After weeks on lockdown, my kids are getting bored of our toys, books, and games. Time to shop! I searched online for fun new ideas, and found lots of inspiration on Vat19, a shopping site that curates a selection of imaginative products you won't find just anywhere. I also love their product review videos, which are both hilarious and instructive.
To get you started, I made this list of my top recommendations for kids and families. They're affordable and will inspire at-home fun for kids, whether they're playing alone or spending time with the whole family. Some products are edible, like this Candy Sushi that looks tooth-achingly delicious. There are also fun games like this Indoor Baseball Set perfect for kids who miss sports. Crafty kids will love this DIY Thinking Putty, and I found something really special for animal lovers. Read on for all my suggestions, and treat your kids to something new!
We hope you find these products as awesome as we do. Just an FYI: We are a participant in the Amazon affiliate program, and may receive a share of sales from links on this page. Prices on Amazon fluctuate so anything mentioned below might change as soon we publish it!
We hope you find these handy products as awesome as we do. Just an FYI: we participate in affiliate programs, and may receive a share of sales from links on this page.
Create Beautiful, Abstract Art With Aqua IllusionsTempt your kids away from screens with a hands-on art project that's easy enough for the totally unartistic, yet yields a sophisticated result! Fill the tray with water, then drip and drizzle the included paint on the surface of the water. The Aqua Illusions set also includes a wand that creates floral shapes. Float a piece of paper on the surface of the water to transfer the paint, and you end up with a beautiful, completely unique piece of art each time!
Encourage Clean-Up With This Basketball Hoop Laundry Hamper
via: Vat19Combine target practice, game-time, and clean-up with one product! This basketball hoop laundry hamper is a great laundry solution for a kid's bedroom or the family bathroom. You can install it in seconds--in fact, I'm not sure it's fair to say you have to "install" it, because all you do is hang the padded hooks over the door! The bottom of the netting has a clever release mechanism, so you can dump clothes out into a basket without taking the hoop off the door.
Enjoy Clean and Quiet Sensory Play With This Bucket of Floof
via: Vat19Keep a Bucket of Floof on hand for the next time you need your child quietly entertained. The snow-white, marshmallow-soft material has a wonderfully light and fluffy texture that's fun to squeeze and shape. Use cookie cutters or sand toys to mold the Floof over and over again. It never dries out, and it's easy to clean up (thankfully, it doesn't stick to anything or leave behind any residue!).
Paint Fleeting Designs With Water on This Buddha Board
via: Vat19My daughter discovered a Buddha Board in a doctor's waiting room and was immediately entranced. Dip the included brush in the water tray, then paint designs, words, or abstract strokes onto the canvas. Soon, the water begins to evaporate and the board goes back to pure white. No painting lasts for long, teaching a Zen-like message about living in the moment without stress for the future.
Treat Yourself or Your Kids to the Sweet Fun of This Candy Sushi
via: Vat19My kids love gummy candy, the weirder the better, so I'm getting them a set of candy sushi for a weekend surprise. The candy is brightly colored and amazingly detailed to resemble a tasty selection of rolls and sashimi. But don't worry--there's no fish flavor to worry about! It's made from gummy, licorice, and marshmallow candy, so every bite is sugary-sweet.
Take Better Feline-Themed Selfies and TikToks With This Cat Selfie Helper
via: Vat19One of the great joys of having pet cats is taking adorable selfies with them...when they'll cooperate. Help your kitty pose better with the Cat Selfie Helper, a clever little gadget that attaches to the top of your phone or tablet to provide a focal point for your furry friend. Give your phone a shake to ring the tiny bell, then be ready to take the photo or start the video! I have a feeling this could work well with toddlers and distracted husbands, too.
Keep Restless Hands Occupied With This Color-Changing Putty
via: Vat19Distance learning comes with a lot of challenges for kids. One major problem we've had is the kids getting restless during video lessons or online class sessions. I've discovered a few tricks that help: Remind kids to stand up and wiggle often, let them chew gum, and give them a quiet toy to fiddle with. This color-changing putty is a great solution. The thick, dense putty provides a lot of sensory input as kids mold, stretch, or twist it. This batch is heat-sensitive so it changes colors while being manipulated.
Celebrate the Good Things With This Confetti High-Five
via: Vat19Make your next birthday, graduation, or other happy day a little more special with the super-fun Confetti High-Five! This clever little gadget straps onto your hand. A firm slap triggers a jet of air through the cartridge, shooting paper confetti into the air. Instant party! The set comes with six cartridges, with more available separately.
Creative Kids Will Love Crayon Clay
via: Vat19With all this time stuck at home, my kids and I are looking for new craft projects all the time. We've made bracelets, painted watercolor masterpieces, and sewed our own stuffed animals. Next up, crayon clay! This ingenious invention is like two crafts in one. It includes five colors of clay (red, blue, yellow, green, and white) that can be blended to form additional hues. Mold the clay with hands or tools, then let it air dry for 24 hours. It forms hard, highly pigmented crayons that you can draw and color with!
Serve Mess-Free Snacks With This Crunch Cup
via: Vat19The next time your kids want to eat breakfast in the backyard or in front of the TV, it's an easy yes! The Crunch Cup holds cereal and milk in separate compartments, then combines them into each slurpy bite. It's also an amazing solution for anyone who hates soggy cereal.
Turn Pennies Into Art With This DIY Lincoln Portrait
via: Vat19My youngest daughter is a fan of Abraham Lincoln, so this DIY Lincoln Portrait is already in the cart for her next birthday! The poster template shows you where to glue your own pennies (you'll need 846 pennies in four shades). The affordable kit includes the poster, instructions, a booklet about Lincoln, and a 1943 collectible steel penny (produced for one year only to conserve copper during World War II).
Create Your Own Custom Blend With DIY Thinking Putty
via: Vat19Thinking putty is great for restless or anxious kids, especially when they need a quiet fidget toy to help them concentrate on schoolwork. Now, kids can customize their own putty with this DIY Thinking Putty set. The kit includes clear putty, along with red, yellow, blue, and glitter concentrations that can be massaged into the putty to create a unique look. You can also add extra sparkle or make the putty glow in the dark. Finally, decorate the tin container's lid with included colored pencils for the ultimate in personalization.
This Farting Dog Toy Is Gross and Goofy and Will Make You Laugh
via: Vat19This toy is meant for dogs, but I'm pretty sure kids will find it hilarious whether or not you have a dog! Shaped like the famous poop emoji, the soft plush dog toy plays seven different fart sounds when bitten or squeezed.
Relax With the Hypnotic Effect of This Jellyfish Lamp
via: Vat19If your kids are mesmerized by jellyfish tanks at aquariums, this jellyfish lamp is perfect for them. It works wonderfully as a nightlight or a pleasant distraction on a desk. The 8-inch-tall lamp uses LED lights to illuminate two fake jellyfish that move realistically in a small amount of tap water you add yourself.
Animal Lovers Can Adopt a Llama
via: Vat19Llama fans can support a rescue society that saves neglected and abused llamas with this Llama Adoption Kit. A thoughtful gift for any kid who loves animals or doesn't need any more "stuff," the kit includes information sheets packaged in a cute tin, along with a code to activate the adoption and receive a personalized certificate.
Have Quiet, Low-Tech Fun With This MagnaTab
via: Vat19Next time your kiddo says they're bored, hand them the MagnaTab. The magnetic "drawing" tablet contains 361 magnetic spheres that click into place (with a satisfying little popping sound) when guided with the included stylus. Create designs and drawings, then "erase" by pressing the balls down with your finger. Makes a fantastic travel toy (keep it in the back of the car for when you run errands or wait in long restaurant drive-through lines!).
Create a Peaceful Ambiance With This Color-Changing Moon Lamp
via: Vat19Spruce up your child's space with this Moon Lamp. Small enough to use as a bedside nightlight, the battery-operated lamp is a 4.5" plastic sphere designed to look like the surface of the moon. Use the included remote control to change the brightness (there are four settings) or color (there are 16 colors and four transition effects).
Light Up Summer Nights With This Nightball Basketball
via: Vat19Backyard playtime doesn't have to end when it gets dark, thanks to the Nightball Basketball! The inflatable, officially sized basketball has motion-sensitive LED lights inside, so it lights up with every bounce, toss, or roll. When playtime's over, the light automatically shuts off after 70 seconds of inactivity. Batteries included.
Make Weird Electronic Music With the Otamatone
via: Vat19If you want a quiet toy, please move along. But if you're willing to put up with some noise in order to delight your kids, the Otamatone is pretty darned fun! Squeeze the silicone mouth and run your finger up the digital frets to control the electronic tone. With practice, kids can play recognizable songs. With multiple Otamatones, players can harmonize!
Make Distance Learning a Little More Fun With This Giant Fruit-Scented Eraser
via: Vat19Show your kids that even big mistakes can be fixed with a positive attitude and the right tools! This oversized rainbow eraser measures a whopping 5.5" by 2", so it should last until they get to college (and maybe beyond). The sweet, fruity scent makes it all the more fun to use.
Saving Money Is More Fun With This Motorized Panda Coin BankEncourage kids to save money with this Panda Bank, a motorized coin savings bank that's not only practical, but irresistibly cute! Place a coin on the bamboo dish, press down, and watch as the panda slowly peeks out and grabs the coin to slide it safely inside the box. A secret door on the bottom can be opened to retrieve coins later.
Launch the Parashoot Up to 80 Feet
via: Vat19The Parashoot packs a lot of fun in a small package! Slingshot the ball with the attached strap to launch the ball into the air. It can travel up to 80 feet before triggering the self-deploying parachute. Then, the toy safely drifts back down, ready for another launch. Fun to use in the backyard, sidewalk, park, or beach.
Sharpen Sports Skills at Home With the PassBack Training Football
via: Vat19Young athletes may be frustrated by the pause in sports practice, but they can continue to exercise at home with the right equipment. Football players, along with any active kids and teens, will have fun with the PassBack Training Football. The ball is designed to be thrown at a wall, and if thrown correctly, it will bounce right back to the player. If it's a bad throw, it'll bounce off at an angle and have to be chased down! This trains the player to throw correctly and is a great self-correcting method for improving throwing skills.
Kids Can Play in the Dirt (But Stay Clean!) With This Fake Dirt
via: Vat19When my kids were little, they loved playing in the dirt outside--but I didn't love cleaning up afterward. This bucket of play dirt is a creative solution! Kids enjoy the sensory input from the moist, moldable fake dirt as they pack, roll, mold, and shape it over and over. It never dries out or leaves a mess!
Weird and Cute Plush Microbes Will Make Brainy Kids Laugh
via: Vat19Brainy kids and teens taking biology will get a kick out of these plush microbes: stuffed toys modeled after real germs. The set includes four soft microbes that fit nicely in the hand or look nerdy-cute lined up on a shelf.
Brighten Up a Gray Day with This Rainbow Bath Bomb
via: Vat19When pandemic news, gloomy weather, or everyday stress puts you or your kiddo in a bad mood, a long bath can really help. For a special treat, toss in this rainbow bath bomb! The white, cloud-shaped tablet emits a stream of rainbow-colored streaks into the bath while the sweet agave scent fills the air.
Brew Your Own Root Beer at Home
via: Vat19Kids can become home brewers with this fun DIY root beer set. Part chemistry, part cooking, and all fun, the set includes equipment and ingredients to brew two gallons of your own carbonated soda from scratch--just add your own sugar.
The Game of Hot Potato Is Much More Exciting With This Shock Ball
via: Vat19Who wouldn't want to watch their friends or siblings be literally shocked? Toss the Shock Ball back and forth and steel yourself, because it emits a real electric shock at random intervals! The zap is completely safe and isn't painful, but it's surprising enough that it might make you drop the ball--and lose the game.
Soothe Your Little One With White Noise From This Sleep Sheep
via: Vat19A sweet gift for babies (and their tired parents), this Sleep Sheep stuffed animal is lovably soft and safe for all ages. It includes a velcro strap so you can attach it to a bedpost or the outside of a crib. Best of all, the sheep plays gentle white noise that soothes babies and obscures sounds from the rest of the house. The white noise sounds include a mother's heart beat, rain, ocean waves, and whale song.
Kids Can Make Their Own Frozen Treats With This Slushy Maker
via: Vat19If your kids or teens are missing slurpies and frappuccinos, get them this Slushy Maker to encourage a do-it-yourself lesson in independence (not to mention saving money on those expensive drinks). The specially designed gadget takes a little bit of planning, but very little effort! Freeze the cup ahead of time for 4-6 hours. Pour in the drink of your choice, then squeeze and massage the silicone cup to quick-chill the ingredients. It only takes about a minute to turn the drink into a slushy! Includes a dome-shaped lid and spoon-straw for that primo slushy experience.
Are Your Kids Missing Sports? Play "Baseball" Inside With This Stikball
via: Vat19It's not as good as playing baseball at the park, but the Stikball lets kids practice throwing and catching skills indoors and burn off some energy. The soft, sticky "ball" is safe to throw at walls, windows, and other flat surfaces--it lands with a satisfying splat and sticks in place until you peel it off and throw again.
Construct Elaborate Drinking Straws With Strawz
via: Vat19This is a great toy to break out during the half-hour before dinner's ready. The Strawz set includes 24 straight straw pieces and 20 flexible connectors in a variety of shapes. Connect them in multiple configurations to create a new design every time! Kids have fun building elaborate straws and even more fun drinking through them!
Fun for Kids and Adults! Try the Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza Game
via: Vat19With eye-catching colors, cute graphics, and simple rules, the Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza Game is a fast-paced game that works with 3-8 players. It's recommended for ages 8 and up, but younger kids could give it a try with a little extra coaching. Each round lasts about 10 minutes, so it's a great length for a quick family game after dinner.
These Teeny-Tiny Arcade Games Fit in Your Pocket
via: Vat19Introduce your kids to the fun of Pac-Man, Frogger, and Space Invaders, all sized for small hands and perfect vision! These pocket-sized versions of popular arcade games of yore are small enough to work as a keychain, but are fully functioning games with all the graphics and levels you remember and love. Each game is 3 1/2 inches of pure nostalgic fun!
Steal Cows With Your Spaceship on This UFO Logic Puzzle
via: Vat19Designed for one player, this UFO Logic Puzzle is a fun and challenging game that kids ages 6 and up can play alone (adults love it, too!). You are the pilot of a UFO, levitating cows with your magnetic spaceship while avoiding obstacles like hay bails and a barn. Be strategic with your flight path, or you won't be able to abduct all the cows!
Pump Up Backyard Fun With This Water Balloon Station
via: Vat19Warmer weather calls for barbecues, soaking up the sun, and--of course--launching water balloons at your family members whether they like it or not. Cut down on the miserable part of making water balloons and increase your fun exponentially with this Water Balloon Station. Fill the jug with water, then fit a balloon over the nozzle and pump a few times to fill 'er up. There's a clever mechanism that ties the balloon shut with a twist of the wrist, and it's ready for action! The station includes 250 balloons to get your fun started.
Feast Upon the World's Largest Gummy Bear
via: Vat19Serve your family this 5-pound gummy bear and you'll go down in family history as the hero of quarantine! This towering achievement of fruit-flavored candy is equivalent to 1,400 regular-sized gummy bears and clocks in at a cool 6,120 calories. To further whet your appetite, it comes in 10 different flavors, including Blue Raspberry, Cherry Cola, Pineapple, and...click through to see the rest! Yum!