I don’t know about you, but whenever I see my kid totally tuned out with a screen in his hand — especially on a nice summer day — I get that agitated mommy feeling. As a beneficiary of a tablet-less childhood, I still remember what it was like not to have a million digital distractions bearing down you. On a clear day, the objective was to get outside, feel the sun on your face, play tag with your friends, drink from a garden hose and disrupt a few ant colonies. Now kids tend to need some coaxing — thanks for that, Minecraft.
This summer, I’m making a valiant effort to prevent my kids from turning into screen zombies, and that includes pimping my yard. The plan is to make it as fun and frolicsome as possible so that when it comes to inside vs. outside and digital vs. analog, there will be no hesitation. Here is my fantasy list for backyard nirvana.
What’s not to love about a giant inflatable melon that spurts water in all directions? Simply attach it to your garden hose and instantly become the cool mom on your block.
Super Water Slide
Go full on waterpark with this 12-foot long super slide. Padded and misted, maybe it’s time to cancel your pool membership?
Step2 Sandbox Splash n' Scoop Bay
Sit serenely in your lawn chair while the little ones while away the hours making sandcastles and water falls, and when the clock strikes five, no one will hold it against you if you uncork the rosé.
Plan Toys Croquet Game
Let wee ones have a go at the ol’ ball and mallet game. This kid-friendly set is scaled down in size, with animal faces on the balls.
Deluxe Bungee Boing
This foam version of a pogo stick is ideal for beginners and won’t destroy your patio tiles — bonus.
Set sail for an adventure with this Regatta Swing. It seats two sailors and is made of heavy duty canvas with a mesh bottom that won’t trap water when not in use.
House of Fun Playhouse
The only downside to this playhouse may be finding a way to coax them back out of it.
Swingball Multiple Lawn Game Set
Kids can switch from basketball to soccer or tennis with this versatile set — a major boredom buster.
Everyone loves Rody, the bouncing rubber pony that let’s kids hop from patio to lawn with ease.
Pure Fun Rocker Kids Seesaw
This backyard seesaw rocker will keep things hopping all summer long and it’s sized just right for little kids.
But if you want true bounce, only a trampoline will do. This one comes equipped with a basketball hoop.
Portable Table Tennis
Ping pong anyone? You can set this portable version up anywhere, and it nicely folds away when play is over.
Pop and Catch
The best thing about this game is that even little kids can master it and big kids can’t put it down.
Toysmith Zip Ball
Two players zing a football back and forth in this classic zipline game.
Sunny Patch Grub Scouts Sprinkler
Summer fun need not be complicated. A simple sprinkler will keep kids entertained for hours on end.
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