It's bound to happen sometime during the summer break – no matter how overscheduled the kids seem – they will at some point begin to complain of boredom.
That's when you can break out these two items. You will be Hero Mom for fighting off the Monster of Dull, and they will get to be heroes of stories of their own inventions with the help of their new toys.
Act Out Your Favorite Fairy Tales
Set the stage for fun with the Now I'm Reading! Plays. Five scripts and four masks accompany each of author Nora Gaydos's adaptations of classic fairy tales, allowing beginning readers to put on a show. Whether Dad gets to "Fee fi fo fum" or Mom blows a stick house down, these clever combos make for a truly entertaining family night. Ages 5 to 8. From innovativeKids, www.innovativekids.com, $17 each. _ ALICIA POTTER
Pretend Play Gone Wild!
The 40-inch-tall, easy-to-set-up Base Camp Shelter inspired our testers to act out Animal Planet–worthy backyard adventures. It also proved to be the perfect hiding place _ from squirrels and siblings _ when covered by the 5- by 8-foot camouflage netting. Ages 3 to 8. From Summit, www.summittoysshop.com, $35 for the shelter; $15 for the netting. _ ELLEN HARTER WALL