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The Best Swimwear and Water Toys for Kids
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On Alix: Okie Dokie skirted one-piece with butterfly appliques ($11.99; JCPenney stores). Carter's mod sunglasses ($8; Carters.com for stores)
Jameson (back) and Ava didn't want to get out of the Intex Waterfall Play Center ($34.99; target.com and Target stores), a dino-themed wet wonderland with a built-in slide that hooks up to a garden hose.
On Jameson: Okie Dokie orange-and-navy sun shirt ($8.99; JCPenney stores) and pull-on shorts ($17; gap.com and GapKids stores).
On Ava: retro-look suit with sweet alligator applique ($17.99; gymboree.com).
On Cameron: striped trunks ($14.50; childrensplace.com), Water Pop Launcher Blaster.
On Alayna: tankini ($32; carters.com for stores), sparkle flip-flops ($8.50; gapkids.com), Sizzlin¿ Cool Dragonfly water gun. Translucent Shark Beach Ball ($19; potterybarnkids.com).
On Holly: tankini ($38; garnethill.com), her own shoes, Nerf Super Soaker Rattler ($14.99; hasbro.com).
On Alayna: tankini ($32; carters.com for stores), flip-flops ($8.50; gapkids.com), Sizzlin¿ Cool Dragonfly water gun.
On Alayna: peace-sign tankini ($16.50; childrensplace.com).
Larsen & Talbert
two for one
If you're not ready for a sandbox, check out the Sand and Water Fun Factory. Gears, gadgets, funnels, and wheels keep the party going. ($39.99, littletykes.com)
- bubblin' over
What baby isn't fascinated by bubbles? Too bad they aren't able to blow them yet. Enter the My First Bubbles Bubble Maker. Your tot pulls the handle and out they fly. ($13; littlekidsinc.com)
A unique first ride-on, the Cheeky Chick is propelled by Fred Flinstone-style foot power. If folds up and has a carry handle for easy treks to the park. ($39.97, amazon.com)
We think this smiling silly Octopus Sprinkler is as good as a pool any day! Adjust the water spouting from the tentacles and head from a light mist to a stronger flow, depending on how brave (and old) your babe and her pals are. ($59; potterybarnkids.com)
- get a grip
Thi toddler bike has three height adjustments to grow with your child. The Zoom Trike also comes with a handle-bar, so you can push your little one along when she poops out! ($100; chiccousa.com)
The two-in-one Air Hogs Switchblade Transforming Stunt Flier takes off by spinning vertically into the sky; when it's high enough the "morph" button changes it, midair, into a forward-flying plane. Extra propellers and a built-in battery ensure that this UFO-plane hybrid will bring hours of fun. Ages 7 and up.
3, 2, 1...
He'll get to load up the side tube of the Blast Pad with a foam-topped missile, back up a few yards, and then take a running, flying leap onto the launching pad. The force of his weight sends air through the hose, pushing the missile skyward. It's so awesome. Ages 8 and up.
The beauty of the remote-control FlyTech Crash FX is that it's supposed to fall apart, making it ideal for kids who are known for trashing their toys. This aircraft maneuvers easily around doorways, furniture, and trees, so your pilot-to-be can avoid (or, more likely, cause) collisions. The magnetic wings and tail break off in neat sections and then snap back together easily after a bumpy flight. Ages 8 and up.
Army games, safari adventurers, traffic and weather reporting -- name it, and the Vertigo Sky Hawk helicopter can play along as it swooshes all over the backyard. It's a cinch to steer and fly and sports smart double-duty features: The remote control is also the charging station when the copter is idle, and the package it comes in can be used as a helipad. Ages 6 and up.
Sky's The Limit
Every childhood should have a kite like the Snap Stunt in it -- a beauty to behold, with a brilliantly colored, stylish design. This vibrant version is so easy to assemble, your kid can do it herself (just attach the bar and the strings); it also weaves and bobs well in strong winds, so go ahead and bring it to a wide-open space. Available in two other models. Ages 8 and up.
Play It Forward
The simple Monkey Business Sports SkyRockets are propelled with kid power, using a handheld elastic launcher. The colorful red-and-yellow foil rockets hook into the slinglike loop and then shoot upward for hundreds of feet, but land sorftly (they're made of foam). The set comes with a mid-range rocket and two long-range ones, for targets both near and far. Ages 8 and up.
Play to Grin
Cheery swirls, sunbursts, and a smiley face decorate these Pocket Discs, handmade in Guatemala. The Classic disc is featherweight, making it (relatively!) safe for playroom tossing; the Sport one is heavier and will fly farther outdoors. Ages 5 and up.