July 20, 2014 at 1:00 am

4 toys to get kids off the couch and outside

Top Toss combines elements from horseshoes, bowling, and other yard games to create a truly unique and fun outdoor activity for the whole family. (Ideal)

With technology making its way into every aspect of our lives, kids are spending a lot less time playing outside than we did when we where their age. And even when they do play outside, itís often in a highly structured activity (like soccer, swimming, and most other organized sports) that doesnít give kids freedom to explore, create, or just have fun. There are alternatives, however, and this week we bring you four of them.

Jumparoo Frog Pogo Stick (Geospace)

Most pogo sticks bounce up and down on a post, which makes it hard for little kids to keep balanced. But the Jumparoo frog pogo stick has a wide, rounded base, which lets your pollywog bounce around to his or her heartís content, giggling all the way. Itís great for developing coordination and balance, plus itís a great workout. Oh, and if that isnít fun enough, the Jumparoo ribbits with every boing. For kids 4 and up who weigh 28-62 pounds (yes, that means youíll have to stay off of it ó but Jumparoo makes adult-sized pogo, if you want to join the fun). $77.50 at Amazon, or at www.geospaceplay.com

Fly Max Football (Geospace)

Every child ó boy or girl ó whoís ever picked up a football has dreamed of throwing a deadly accurate 50-yard bomb. But those of us who are not named Manning, Rodgers, Brady, or Kaepernick have had to settle for much, much shorter and not-terribly-accurate passes. But with the Fly Max Football, you and the kids can actually throw on-the-money passes up to 100 yards. The Fly Max looks like a cross between a small football and a hollow rocket ship with fins. It has a dial that you can set to maximize distance for either righties or lefties. It also makes a cool buzzy-whistly sound as it flies. Made for future first-round draft picks 6 and up ó and the grownups who do their laundry and drive them to practice. $19.99 at www.geospaceplay.com

Top Toss Pro Lawn Game (Ideal)

Top Toss combines elements from horseshoes, bowling, and other yard games to create a truly unique and fun outdoor activity for the whole family. Your first task is to build the tower, which looks like a short ladder (itís actually almost four feet high) with a wide base. Thatíll take about five minutes. Then, itís on to the actual game. Players take turns throwing bolo balls (imagine an 8-inch piece of yarn with a soft golf ball attached to each end), trying to get them to wrap around the rungs of the tower. The rungs get smaller as the tower gets taller, so high ones score more than lower ones. Because set-up and tear-down are so easy, Top Toss is a great choice for the backyard, the beach, or even indoors. For two or more players ages 8 and up, Top Toss comes with three bolo balls, all the steel rods and plastic connectors youíll need to build the tower, bilingual instructions, and a storage bag. $34.99 (or $54.99 for the ďproĒ version that comes with two towers) at http://poof-slinky.com/product/top-toss

My 1st Sports T-Ball (Poof)

What a great way to introduce your little one to baseball. Set-up takes all of 15 seconds and then itís home-run derby time (with a subtle lesson in hand-eye coordination). Excellent for outdoor play, but it could work indoors too. The ball and bat are made of foam, so even if your little slugger really smacks one, damage should be minimal. Best for preschoolers (most kids over 5 are ready for the more traditional T) $22.99 http://poof-slinky.com

The Jumparoo frog pogo stick has a wide, rounded base, which lets your ... (Geospace)