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Top Toys of Summer




AQUASHOCK ARCTIC BLAST (Hasbro Super Soaker, about $25) A is for awesome. Our testers couldn't stay away from the cool blaster that had a tank filled with ice. On a hot day, this hit the spot. It was also easy to use and quick to refill.

AQUASHOCK ARCTIC BLAST (Hasbro Super Soaker, about $25) A is for awesome. Our testers couldn’t stay away from the cool blaster that had a tank filled with ice. On a hot day, this hit the spot. It was also easy to use and quick to refill. “It was cold,” said Katelyn Hejza, 9, who didn’t mind the chilly blast on a hot day. “It’s awesome,” said Ian Solomon, 9. Grade: A

What’s old is new in summer toys. Our testers in this year’s annual review of the season’s new outdoor games found that their favorite toys are actually old favorites with a new twist.

Water toys (we tested them on a super-hot and humid day) got the top grades, but these had something new. The Aquashock Arctic Blast, below, is a new water blaster from the Super Soaker line. This one has room for you to load it up with ice cubes. (A brilliant idea!) On a hot day, water toys are the coolest playthings around.

Toy Wishes magazine publisher Jim Silver said, “It’s one thing to blast them with water, but to blast them with freezing water just makes it a whole lot more fun.”

Classic toys stay around year after year because they have so many play possibilities.

“When a toy lasts 50 years, it’s generally easy to play with and has a lot of different ways to play with it,” Silver said.

That’s certainly true in the case of the Frisbee, which is celebrating its 50th year this summer. Our testers compared the classic original hard disc with a new soft stretchy oval flying disc, the Frisbee Infinity. They liked both but found the oval easier to fling.

PAINTER SPRAYER (Crayola, about $15) This was one of the hits among this season's new summer toys. It's messy, but the sprayable sidewalk paint had kids getting creative.

PAINTER SPRAYER (Crayola, about $15) This was one of the hits among this season’s new summer toys. It’s messy, but the sprayable sidewalk paint had kids getting creative. “It was fun but it was hard to write with,” said Hallie Gordley, 10. Grade: A-

Here are the toys we tested (all $40 or under). A
thank-you to our testers in Kathryn Glencer’s fourth-grade class at Salk
Elementary School in Clinton Township, Mich. These toys are available at retail
stores.



ULTIMATE                   FRISBEE: (Original, about $10, and new Infinity, about $7) Everybody knows about these flying discs. Our testers still said they love them, even if they are 50 years old and Mom and Dad played with them. In comparing the original disc and this summer's

ULTIMATE FRISBEE: (Original, about $10, and new Infinity, about $7) Everybody knows about these flying discs. Our testers still said they love them, even if they are 50 years old and Mom and Dad played with them. In comparing the original disc and this summer’s “Infinity” soft oval, the testers thought the soft oval was a bit more fun because it was so easy to fling. “It really goes far,” said Kole Gojani, 10. Grades: A for Infinity, A- for originality

GAZILLION LINKZ BUBBLE BLASTER (Funrise, about $9) This toy earned mixed reviews. Kids thought the blaster, below, was super-easy to use, but it did go quickly in terms of using up the bubble juice. For making bubbles, it earned A's -  they come out fast and in big clouds. Our testers did agree that bubble blowing is always part of summer fun.

GAZILLION LINKZ BUBBLE BLASTER (Funrise, about $9) This toy earned mixed reviews. Kids thought the blaster, below, was super-easy to use, but it did go quickly in terms of using up the bubble juice. For making bubbles, it earned A’s – they come out fast and in big clouds. Our testers did agree that bubble blowing is always part of summer fun. “It’s awesome,” said Solomon, who liked the fact that you didn’t have to stop and dip anything in a solution to get the great gobs of bubbles spinning out of this toy. Grade: B+

PIRATE BOMB BLAST (Wild Planet, about $10) This toy, shown at top, earns the

PIRATE BOMB BLAST (Wild Planet, about $10) This toy, shown at top, earns the “best value” award. At $6 or less, this easy hot-potato game was a hit. You turn it on and toss it around. “This is the bomb!” said Tristan Passalb, 10. He also liked the pirate cannon water toy. “It’s fun and for any age,” said Amanda Boggess, 10. Grade: B+

FLY TECH DRAGONFLY (Wow Wee, about $40) This toy earned some super A's for awesome, but also D's from kids who thought it just wasn't that easy to control. The remote control dragonfly does fly well and is pretty cool, but it's hard to play with in a group. You can't play WITH someone, but this would be fine for times when you're stuck flying solo in the backyard. Grade: B

FLY TECH DRAGONFLY (Wow Wee, about $40) This toy earned some super A’s for awesome, but also D’s from kids who thought it just wasn’t that easy to control. The remote control dragonfly does fly well and is pretty cool, but it’s hard to play with in a group. You can’t play WITH someone, but this would be fine for times when you’re stuck flying solo in the backyard. Grade: B

WATERBALL PIRATE CANNON (Wild Planet, about $17) The water cannon, right, also earned raves as kids used the cannon to cool off themselves and friends with little water cannonball shapes.

WATERBALL PIRATE CANNON (Wild Planet, about $17) The water cannon, right, also earned raves as kids used the cannon to cool off themselves and friends with little water cannonball shapes. “This was refreshing and totally cool!” said Amber Monschau, 10. Grade: A-

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