Here are a few of our favorite things that help you have more fun every day:
Classic toy: building a better block
We fell in love with these colorful handcrafted blocks the moment we saw them, as did our blockophile kid testers. More than 30 sets are available, including traditional letters, foreign languages, nursery rhymes, chemical elements, and the Groovie Math & Patterning Blocks, shown here.
Ages 3 and up. Uncle Goose, $13.50 to $98
Puppet play: no strings attached
Sometimes, simple is best. Case in point: this googly eyed Puppet-on-a-Stick. Pull a lever to move the mouth, then enjoy hours of take-me-to-your-leader conversations. Three puppets included.
Ages 4 to 9. Educational Insights, $23.99
Page-turner: a book to bust boredom
The next time your kids even start to utter "There's nothin' to do," throw the book at them: Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun, by Joshua Glenn and FamilyFun contributor Elizabeth Foy Larsen. It's full of tips on how to train grown-ups, weird facts about condiments, practical suggestions for dealing with bullies and, yes, even a section on classic fart games. You may never hear those dreaded words again.
Ages 8 and up. Bloomsbury Press, $25
Cute decoration: cozy creatures
Bring a bit of soft light to a dark night with the porcelain Woodland Twilights LED Nightlights. Four sweet critters available.
Streamline Inc., $12 each
Great sibling gift: a warm and cuddly welcome
Know a child who's anticipating the arrival of a new brother or sister? The super-soft Snuggle Pods Sweet Pea gives young hands a lovable friend to hold and cradle while grown-up hands are busy with the new baby.
Ages 3 to 6. Manhattan Toy, $18