Games, books and crafts for younger children

Nod to Jack

Your children probably already have numerous stuffed animals. But maybe one more wouldn’t hurt. In honor of Jungle Jack Hanna’s 40th anniversary with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, consider one of these critters ($14.99), adorned in embroidered khaki vests. The 7- to 8-inch cheetah, elephant, giraffe and polar bear are a cuddly homage to the Man in Tan.
Available at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 Powell Road, Powell; 614-724-3485; columbuszoo.org. 

Get Crafty

Creative types can let their imaginations run wild with this Arts and Crafts Library ($39.99) from Kid Made Modern. It has a whopping 1,250 pieces—everything from beads to craft sticks, googly eyes to pompoms. Perhaps best of all, it comes in a nifty carrying case.
Available at the Wexner Center Store, 1871 N. High St. (OSU Campus), Columbus; 614-292-1807; store.wexarts.org.

Don’t Bug Out

Kids like bugs. Kids like to collect stuff. Enter the Huckleberry Bug Box, whose seven compartments have built-in magnifiers so outdoor explorers can get a closer look at insects, flowers, seashells or whatever else intrigues them. The clever Kikkerland product ($15) shows objects at two to seven times their actual size. Visitors going only to the gift shop don’t need to pay the admission fee.
Available at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Botanica Gift Shop & Greenhouse, 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus; 614-715-8000; fpconservatory.org.

Hoop It Up

Challenge friends and family to a shootout with this tabletop game. Electronic Super Slam Basketball ($29.99) by Ideal is pleasantly low tech, though it does have a scoreboard for two-player games and a timer for solo endeavors. Even parents (we can attest to this) will enjoy flipping the balls into the baskets.
Available at Learning Express Toys, 180 F Market St., New Albany, 614-933-0333; 1349 W. Lane Ave., Upper Arlington, 614-485-0005; 7227 N. High St. (The Shops at Worthington Place), Worthington, 614-880-0333; learningexpress.com.

Ohio Author

The “Lucy’s Lab” chapter book series by Michelle Houts follows the adventures of science-loving second-grader Lucy Marie Watkins. Houts, a Rockford resident and Ohio State University graduate, has penned three volumes so far ($4.99 each), all published by Sky Pony Press.
Available at Cover to Cover, 2116 Arlington Ave., Columbus; 614-263-1624; covertocoverchildrensbooks.com.