Best Party Favors for Kids

There's something for everyone in our list of recommended party favors.

There’s something for everyone in our list of recommended party favors. (Unsplash/Victoria Rodriguez/)

We’ve compiled some of the most current and classic party favors for children. Kids love presents, and these little treasures will keep the fun going long after they leave. Everything you need is right here. Take a look at our survey of some of the best party favors for kids.

These are also fun gag gifts for engagements, bridal showers, baby showers, and other occasions.

These are also fun gag gifts for engagements, bridal showers, baby showers, and other occasions. (Ring Pop/)

Delicious, fun lollipop candies that come in numerous colors and flavors are a timeless treat. Almost all kids will agree that Ring Pops are super fun. What are these? Just as they sound, these are finger-held lollipops that come with an enormous candy gem that is as much fun to wear as it is to eat. With this variety pack, you’ll get 20 individually wrapped Ring Pops, each one coming in one of six flavors: blue raspberry, blue raspberry watermelon, sour cherry, watermelon, berry blast, and strawberry. Treat your guests to a fun snack at the party or take them to go.

Buy: Ring Pop Individually Wrapped Bulk Lollipop Variety Party

The wands are almost indestructible and will last you through many uses. Just refill your soap.

The wands are almost indestructible and will last you through many uses. Just refill your soap. (JOYIN/)

Bubbles are fun for all ages, and appropriate for just about any party occasion. Enjoy playing outdoors with these fun, colorful bubble wands. No tiny bubbles here. With this package, you’ll get 24 large bubble wands in several bright colors: yellow, blue, pink, green, red, and dark blue. No matter how old your guests, they’re bound to sport a smile while blowing jumbo-sized bubbles with these cool wands. See who can blow the biggest bubble or whose lasts the longest without popping. You can use them as party favors for holidays, birthday parties, graduations, family reunions, or just old-fashioned entertainment with the kids.

Buy: JOYIN 24 Pack 14′’ Big Bubble Wands Bulk

These cute little "mood enhancers" work at any age, so stow a few away for later.

These cute little “mood enhancers” work at any age, so stow a few away for later. (KINGYAO/)

These squishies are small enough to fit into children’s hands and will give them endless fun with their imaginative little playthings. Besides the entertainment factor, the little squishy toys are also a great tool for enhancing your mood, relieving stress, and combating anxiety. There’s something about the act of squeezing this soft texture repeatedly that makes our central nervous system happy. This package comes with 24 pieces, so there will be plenty to go around for all your guests. Use these as party favors for birthdays, holidays, or keep them around when the neighbor kids or grandkids come over to play. Keep one for yourself to squish when you need it.

Buy: Squishies Squishy Toy 24pcs Party Favors for Kids

The toys are also unisex, so boys and girls alike will be delighted with them.

The toys are also unisex, so boys and girls alike will be delighted with them. (Amy&Benton/)

There’s something for everyone in this plentiful pack of goodies that comes with all kinds of toys and prizes kids will enjoy. We love the variety of this 200-piece filler that works perfectly for birthday parties, classroom parties, carnivals, treasure boxes, and much more. Kids will love the wide selection of prizes packed in this assortment, including gliders, sticky hands, spinning tops, wands, slinkies, and toy dinosaurs. Enough fun and activity is stuffed into these goodie bags to keep the fun going even after the party is over.

Buy: Amy & Benton 200PCS Goodie Bag Fillers Party Favors for Kids

This sure-to-delight material comes in a variety of colors, which are fun to mix and match and make endless gooey, stretchy creations.

This sure-to-delight material comes in a variety of colors, which are fun to mix and match and make endless gooey, stretchy creations. (Joyjoz /)

Kids love playing with slime, and this 24-piece slime pack makes a sensation with kids at any party or gathering. This is one of those few times it’s okay for them to get slimy. Bring them out at a birthday party or give them to kids as a reward for completing their homework or doing a chore. They make a great reward tool for teachers to use with their students, too. Take these containers on road trips for entertainment during long car rides. The slime is non-toxic and 100 percent safe (but don’t eat it), so let your children use their imaginations.

Buy: Joyjoz 24 Packs Galaxy Slime

Best Sleeping Bags for Camping and Sleepovers

It's there anything as relaxing as rolling out a sleeping bag on the grass?

It’s there anything as relaxing as rolling out a sleeping bag on the grass? (Unsplash/)

Before you decide on a new sleeping bag, consider where and when you’ll be using it. Look at other features like plushness and size. Do you need something waterproof? Are you extra tall? Will this be for indoor use at sleepovers or for camping out in the elements? From under the stars to under the blankets of the living room fort, here are our favorites, unzipped.

Made from waterproof anti-tearing polyester, the bag wipes clean with a damp cloth.

Made from waterproof anti-tearing polyester, the bag wipes clean with a damp cloth. (oaskys/)

If you’re looking for an all-around bag for getting a good night’s rest in the tent, this could be your bag. Great for kids, this bag is lightweight and easy to carry in its stuff sack with straps. The two features that really make it stand out are at the top and the bottom of this sleeping bag. At the head, there’s a semi-circle with a drawstring, so on cool nights, you can use this to make a hood for your head. At the feet, there’s a zippered opening to let your feet breathe on a hot night or in a stuffy tent.

Buy: oaskys Camping Sleeping Bag

It's over seven feet wide and nearly 5 feet long. Perfect for afternoon lounging as well.

It’s over seven feet wide and nearly 5 feet long. Perfect for afternoon lounging as well. (Sleepingo/)

This spacious double sleeping bag can fit two adults comfortably and snugly. Keeping you warm down to freezing temperatures (32 degrees F), this queen-size bag even comes with two travel pillows. It’s the perfect accompaniment to your queen size sleeping pad. Spread it out for afternoon lounging or laying out under the stars. Don’t feel like sleeping in a big bag? No problem, just completely unzip it, and voila, you’ve got two sleeping bags.

Buy: Sleepingo Double Sleeping Bag

Keeps you seriously warm and dry all year long, even when the temps get down to 20 degrees F.

Keeps you seriously warm and dry all year long, even when the temps get down to 20 degrees F. (FARLAND/)

Ever been caught off guard by a June snowstorm when in the wilderness? This double bag weighs just seven pounds and rolls up for trekking, hiking, or camping. The nylon covering is waterproof and the double-stuffed polyester fiberfill can insulate you even in the rain. It also dries out fast. We love the versatility of having a double bag or two single sleeping bags with this one product. Dark gray is a universally popular color, but there are also lots of other colors, from lime to sublime.

Buy: FARLAND Sleeping Bags

When you’re ready to head off for the day’s adventure, don’t worry about rolling or folding the bag, just put it back in the stuff sack.

When you’re ready to head off for the day’s adventure, don’t worry about rolling or folding the bag, just put it back in the stuff sack. (Coolzon/)

Your kids will love backyard adventures in these lightweight sleeping bags. At almost 75 inches long and 30-inches wide, this sleeping bag can accommodate most adults, too. Great for backpacking, the waterproof black nylon bag keeps you comfy and only weighs three pounds. Camping with your pup? Zip together two sleeping bags and snuggle with your dog all night.

Buy: Coolzon Lightweight Backpacking Sleeping Bag

When you lay down at night, keep your head warm by pulling the drawstring closure.

When you lay down at night, keep your head warm by pulling the drawstring closure. (tuphen/)

This breathable fiber sleeping bag keeps you warm at night. If you get too warm, just unzip the double zipper and free your feet at the bottom of the bag. Or fully unzip the bag and use it as a blanket for an indulgent afternoon nap. It’ll keep you protected from the weather and warm to 40 degrees F. The small carrying bag allows you to squish the three-pound bag into a compact size.

Buy: Sleeping Bags for Adults Kids

Home Price Growth Hits a Record High—but Homeowners Shouldn’t Celebrate Just Yet

MW-home_price_growth_062921

Getty Images

The numbers: Home prices rose at the fastest rate on record in April, according to the latest edition of the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

The national index recorded an increase of 14.6% over the past year, representing the highest reading since in the more than 30 years of S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data. The separate 20-city index, which gauges home prices across a group of major cities across the country, increased at over the past year by 14.9% in April, well past the 13.3% growth recorded the month prior.

Comparisons between April 2020 and April 2021 may be skewed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic during that time period last year. When the pandemic began, home prices initially held steady, but appreciation exploded when the housing market recovered in the summer.

“Pressures on home prices that have built over the last year culminated in the strongest home-price growth since the beginning of the data series in 1987,” said CoreLogic deputy chief economist Selma Hepp.

What happened: As in recent months, Phoenix, San Diego and Seattle experienced the largest gains over the past year, with home prices in all three of these cities rising 20% from last April. Overall, there were five cities where home prices rose by record amounts: Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver and Seattle.

Separately, the Federal Housing Finance Agency released its own house price index, which recorded a 15.7% rise in home prices between April 2020 and April 2021, also a record amount. The Mountain region—which includes Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico—experienced the most pronounced home price appreciation over the past year, at a rate of 20.6%, the FHFA found.

The big picture: The very factors that continue to push home prices higher are also limiting sales activity across the housing market. The U.S. continues to face a housing supply crunch—and while pandemic-influenced moves certainly made the shortage of homes for sale worse, it’s not the main reason behind the current conundrum facing buyers.

For many years following the Great Recession, home-building activity did not keep pace with the formation of households and population growth in this country. And now that millennials especially are buying homes in earnest, there simply isn’t enough inventory to go around. New home construction, while at the highest pace in some time, can only make up for the shortfall so much.

The situation has improved somewhat in recent months as home sellers did begin to bring their properties to market, but the challenge for existing homeowners is finding a new place to live once they sell. Those fears could be keeping homes off the market.

The low supply of homes will naturally put a ceiling on how many sales can happen. But as mortgage rates begin to rise, affordability will become a more significant barrier for many prospective buyers and force some households out of the market.

What they’re saying: “The monthly gains likely will peak in early summer, before slowing into the fall as inventory rises,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“April’s performance was truly extraordinary,” said Craig J. Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“If home price increases, which, according to the Fed’s ‘transitory’ narrative, should probably be beginning to decelerate soon, are in fact still building momentum, then it might tell us something about the broader inflation outlook,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose in Tuesday trades.

The post Home Price Growth Hits a Record High—but Homeowners Shouldn’t Celebrate Just Yet appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Home Price Growth Hits a Record High—but Homeowners Shouldn’t Celebrate Just Yet

MW-home_price_growth_062921

Getty Images

The numbers: Home prices rose at the fastest rate on record in April, according to the latest edition of the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

The national index recorded an increase of 14.6% over the past year, representing the highest reading since in the more than 30 years of S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data. The separate 20-city index, which gauges home prices across a group of major cities across the country, increased at over the past year by 14.9% in April, well past the 13.3% growth recorded the month prior.

Comparisons between April 2020 and April 2021 may be skewed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic during that time period last year. When the pandemic began, home prices initially held steady, but appreciation exploded when the housing market recovered in the summer.

“Pressures on home prices that have built over the last year culminated in the strongest home-price growth since the beginning of the data series in 1987,” said CoreLogic deputy chief economist Selma Hepp.

What happened: As in recent months, Phoenix, San Diego and Seattle experienced the largest gains over the past year, with home prices in all three of these cities rising 20% from last April. Overall, there were five cities where home prices rose by record amounts: Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver and Seattle.

Separately, the Federal Housing Finance Agency released its own house price index, which recorded a 15.7% rise in home prices between April 2020 and April 2021, also a record amount. The Mountain region—which includes Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico—experienced the most pronounced home price appreciation over the past year, at a rate of 20.6%, the FHFA found.

The big picture: The very factors that continue to push home prices higher are also limiting sales activity across the housing market. The U.S. continues to face a housing supply crunch—and while pandemic-influenced moves certainly made the shortage of homes for sale worse, it’s not the main reason behind the current conundrum facing buyers.

For many years following the Great Recession, home-building activity did not keep pace with the formation of households and population growth in this country. And now that millennials especially are buying homes in earnest, there simply isn’t enough inventory to go around. New home construction, while at the highest pace in some time, can only make up for the shortfall so much.

The situation has improved somewhat in recent months as home sellers did begin to bring their properties to market, but the challenge for existing homeowners is finding a new place to live once they sell. Those fears could be keeping homes off the market.

The low supply of homes will naturally put a ceiling on how many sales can happen. But as mortgage rates begin to rise, affordability will become a more significant barrier for many prospective buyers and force some households out of the market.

What they’re saying: “The monthly gains likely will peak in early summer, before slowing into the fall as inventory rises,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“April’s performance was truly extraordinary,” said Craig J. Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“If home price increases, which, according to the Fed’s ‘transitory’ narrative, should probably be beginning to decelerate soon, are in fact still building momentum, then it might tell us something about the broader inflation outlook,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose in Tuesday trades.

The post Home Price Growth Hits a Record High—but Homeowners Shouldn’t Celebrate Just Yet appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Start Your Morning with these Great Cold Brew Coffee Makers

Craving a cold brew? You can make it at home.

Craving a cold brew? You can make it at home. (Unsplash/)

Once just the drink of new parents and college students, cold-brewed coffee isn’t just regular coffee chilled. It’s much more. Crafted with cool water instead of nearly boiling hot water, cold-brew coffee lets time, instead of heat, extract the rich flavors and aromas of the beans. Taking from eight to 24 hours to brew, cold brew is actually the preferred coffee beverage of serious coffee aficionados.

Put your ground beans in the infuser and let the coffee brew overnight or up to 36 hours.

Put your ground beans in the infuser and let the coffee brew overnight or up to 36 hours. (Takeya /)

This two-quart cold brew coffee maker makes four servings of delicious coffee. Smooth in design and cold brew taste, this deluxe coffee maker has a fine-mesh filter to keep any particles from your brew. It’s suggested to use a medium roast coffee as it imparts a mellower, nutty flavor. Releasing all the deep coffee flavors, the infuser that sits in the center of this BPA-free pitcher has an easy to clean, silicone handle and an airtight lid. Make sure to use any extra coffee for ice cubes.

Buy: Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Make your own cappuccinos and frothy oat milk chai lattes with the milk frother.

Make your own cappuccinos and frothy oat milk chai lattes with the milk frother. (Ninja/)

This versatile hot and cold coffee maker brews into a thermal carafe. Making cold brew in as little as 10 minutes, you can enjoy that rich coffee flavor fast. Choose from double-strength coffee to enjoy over ice, or choose your tea blend and get water at the ideal brewing temperature. From five brewing styles, you’re sure to find a blend to suit your every coffee and tea need. Brew directly into your mug, travel cup, or into the brushed metal carafe.

Buy: Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System

The filter is fitted with a silicone ring to keep the coffee beans, loose-leaf, or bagged teas in the infuser.

The filter is fitted with a silicone ring to keep the coffee beans, loose-leaf, or bagged teas in the infuser. (County Line Kitchen /)

The extra-strong filter can withstand 100 pounds of weight. That’s a lot of coffee. This simple cold brewing method steeps while you sleep. Just add coffee to the sturdy filter, fill the mason jar with water and let it sit overnight. Greet the morning with a less-acidic cup of cold brew coffee or flavorful tea. The 2-quart mason jar has a flip-top spout and leak-proof lid. Everything can be washed in the dishwasher. Don’t put the coffee grounds down the sink drain, compost them instead.

Buy: County Line Kitchen Durable Cold Brew Mason Jar Coffee Maker with Handle

The lid locks in all those layers of coffee flavors and keeps it fresh for up to two weeks.

The lid locks in all those layers of coffee flavors and keeps it fresh for up to two weeks. (ovalware/)

Although designed for cold brew, the extra-thick glass can withstand boiling water, too. Since cold brewing takes time, we love the tight seal at the top of this lab-equipment-worthy carafe. Now you can make coffee beverages, and experiment with different beans and blends. This also works well for brewing tea, especially for an iced tea that stands up to a glass of ice cubes.

Buy: Airtight Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker

Great for brunches, office breakfasts, dessert buffets, or just around the house with a couple of teenagers.

Great for brunches, office breakfasts, dessert buffets, or just around the house with a couple of teenagers. (Zulay Kitchen/)

This glass cold brew coffee maker brews an entire gallon of coffee – enough for even the sleepiest mornings. Why pay for a fancy coffee shop cold brew when you can make and store 16 cups of enticing, aromatic coffee in your own home? No matter the occasion, you’ll appreciate having cold brew available when you need a little refreshment. And you’ll save money, too. The heavy glass container has markings on the side for making a perfect coffee or tea brew every time. Your blend stays fresh in the container for two weeks.

Buy: 1 Gallon Cold Brew Coffee Maker with EXTRA-THICK Glass

The Essential Skateboards for Beginners

Are you ready to get rolling?

Are you ready to get rolling? (Pixabay/)

Skateboards have come a long way since the iconic scene in “Back to the Future” where our hero fashioned a makeshift version from roller skate wheels attached to the bottom of an orange crate box. The point is, ever since the early days of Americana, we’ve always wanted to ride them. Now there’s a size, shape, and proficiency level of skateboard for just about everyone.

Its sturdy wheels will help give you a smooth ride and performance, and the plastic deck is pliable and works well on different surfaces.

Its sturdy wheels will help give you a smooth ride and performance, and the plastic deck is pliable and works well on different surfaces. (Meketec/)

This lightweight 22″ x 6′’ skateboard holds a maximum weight of 200 pounds and is a great choice for beginners, especially children, and early teens. The Meketec Skateboard is well-built and certifiably safe. Its 22.5″ long by 6″ wide deck is the perfect size for smaller to medium-sized feet. We love how easy it is to learn how to use this board. At only 3.5 pounds, it’s simple to cart around or to practice getting a little air. Just grab it and go practice in your favorite park. Don’t forget your helmet and elbow pads.

Buy: Skateboards Complete 22 Inch Mini Cruiser Retro Skateboard

The 5-inch alloy trucks and high rebound wheels help with balance. It’s well suited for use at the park, on ramps, and on either smooth or rough surfaces.

The 5-inch alloy trucks and high rebound wheels help with balance. It’s well suited for use at the park, on ramps, and on either smooth or rough surfaces. (WhiteFang/)

Whether new or experienced users, kids, and adults up to 330 pounds can count on a super smooth ride with this model. Made of aluminum combined with Canadian maple, the WhiteFang skateboards combine performance and durability that enable both new and experienced skaters to learn tricks quickly. The concave design and customized emery sandpaper help keep your feet on the board. We like the minimalist black and white graphic pattern designed with durable paint that will look cool for a long time.

Buy: WhiteFang Skateboards for Beginners

The waterproof emery and non-slip tape are also great for keeping you balanced to enjoy a safer ride.

The waterproof emery and non-slip tape are also great for keeping you balanced to enjoy a safer ride. (Beleev/)

This 31-inch x 8-inch, fully-assembled skateboard is street-ready and easy to ride. This model is also made from Canadian maple wood and is strong enough to hold riders up to 220 pounds. The Beleev Skateboard is a good choice for either beginners or experts and lends itself well to a number of different riding styles. You can cruise, freestyle, perform tricks, or even use this skateboard in your everyday commute. With high-speed wheels and superior shock absorption, this board makes it easy to traverse bumpy roads and cracks. Kids and adults can both benefit from this skateboard’s versatility and smooth ride.

Buy: Beleev Skateboards for Beginners

The board combines classic looks with precision control to enhance all aspects of your ride.

The board combines classic looks with precision control to enhance all aspects of your ride. (METROLLER/)

This sturdy 31″ x 8″ skateboard is great for anyone up to 220 pounds who wants to learn some new tricks. Whether you want to gain some snazzy skateboarding skills or just enjoy the ride from here to there, the Metroller skateboard is good for both. We like the stable and powerful grip it provides that makes your ride smoother and safer. It’s waterproof with high-friction anti-slip sandpaper to keep your feet secure, and the double kick concave design lends greater balance, giving you the confidence to try tackling that ollie or kickflip.

Buy: METROLLER Skateboards, 31 x 8 Complete Standard Skate Boards

Your child won’t slide around with the special grip surface that helps keep their feet planted.

Your child won’t slide around with the special grip surface that helps keep their feet planted. (PlayWheels/)

This 21-inch Spider Man skateboard is made with kids and fun in mind. The PlayWheels Ultimate Cruiser Skateboard is a good choice for little ones just learning the basics of skateboarding. Its single kicktail design allows them the all-important skills of braking and balancing. The PVC-injected wheels and nylon bearings work for riding over most surfaces, and the supports on the board deliver a smooth speed. With a popular superhero theme, this skateboard is a great option to provide a fun and safe experience for little rollers.

Buy: PlayWheels Ultimate Spider-Man 21 Inch Wood Cruiser Skateboard

Best Water Slides for the Backyard

Who's ready to hit the water slide?

Who’s ready to hit the water slide? (Unsplash/)

Everyone loves the waterpark attractions, from the slides with the daring drops to the gentle flow of the lazy river, to the bucket that drenches you from above. You can’t always have a day in the park, but you can still have a wet and wild time setting up one of these water slides in your own backyard. Great for parties or just hours of slippery entertainment, bring the fun to your own home anytime with an inflatable water slide.

There are ample footholds to navigate their way up the climbing wall, and a bucket that continuously fills with water, only to dump on the climbers as they conquer the Rocky Mountain.

There are ample footholds to navigate their way up the climbing wall, and a bucket that continuously fills with water, only to dump on the climbers as they conquer the Rocky Mountain. (Little Tikes/)

The Little Tikes inflatable water slide and bounce house is like its own contained mini water park. At an impressive 12 feet tall, your children can spend hours climbing to the top of the center wall and racing each other down the two slides – on one side – then landing in the splash pool awaiting them at the bottom. Holds four kids or 350 pounds. This well-designed water slide is colorful and durable for maximum amounts of aquatic fun. Includes a GFCI blower that runs continuously during use, as well as a repair kit in the event of punctures. Anchors securely with the included stakes.

Buy: Little Tikes Rocky Mountain River Race Inflatable Slide Bouncer

Two people can skim across together or race each other. And it's easy to set up.

Two people can skim across together or race each other. And it’s easy to set up. (TEAM MAGNUS/)

The Team Magnus 31-foot water slide sets up in less than a minute but will be enjoyed again and again. A central sprinkler panel ensures both sides remain wet and slippery. For ages 5-12, kids can launch themselves down the path on flotation devices or just lay under the sprinklers and enjoy keeping cool. The entire slide is made of .22mm PVC that is 38% thicker than the industry standard, so you can enjoy the activity for many seasons. The 6-point pegging system keeps the slide securely in place as your kids slip the hot afternoons away. The easy setup uses U.S. hose adapters for female and male ends and includes six feet of waterproof duct tape for instant repairs.

Buy: TEAM MAGNUS 31ft Water Slide

Includes slide attraction, air blower, water tube, repair patches, lawn stakes, blower stakes, and a portable carrying bag.

Includes slide attraction, air blower, water tube, repair patches, lawn stakes, blower stakes, and a portable carrying bag. (Action air/)

Only three minutes to a complete water playground with this waterslide and bounce house combo. What’s more fun than climbing through the mouth of a friendly shark? This play area is 8 feet tall and 15 feet long, and the smiling shark at the top has a wide-open mouth leading to a quick, cool escape where kids can slide down after every climb. The shark won’t bite, but beware of the water gun at the bottom – it may get you before you reach the end of the slide. A GFCI blower is included for quick assembly and continual inflation while in use. The splash pool at the bottom is extra thick and designed for plenty of bouncing – a great place to keep cool while resting between attempts to conquer the shark. Takes down quickly to store away until their next adventure.

Buy: ACTION AIR Inflatable Waterslide

The customized connection system allows multiple units to be combined together, to create up to a 100-foot long slide if you desire.

The customized connection system allows multiple units to be combined together, to create up to a 100-foot long slide if you desire. (WOW Sports/)

The Wow World of Watersports model brings the popularity of the water slide into your own back yard. The 25-foot slide is a full six feet wide with a zig-zagging water pattern that keeps the entire surface wet and slippery all the while you’re enjoying it. Constructed of extra-thick, heavy-duty PVC that is more than twice as thick as most lawn slides, this slide is durable, and it’s embossed to keep the pathway super-slippery. The 8-inch high sidewall pontoons make sure the water and the sliders stay on the slide. We like how it includes two 36″ X 24″ sleds to soften the impact as your kids dive to the ground time and again and slide to the finish line. Connects to a standard yard hose and provides 100 percent coverage with no dry spots.

Buy: Wow World of Watersports Super Slide

This double-wide double slide is made of thick, heavy-duty PVC for long-lasting entertainment.

This double-wide double slide is made of thick, heavy-duty PVC for long-lasting entertainment. (JOYIN/)

The JOYIN Slip and Slide Water Slide is our most affordable top pick. At 20 feet long and 62 inches wide, it includes two bodyboards to cushion the hours of sliding down the cool, wet raceway. Just inflate the end stop and included bodyboards, connect to your sprinkler, and you are ready to go. The built-in sprinkler runs the entire length of the slide and keeps the surface slippery and well-watered. Remember running through the sprinkler as a kid? If they need a rest from racing, the kids can cool off underneath the sprinkler fountains that line the length of the slide. Bright, bold colors divide the wide sliding surface for clearly delineated lanes.

Buy: JOYIN 20ft x 62in Slip and Slide Water Slide

Best Wheelbarrows for Weekend Chores

You don't need a green thumb to make use of a good wheelbarrow.

You don’t need a green thumb to make use of a good wheelbarrow. (Pixabay/)

As wheelbarrows go, there are still a barrel-full of cheaply made ones that are likely to be dead on arrival, or at least soon after. Flimsy structured, cheaply designed, and cheaply made, they serve to dampen our gardening enthusiasm and breed distrust.

Not these. These are some of the industry iron men that have arrived over the last few years, made by trusted manufacturers, some with long histories in the farming and landscaping business. These wheels will keep on turning through all of your landscaping projects.

The bin is plastic, the frame powder-coated steel – a recipe for rust-free longevity.

The bin is plastic, the frame powder-coated steel – a recipe for rust-free longevity. (Best Choice Products/)

This rust-resistant multipurpose garden cart is easy to balance and easy to dump. It holds as much as 5 cubic feet of whatever earthly product you drop into it. With 13-inch rubber wheels at the bottom, the journey from point to point will not give you that telltale discomfort in your lower back. Comes with thick padded handlebars that hold the wagon firmly in place when not in use. At three feet in length and 25 inches wide, this 20-inch deep bowl can handle as much as 330 pounds.

Buy: Best Choice Products Dual-Wheel Home Utility Yard Wheelbarrow

The perfect accessory for a weekend landscaper, it features a loop handle that facilitates mobility and handle-ability.

The perfect accessory for a weekend landscaper, it features a loop handle that facilitates mobility and handle-ability. (Garden Star/)

Lightweight yet sturdy, the Marathon model is easily stored and/or hung from a wall. And built of sturdy slick plastic, it cleans easily. The 5-cubic foot hard plastic tray can handle 300 pounds at a time despite weighing, at 25 pounds, 25 percent less than comparable barrels. Comes with two big air-fill 14.5-inch tires for handling ease. Best of all, you need only a crescent wrench and a flathead screwdriver to assemble.

Buy: Marathon Yard Rover – 2 Tire Wheelbarrow Garden Cart

Its hardy 40-inch x 25-inch rust-proof poly bed and 13-inch pneumatic tires do most of the work.

Its hardy 40-inch x 25-inch rust-proof poly bed and 13-inch pneumatic tires do most of the work. (Gorilla Carts/)

This heavy-duty wagon features a 4-wheel base that facilitates all types of projects, from garden work to rolling along uneven hills and terrain while fully loaded. Its two-in-one padded handle technology enables your cart to be hooked up to a lawn tractor or ATV with a pull and a twist. With six cubic feet of space and improved maneuverability, this cart covers the long and short of it, and all projects big and small.

Buy: Gorilla Carts Heavy-Duty Poly Yard Dump Cart

With a supportive wheel structure, it can carry rocks, dirt, or plants from one area to another.

With a supportive wheel structure, it can carry rocks, dirt, or plants from one area to another. (G & F Products/)

The best way to effectively include your son or daughter into your yard or garden project is to get him or her their very own wheelbarrow. These kid-sized barrels are made of real metal, but with a round tray edge to keep kids from getting scratched. It’s no pretend vehicle, either. Help them learn the joy of gardening at a young age and they’ll love it for years to come.

Buy: G & F Products G & F 10041 Just For Kids Kids Wheelbarrow

This is the choice for those who garden a lot or have lots of land to navigate as they work around their property.

This is the choice for those who garden a lot or have lots of land to navigate as they work around their property. (Landworks /)

Quiet, eco-friendly, and rechargeable, the Landworks electric powered wheelbarrow can hold up to 330 pounds and up to five hours of charge. It features pneumatic wheels, fast charge times, spill-proof design, high power output, and low internal/vibration resistance due to sandwich construction. Deal with no fumes, no ugly smoke, and little to no maintenance due to its non-dependence on fossil fuels and its efficient battery capacity.

Buy: Landworks Wheelbarrow Utility Cart

Best Ice Cube Trays for Cocktails

A quality cocktail calls for special ice.

A quality cocktail calls for special ice. (Unsplash/)

It’s the science of mixology. Yes, there is an art to creating fine cocktails. Choosing the optimal spirits is important, as is mixing the right recipes and serving them up in an appropriate glass. But to truly add the finishing touch, the ice cubes are an integral part of the recipe, too. Don’t detract from your finely crafted cocktail by using the wrong ice cubes in your drink. Depending on the beverage, square cubes may be called for, while for others a single, round ice cube is the best enhancement.

Easy to fill and easy to twist or push from the bottom to remove from the tray.

Easy to fill and easy to twist or push from the bottom to remove from the tray. (Adoric/)

The Adoric silicone ice cube tray gives you what you need to create the perfect square or spherical ice cubes to adorn your cocktails. Each tray produces six precise cubes. The spherical cubes are 1.8 inches in diameter. Why do we need these? Spherical cubes will melt more slowly and have less surface area touching your drink, so you can enjoy its optimum taste for longer without it diluting from ice melt. The square cubes are 2 inches in size and are ideal for your Old Fashioned, Scotch whiskey, bourbon, or blended whiskey. Both trays are made of durable silicone and are BPA-free. Can also be used to make popsicle treats for kids, freeze sauces, baby food, or create a special liqueur for a surprise treat for your guests.

Buy: Adoric Ice Cube Trays Silicone Set of 2

They also work well in iced coffee and frozen lemonade.

They also work well in iced coffee and frozen lemonade. (glacio/)

The glacio ice cube trays create six large-sized cubes each. The square cubes come in at just under 2 inches and will keep all your beverages on the rocks chilled for peak enjoyment. The spherical molds are a must for making a traditional mint julep or use them for more impressive Mojitos. Both sets produce large cubes that will melt slowly or chill the glass before you add your beverage. Made of food-grade silicone, BPA-free, and easy to clean, these trays are dishwasher safe. Both trays are from flexible silicon that makes it a cinch to free the cubes by twisting or pushing them free from the bottom. Also, use these to freeze soup or fruit juice.

Buy: glacio Ice Cube Trays Silicone Combo Mold

Designed for ease of use, each section is topped with a small funnel-shaped hole for quick filling.

Designed for ease of use, each section is topped with a small funnel-shaped hole for quick filling. (Samuelworld/)

This ice tray mold is the perfect way to go large as you serve your guests. It makes it so easy to create oversized 2.5-inch spherical cubes that will look stunning and melt slowly in your glass. Made of high-quality food-grade BPA-free silicone, they can be used in the freezer or even the microwave, and are dishwasher safe. When they’re ready, just turn the silicone molds upside down and the highly flexible material allows the ice balls to simply pop out of the tray, perfectly formed. Make professional-looking cocktails, iced coffee, infused fruit, or infused mint for exceptional mojitos. Get creative and add herb or fruit-filled ice balls to your punch bowl at your next party.

Buy: Samuelworld Large Sphere Ice Tray Mold Whiskey Big Ice Maker

Each yields six large two-inch cubes that will keep your special cocktails looking professional.

Each yields six large two-inch cubes that will keep your special cocktails looking professional. (Kitch/)

The Kitch large ice cube tray two-pack is a great accessory for your kitchen. Use these large trays for other kitchen projects, too, like freezing juices, wine, stocks and broth cubes, soups, or baby food. Made from food-grade silicone, we like how they’re BPA and phthalate-free for safe, hypoallergenic use. Easy to fill and stackable to take up less space in your freezer, they’re also flexible so the cubes will pop right out whenever you’re ready to serve them.

Buy: Large Cube Silicone Ice Tray

A nice touch for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or to add a romantic touch to your special guest’s aperitif.

A nice touch for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or to add a romantic touch to your special guest’s aperitif. (ROTTAY/)

When you need to dazzle your guests or prepare something absolutely unique for a special occasion, this tray will elevate your event with that extra something special. Like mini ice sculptures without having to hire a sculptor, this ice cube tray makes perfectly formed 2.5-inch rose-shaped ice cubes to garnish your unique cocktails or punchbowl. Leakproof and easy to fill, empty, and clean, the flexible silicone has tiny injection holes for precision filling and a cover that removes easily after your roses are perfectly formed. The large ice roses will melt slowly and make your cocktails look stunning all the while. You can also use them to make desserts like chocolates, candies, puddings, or fruit jellies extra special. You’ll never fail to make a sensation with this lovely accoutrement.

Buy: ROTTAY Rose Ice Cube Maker

Feed Your Nostalgia with these Cotton Candy Machines

Who's ready to dig into this amazing treat?

Who’s ready to dig into this amazing treat? (Pixabay/)

From sultry evenings walking by the rides at the county fair pulling off those pieces of spun sugar, cotton candy puts a smile on your face. Cotton candy has been fair food ever since 1904 when it debuted at the World’s Fair. At the time it retailed for 25 cents, which would be about $7.50 today. Invented by an unlikely duo of a dentist and a confectioner in the late 1890′s, the iconic candy was originally introduced to the world as “fairy floss.” The new and improved name of cotton candy was substituted for its grand release at the World’s Fair.

Having the different tastes and colors in this set adds variety not found in many other sets, and 50 paper cones are included.

Having the different tastes and colors in this set adds variety not found in many other sets, and 50 paper cones are included. (Cotton Candy Express /)

It looks great on display in classic pink, and this fun cotton candy kit is heating up, so you’d better get this party started. From the block party to your child’s birthday party, this pink cotton candy machine includes everything you need. All the kids can pick their favorite of the five flavors: cherry, blue raspberry, orange, grape, and pink vanilla. You don’t need to wait for the carnival to enjoy spun sugar – make your next party or sleepover a hit by creating your own cotton candy at home with this bright and easy-to-use machine.

Buy: Cotton Candy Express CC1000-S Cotton Candy Machine

Once it gets up to speed, this appliance can make a couple of servings in a minute.

Once it gets up to speed, this appliance can make a couple of servings in a minute. (VIVO/)

This cotton candy maker comes apart to make it easier to keep clean. Make the world taste good with this pink cotton candy maker. Great if you’re running the sports teams’ concessions stand or have lots of teens over at your home – a cotton candy machine makes everyone’s day a little sweeter. Speaking of a lot of spun sugar, did you know the longest cotton candy strand was 4,500 feet long? You don’t need to make that much to add a decorative touch to cupcakes, ice cream sundaes, and custards.

Buy: VIVO Pink Electric Commercial Cotton Candy Machine

Heating and spinning the sugar actually transforms it into strands thinner than human hairs. That’s why it melts so quickly on your tongue.

Heating and spinning the sugar actually transforms it into strands thinner than human hairs. That’s why it melts so quickly on your tongue. (The Candery/)

Redesigned to make the process of making cotton candy look as good as the sweet treat tastes. There are not many foods that are actually fun to eat, but cotton candy is a treat for the young and the young at heart. With this cotton candy machine, you can spin sugar-free cotton candy, too. The sugar scoop included helps to place the sugar in the center of the machine. The stable feet hold the appliance in place while the clear rim guard lets everyone watch the cotton candy wrap around one of the included cones.

Buy: The Candery Premium Cotton Candy Machine

The art deco color and '50s design style make this device too cool to hide in a cabinet.

The art deco color and ’50s design style make this device too cool to hide in a cabinet. (Nostalgia/)

Just warm it up and eat your sweet treats in minutes. Have you ever wondered how your favorite Jolly Rancher would taste in cotton candy form? How about those tropical-flavored LifeSavers? This retro cotton candy machine gives you the opportunity to find out, by not only letting you use flossing sugar but hard candies, too. LED lights let you know when the machine is ready for the sugar and when it’s running. The chrome ON and OFF lever on the right side is an especially nice touch.

Buy: Nostalgia CLCM8AQ Classic Retro Hard and Sugar-Free Countertop Cotton Candy Maker

You can make much more clever uses of the product with this versatile model.

You can make much more clever uses of the product with this versatile model. (Nostalgia/)

This model stays secure and quieter on the counter with a silicone suction cup on the base. Spun sugar candy is a sweet adornment to accent a sour cocktail in a martini glass. Have you tried a cotton candy cocktail? To make one, just grab a tumbler and melt cotton candy with marshmallow vodka and sparkling water, and serve over ice. Capturing the silky sugar on the cone or stick is entertaining, and so is watching the strands emerge in the collecting bowl. That’s why making cotton candy is also a great activity for a child’s party. And everyone gets a delicate treat at the end.

Buy: Cotton Candy Machine for Kids