Some are high tech, some are low tech, some are no tech—but all of these gadgets, bought or gifted to us, have made family life more fun.
The UE|Roll ($99) (for IOS and Android)
Don't be fooled but let its cute looks—this wireless Bluetooth speaker from Ultimate Ears is built tough, and won't break no matter how many times your kids drop it (trust me on that one). It's waterproof, and has 360-degree sound, a 65-foot wireless range and a 9-hour battery life. The bungee cord lets you hook it on practically anything, including a backpack. Be warned: Your kids will fight over it. Your kids and husband will fight over it. Your kids and you will fight over it.
Banzai Wiggling Water Sprinkler ($12)
1) Attach to a garden hose. 2) Turn on water to set the 15 sprays a-wiggling. 3) Watch your kids have the time of their lives.
Hamilton Beach Party Popper Popcorn Popper ($72)
This is like having a movie theater popcorn machine in your own kitchen, and your kids will be duly impressed. It's easy: Just plop in kernels and oil (it comes with a measuring cup), plug it in and watch the pop-pop-pop start. It makes up to 24 delish cups per batch.
Conair Hang On Shower Radio ($12)
Aside from grapefruit shower gel, nothing gets me going in the morning like listening to the radio. We've had this kind for years. It runs on 4 AAA batteries and plays your basic radio—but I don't need much more than that, especially for twelve bucks.
Sandwich shaperFunBites Shaped Food Cutter ($12)
This gadget (a Shark Tank winner) works well for kids with chewing issues or little ones who need bite-size pieces of sandwiches, pancakes, cheese, brownies, or basically any kid who likes to play with their food. Just put the cutter (BPA-free) on top of the item; grasp the handles and rock it back and forth till the food is cut all the way through; insert the popper top; and push down. Voila, 12 perfect pieces!
Insect Lore Creature Peeper ($6.90)
The kids especially love to check out fireflies in this gizmo, which has 3x magnified views above and below. Tip: If you're a little squeamish, stay away when they catch a cicada.
Yonanas Frozen Healthy Dessert Maker ($35)
I'll admit to being skeptical of this at first, but it makes exceptionally yummy treats from berries, mangos or over-ripe bananas. You just insert the frozen fruit into the chute and push down using the plunger. It's also simple to clean—just toss parts into the dishwasher. You'll feel proud about feeding the kids healthy, no-added-sugar snacks—or downing them yourself.
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