Smith Optics makes the Gage snow helmet in matte black or white, or more vivid hues like cyan, bright green and violet. They're embellished with an understated, stylized graphic on one side. Also from Smith, a combo of Cosmos Jr. helmet with Galaxy goggles; a magnet and slide-release buckle keep the two pieces together. The Zoom Jr. has a soft, fuzzy lining, and all have lots of head vents, since kids' heads get sweaty quickly.www.smithoptics.com
Swedish company POC makes a helmet named Pocito Light. In-mold technology means the outer hard shell is thinner, and there's expanded polystyrene foam all through the inner layer to disperse impact. A fluorescent orange would stand out on a snowy hill, and there are options for different weather conditions, too: Neck and ear pads may be removed for warmer-weather skiing and snowboarding. www.xsportsprotective.com
Biking and scootering kids might like the imaginative range of helmets from Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Giro, with names like Rascal, Rodeo, Flume and Slingshot. Graphics such as red flames and silver skulls might appeal to older children, while cartoon airplanes, pigs, firefighters and bunnies could attract younger — or goofier — kids. www.giro.com
If your creative kid would just like to jazz up an existing helmet, check out the funky line of helmet accessories from Fauhaux, started by two former ToysRUs executives and moms, Jocelyn Fine and Kelly Dineen. The embellishments are made of lightweight foam and attach with Velcro. Dreadlox come in black, green, blue or multicolored; spiky Punkrox come in pink or red. www.fohawx.com
Anna Luther of Cincinnati, who blogs about life as a mom of three at www.mylifeandkids.com , got out the colored duct tape when her daughter's Barbie helmet lost its charm but still fit fine. Enlisting the help of both her daughter and son, "we had a ball designing the helmets," she says. Her daughter opted for pink and purple hearts. For her son, they created a blue and green helmet cover. "With a project this simple and cheap, we can re-design them every summer," Luther says.