Summer is almost here!  In anticipation, I wanted to round-up some of the best toy finds for the summer.  My criteria: I was specifically looking for toys that promote activity, provide educational stimulation, enhance family bonding, or that keep kids entertained on road trips. My kids were my more-than-willing test subjects over the last month as we tried out a variety of toys.  Here are some of our favorites:

Nite Ize MeteorLight L.E.D Ball (Disc-O)MeteorLight L.E.D Ball

It’s a ball that lights up.  Instant party.  Perfect for playing ball at night.  My boys loved this.

Green Toys Stacking Cups

Green Toys Stacking CupsKaris loves these cups for stacking and for water play.  I love them because all Green Toys are made of recycled milk jugs. No BPA, PVC, phthalates or external coatings, and they are dishwasher safe.

Hoot Owl Hoot

Peacable Kingdom has a line of great games for kids that eliminate the fighting and competition.  They are created to allow kids to work together, and best of all . . . this one is simple enough for my kids to play peacefully together without my help.

Charles the Lion Chocolate Brown Canvas Backpack

Charles the Lion Canvas Backpack

I love Blabla’s modern stuffed toys, and they now have screenprinted canvas backpacks.  So cute!  These are great for travel, or for toting toys in the car.

Playmobil 4857 Sunshine HomePlaymobil Sunshine Home

This cute dollhouse comes with 4 family members and is furnished with kitchen, living area, bathroom and bedroom for the whole family. It’s a perfect size for playing.

Razor Jr. Kiddie Kick Scooter, PinkRazor Jr. Folding Scooter

Karis’s scooter envy is finally over – she is in love with her little Razor Jr. It has a three-wheel design for added stability and an impact-resistant plastic body.  Razors are the perfect summer toy and I love that our whole family can now enjoy them.

Razor Graffiti Chalk Scooter, BlueRazor Graffiti Chalk Scooter

Speaking of Razor and summer, their newest edition is a traditional scooter outfitted with spots for three pieces of chalk that allow kids to create sidewalk art as they ride. Like all Razors, this version folds up easily so it can be taken to the park or the bike path.  (Chalk optional!)

Razor V-17 Youth Multi-Sport Helmet (Black Gloss) Razor Multi-Sport Helmet

Razor mult-sport helmets are a must, too.  Good for bike-riding, skateboarding, and (of course) scooters, they even come in pink!

Crayola Glow Explosion Sand Art Scenes

Crayola Glow Explosion Sand Art

Glow Sand is a fun and creative project that allows kids to create their own work of art with glowing sand. 

Crayola Sidewalk Tattoos Bug Critters

Crayola Sidewalk Tattoos Bug Critters

Sidewalk tattoos let kids create and color detailed drawings and scenes on sidewalks, driveways or any other flat outdoor surface.And they wash off with water.

Smart Lab Indoor/Outdoor MicroscopeSmart Lab Indoor/Outdoor Microscope

I have to admit, even Mark and I were fascinated with looking at things through this super-powered microscope. Commonly found items like newspapers, pencil strokes, flower petals, bugs, and even clothing fibers are fun to watch at 40 times their normal size. Kids can use the stand to view prepared slides, or remove the microscope from the stand and head outdoors to explore.

Smart Lab Bug PlaygroundSmart Lab Bug Playground

My kids love hunting for bugs and putting them into this playground.  And then chasing their sisters around with their new “pets”.

PlanToys WorkbenchPlanToys Workbench

This is a really fun construction workbench that includes 6 tools, 27 construction parts and a removable storage unit. Kids can hammer and screw construction parts into both the table and back panel.  Like all PlanToys, this set is made of non-toxic, natural materials and organic rubberwood.

The Original Snoopy Sno-Cone MachineThe Original Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine

I had this same Sno-Cone machine as a kid, and it is so fun seeing my kids play with it, too!  First introduced in 1979, this nostalgic toy lets children create treats to help them beat the heat. Kids can place an ice cube top and watch it transform into a sno-cone by turning the handle.

Happiness is a Warm Puppy (Peanuts)Happiness is a Warm Puppy

Speaking of Snoopy nostalgia, this book is one of our favorites.  On every spread there’s a tiny tidbit of wisdom from one of the characters. 

My kids love their costumes, and these pocket capes are a great portable addition to their collection. This satin cape has a velcro closure, 4 inside pockets for favorite toys, and a clear vinyl back pocket to display one of the included shields or the child’s own artwork.  It also comes in pink!

Tony Hawk Huckjam Series Indoor Practice Board

If your kids are wanna-be skaters like mine, you will love this practice board that lets them try out new tricks on the safety of carpet, grass or sand before hitting the pavement.  It is available at Target this June and will be available at Walmart in October.  You can see it in action at this video.

Bla bla kids Inoo-Lala BoogalooBla bla Boogaloo

I am in love with Blabla’s knitted dolls, and their new boogaloo toys are great gifts for babies and toddlers.  The whole collection is designed by Florence Wetterwald and hand-knit by Peruvian artisans using all-natural fibers. 

Green Toys Flatbed with Race CarGreen Toys Flatbed with Race Car

It’s the environmentally responsible flatbed truck! This blue truck hauls a red hot rod on its back and has a flatbed that tilts up to allow the car to roll off.  My kids love this in the sand-box.  Like all Green Toys these eco-conscious vehicles are made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic milk containers.

Count Your Chickens

This is another great game for young kids from Peaceable Kingdom, helping kids to learn concepts of counting and taking turns. 

The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy (Klutz Guides)The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy

This is a fun travel book for older kids, tackling important stuff like “How likely is it that a meteor will fall from the sky and squash me flat?” and “If I lived on Mercury, am I already old enough to drive?” and “Why do they call them MoonPies?” It’s a fun take on science that is entertaining and educational.

Klutz The Encyclopedia of My ImmaturityKlutz The Encyclopedia of My Immaturity

Another fun book for the tween set, this quirky diary is a wise-cracking collection of write-in-the-book activities immortalizing the triumphs of a smart-aleck youth.

Sticker Design Studio: Create Your Own Custom Stickers (Klutz)Sticker Design Studio: Create Your Own Custom Stickers (Klutz)

The book is packed with over 500 cute die-cut designs you mix, match, color, and layer to create your own unique stickers.  In addition to ready-to-color stickers, the book features colorful pages of tips, inspiration, and guided creativity.

Nite Ize Flashflight L.E.D Light Up Flying Disc (Disc-O, Large)Nite Ize Flashflight Light Up Flying Disc

It’s a frisbee!  That lights up!  Also, Jafta is convinced this is one of the discs from Tron.  This little toy gets a lot of play at my house.

Products were submitted to me for review – inclusion at my discretion and opinions definitely my own.