School's out, and you're wondering how to keep your kids' brains from turning to mush. For help, Tip Sheet called on child-development expert Stevanne Auerbach, a.k.a. Dr. Toy, who last week released her annual list of best vacation products. From among her 100-plus winners, we picked the best electronic toys and videos to keep your child entertained--and stimulated--through the lazy summer months. (All are available for purchase through links at drtoy.com.)
EasyPC by Comfy ($99). Age range: 1 to 5. Before they start dreaming of rock bands, have them master that other type of keyboard. The EasyPC plugs into your computer and comes with fun, educational games.
Story Reader by Publications International ($24.99). Age range: 3 to 8. It'll read to your child when you can't. Amazingly, the narrator always knows what page you're on.
Leapster Multimedia Learning System by LeapFrog ($79.99). Age range: 4 to 8. This portable device with a full-color screen and PDA-like wand plays games and cartoons that help kids with reading and homework skills.
The A to Z Symphony by Classical Fun Music ($14.95). Age range: 0 to 5. This delightful video sets basic alphabet and vocabulary lessons to the works of composers like Tchaikovsky and Bach. Before long, your child will learn to identify Rossini's "William Tell Overture" and Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons"--and Mom and Dad will look like philistines.