Dr. Toy: Outdoor Fun

Good weather encourages active play out of doors. Still children can get restless. Interesting outdoor products encourage more physical activity and constructive play for the child alone or with friends. Perfect items for outdoors include a sandbox ( substitute a plastic tub filled with clean sand) small shovels, plastic containers and a few, small rubber toys. Water play is wonderful in a small washtub with a couple of small boats and other water toys. Water makes for great "Discovery" play. Other favorites include bubble pipes, jump ropes,balls, unbreakable play things, construction toys, roller- skates, wagons, bikes and trikes.

Expand backyard adventure with a Toddler Teepee (ages 3 and up, $60) 612-377-4511. This lightweight , sturdy, colorful tent comes in two sizes. Easy to set up it expands the imagination of the active child at play. This is a perfect prop for unlimited fun. Kaleidoscope are perfect for quiet outdoor play. Gemini Kaleidoscopes (ages 5 and up, $$7.50) 800-922-1194. include themes of birds and other wildlife. The child can foster creative expression while watching birds fly through flowers and leaves with these colorful, classic visions.

Another "Best Product" for the great outdoors is a unique CD ROM that unlocks the mysteries of the vast ocean. Ocean Planet produced by Discovery Multimedia and the Smithsonian(ages 10-12, $49.95)800-762-2189 provides interactive information and stunning visuals. Your young sea diver will enjoy learning about marine life, geography, navigation and weather. A very good way to encourage children to learn more about the world.

Dr. Toy responds to parents who want to expand child's appreciation of the wilderness. Dr. Toy suggests beginning with books about animals and their habitats. Use plush toys when talking about animals. Give your child experiences at the nearest Natural History Museum and Zoo. Take them on day hikes or camping trips to local, state and national parks. Watch for birds, wildlife and wildflowers. Teach your child about the importance of the environment and how to protect it.

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