdoor roller rink, explore the park, and play in the water jets at Lakeside Splash Pad.