Staying at home for months on end has had us all online, and shopping online, a lot more. Our Seattle Editor, Allison Sutcliffe feels us. A part-time, working mom with three kids, we asked Allison for her top 12 products that have gotten her through the pandemic, the summer and beyond. Read on to hear more from Allison.

I’m a work-from-home mom of three kids (ages 2, 9 & 12), and like many Seattle families, I’ve had to pivot hard these past few months, trading summer camps and the annual family vacay for outdoor games and backyard movie nights instead. Because we’re all in this together, I thought I’d share the gear that’s making it happen for us (and keeping me sane, too!) in the hopes it does the same for you. Scroll down to see what I can’t get enough of right now.

Orion 10012 SkyScanner Telescope

We had no idea we’d be in for the stargazing summer of the century when we picked up this tabletop telescope for my oldest daughter's pandemic-style birthday. Even though we didn’t spot Neowise (so bummed!), we pull it out often to check out the moon (in amazing detail!) and spot planets and bright stars in the summer sky. My favorite part is that it's so portable. We can easily take it anywhere and set it at kid height so everyone can take a peek.

Get yours here, $99.99.

Tovolo Ice Pop Molds

With the warmer-than-usual weather we’ve been having, the kids have been downing homemade popsicles by the dozen to cool off. We’ve gotten a ton of mileage out of these BPA-free molds. The fact that I get to control what goes into them… added bonus!

Get yours here, $11.99.

Curious Kids Nature Guide

Hiking has been our family’s go-to, socially distanced outdoor activity since the beginning of the pandemic. As restrictions have loosened, and we’ve ventured out further and further, we keep going back to this bookshelf fave that highlights local eco systems and inspires us to seek out new terrain and see what we can find in the forest and on the beach.

Get yours here, $12.59.

photo: courtesy Beet World

Beet World

Since we first started staying home, I can’t tell you how many clothing sizes my toddler has been through! Instead of hitting the stores, I’ve added a few playful pieces from Beet World to her wardrobe. I can’t get enough of this local, mom-owned biz that gives back and is focused on sustainability. Beet World’s been a lifesaver for birthdays, too. Their newly-added mystery gift boxes make shopping for friends and family, near and far, a cinch, no matter what the occasion.

Get yours here, prices vary.

Painted Learning Tower & Activity Boards

We’ve been doing a lot of baking recently (hello, quarantine 15!), and my two year old wants in on the action. So we splurged on this learning tower that lets my toddler safely “help” alongside us. I love the multi-function of this souped-up step stool. Seriously. We removed a side panel so she climbs in an out at will, hopping off to play with the activity boards when she's had enough mixing, pouring and stirring. We all win with this one!

Get the tower here, $239.99 and the activity boards here and here, $39.99-44.99.

KEEN Kids’ Seacamp II CNX-C

Not a new obsession but a reliable one. New pair. Every year. Each kid. We wear them pretty much everywhere—tidepooling, hiking, boating and exploring the neighborhood. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a practical shoe.

Get yours here, $29.95 & up.

Paint & Plant Pizza Herb Growing Kit

Admittedly, I don’t have the greenest thumb, but this handy herb growing kit has been just what my kids needed to get interested in gardening. We tranferred the original plants and they're doing just fine in pots on the deck, and new herbs are growing in the kitchen window as we speak.

Get yours here, $24.99.

Qwixx

Everyone in the family loves this game, even our youngest (we let her roll the dice for us). It's easy to learn, quick to play and we can bring it anywhere (it fits in my diaper bag as easily as my purse). Plus, there's enough luck mixed in that anyone can win. My kids love that part the most!

Get yours here, 7.99

Reusable Swim Diaper

Where were these things when my oldest was born? Seriously love using this diaper with my toddler whether we’re at the beach, splashing in the kiddie pool or running through the sprinkler in the backyard. It’s my guilt-free summer gear for baby.

Get yours here, $16.97.

Pacific Breeze Easy Set Up Beach Tent

Although we haven’t gotten around to much camping this summer, we’ve tooled around the Sound seeking out secluded beaches every chance we get. When we find a spot we set up this lightweight pop-up shade that keeps everyone out of the sun and acts as a home base. My tween can set it up and take it down on his own (love it!) and it's packs up easily too. We love throw 'n' go gear!

Get yours here, $74.99

Kubb Outdoor Tossing Game

We knew we’d need to turn our backyard into a play zone to get the kids through the summer, so we ordered Kubb and haven’t looked back. Everybody’s into the strategy of it and I love that it's one more thing to do outside, close to home with the kids.

Get yours here, $49.99.

Alligator Bubble Blower Machine

This one is a kid obsession in our house. The big kids love turning it on almost as much as my two-year-old loves playing with the bubbles it makes. Needless to say, we’ve had a lot of impromptu bubble dance parties in the backyard.

Get yours here, $14.99.

Editor’s Note: At the time of publication, all prices were current and all items were available for purchase.

All images courtesy of retailers.

—Allison Sutcliffe

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