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Backyard Explorers

Is your child eager to explore the great outdoors? Equip your young naturalist for the next neighborhood expedition with these tools.

Kids can get a very up-close look at creepy crawlers with the foot-long Mega Magnifier from Summit Toy's Backyard Safari Outfitters collection. Made of unbreakable glass, the magnifier also floats so you can bring it to the park or beach for a glimpse into the water. Ages 5 & up. $14.99.

2-in-1 LanternFisher-Price's Kid-Tough 2-in-1 Lantern is perfectly sized for small hands and made of plastic that endures after dropping it on the ground. With a simple adjustment of the handle, the lantern becomes a spotlight. A perk for parents: no need to pack batteries, they're already included. Ages 3 & up. $14.99.

Nickelodeon's Walkie Talkies forgo the classic rugged black and come in colorful themes based on Nick Jr. TV shows, so your own Dora or Diego can communicate in style. $14.99 for a pair. Available at Toys"R"Us and at www.amazon.com.

Stephanie Halinski is calendar editor of MetroKids.

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