Summer is officially here, and with the kiddos out of school for a few months, it’s time for the whole family to head outside for some good ol’ fashioned fun. But here’s the thing about kids: They get bored. Really fast. Which is exactly why parents need to boost their arsenal of outdoor games and entertaining hijinks, ensuring that the long summer days will feature an ever-changing roster of activities.
Regardless of whether you’re city-bound this summer or spending it lakeside, we’ve got the goods that will have families outside bonding all day long. Because as every parent knows, the more time kids spend burning energy in the great outdoors, the earlier they’ll go to sleep at night!
Hammacher Schlemmer The Motorized Pool Tube ($129.95; hammacher.com)
Like the bumper boats you used to ride back in the day, these motorized pool tubes from Hammacher Schlemmer are going to liven your pool or lake day right up — no paddles necessary! Controlled via a joystick (enabled by a shrouded propeller underneath), the tube can move rather quickly in any direction, and it can do 360-degree spins. Yep, this is right up our kids’ alley. Parent tip: Purchase two to amp up the bumper boat excitement!
Hammacher Schlemmer The Golf Ball Returning Chipping Net ($149.95; hammercher.com)
The golf lovers in your family can work on their game all summer long, right from your very own backyard or balcony. The pop-up net has four built-in targets for lobbing, pitching, chipping or running shot, and it comes with three golf practice balls, six colored foam balls and a tri-turf mat. Did we mention it folds flat and has a handy carrying case? Done and done!
Giggle N Go Flarts Outdoor Game ($29.97; amazon.com)
Lawn darts were one of our favorite family games growing up, but now that we’re parents we’ve realized that, um, they were not safe. At all! Luckily Giggle N Go has come up with an inflatable floor version that is portable and super easy to set up. We appreciate the push pegs that keep the mat secure in grass and that the reversible mat features a dart board on one side and either a unicorn or funny monster on the other. Bring it to the park, the beach or wherever your family is headed this summer.
Ecr4Kids Jumbo 4-to-Score Giant Game ($223.99; amazon.com)
One of our favorite old-school games now comes in an ultra-interactive, giant version, and yeah, our whole family is pretty stoked about it. Get everyone connecting (pun intended) with this jumbo-sized take on the classic Connect Four game that will have parents and kids alike problem-solving their way to a win all summer long.
Joyin Inflatable Pool Float Set ($31.99; amazon.com)
Pool days are way more fun when sports are added to the mix, and with this inflatable set you get a twofer — volleyball and basketball. Once inflated, just place the net and hoop in the pool and your games will be ready to go. More than 3,500 Amazon reviewers agree that it’s worth the purchase.
Intex Splash ‘N Chill Inflatable Relaxation Island ($299.99; amazon.com)
This product had us at “relaxation island.” Perfect for lakes, beaches or big pools, this giant inflatable hangout spot can accommodate up to seven adults and has four backrests, two boarding platforms, six cup holders and an anchor bag for keeping it in place amid choppy waves and currents. Our favorite detail? The built-in cooler!
Jasonwell Splash Pad Sprinkler for Kids ($19.99; amazon.com)
For those ridiculously hot summer days, this splash pad is perfect for little kids who need to cool down. With more than 8,000 positive Amazon reviews, it’s a top-selling water toy, and we get why — in addition to featuring dozens of sprinkler spouts, the mat also maintains a shallow pool of water, which babies will love splashing about in. The best part? It’s under 20 bucks.
Solo Stove Ranger Plus Stand ($234.99, originally $319.99; solostove.com)
Some of life’s best memories are created ‘round a fire, and this low-smoke, portable fire pit from cult-favorite brand Solo is our favorite way to make that happen when we’re on the go (or staying put!) this summer. The Ranger comes with a stand that will protect your patio or grass, and we think it’s pretty much mandatory to get some s’mores going, so you’re going to want to grab up these telescoping skewers that will keep kids safe from flames.
Jasonwell Inflatable Avocado Pool Float ($22.99; originally $29.99; amazon.com)
Sometimes you just need a gigantic, hilarious pool float, and this one fits that bill. Perfect for the ‘gram, TikTok and beyond, this avocado-shaped float is more than 5 feet tall and even includes the pit — aka the brown inflatable ball. Feeling more into unicorns this summer? This one is your best bet.
Yard Games Large Tumbling Timbers (starting at $49.99; amazon.com)
Take your competitive prowess outside this summer with this jumbo-sized take on Jenga. Available in large and giant sizes, the game’s “tumbling timbers” are crafted from sturdy pine wood, and each set comes with a carrying case, making it easy to transport to your neighbor’s backyard or to bring along on your next camping trip.
Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak With Paddle ($98.99; originally $149.99; dicksportinggoods.com)
Kids and kayaks aren’t always the best mix, but we’re here to say this youth-sized option from Lifetime is officially a game changer for ages 5 to 11. Ultra safe, the 6-foot-long kayak is lightweight and features an ergonomic cockpit design that enhances balance and makes developing the skills of beginning paddlers super easy — seriously, our kids were on these and paddling away in under a minute! Yep, it’s time to plan your next family kayaking adventure.
B Branton Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course for Kids ($139.99; amazon.com)
Make your ninja-loving kid’s dreams come true with this action-packed obstacle course that can be set up right in your backyard between two trees or anchor supports. Once the 50-foot slackline is taut, you can begin installing the course’s 10 accessories, including gymnastic rings, monkey bar holds, a climbing net, monkey fists, a swing and a climbing rope. A great way to boost stamina and strength, this course will have the whole family getting fit — and having fun — together this summer.
Intex Kool Splash Kids Inflatable Swimming Pool Water Slide ($149.99; amazon.com)
Looking for a quick and (relatively) cheap way to amp up your pool this summer? We found the answer and it’s Intex’s Kool Splash inflatable water slide that works with both in-ground and above-ground pools. With more than 3,000 positive Amazon reviews, the slide is a favorite among parents, partly because it has a landing pad extension that goes into the pool, ensuring a safe and soft landing for kiddos. Just put on your bathing suit and go!
Intex Rainbow Ring Inflatable Play Center ($54.99; originally $84.99; amazon.com)
Nothing keeps little kids busier than a play center…with a water slide! This one is an Amazon favorite with nearly 9,500 positive reviews, because it contains hours of entertainment. In addition to that aforementioned slide, it also encompasses a sprayer and a wading pool, in addition to a ring toss, ball toss and ball roller games (with four included rings and six balls). Simply inflate and attach a hose, and you’ve got yourself an all-day attraction for staying cool.
Little Tikes Slam ‘N Curve Slide ($398.39; amazon.com)
For slightly bigger kids who need some more action in their water inflatable, this slide from Little Tikes is a great option. Boasting a climbing wall, a basketball hoop, a wading pool and a 4-foot-tall slide, the set is one of our favorites because parents can see everything from afar (there are no hidden nooks or crannies!) and because it’s also made from an ultra-durable material that can withstand tons of roughhousing, lasting for at least a few years. More to know: The slide comes with stakes that secure the slide in the ground, a blower that keeps the slide continuously inflated and a carrying case for easy storage when not in use.
Wowmazing Giant Bubble Wands Kit ($14.95; amazon.com)
If you know, you know: Kids big and small love bubbles. Perfect for keeping everyone entertained at the park, at a barbecue or just on a regular Tuesday in your driveway, this fun bubble wand kit includes a set of wands, bubble solution and a tips and tricks booklet. Just don’t forget your sunscreen if you’ll be outside for a while.
Wow World of Watersports Giant Backyard Waterslide ($171.38; amazon.com)
The slip ‘n’ slides of yore have been majorly upgraded. Case in point: This totally rad waterslide from Wow World of Watersports! Running a whopping 25 feet, the slide is flanked by inflatable pontoons with sprayers that keep kids (and parents) centered and slippery. Each slide comes with two inflatable “sleds” for ultra-fast sliding, and if you want to double the length, the pontoons have a connection system that can attach multiple slides.
Spikeball Rookie Kit ($59.99; amazon.com)
More than 11,000 Amazon reviewers agree that Spikeball is one of the most fun games out there. What is it exactly? Well, the brand may say it best, calling it “if volleyball and foursquare had a baby.” Yep, we’re in! The best part of the two-on-two game? It’s portable and can be played anywhere — the beach, your backyard, at a park, you name it.
GoSports Classic Cornhole Set ($64.99; regularly $69.99; amazon.com)
Perfect for family parties or just lazy days hanging outside, cornhole’s classic game of bag tossing is surprisingly difficult — and will surely bring out Mom and Dad’s competitive sides! We love this ultra-sturdy MDF set from GoSports because it will definitely stand the test of time, but it’s also portable (each piece folds flat) and comes with a carrying case. If the gridiron design isn’t for you, a slew of other design options are available. Looking for a cornhole option that’s even more portable? Check out this super-lightweight set.