At the 113th North American International Toy Fair, big fun comes in small packages. Your busy summer lives are about to become way easier with companies offering up light, easy-to-carry, foldaway gear for on the go outdoor play. With hectic schedules and spontaneous trips to solve cabin fever, toys like these offer plenty fun activities for kids and families while camping, on vacation, or even at the playground.

Diggin Mega Rocket copy

Mega Rocket (Diggin Active)

Get ready to flex some muscles with the Mega Rocket, from Diggin Active. Kids can put down those phones and tablets, and get out and throw this 6-foot rocket up to 100 feet into the sky can be truly exhilarating, loosening up those shoulders from a long day of hunched over texting. Perfect for backyards, pools, or the beach, this toy can inflate and deflate in seconds, fitting into any bag, any size (You’ll certainly be able to find it in mine this summer!)


Family Camping Board Games (Education Outdoors)

Whether you’re getting ready to trek 2000 miles from Georgia to Maine along the Appalachian Trail or just setting up a tent in your backyard, the new Appalachian Trail Special Edition Game will keep you thinking on your feet. A trivia game, designed for kids ages 8 and up, it tests knowledge of camping skills, trail first aid, and plant and animal identification.

Education Outdoors has also introduced a new Camp Travel Edition of its classic Camp Board Game. This game comes in a big zip-locked bag—which means even the packaging is super light. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, the game includes 99 fun facts and 100 questions that challenge a family to embark on a forest adventure together. The game allows kids to play at one level and adults to play at another, so everyone is challenged!

American Plastic Toys Beach Basket and Toys

Beach Bucket (American Plastic Toys)

Next time it’s time to build sand castles on the beach, no need to drag a big bundle of toys along, just pack up this one (affordable!) set. Designed for kids ages 18 months and up, the Beach Basket is a light, portable plastic wonder that carries everything from buckets and shovels to tropical fish molds. The top of the basket works as a sand sifter, allowing kids uncover shells and other hidden wonders. The basket’s container has enough holes to let the water drain out once kids are done beaching around, so they aren’t leaving puddles back at the beach house.

Toy Monster Monkey Bars

Toy Monster Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars (National Sporting Goods)

I know it’s not always easy to find a safe playground with swings and monkey bars wherever you live, so it’s great when the playground can come to you. National Sporting Good’s Toy Monster Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars are designed for kids ages 3 to 6. Eager to climb out of their crib, or climb onto a tree, this tower is the right fit for growing kids. The monkey bars have interlocking connectors with double-locking springs that help kids develop motor skills, teach them balance, and challenge them to use of their muscles. The tower is durable, lightweight, and super easy to assemble. It’s made of quality plastic that can sustain 150 lbs and is also UV-resistant. And when it’s raining or snowing, you can set it up indoors!

Marky Sparky Folded Blast Pads

Blast Pad and Blast Pad Jr. (Marky Sparky)

The Blast Pad is a missile launcher designed for kids ages 8 and up. Made of lightweight plastic and rubber, the missiles sound more daunting than they actually are, but the launchpad is serious business. It extends up to 3 feet and is forever ready to launch a missile vertically using advanced telescoping technology. The kit comes with a blast pad and three assistant blast pads. All the parts (including those in the Junior version) store neatly into the base making it easy for travel. The kit requires no batteries and is virtually indestructible—so blast away like there’s no tomorrow!

Electronic Dartboard

Vtooth 1000 (GLD Products)

Vtooth 1000 combines outdoor, indoor, and digital play into one cool electronic dartboard. The board comes with an easy to use wall mounting bracket that makes on-the-go play super convenient. Vtooth 1000 has high quality thermoplastic construction (for protection outdoors), an integrated LED display, and comes with a free app that offers new games and playing options. The app also helps record stats to improve your game or compete with other players on the internet. The dartboard can be easily connected on iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth. Vtooth comes with two sets of starter darts and requires batteries to operate.

Pacific Play Tents Instant Set Up

One-Touch Tent (Pacific Play Tents)

All tents are relatively easy to carry and foldaway, but for those of you looking for instantaneous set up, the One-Touch Tent is almost magical. True to its name, the tent has a specially designed frame that pops right up with a single touch. The tent is lightweight and offers parents on-the-go convenience. Using its four stylish options, families can camp it up with the One-Touch Beach Banana, the One-Touch Lil Nursery Tent, the One-Touch Tent, or the new Presto Tent.

Slackline Tent

TreePod (Slackline Industries)

You don’t need to be a hammers-and-nails kind of person to set up the TreePod. All you need is a sturdy tree branch to hang the prop. This hanging treehouse is made of waterproof durable material, and has a zip-up door, mesh windows, and a roll-out ladder offering kids a ready-to-use hideaway. However, if finding a tree gets difficult, or kids just want to camp out in the backyard, they can purchase the Treepod stand separately. Made of steel and standing 8.5 feet tall,  the stand can stand up to 500 lbs. The tent is 7.5 feet tall and 5 feet wide, and comes in four bright color options.

About the author

Varuni Sinha

Varuni Sinha

Varuni Sinha is an assistant editor at the Adventure Publishing Group. With an avid interest in visual arts, she enjoys writing and editing for The Licensing Book and The Toy Book, leading trade magazines about toys–the first art forms we encounter as children. With expertise in literature, Varuni launched into writing through her thesis on Indian comic superheroes. Fairytales are another major attraction for her roving mind. Recently at Spoleto USA, Varuni mapped the history of all the variations of the Sleeping Beauty tale ever narrated through time. When she is not writing, Varuni loves to paint with her finger and nails. She has held solo and group exhibitions of her work in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Auroville in India. She has also illustrated a children’s book of Japanese Folktales. Follow her on twitter @varunisinha to keep up with her new adventures as she explores the magical world of toys.