8 Low-Tech Toys for Chill Summer Days

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They say that the days are long but the years are short—so fill them with creative play and shelve the battery-operated gadgets every now and then. We’ve searched high and low for the best of the new low-tech toys, whether your kiddos are eager to learn their ABCs, mess around with foam, or reenact your own childhood play with a Fraggle Rock puppet! Scroll down to see them all. 

1. We’ve Got Your Number
This cheerful number arranging game from HABA USA introduces your child to the world of numbers and amounts. A playful selection of motifs (think: cars, animals, fruits) makes math inviting and fun. The handy cardboard carrying case and magnetic pieces make this set ideal for travel, too.

Ages: 4 & up.

Available at habausa.com, $19.99.

2. A Is for Acorn
This whimsical matching game gives your tiny scholar multiple ways to explore and play with letters and sounds. Kids can match uppercase and lowercase letters as they assemble the acorns, plus play hide-and-seek by finding a corresponding letter sound “surprise” inside each acorn. Little learners can even practice making words, learning their ABCs, beginning sounds, and just engage in free play with the adorable tiny toys.

Ages: 3 & up.  

Available at amazon.com, $29.99.

3. Calling All Mad Scientists
Older kids will get a thrill out of this science kit from The Purple Cow that explores optical illusions–there are over a dozen experiments inside! Topics include light refraction, color, movement, size, and distortion. The kit includes a clear guide accompanied with photos of the optical illusion processes, as well as comprehensive and accessible scientific explanations.

Ages: 6 & up.

Available at amazon.com, $20.

4. Classically Creative
The new LEGO Classic Creative Box includes more than 50 pieces in themed boxes of shades of red, blue, green, and orange–featuring classic bricks and special elements like wheels, doors, windows, and eyes. While it makes for a great starter set for a budding architect, the kits also have three levels of building complexity and promise hours and hours of creative fun!

Ages: 4 & up.

Available at target.com, $4.99.

5. Hold the Foam
Your favorite preschooler will love making letters (and other inventive creations) with this Playfoam set featuring eight colored Playfoam bricks and 13 double-sided cards for learning the alphabet. You’re sure to hear squeals of glee as they mush and mash their ABCs on top of the corresponding cards (each with an accompanying image). Bonus: Playfoam is no-mess, non-stick, and never dries out!

Ages: 3 & up. 

Available at amazon.com, $12.99.  

6. Dance Your Cares Away
If your little ones haven’t been introduced to the live puppetry magic of Fraggle Rock, look no further than this Gobo puppet as your excuse to relive your childhood! Dressed in a yellow and pink striped sweater with a brown vest, your child will fall in love with his fuzzy purple hair, googly eyes, and the many songs you will sing with him perched on your hand.

Ages: 3 & up.

Available at manhattantoy.com, $23.

7. A Very, Very, Very Fine House
This eco-friendly, 100% recycled playhouse from Green Toys will occupy your kiddo’s imagination for hours. Multi-leveled and dishwasher safe, it features a bright yellow convertible, two mouse characters, staircase, bed, bathtub, table, and two chairs. The moveable stairs can be placed anywhere along the second level, from the back of the house to the balconies, and the bathtub, bed, table, and chairs can be set up in any room. The fully open back and balconies on the house make arranging and re-arranging all the accessories easy and fun, and encourage cooperative interactive play.

Ages: 2 & and up.

Available at greentoys.com, $49.99.

8. Sunny Side Up
Have your favorite pint-sized waiter bring you breakfast in bed with this adorable 41-piece classic diner play set collection. Order eggs just the way you like ‘em on the reusable menu, cook with the durable plastic frying pan and spatula, and serve using a full place setting. Seven wooden food pieces have different food options on either side, and there are even double-sided milkshake and hot drink inserts. Servers and chefs can wear the apron and ring the bell when meals are ready, and Mom and Dad can pay their bill (use the dry-erase marker on the guest check) with the included play money.

Ages: 3 & up.

Available at melissaanddoug.com, $29.99.  

Will you add any of these fun new toys to play time? Share with us in a Comment below.

— Katie Brown

Editor’s note: At the time of publication, all items were available for purchase. 

All images courtesy retailers.

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