Devices Your Family Will Use All Summer

Gadgets to keep your family diverted (and you sane) when school and work are out.


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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

boy reading on amazon kindle paperwhite

Photo courtesy of Stocksy

Photo courtesy of Stocksy

We don’t usually lose our cool over e-readers, but the waterproof feature of this Kindle is the stuff of our accidentally-nodded-off-on-the-pool-float dreams. You can adjust the display for various sunshiny conditions (and come nighttime, the built-in LED light will keep your snoozing spouse from hating you). The Wi-Fi and LTE connections mean it’s painless to download books—but unlike with your phone and its apps, not quite as easy to get distracted from your reading.

Buy: amazon.com, $130


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Microsoft Surface Go

microsoft surface go

Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Put work behind you on your week off? Yeah, you can fantasize—and at least resist schlepping a full-size laptop to the beach. Microsoft initiated the 2-in-1 laptop/tablet combo craze, and the most recent Surface Go is its lightest yet, at just a blip over a pound. You’ll use it for work stuff too annoying to type on your phone. Your kids will snag it for games and movies.

Buy: microsoft.com, from $399


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Xtrainerz

aftershokz xtrainerz

Photo courtesy of Aftershokz

Photo courtesy of Aftershokz

Keep your tunes going in the pool or ocean with these wireless waterproof MP3 bone-conduction headphones. Futuristic Xtrainerz (pronounced “cross trainers”) lie on your temples, not your ears: The sound vibrates through your cheekbones to land in your inner ear—because science. Built-in storage means you can download music, podcasts and audiobooks, and never be bored swimming laps again.

Buy: aftershokz.com, $179


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Beats Solo3

beats solo3

Photo courtesy of Apple

Photo courtesy of Apple

Step 1 for making the epic family road trip more tolerable/less miserable: Snap these on your kid. Beats Solo3 offer comfy wireless listening and 40 hours of battery life. You’ve gotta love the fast-fuel feature, which lets you add three hours of juice with just a five-minute charge. Choose among multiple colors, from two-­tone combos to trendy metallics, that your lewks-obsessed kids will approve of. (And yes, at 300 bucks a head, they’re outrageous, but when it comes to keeping the peace, they’re worth every penny.)

Buy: apple.com, $300


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Roku Streaming Stick Plus

roku streaming stick plus

Photo by Peter Ardito

Photo by Peter Ardito

You’ve rented a remote cabin in the woods, but your family assumes getting in touch with nature still includes Netflix breaks (right, Mom?). Prevent screen withdrawal with Roku’s portable streaming device, tiny enough to fit into a duffel pocket and idiot-proof to install: Pop the Roku stick into the TV’s HDMI port, plug the Wi-Fi receiver into an outlet to pick up a signal, and click the included remote for offerings from Amazon, Hulu, YouTube and more.

Buy: roku.com, $60


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Pelican 20QT Elite Cooler 

pelican 20Q elite cooler

Photo courtesy of Pelican

Photo courtesy of Pelican

Even your kids know by now not to mock your extreme camping preparedness skills. Outdo yourself with a crazy-capable cooler from Pelican, which, thanks to high-tech insulation, can keep ice icy for up to 10 days (pick from various models). The contraptions come with either wheels for lugging or non-skid feet. And in case you’re worried, some of the coolers are purportedly grizzly-bear-proof. (Can they keep out a hangry teen? Not so much.)

Buy: pelican.com, from $150

Bonus
Take a screen break. Get your brood to step away from the Fortnite with Fitbit Ace 2 fitness trackers,
a kid-tailored line (out this summer). The swim-proof band doubles as a watch and will nudge your kids for you, prompting them to set fitness goals and engage in a set amount of active movement (i.e., non-couch time) each day. The family app will let you spy on/cheer their progress from afar.

Buy: fitbit.com, $70