23 Buys to Keep Kids Busy This Summer

Long summer days can mean recurring strains of "I'm bored!" Snap the mundane out of their days and reduce their summer brain drain with these playful buys.

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May 07, 2021

School's out for the summer, and though I'm looking forward to lazy mornings and days without a minute-by-minute schedule, I also know my kids will get up every day asking me, "What are we doing today?" I'm prepping my house with sure-to-entertain ideas, from playful outdoor toys to fun buys that will keep their brains active and engaged.

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Last summer, we bought a similar water toy, and my kids had so much fun with it. Plus, it proved to be a safe way to do water play with our young nieces and nephews. I love how this one comes with small wiggly-tail fish that swim around as kids bounce and play.

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Bring the stars to earth for your budding astronomer. Easy to set up, this telescope has two eyepieces: a 35x magnification for seeing the moon and constellations and a 70x magnification for viewing as far as the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter.

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With "Baby Shark" continuing to be all the rage for littles, this shark design will up your sprinkler game this summer. Simply attach a garden hose and water pours out under the arch for hours of outdoor fun.

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$14.99

On days when it seems that the kids have endless energy, send them outside to let off steam with this interactive glow-in-the-dark rocket that helps with coordination and balance.

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$14.62

This kit has been a favorite in my home for well over a year. My kids easily follow the step-by-step photo instructions in the book, which guides them through how to do different rolls and shapes to make adorable animals, fruit, sweets and more.

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$16.99

Rain or shine, this soft-yet-durable jumper will get kids as young as three excited about exercise (whether they know it or not.) The sturdy foam base supports them while they bounce and lets out a squeak with every hop.

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Calling all superheroes! Let your kids' creativity shine with this kit for creating their own comic books. The kit comes with everything they need to get started, including a writing guide that helps them shape their characters and stories. And the best part? They can send their work off to have it professionally printed and bound.

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$79.95

This amped up Rubik's cube connects to a mobile app, adding value to kids' screen time and helping them sharpen their STEM skills. Stick this little guy in your bag to pull out when entertaining younger siblings at ballgames, on car trips or while waiting for food at a restaurant.

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$21.99

Hey, batter-batter! This can't-go-wrong classic is fun for individual or group play while promoting hand-eye coordination, teamwork and determination.

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$39.95

This story-based STEM kit is a creative take on teaching kids about electric circuits, as well as mechanical equipment and physics. An illustrated storybook, along with an instruction manual, leads kids through building the treehouse and projects that follow the rainforest journey.

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$24.99

For the perfect rainy-day activity, give your petite geologist an excavation experience. Your kiddo gets to crack open 10 authentic geodes with crystal formations inside. Once they've finished their task, they can display their newly discovered collection on the two included stands.

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$14

Sharpen kids' recall skills with a classic memory game. This version is great for preschoolers and helps promotes visual recognition with perfect-for-summer ice pops. Stock the freezer with popsicles before pulling the game out because you know they'll be asking for one when they make their final match.

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Hone those geography skills and get kids excited about exploring their world. With 52 creatively illustrated maps, showcasing places to visit, native plants and animals, famous people, as well as geographical features, this book gives your kids an in-depth look at different continents and countries around the earth.

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Give your tiny scientist the chance to build and paint her very own volcano from papier-mâché. The included book is full of photos, facts and volcano jokes, which is always a big hit in my home. Grab some baking soda and vinegar at the grocery store to create real eruptions.

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$75

Start your city planner early. The set of 20 blocks fit together like a puzzle in multiple ways so your child can create and recreate her architectural vision. And remember it's all about balance, whether adding a rooftop garden or building a hi-rise, to keep the city from falling down.

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$72.95 (Pack of 3)

Science class has started. Petite chemists get the chance to experiment through these three kits: crafting a chemistry garden, setting up their own lab and making colorful art through chemical reactions.

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Prime your elementary schooler for those sure-to-come state and capital quizzes and start teaching little ones about their country with this colorful United States puzzle.

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$7.95

P.E. credit! Kick boredom to the curb and stretch the wiggles out with this illustrated deck of cards that takes kids through 50 yoga poses. Encourage your kiddos (and you!) to bend, twist and balance their way to a healthy lifestyle.

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$22.14

Kickstart your kiddo's STEM skills this summer with this clever and fun game that you can play with kids as young as four. Robot Turtles teaches the basics of coding and programming and has four levels of play so the game can grow with your children.

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$16.99

Your tiny artist will perfect his sketches with "20 Ways to Draw Everything." Each of the 135 themes has 20 examples of how to draw nature-inspired items, like pinecones, tree seeds and marigolds.

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$21.99

The number one thing teachers encourage kids to do over the summer is to read every day. Take your kids on the classic adventures of "The Hardy Boys" with the first five books of the series. This set features custom-designed covers by Juniper Books so in addition to wonderful stories, they'll look amazing on your bookshelf.

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$17.49

Bring the symphony to your child's fingertips with this interactive book that teaches him the different aspects of a symphony and the families of instruments. Nineteen sound buttons allow your preschooler and elementary-age kid to hear each instrument's part of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Next stop: Carnegie Hall.

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$14.79

Who wants to fly paper airplanes when you can soar with dragons? The book, which is full of dragon traits and their habitats, shows kids step-by-step how to create 12 dragons, including foot-long flyers and dragon hatchlings. Make a theme day of it and watch "How to Train Your Dragon" — hours without having to hear the dreaded "bored" word equals parenting success.

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