Forget fresh number two pencils and packs of color-coded folders. With Denver Public Schools wrapping up class on June 2, now’s the time to put together your back-to-summer shopping list. To get you started, we’ve rounded up five items with Colorado connections that will keep your tykes entertained and engaged during the coming dog days.

Photography by Sarah Banks

The (Naked) STEAM Kit

Sure, this three-dimensional puzzle meets construction kit from Longmont-based Zometool is expensive, but a toy that tricks your kids into learning about geometry, fractals, and the atomic structure of matter is priceless. $340

Colorful Colorado Coloring Journal

More than just a coloring book, this title by Boulder artist Amanda Lenz pairs each of its 65 illustrations with an inspirational quote, details about the plants and animals featured, and enough white space for your budding artist to expand the scene. $15

Young Artist Series Neck Gaiter

Town Hall, a Steamboat Springs–based kids apparel company, partnered with Denver’s Phunkshun to manufacture this 92-percent-recycled-material gaiter in-state using a 2021 design by Reese Davidoff, then a fifth grader at Steamboat’s Soda Creek Elementary. $20


With just five minutes per round to fix your broken spaceship—while also dealing with unexpected obstacles like wormholes (where the three to six players must all swap seats)—this fast-paced, collaborative card game from Boulder’s Stellar Factory is the perfect diversion during a rain delay. $25

Kids’ Hike Socks

The comfier your kiddos’ feet, the farther they’ll hike. Released in January, the Kids’ Hike socks from Denver’s Smartwool come in full and light cushioned versions, feature a flat-knit seam to prevent toe jam, and have an elastic arch for extra support. $13 to $15 per pair

This article was originally published in 5280 June 2023.
Nicholas Hunt
Nicholas Hunt
Nicholas writes and edits the Compass, Adventure, and Culture sections of 5280 and writes for