15 products to help you relive your childhood summers
Unleash the nostalgia with these products.
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
This can be a bummer—but it’s also an opportunity to get back to your childhood roots. The summers that many people remember most fondly are the ones from when they were kids, when rules like curfews and staying within your neighborhood parameters were commonplace. Because of this, this year may be your best opportunity to have a summer that your eight-year-old self would approve of—in spite of (or, rather, because of) limitations due to COVID-19. We’ve found a bunch of things that can help you feel like a kid again this summer, including roller skates, trampolines, sprinklers, and more.
1. Roller skates to get in on the trends
Right now, roller skates are sold out almost everywhere. (You can thank TikTok for that.) But if you don’t mind waiting a few weeks, you can preorder this pair of Roller Derby skates from Urban Outfitters, which are on backorder and expected to ship on July 15. (That’s for most sizes—women's sizes 5 and 6 are still available right now.) These 80s-inspired skates are available in a few retro patterns and colors, including a mint zebra print, a bright blue checkered print, and good ol' hot pink. If you’ve been itching to skate, these will be well worth the wait.
2. A bike to get where you need to go
Bicycles are another hot-ticket summer item, with sudden increased demand causing shortages all over the country. If you want to take part in the two-wheeler trend, the best place to buy a bike is at a local shop. But if you don’t mind assembling your bike at home (and possibly waiting a few weeks for it to arrive), you can order the Cannondale Quick Disk 4 from REI. This hybrid bike has nine gears to cater the intensity of the ride to your abilities, a pressure-relieving saddle to avoid post-ride aches, and a wheel sensor that tracks your ride activity via an app, including calories burned, speed, and distance. Just don’t forget to fasten your helmet before you set out to ride.
3. A big bubble wand to put on a show
Blowing bubbles is always fun, whether it’s in a glass of milk, the bath, or with a mini wand. But you can up the ante with this aptly-named Ginormous Bubble Wand, which uses two birch handles and a large, lasso-like string that is dipped into soapy water and dragged through the air to create larger-than-life bubbles. Kids and adults alike will revel in the super-sized orbs it creates, whether it’s at an outdoor Fourth of July party or simply for a relaxed day in the park.
4. A sprinkler to enjoy a cooling spray
If you want to cool off, but don’t have a pool to dive into, you’ll love a sprinkler to splash around in. Consider this oversized, whimsical, unicorn-shaped sprinkler, which spouts water out of its horn when attached to a water hose. The mythical creature stands at a little over six feet tall, so reviewers recommend using an air pump to fill it up without getting winded, but this impressive height also ensures that it’s tall enough for most adults to stand under its spray without having to crouch.
5. A kite to use the wind in your favor
If you have access to a wide, open space—like a park or beach—one of the best ways to take advantage of it is with a kite. REI reviewers love the Prism Designs Zenith kite, which has sturdy wings that hold it aloft even in strong wind, internal bungee cords that make it easy to assemble and fold down into a small package, and a colorful frame that looks great against the sky.
You also don’t need to worry about it falling prey to a Kite-Eating Tree: The Zenith kite has removable snap-on tails that make it easier to detangle from tree branches if it flies into one by mistake.
6. A trampoline to bounce around
Most kids and adults can agree on at least one thing: Jumping around on a big trampoline is a ton of fun. Lock in the childhood spirit this summer with a big backyard trampoline of your own, like the Merax 12-foot tramp. It has 72 galvanized springs (all covered with a PVC foam padding so you don’t have to worry about getting your hands and feet pinched), a basketball hoop, and a net held up by padded poles to ensure secure jumping.
7. A slip-n-slide to have heart-pumping fun
Sure, you can’t go to the water park this summer. But you can bring the water park to you—or at least something like it—with this backyard slip-n-slide. At 50 feet long and 12 feet wide, it has ample room for adults (and, sure, kids). Just lay it out on a grassy area—preferably a hill or slight slope—place a sprinkler or hose at the top, and get sliding. Reviewers are impressed with its thick, durable plastic that holds up against potential hazards on the ground and say it feels smooth on the skin. Whether you get a running start or cautiously hop into a pool floaty at the top of the slide (choose your own adventure), it’s an exciting diversion for kids and grown-ups alike.
8. A skateboard to get a handle on some tricks
It’s never too late to master that wheelie, right? This compact penny board is a great way to learn (or even re-learn) how to tool around on a skateboard. All boards come with sturdy urethane wheels and a colorful frame of your choosing, including prints like red and blue flames or a starry sky. Start out slow on a smooth, flat surface, and who knows—maybe you’ll be the next Tony Hawk.
9. A projector and screen to throw the perfect at-home movie party
If you grew up going to drive-in movie theaters or summer movie nights in the park, you can recreate those cinematic experiences in your own backyard (well, maybe without the ambient noise of other groups’ commentary during the movie). All you need is a portable projector—our favorite is the Anker Nebula Mars, which has great picture quality and an intuitive platform—and an outdoor projector screen, like the Akia DIY movie screen, which attaches to the house using hooks and grommets. The movie you choose to watch is up to you, but as long as you don’t forget the popcorn, everyone at your “theater” should be happy.
- Get the Anker Nebula Mars from Amazon for $369
- Get the Akia DIY Projector Screen from Wayfair for $49.99
10. A scooter to get around town in style
As any kid knows, a classic kick scooter is a great way to explore the neighborhood in the summer (as long as you don’t accidentally knock your heel against the white-hot metal around the back wheel). And Razor’s Lux Kick scooter, which has height-adjustable handlebars, a retractable kickstand, and a folding mechanism that makes it easy to store, is a great way for adults to get around town, too. (That’s right—this is a purely practical purchase!) The scooter’s extra-large urethane wheels and deck support riders up to 220 pounds and make for a smooth, comfortable ride.
11. A pogo stick to do high-powered jumping
Get some air with the Flybar Super Pogo 2, a heavy-duty pogo stick for adults that the manufacturer says is perfect for “extreme tricks” or low-key bouncing. The Flybar Super Pogo 2’s high-strength aluminum, spring-powered pogo, and adjustable handles make it suitable for adults between 90 and 200 pounds (though some customers say they’re heavier and use it to great success).
Reviewers say the pogo stick is a great way to “rekindle your youth,” get some exercise, and have a lot of fun.
12. A giant Jenga game to to upgrade a childhood classic
Holding a family game night? If so, one great option is this giant Jenga game, which uses the same block-stacking rules as its regular-sized version, but with larger blocks. Reviewers say it's perfect to play inside or outside, and you can even stack the super-sized blocks on a taller surface to raise the stakes and make the tower go above your head while you're standing. The game also comes with a travel case, so it’s easy to bring along on a family vacation.
13. A kiddie pool to get your feet wet
This colorful inflatable pool is a great vessel for kids—or you—to cool off in. Like most kiddie pools, it’s simple to use: Fill it with air (reviewers say they use a bike pump or simply puff the air in themselves), pour in some water, and you’re all set. Reviewers say it’s surprisingly wide and durable, with enough space for at least one adult—or several kids—to sit in comfortably.
14. A jump rope to work on your double-Dutch skills
Whether it’s for aerobic exercise or an endorphin-inducing diversion (or both!), a jump rope is a worthy addition to this summer. Turn jumping rope into a social activity and call back memories back to your schoolyard days with the 16-foot Just Jump It rope, which reviewers say feels sturdy, but isn’t too heavy to twirl and won’t cause bruises if it whacks a jumper on the shins. For solo jumping, try the Sportbit jump rope, which has easy-grip handles and adjustable length to make it suitable for your height and reach. The jump rope also comes with an ebook that includes tips on how to get the most out of your hopping exercises.
- Get the Just Jump It jump rope from Amazon for $13.50
15. A snow cone maker to cool off at the end of the day
After a long, hot day of wheeling, riding, blowing bubbles, and jumping about, you’re going to want to wind down with an icy treat. Make one that lives up to all your childhood snack dreams with a Snowie snow cone maker. This device shaves ice (using cubes from the freezer, not tough-to-acquire blocks) to make what reviewers say is akin to “fluffy snow,” which you can then top with syrup to make a sweet, colorful concoction. Reviewers say the machine is simple to use, easy to store, and always welcome among family members for a festive at-home dessert.
The Little Snowie Max Snow Cone Machine comes with six flavor powder sticks (which makes about six pints of syrup), two mixing bottles, and eight ice scoopers.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.