Winning the hearts of kids and their parents presents a challenge when it comes to selecting adult-approved but still fun games and gear for childrens growing, ever-changing needs. Here, five weve found that satisfy both criteria.
It takes one fashionable tween to know another. This suitcase with wheels will speak to your texting tween. The hard-shell case is protective and lightweight, and its 17-inch size meets airline carry-on regulations. The kid-inspired luggage comes in two motifs, Chat (shown here) and the more boy-centric Danger. $70 at www.trendykid.com.
You have your SUV, now make room for another sport utility vehicle: a stroller. Exercise-obsessed parents can multitask with BOBs Sport Utility Stroller. Thanks to a fixed front wheel that provides increased stability over varying terrain, you can hit the trail jogging or walking with precious cargo. Also available in blue. $379 at specialty stores such as Summit City Bicycles and Fitness (3801 Lima Road, 483-4971), and at www.bobgear.com.
Whether you hang it on a wall or sit it on a counter, Stash will store and organize crayons, markers and chalk in a playroom; cotton swabs and lotions in the nursery; and spoons, forks and bottles in the kitchen. Also available in blue and orange. $25 at mass retailers and www.booninc.com.
Even the most creative and energetic parents could use a little extra inspiration. Enter Kiwi Crate, which sends monthly packages of materials and ideas for imaginative, hands-on projects for kids ages 3 to 7. A recent Dig Into Dinosaurs crate included sticks and clay to make fossils and decorations to fashion a dino tail. $20 for a monthly subscription, shipping included, www.kiwicrate.com.
This game is perfect for kids who are often trapped in the back seat for hours in gridlocked traffic. Rush Hour, by Alexandria, Va.-based ThinkFun, challenges players age 8 and older to maneuver through stalled trucks and blocked intersections. The award-winning logic game features different difficulty levels. Theres even mobile device application version for iPhone and iPad, downloadable for $2.99. $17.69 at www.amazon.com, also available at www.thinkfun.com.