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WATER PLAY. Tiny tykes will like the falling water action that offers hours of outdoor fun. The four-gallon WaterWheel Play Table by Step2 comes with a four-piece accessory set - cup, two boats and one tower. Three kids can play at one time, sailing boats and splashing to their heart's content. Rated for children ages 1 and up and with special needs. $34.95. Available at Toys R Us.
GAMES TO GO. Perfect for trips or office R&R, the "take a 20-minute game break" products from Parker Brothers include Scrabble, Battleship, Sorry and Monopoly. Each "express game" comes with a handy traveling case and contents to play. Geared for ages 7 and up. Perfect for birthday gifts, too. $12.95. Available at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, as well as toy retailers.
GET CREATIVE. Utilize crafts to bring out your children's artistic skills this summer.
Girls ages 8 and up can use 1,000-piece bead kits to make dozens of bracelets and rings for all their summer outfits. Your daughter or granddaughter may even want to have a few girlfriends over to share several kits for a backyard bash. $14.99.
Also, let your kids personalize your pet's feeding bowl with this Precious Pet kit; it includes a 6-inch porcelain food bowl, six permanent markers, drawing suggestions and instructions. Art air-dries in one minute. For ages 3 and up; adult supervision suggested for younger ages. $7.99
These and other kits available at Michael's Arts and Crafts Store in Newport News, as well as Ben Franklin Crafts in York County.
CHALK IT UP. Remember the days when kids played hopscotch and drew funny faces on the sidewalk? They can still do it and with washable chalk created just for that purpose. Sidewalk Chalk by Crayola comes with 20 nontoxic sticks packed in a handy plastic tote. Each stick is sized so small hands find them easy to hold.
This season, Sidewalk Chalk features activity sets, sidewalk paint foamer and giant inflatable easels to make outdoor art bigger and better. $2.99 chalk set; $5.99-$9.99 foamer and activity sets. See www.crayola.com for craft ideas. Toys R Us and other toy retailers.
SUPERSIZE BUBBLES. It's hard to resist the fun and fantasy of bubbles floating around your back yard. Take it to the next level, using a battery-powered bubble blower that makes a steady stream of bigger and better bubbles. All you do is push and release the button and close the wand until bubbles form. Clean up is simple: rinse with water; the bottle is 100 percent recyclable, too. $7.99. Available at Toys R Us and mass toy retailers.
PLAY BALL! Swingball is a portable playset you can take to the beach, on a picnic or to grandma's house. Players take turns hitting the tennis ball as it flies around the pole and the tether moves up and down the spiral. The goal is to reach the top or bottom of the spiral first. The pole and tether adjust to fit players of all sizes, ages and abilities. Comes in a plastic carrying case. $30. Available at Wal-Mart.