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Water Fights

Remember when you were 10 and you really wanted a Super Soaker, and you had to wait for your birthday and then your parents only got you the Super Soaker 50 because they didn't understand that you needed the XP105? You have no idea how much more you're missing out on now. The Super Soaker Lightningstorm Blaster is battery-powered, fully automatic, shoots 25 feet and has a "blast shield," whatever that is. And at $25, it's by far the most expensive pistol in the range. You have your own money now. Toys, it turns out, are actually pretty cheap. You can finally water fight like a boss, without the handicap of your parents' miserly ways. 

Tag, Hide-and-Seek

Yeah, we all saw the Portlandia episode. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about Forest Park and camo gear. Hide-and-seek in your house or backyard was stupid. Too many walls, too much light, too much adult supervision. And you don't need to waste money on paintball or laser tag. The essential elements of these games are the same: predators, stealth, fear. Add a real park, impending darkness, adult running speeds and smartphones, if necessary, and you've got the most fun you can have with two legs and a ruthless spear tackle. Not enough? Up the ante with British bulldogs or capture the flag.


Today's trampolines are rubbish. They're surrounded by safety netting and covered springs so our mollycoddled little moppets don't injure their precious bones. Half the fun of trampolines was the ever-present danger that your limbs could end up twisted and maimed in a mess of rusted steel. The other half was the fun of bouncing off the trampoline onto something—garage roof, basketball hoop, swimming pool. None of these things are possible with modern trampolines. Fortunately, the old deathtraps of yesteryear—vintage recreational equipment, as I prefer to think of them—are available for mere pennies on Craigslist. Just make sure your dental insurance is paid up.

Slip 'n Slides

The dream of every overheated child stuck at home during summer break. It was almost like having a water slide in your backyard, only without all the good bits. Of course, you didn't have a real Slip 'n Slide, because your parents weren't about to buy you an overpriced sheet of plastic, young lady, so you had a moldy old shower curtain and a sprinkler. The real thing actually costs only about $20 these days, but it turns out your parents were correct: It really is just an overpriced sheet of plastic. You can construct a bigger, faster, longer, infinitely more dangerous sheet of plastic for about the same price at a hardware store. Just add friends, sun and bubble bath. And don't forget your Super Soaker.