FamilyFun's 2013 Boredom Buster Awards
Need a cure for your kids' summertime blues? We got 15 of them! All of these playthings stood out from the pack for their smile-restoring powers -- and ability to deliver hours of entertainment.
For Big Kids: The Wheel Deal
What happens when you combine a scooter, a bike, and a skateboard? You get Sbyke P20, an eye-catching hybrid with a fixed 20-inch wheel, rear steering, and the sturdiness to carry up to 220 pounds (go, Dad!).
Ages 8 and up, $249.99, sbyke.com
For Tots: Rad Ride-On
Kids get Ziggle moving forward by twisting the handlebars and wiggling in their seat. The casters allow for 360-degree spinning action.
Ages 3 to 8, $49.99, radioflyer.com
For Little Kids: Three-Wheeled Fun
Pushing off with your feet is so 2012. To power the Y Fliker F1 scooter, kids move their hips side to side, somewhat like a slalom skier.
Ages 5 and up, $99.99, toysrus.com
Instant Fun: Hit the Road, Kids
Each roll of Civil Engineer Tape provides 25 meters of faux blacktop, complete with such handy details as crosswalks and intersections. Intended for use on carpet, the durable tape stands up well to both foot and toy traffic, then pulls up easily when drive time is over.
Ages 3 to 10, $8, hungryrobot.com
Portable Toy: Put Your Best Face Forward
Magnetibook Crazy Faces lets kids make plenty of faces (and not just at their siblings). Bonus: the 67 funny magnetic facial features, funky hairstyles, and accessories all store neatly in the case.
Ages 3 to 8, $14.99, creativekidstuff.com
Great Video Game: When Disney Worlds Collide!
In Disney Infinity, players put a figurine (such as Sulley, shown here) on a base, then play onscreen as that character in his animated movie world (Monsters University in Sulley's case). During the game, kids collect virtual characters, vehicles, gadgets, and more, then use them to make new stories and adventures. Our favorite creation: Captain Jack driving Cinderella's carriage across Halloween Town while wielding a toilet paper launcher! Single player; Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and Wii U.
Ages 8 and up, $74.99 for starter pack, infinity.disney.com
Nighttime Toy: Ground Control to Major Fun
Thanks to Skylight Rockets, there are no more shots in the dark -- stomp rocket shots, that is. When the sun goes down, just switch out the trio of regular rockets for the two with red-and-blue LED flashing lights.
Ages 3 and up, $20, amazon.com
Apps We Love
Adventures -- as well as friendly lions -- lurk around every corner in Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures: Lions! Explore African grasslands with photos and videos, play games, solve puzzles, make music on the Animal Piano, or create a wild animal mash-up with the Animal Builder. iOS.
Ages 4 to 7, $4.99
In Wild Kratts Creature Power, kids learn about the natural world by accompanying TV's Kratt brothers on animal missions. Two of our favorites: helping a mother raccoon feed her babies and flinging buckets of water at elephants to help them cool off. iOS and Android.
Ages 4 to 8, $2.99
A rainbow machine that kids fuel by choosing healthy produce options? That's the premise of Yummiloo Rainbow Power, and our testers really ate it up. Along the way, they also learned a bit about the cycle of composting, planting, and harvesting. iOS.
Ages 4 to 8, $1.99
Activity Books: Take Your Reading Beyond Words
The journal Doodle Your Day (shown at bottom left) inspires 365 moments of creativity, whether it's drawing a cool treat on National Ice Cream Sandwich Day (August 2) or listing the fun things you did this summer (on August 27).
Ages 8 and up, $16.99, gibbs-smith.com
Kids don't need a green thumb to see beautiful results with Johanna Basford's Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book (shown at top left). Filling in the 60 intricate pen-and-ink outlines of flora and fauna will keep them busy as the bees hidden in the art.
Ages 6 and up, $14.95, amazon.com
Fans of Tom Angleberger's best-selling Origami Yoda series can now craft their own paper Jedi Master with the companion Art2-D2's Guide to Folding and Doodling (shown at top middle). Also cool: learning how to draw Jabba the Hutt using only one line.
Ages 8 and up, $12.95, abramsbooks.com
The Book of Impossible Objects (shown at top right) reveals the secrets behind 25 clever tricks, optical illusions, and experiments. Some amuse, others amaze (like balancing a coin on the edge of a dollar!); all rely on well-explained principles of science.
Ages 8 and up, $19.99, klutz.com
Turn boredom upside down with I Like to Draw/I Like to Write (shown at middle right). One half of this double-sided book contains zany art starters; just flip it over for imagination-stretching story prompts.
Ages 8 and up, $14.95, amazon.com
Originally published in the August 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine.