Make these top toys a part of your family's birthday and holiday celebrations this year. This list includes classic and new games, toys low-tech and high, and gear for outdoors and inside. They appeal to preschoolers, pre-teens, and parents alike.
You can go inexpensive or deluxe with these sets, but either way they're good for lots of backyard games, from "real" volleyball
and badminton to easier versions for younger kids. Use a beach ball, make everything in bounds, don't bother keeping score; there are lots of ways to mix things up.
Now those famous Twister dots are dance teachers. In Twister Dance Contest, follow the lights from the console and dance on the dots. The console is pre-programmed with 5 songs that can be played at 3 skill levels. You can also plug in your own MP3 player and dance to any song in your library. For two to four players, ages 8 and up. Hasbro also has more dance games in the Twister series.
Did you know you can enjoy a ziplining adventure right in your own backyard? This kit supplies everything you need. Anyone who's over 7 years old and under 200 pounds can use it.
Play table tennis on any table with this portable ping pong set. The clever design of its weighted net keeps it in place without any clamps or attachments, and the balls fit inside the net posts for storage.
Bop-It Bounce is a noisy, high-tech reinvention of the old paddle-and-ball-on-a-string toy. Use the paddle to play one of six skill games—the electronic voice commands will tell you what to do, but it's up to you to hit the ball in just the right way to win.
Monkey Business Sports PowerPitch Horseshoes
Definitely not your grandpa's game, this reinvention of the picnic classic lets you play faster and throw farther, indoors or out. Use the catapult to launch the foam horseshoes 10 feet or more!
Just about every backyard in my town has a pair of ladder ball goals in it somewhere! This simple game (also called Blongo Ball or Top Toss) features two goals, or racks, and six pairs of brightly colored golf balls attached together with rope. The object of the game is to toss the balls onto the goal to earn points. Simple? Yes—but addictively fun too. Play one-on-one or in teams.
If you live in a wintry climate, snowshoes are a super way to combine exercise and family time during the colder months. They are incredibly easy to use (it's just like walking, I promise!) but still get your heart pumping. Plus there's no need to drive to a ski slope or resort. You can hit nearby nature trails
, parks, or golf courses, and tailor the length of your trip to your child's stamina (or, hey, your own).
Forget those scary, hard, heavy mallets and balls and opt for kick croquet instead! In this version of the classic game, both the balls and the wickets have been super-sized for easier, more active play (the balls are 16 inches in diameter). Arrange the wickets any way you like for variety and challenge.
Get a grip on this pigskin no matter the weather. Its high-tech, water-resistant surface allows you to throw and catch in rain, snow, and high humidity, just like the pros. You can even choose one decked out in your favorite NFL team's colors and logo.