Many of us who have kids at home during the summer break spend a lot of time thinking about how to fill all those school-less days and weeks. Here are a few of our current favorite ways to while away the hours…
Nerf Action Camera
With a colorful, Nerf-inspired design, this camera is the perfect way for your kids to document their favorite summer activities (while keeping their little hands off your own camera and phone). Although it’s made for kids (meaning that it’s sturdy enough to take a tumble), it’s also more stylish than most of our first “grown up” cameras were. Resolution is a perfectly respectable 5.1 megapixels (way more than our first digital camera), and kids can shoot videos in 720p HD’llThen they can preview it all in the 1.8-inch TFT preview screen. That’s pretty much guaranteed to keep them occupied (and laughing) for a really long time. Oh, and the Nerf Action Cam is waterproof too, which means it’s ideal for pool-, waterpark-, and beach fun. Around $50 at http://www.toysrus.com.
Kurio Xtreme 2
If there’s a long trip—be it plane, train, or automobile—in your future, your kids will love the latest Kurio, which, according to the manufacturer, is the safest, most full-featured Android tablet built especially for kids. Of course, the kids can use it at home too, and the child-friendly styling will give them a little extra incentive to reach for it instead of yours. This Kurio Xtreme 2 comes with 60 apps, including smash hits like Fruit Ninja and Subway Surfers, some active, body-controlled Kurio Motion games, and a ton of parental controls (including the Kurio Genius Internet filtering system). It also connects to the Google Play Store, but requires parent permission. Kids can use their Kurio to read e-books, take photos, shoot video, and watch movies. This sturdy tablet is made tough, and comes with bumper and a screen protector, as well as a kickstand. Setup can be a little time consuming, so we suggest that you start the process while the kids are in bed so they don’t drive you insane. If you need help with setup or anything else, Kurio techs are available 24-7 and can even take over the tablet for you to fix what ails it. About $100 at http://www.kurioworld.com
This has been the biggest hit of the season, by far. It starts with your child drawing a picture of an animal, mythical creature, or anything else he or she can imagine. Then, you scan the drawing and upload it to the Budsies website or text it to them (info is on their website). In about four weeks (you can pay more for faster delivery), a 16-inch high, stuffed version of your child’s creation arrives at your doorstep. Along the way, you get adorable emails giving you detailed updates on how your future Budsies is progressing. Have your camera ready, because the look on your child’s face when he or she opens up the box and sees a 3D version of something that had previously existed only on paper, is priceless. Sam’s son was thrilled beyond belief when his Budsies arrived—a polar bear with a rainbow sweater. Budsies are a wonderful gift, project, or memento for any child, and will be a toy you’ll never give away or get rid of. If your child doesn’t like to draw, try Selfies, which are plush stufies based on a photo that you upload or text in. Selfies are especially great for military families. Prices vary. Find out more at http://www.budsies.com