Summer vacation is all fun and games until Day Two, when the, “I’m bored!” and, “There’s nothing to do!”s come out. That’s the moment I’m tempted to just go to the store or Amazon and cave to the kids’ constant pleadings for toys they see on TV. How often are these toys as magical as the child actors in the infomercials say they are? Seldom. Here are some of our (worst) favorites:
The Wubble Bubble Ball — On the commercials and even the box, this toy looks enormous. It “looks like a bubble but plays like a ball” — except it doesn’t. We’ve tried this toy two different times and each time, it inflated to a quarter of the size it was supposed to. I made the mistake of getting one for a friend’s son for his birthday at the same time we bought our first one, so now I’m also a horrible gift-giver.
Self-tying water balloons — the concept of these is actually pretty great: Attach a group of these balloons-on-sticks to your hose with the included attachment; turn on the hose; fill 25 balloons fill with water at once; when they’re full, they detach from the sticks, all tied together and ready to go. It’s insanely easy and fast it is to blow up 500 water balloons like this. My kids love this toy. But do you know how long it takes to pick up remnants of 500 water balloons from your front yard? Forever. And a day. And after filling 500 water balloons and cleaning up, my back hurts.
Blow-up orca — This pool toy has been around for ages. I remember swimming in my grandma’s pool and trying to jump on (and stay on) the killer whale. Why did it make this list? There’s NO WAY a person can stay on that whale and look cool and have fun. The design makes it impossible: Jump on the back, and you slide right down to the slowly deflating tail. This toy promises fun but delivers frustration.
Colored bubbles — The description of this summer toy sounds awesome. It sounds fun. It sounds creative. The actual experience? Horrible. The bubble solution stains front porches (it does come out eventually), faces and clothing, and it doesn’t create great bubbles. Every parent knows the lifespan of a small bottle of bubble solution is approximately 10 minutes before it gets tipped over. With these, you aren’t just left with a puddle of suds; you’re left with a puddle of staining suds, and it’s not great.
Some of our best summer favorites — I’m all about sidewalk chalk and bike rides. Throw in some frozen treats and runs through sprinklers, and summer is golden.