# 0-3 Years, 4-7 Years, 8-12 Years, Gravity, Outdoors

Best Summer Toy for Small Yards or No Yard

Best Summer Toy for Small Yards or No Yards - TheEngineersKids

Happy First Day of Summer! I am so excited. I know everyone else has been out of school for a month, but we just got done last week! It seems so sad, I know, but usually we don’t go back to school until mid September (this year we go back in August, because they are switching us to a more “normal” schedule all because of all the testing the kids have to do in school…lame). And September is a much better month to be out of school in California.

Why you ask? Because all the touristy types have left, so it’s not crowded, and it’s way hotter than it was in May and June. So we are still partying, and picnicking, and surfing, and swimming, and Disneyland-ing, etc. Then San Diego does the whole month of October when kids get into everything free, so we just keep on partying. Which is why we all live here, even though it is so dang expensive, and our houses and yards are much smaller than in other areas.

We live in a condo. It’s small for seven people. And the backyard is only twenty feet by twenty feet, which leaves little room for slip-n-slides, pools of any sort, elaborate sprinkler systems (awwwe, I want one of these for Eva), or especially this monster that my kids are in awe of.

We beat the heat with our good old garden hose, some buckets, and our favorite hot weather toy. The kids call it a chemistry set.

Best summer toy for no yard - Water play - TheEngineersKids

The weather really warmed up here for a few days this week. The kids played chemistry on their picnic table for hours and hours. The set we used came from our local toy library, which normally I love, but this time it kind of hampered their play a bit. I felt protective of the toys, since they weren’t ours and there was mud and soap involved. The set came with a couple of small pitchers with pour-spouts, a few pipettes (like turkey basters), measuring cups and spoons, and some plastic hoses.

Best summer toy for small apartments - Water play - TheEngineersKids

Since the kids were getting the toy library toys muddy, I made them put them all away after that. We never really got them back out again, and then it was time to return them. It made me feel like a mean mom for not letting them play more when they were having so much fun with it.

Best summer toy when you have no yard - Water play - TheEngineersKids

I decided to get out some of our own tools and look into making our own “chemistry” set a little cooler. Maybe I’ll run to the dollar store to see what they have.

Here’s my shopping list:

  • bucket (ours are all cracked, and really all the play buckets at Target and Wal-Mart are just not very sturdy)
  • turkey baster
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • large and small funnels
  • plastic tubing if they’ve got it
  • a colander (so the kids can make an outdoor shower of course)

Or maybe I’ll save myself the trip and just buy this same one, since it really was pretty all-inclusive.

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# 0-3 Years, 4-7 Years, Counting, Math, Toy Reviews by Age, Toy Reviews by Topic

Fish-A-Ree – Toy Review

Fisharee

Fish-A-Ree is sort of Memory meets Let’s Go Fishin’, without the hassle of trying to get the fish to actually bite the little magnet. It has been a really fun game for my 3 year old, and even though it is a simple game, the slightly older kids (mine are 5 and 7) have enjoyed sitting and playing with him.

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How we play it:*

Fish-A-Ree is kind of a new game for us. So far the kids have been having a ton of fun with the little measuring tape it comes with. They measure the fish, they measure each other, they measure the baby and she gets mad that they are pinning her down for measurement. That type of thing.

Leto (age 3) has also enjoyed just setting up the game. He likes to put all the fish in the holes, take them out and line them up in order by length, decide on which fish is his favorite, match the fish (there are 2 of each length), and pretend to eat them.

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How you’re supposed to play it:

The slightly older kids (age 5 and 7) like to play the right way. You stick a bunch of the fish into their slots, so just the bobber sticks up. Then you draw a card that tells you how many units long of a fish you need, try to draw the fish that is that long, and put it back if you’re wrong or keep it if you’re right.

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Malena and Jules playing Fish-A-Ree:

* We love to modify the rules of every game. There’s value in making a game work well for your family, and I love giving a few ideas of alternative play. And sometimes we just dial the competitiveness down a notch to avoid kid fights.

How about you? Does your family play Fish-A-Ree? Do you have any fun rule modifications? Has your baby gotten pinned to the floor so the bigger kids can measure her?