When we were asked to pick three items to review from the Argos Outdoor Toys* range, it's something of an understatement to say that we were spoiled for choice. We spent far too long poring over the options online but in the end my lads settled on a go-kart, a skateboard and a pair of inline skates.
A range of skateboards are available from Argos but my boys are big Wii fans so they opted for this Skylanders skateboard (£19.99). I must admit that I didn't have the highest of hopes when it came to reviewing this particular item - not because of any issue with the skateboard itself but because, at six years old, my son hasn't entirely mastered the somewhat complex art of skateboarding yet. So I worried that it would be one of those outoor toys that makes a big splash initially but which soon gets tossed aside. I thought he might find it too unwieldy or that the frustration that stems from not being able to use it properly would mean that it would soon start gathering dust in the cupboard under the stairs.
But I'm happy to report that I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only did my six year old practically blow a gasket in his haste to get changed after school every day so that he could get outside to play on his skateboard, but his new wheels seemed to earn him the respect of all the kids in our street too. Suddenly all the other kids were bringing their long-forgotten skateboards out to play too and instead of sitting around on the pavement squabbling over what to play, they were all comparing boards and trying to teach each other tricks. This particular board is rather large for a six year old but that didn't deter my son from playing with it at all - if anything I suspect he quite liked looking like a big kid with this casually tucked underneath his arm.
Argos sell skates too, and that's what my eight year old chose to review. He chose this pair (£19.99) of adjustable inline skates from Argos and once again he couldn't get them on quick enough after school. Their best feature is that they're adjustable - I wouldn't say 'easily adjustable' as my son couldn't manage adjusting them to fit his feet by himself, but it's straightforward enough for an adult to do, and that feature means this item represents pretty good value for money as they'll fit children with a shoe size that varies from a size one to a size three.
The skates were slightly less popular with my sons than the skateboard but only because wearing inline skates when you don't really know how to skate isn't as cool as wandering around with a skateboard under your arm when you don't know how to skateboard! We definitely need to spend some time getting to grips with the basics of skating before these become as prized a possession as the skateboard is, but my son loves them and would wear them all day every day (yes, in the house and probably even in bed) if he thought he could get away with it.
As a first pair of skates I'd say these are a good purchase - the padded lining makes them extra comfy and they're certainly not difficult to walk in, even for a novice skater. The green and black colour theme is very 'Ben 10' which added to the cool factor, and if we can master the art of staying upright on skates before my son outgrows them (they do come up fairly small, as is mentioned in the online reviews) then I reckon these skates will remain a huge hit in our house all summer long.
Finally, we got to review this Kettler Melbourne go-kart (£134.99). I wouldn't have thought to visit Argos for go-karts but when my boys spotted this go-kart they could hardly believe their eyes. When it arrived it created no end of excitement in our house and before it was even up and running we had half the street queuing up in the back garden for a go. It was relatively easy to put together, according to my husband, and kept our kids (and all our neighbours' kids) entertained for ages. The adjustable seat makes it good value for money because to an extent it can grow with your child, or at least be adapted to fit children of different ages. The free-wheeling option seemed to be loads of fun and made it safe for even the youngest of the kids that wanted to try it out. For days after it arrived we had children knocking on the door begging my boys to bring their go-kart out to play. Given that so many different kids were clambering in and out of it I was impressed with how sturdy it is and how children of various ages seemed to find it easy to 'drive'.
Admittedly this isn't exactly a cheap outdoor toy but if you're looking for something to invest some cash in in order to buy you some peace over the school summer holidays then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this. In fact I can't really recommend it highly enough. It currently has pride of place in a corner of our kitchen because my kids don't want to leave it in the shed as they won't be able to admire it over breakfast every morning!
Overall I highly recommend checking out the range of outdoor toys from Argos this summer - it's amazing how something new to get to grips with outside can revolutionise children's playtime. The only downside is that all these kids just keep knocking on our front door begging my kids to bring their new toys out to play!