I went out with Kara this morning to do some running around. Since the place we wanted to go had no parking and Rogers wasn't open yet, we ended up killing some time in the elitist toy shop in Georgetown. You know the kind of shop I'm talking about. They only sell overpriced toys made from wood and handcarved in Germany.
Anyway, this shop was actually pretty cool. It was still a little too pricey for the most part, but it had some really interesting things and not everything was stupidly expensive. I ended up buying a really cool product that the kids (esp. Garrett) really like.
It's called Crazy Forts and it's something so simple I'm kicking myself for not inventing it. It's basically a giant set of balls and plastic sticks that interlink like tinkertoys. You make them into a fort or tunnel or what-have-you and then toss a sheet on top and voila. Instant fort.
I'm still experimenting with them to find the most sturdy formulation but while the more vertical forts have been a little wobbly, the kids love making spaceships or tunnels out of the set we've made.
Hmm... it looks like you can buy them from Indigo online but they charge $50 for a set. It was $40 at the toy shop, so go find them local if you can.
Oh, and supposedly the guy who invented them lives in Georgetown (or at least in the local area).
I think my next project is to see if I can make a buckyball (or at least a geodesic dome) from the supplied parts.