Keep ‘Em Busy – Products that Make Summer Fun

Fight the Burn
Gear up for days at the beach and pool with Kids Kinesys alcohol-free spray sunscreen. It’s oil-free, so it won’t leave skin feeling sticky, and it’s water- and sweat-resistant for lasting protection against harmful UVA/UVB rays. $6.99 (1 ounce) or $18.99 (4 ounces) at

Is It a Bird … a Plane … a Cloud?
“Clouds,” by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Frané Lessac (HarperCollins, November 2008), teaches children about the different types of clouds and reminds parents of childhood days spent looking up into the summer afternoon sky. Encourage some daydreaming down time in your own kids with this new book available for $16.99 (hardcover) or $5.99 (paperback).

Double Trouble
Phineas and Ferb are at it again. Check out “Phineas and Ferb: The Daze of Summer,” a DVD featuring five episodes from the smash-hit Disney Channel Original Series. The duo searches for pirate’s treasure, journeys to Mars, builds Greek chariots and hosts a Medieval jousting tournament. Of course, they still have to protect the world from the evil Dr. Doofenschmirtz. $14.99.

Why It Flies
Pride. Patriotism. Freedom. July 4 is Independence Day, and the American flag stands for all these things. “American Flag Q&A,” by Sarah L. Thomson (HarperCollins, June 2008) is a fun and factual new book that will help kids understand the symbolism behind Old Glory, with stunning photos and Web links to Smithsonian exhibits and artifacts. $16.99 (hardcover) or $6.99 (paperback).

Don’t Let It Bug You
“The Bug Book (Workman Publishing Company, May 2009),” by entomologist Hugh Danks, and accompanying Bug Bottle, let kids to take science into their own hands. Capture fireflies, caterpillars and more … and learn about how they live and how they eat. Included in the kit are a fold-out bug chart for quick identification, a magnifier to see critters up close and a bug explorer’s journal to record discoveries. Of course, kids are encouraged to release bugs after they study them. $13.95.

Mapping Adventures
Summer brain drain settling in at your house? Spark the kids’ imaginations with “Follow That Map! A First Book of Mapping Skills” (Kids Can Press, February 2009) an interactive picture book by illustrator Scot Ritchie that explains and demonstrates key mapping concepts. Kids will enjoy following Sally and her friends as they search for Max and Ollie, a mischievous dog and cat on the lam from the backyard.. An activity at the end of the book shows children how to make a map of their bedroom. $16.95.

Hop on Board with Thomas & Friends
Is there a Thomas fan residing in your home? Lionsgate has released a new DVD/Bonus Music Set that’s sure to be a hit with the preschool crowd. Thomas and his engine friends travel the tracks on the Island of Sodor with this toe-tappping set “Thomas and FriendsTM: Hop on Board Songs and Stories.” The collection is loaded with fan favorites including two classic Thomas & Friends stories, seven sing-alongs and a bonus music CD featuring five songs. $14.95.

Monopoly Madness
The classic board game comes to live in a fast-paced card game by Hasbro and Parker Brothers that kids ages 8 and up will be sure to love. Collect three property sets, but beware of Debt Collectors, Forced Deals and the dreaded Deal Breakers, which could change your fortunes at any time! $6.99.