summer toys

  • BulziBucket – Buckets of fun for summer!

    BulziBucket Game

    My first encounter with BulziBucket was at my local Learning Express Toys store. Two sales associates were playing it in the middle of the store; my friend and I watched and then joined in the game. We started playing it like a game of cornhole, however, the sales associates taught us two variations on the game—and tipped us off that the dotted bean bag was worth double points.

    BulziBucket is a combination of cornhole and hacky sack. The game comes with two 3-tiered targets and 8 hacky sack bean bags, which all collapse into a convenient carrying case. BulziBucket is perfect for playing in the yard, the pool, tailgating, indoors or anywhere you see fit.

    BulziBucket Banner Graphic

    I highly recommend BulziBucket if you are looking for an outdoor game for the entire family. It’s ideal for pool parties, cookouts or the beach! The BulziBucket targets float on water and fold up compactly, so you can play on land or at sea and bring it everywhere your summer travels take you.

    There are three ways to play BulziBucket:

    1. The traditional cornhole style, where partners line up on opposite ends and throw the bean bags directly into the buckets. Scoring is easy—the top tier is 3 points, the middle tier is 2 points and bottom tier is 1 point. However, the bean bag with the green dot is worth double points!
    2. The trademark style of playing BulziBucket is called Assist It. In this style, your partner can assist you by “hacking” (kicking hacky sack style) an overthrown bean bag into the bucket. No hands allowed!
    3. For the hacky sack aficionados, the Hack It style of play may be for you. In this game scenario, you must receive the bean bag from your partner and hack the bag twice before taking a scoring shot at the bucket. Again, no hands allowed!

    Happy playing!

    --Donna

  • Easter Gift Idea: Race to Pop Them All with the Bubble Buster!

    Race to Pop Them All with the Bubble Buster!Easter is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors and celebrate spring. For me, Easter brings memories of egg hunts in my grandparents’ backyard with my brother and cousins, enjoying the grass, breeze and sunshine in a bright new dress. I also loved when the Easter bunny hid my basket, full of candy and toys, somewhere in the yard to find.

    Outdoor activities are perfect additions to Easter baskets. Sidewalk chalk, bouncy balls and jump ropes are all classic picks—and don’t forget the bubbles!Boy and girl playing with Bubble Buster

    Bubbles are even more fun with the Bubble Buster, a bubble-bursting race game that counts your bubbles as you pop them. It's a Spring Top Toy!

    This talking electronic game is as cute as a bug! The bug-shaped wand announces when it’s time for Player 1 and then Player 2 to play. One player blows bubbles while the other pops. On your turn, pop as many bubbles as you can with the Bubble Buster’s antennae, and a “ping” will sound on each one. When the timer runs out, the Bubble Buster will tally how many bubbles each player burst, and announce the winner!

    This game encourages active play as kids run and jump to pop as many bubbles as possible. It’s for ages 3 and up, and perfect for siblings, cousins and friends to play together.

    The game includes a bubble wand, tray and 4 ounces of bubble solution in addition to the Bubble Buster. All you need is two AAA batteries.

    Enjoy the sunshine, and Happy Easter!

    --Becki

  • Avoid Summer Brain Drain With Just One Book [Top Toy Review]

    Avoid Summer Brain Drain with just one book: Summer Bridge ActivitiesI used to have trouble sleeping the few weeks before school started. Toward the end of every summer I would have bad dreams worrying about my new teacher, meeting new classmates and what clothes I would wear the first day.

    Parents and teachers, however, are concerned about another issue: Summer brain drain.

    Summer brain drain, or summer learning loss, happens when children forget the skills they learned during the school year over the summer break. On average, students lose two months of progress in math skills during the summer and one month of spelling skills.

    “Research shows that students on average score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer than they do on the same tests at the end of the school year… Teachers spend an average of 4-6 weeks re-teaching material that students have lost during the summer.”— Marlene Gundlach, Statistics on Summer Reading, Bright Hub Education

    However, there’s good news: Your child can maintain their language, math and other academic skills by staying in practice. Even just 15 minutes of academics a day will flex those cognitive muscles!

    Why Your Child Needs Summer Bridge

    The Summer Bridge Activities book series is the perfect solution. These teacher-recommended workbooks contain activities to review the material that your child has learned and to get them ready for the next grade level. Topics span reading, writing, math, science, social studies and fitness for kids entering kindergarten through fifth grade. Just one book contains an entire summer of activities!Summer Bridge Activity Book

    Each activity book includes 12 weeks’ worth of daily problems to solve, writing prompts, fill-in-the-blank activities and fitness suggestions (“play leapfrog” or “do 10 squats”). Colorful illustrations and a sticker sheet bring life to the books.Summer Bridge Flash Cards

    Each workbook includes flashcards to cut out for practicing parts of speech, shapes, equations and more. At the end of the summer, you can present your child with the included Certificate of Completion.

    Summer Bridge Certificate of Completion

    The Summer Bridge Activities series includes suggestions to engage your kids in enriching summer experiences beyond the books. Reading with your children, visiting museums and parks, and finding teachable moments each day will maintain and grow those academic skills!

    Summer Bridge Activity Books

    Ease the transition back to school by keeping academics alive all summer long. Summer Bridge is one of our Summer Top Toys!

    Happy learning,

    Becki

  • Have More Fun in the Sun with These Sweet Pool Floats [Top Toy Review]

    mermaid, donut, peacock, flip flop, shark and surfboard pool floats. text: "Have more fun in the sun with these sweet pool floats"

    One time, my cousin and I became mermaids. We darted up and down across the surface of the lake, bursting out of the water with a dramatic flip of the hair like Ariel.

    Another time, my best friend and I created a synchronized swimming routine to a Backstreet Boys song. (Or it might have been NSYNC. I can never remember.)

    My friends and I would regularly play “guess what I’m saying underwater.” Everyone would duck under, and one person would gurgle out a phrase over and over until someone correctly guessed it.

    We were always inventive, always making up new games. That’s why some of my best summer memories involve playing in the water.

    Summer gets even more fun with colorful and whimsical pool floats! Oversized, crazy pool floats will get your kids paddling, swimming and laughing all at the same time—while boosting their creativity and their gross motor skills. Read on to find out why they’re Summer Top Toys.

    Pool Floats

    Chocolate Donut Pool Float Why use just any pool float when you could relax on your favorite snack, animal, or even shoe? Have fun in the pool or lake by making up games with these oversized floats. Race the Chocolate Donut Float and Strawberry Donut Float against each other. Make magic with the Mermaid Tail Float.

    mermaid tail pool floatCatch a wave with the Surfboard Pool Float. Show off to your friends with the Peacock Pool Float. Prank your sibling with the Whoopee Cushion Pool Float. At the end of the day, kick back with the Emoji Flip Flop Float. Your kids will find plenty of ways to enjoy these silly inflatables! Get ready for some fun in the sun creating memories, and check out more great outdoor toys here!

    Wishing you sunshine,

    Becki

  • Play Ball, Don’t Just Watch It [Top Toy Review]

    Play Pall - Don't Just Watch It! Tangle Nightball and Moon BallThe air is getting warmer. My allergies are in full swing. Summer is coming.

    Once school’s out, on those summer days when you don’t have activities or camp planned, you might hear the inevitable moan, “I’m boooooored!”

    Instead of giving in to watching TV or playing a video game, be prepared! Get kids playing outdoors by having some novel tricks—that is, toys—up your sleeve. These twists on the regular soccer ball, football, flying disk and bouncy ball are sure to get kids interested and making up their own games.

    Tangle Nightball and Nightdisk

    The Tangle Nightball Soccer Ball, Tangle Nightball Football and the Tangle Nightdisk are unique light-up toys to kick, throw and catch. Kids will be fascinated to see how much light they can get out of a single pass. The more they spin, the brighter they get! They’re perfect for nighttime play, so you can have a game of catch after roasting marshmallows on a summer night.

    The Tangle balls and disk have a soft-grip, rubbery texture, so they’re perfect for practicing throwing and catching skills. They’re also safe for water play, so bring them to the beach. These are all Summer Top Toys!

    Waboba Moon Ball

    No playmate? No problem! Kids can play catch solo or with a friend with the Waboba Moon Ball, another Summer Top Toy. This lightweight, high-bouncing ball is perfect for bouncing on a street, sidewalk or parking lot. The ball’s moon-like craters give it a great grip and make a satisfying popping sound as the ball hits the ground. How high can your kid bounce it– and still manage to catch it?

    Still need ideas? Here are 31 ways to play with a ball, including backyard bowling, making a catapult, and wall ball!

    Get your kids outside and away from the screen with these active toys. Let’s play ball!

    Becki