The tail end of winter might seem a little long this year but we promise you: warmer weather is right around the corner. To get you jazzed about getting outdoors, we’ve found four things we can’t wait to get outside and play with. If you’re lucky enough to live in a mild climate, you can get going now! Read on for our picks.
photo: Space Scooter
What it is: A next-level scooter that uses seesaw-like motion to propel forward.
Why we love it: You can use it like a regular kick scooter to get around but when you want to take things up a notch, you release a lever that elevates the back of the kickboard. The next thing you know you are balancing and making a back-and-forth motion with your feet—and it’s moving you forward. It comes in two sizes, so grown-ups can get in on the fun too (and it’s a thigh burner so a great way to stay fit while having a blast!). The entire thing folds down for space-saving storage too. This is not your average kick scooter!
Good to know: The Space Scooter Junior (X360) is $99 and for kids ages 4-8 (weight limit of 130 lbs.) and the Space Scooter X580 (Regular) is $149, with a 200-lb weight limit. The handle height is adjustable as kids grow taller or if you want to switch between kids.
Ages: 4-8 and 9 and up
Where to buy: spacescooter-usa.com, $99-$149
photo courtesy Kammok
2. Kammok Roo
What it is: A lightweight, two-person, packable hammock that folds down so small you can shove it in your backpack.
Why we love it: There are a few different two-person hammocks out there but this one is a cut above for three reasons: it packs down extremely small in seconds; it is super sturdy, like camping-gear sturdy, and it is big enough for two (or even three if they’re little!) because it unfurls to the size of a queen bed. Plus, it’s easy to set up, and you can take it with you to the park, summer festivals and camping. Oh, and did we mention it only weighs 23 oz including the carabiners? We also love the company’s social conscious donation of a portion of proceeds to sustainable change in Kenya through CTC International.
Good to know: You’ll need two sturdy trees or poles to attach this to, because it is not a self-standing hammock. The carabiners come with the hammock but the straps do not, so be sure to add them to your cart when purchasing. The hammock is $99 and straps are $29 but your purchase comes with a lifetime warranty.
Ages: All ages (small children and infants should not be left alone in a hammock)
Where to buy: kammok.com, $99
Bonus! In addition to the Roo, check out the just-released Wallaby, a single-person hammock that runs just $65 and packs down to 10 oz.
What it is: An outdoor play kitchen that includes a canopy to help protect their skin from the sun.
Why we love it: If you have the space to pop this thing up on your deck or lawn you’re in for a summer of fun. The canopy gives it a farmer’s market pop-up vibe and there’s room for multiple littles in at the same time. Plus it’s got sand and water features and comes with a dish set.
Good to know: At $169 it’s not the cheapest play structure you’ll find but if you’re in the market for a sand table, outdoor kitchen or similar, this combines the best of all of those worlds. A great addition to a daycare or preschool, too.
Where to buy: Amazon.com, $169
What it is: A solar-powered vehicle that can be controlled by casting shadows on the panels.
Why we love it: While remote-controlled vehicles are a dime a dozen, this bad boy incorporates STEM learning into its drive time: Use shadows across the solar panels to make the vehicle move, turn and stop. It teaches the basics of solar energy and allows for totally off-the-grid outdoor play. No batteries needed and no assembly require. It even comes with cones to create an obstacle course. This is a great take-along for camping, too.
Where to buy: educationalinsights.com, $19.99
5. nabi Compete
What it is: A wearable wristband that tracks your movement and syncs to an app designed to encourage kids to get outside and get active via games, rewards and friendly competition.
Why we love it: Created by Mattel, the idea is for entire families to wear. There’s a Compete 2 Pack, a Hot Wheels version and even a Barbie one! You sync up with other wearers through an app on a smartphone and can create activity challenges (walk the length of the Brooklyn Bridge; walk far enough to burn off a donut) as well as group goals (collectively complete a marathon). Kids also can unlock and feed pets using the points they gain by keeping active.
Good to know: The nabi Compete comes in a 2-pack ($39.99) and the Barbie and Hot Wheels versions (both $29.99) are single wearable only. You can swap out color caps and change the look (set of swapable bands and caps is $14.99).
Ages: 6 and up
Where to buy: Amazon.com
What’s your favorite thing to do when the weather warms up? Tell us in a comment below!