If you think back to the summers of your childhood, what would they have been without popsicles and swimming, neighborhood games and water balloon fights?
There are so many inventions that put their mark on the summer memories of American kids, but these are among the most game-changing.
The Super Soaker™
It’s hard to beat the fun of a high-powered toy that doubles as a way to escape the summer heat. Invented in 1982 by inventor and Air Force and NASA engineer Lonnie Johnson, the world’s most famous water gun hit stores by 1990, when it sold millions of units in the first few years.
When kids (and plenty of adults) hear the faint jingle of the ice cream truck grow louder and louder, it’s almost impossible to contain the excitement. One of the most iconic truck names is Mr. Softee, which has surprising origins. The truck made its first rounds in 1956 on St. Patrick’s Day, around the streets of West Philadelphia.
Slip ‘N Slide®
Who can resist the adrenaline-inducing feeling of running full speed a slippery sheet and sliding halfway across the yard, sometimes clear across the grass? The Slip ‘N Slide® could really have only been invented by a child. As it were, it was the inventor Robert Carrier’s son who inspired the idea when he created a similar invention, though makeshift, with a hose and a slippery driveway surface. The idea was later pitched to children’s toy manufacturer Wham-O, and the rest is history.
Baseball may be a long-beloved sport in America, but this safe-for-indoors version began in Connecticut in 1953, when inventor David Mullany created a hollow, plastic ball that would easily curve. Nowadays, the ball typically comes with a long plastic bat, and is played in backyards, at family picnics, and pick-up games in the park all summer long.