Fun Family Toys for Active Play

Make these fun-for-the-whole-family toys a part of your birthday and holiday celebrations. This list includes classic and new games, toys low-tech and high, and gear for outdoors and inside. They will appeal to preschoolers, pre-teens, and parents alike, and will help you enjoy active play together.


You can go inexpensive or deluxe with these sets, but either way they're good for lots of backyard games, from "real" volleyball and badminton to easier versions for younger kids. Use a beach ball, make everything in bounds, don't bother keeping score; there are lots of ways to mix things up.


Those famous Twister dots have become dance teachers. In Twister Dance Contest, follow the lights from the console and dance on the dots. The console is pre-programmed with 5 songs that can be played at 3 skill levels. You can also plug in your own MP3 player and dance to any song in your library. For two to four players, ages 8 and up. Hasbro also has more dance games in the Twister series.


 Forget Frisbees and rubber balls and try tossing this super-sized inflatable rocket instead. The Mega Rocket can fly over 100 feet, but it's easy enough for kids 6 and up to throw and catch.


Did you know you can enjoy a ziplining adventure right in your own backyard? This kit supplies everything you need. Anyone who's over 7 years old and under 250 pounds can use it.


This party game gets everyone—up to 14 players!—up and moving to strike a pose. It's an updated version of the classic party game, Statues. Designed for ages 10 and up, although younger players may be able to catch on too.


Play table tennis on any table with this portable ping pong set. The clever design of its weighted net keeps it in place without any clamps or attachments. The balls even fit inside the net posts for storage.


Definitely not your grandpa's game, this reinvention of the picnic classic lets you play faster and throw farther, indoors or out. Use the catapult to launch the foam horseshoes 10 feet or more!


This portable, easy-to-store set never gets boring, because it's 15 games in one! It includes 6 buckets, 6 belts so players can wear the buckets, 24 bean bags, 4 boundary-marking cones (useful for lots of other games, too), 6 blindfolds, and a carrying case. Plus you get an instruction book with how-tos for all 15 games. Play indoors, outdoors, and even in the water.


This simple game (also called ladder golf, Blongo Ball, or Top Toss) features two goals, or racks, and six pairs of brightly colored golf balls attached together with rope. The object of the game is to toss the balls into the goal to earn points. Simple? Yes—but addictively fun too. Play one-on-one or in teams.


If you live in a wintry climate, snowshoes are a super way to combine exercise and family time during the colder months. They are incredibly easy to use (it's just like walking) but still get your heart pumping. Plus there's no need to drive to a ski slope or resort. You can hit nearby nature trails, parks, or golf courses, and tailor the length of your trip to your child's stamina (or, hey, your own).


Forget those scary, hard, heavy mallets and balls and opt for kick croquet instead! In this version of the classic game, both the balls and the wickets have been super-sized for easier, more active play (the balls are 16 inches in diameter). Arrange the wickets any way you like for variety and challenge.


Get a grip on this pigskin no matter the weather. Its high-tech, water-resistant surface allows you to throw and catch in the rain, snow, and high humidity, just like the pros. You can even choose one decked out in your favorite NFL team's colors and logo.


This unique lawn game combines characteristics of horseshoes, bocce ball and bowling. Players roll their disks to the goal, aiming to get closest. So it takes skill, but there's an element of chance too. The set weighs just 3 pounds and comes with a travel bag, and you can also buy an expansion pack.