Pick of the Day: Blockity-Pop Dump Truck

From the new Stack’n Surprise Blocks Line by Fisher-Price.  I’m always being asked for the best new little vehicles for older babies and toddlers. This little yellow and blue dump truck is just right for this stage. It comes with two blocks that have little “faces” that pop up when placed on the truck. Good for rolling and exploring.

Another Recycling Truck…

Probably not too many other people in the world would take note of the number of recyling trucks…but here’s another sighting…

Fisher-Price Little People will also have a Recycling Truck this fall…it will be call the Little People Sing’n Learn Recycling Truck. There will be singing and sorting…looks fun.


Notable Birthday: Fisher-Price Little People Hit 50!

41ztrqmn7xl_sl160_aa160_Move over baby boomers, the iconic Fisher-Price Little People are turning 50 this year. The Little People Farm that seems like it’s been around forever, first hit the shelves in 1968…and the School House arrived in 1971.

This year we tried the updated (there is always a new version!) of the school bus and airplane.  These classic toys got rave reviews from new parents. If you’re looking for vehicles for toddlers, this line is really a consistently strong choice. The vehicles make some sound, but not overpowering and you can use the vehicles without the sound (a plus). The openings, handles and weight also make these appropriate choices for toddlers that love moving their toys about.

We put the School Bus on our SNAP Award list (Special Needs Adaptable Product Award)– a long time ago when the company added a play figure with a wheelchair. We’re delighted that feature has continued.  The farm has been a focal point for us over the years–especially when they made the “barn” talk — so if you put the cow where the pig is supposed to go — your cow will oink…not moo.  We love technology but here’s an example of missing the way kids play with toys.   There shouldn’t be only one right place to fit an animal.  Or here’s a novel concept…your child can provide their own sounds!

Pick of the Day: Fisher-Price Shake n Go Flyers

41rqr4cpqgl_sl500_aa280_I can’t even believe I missed these last year when they first came out since I am HUGE fan of the Shake n Go cars. These flyers are so much fun! To make them go, you shake the launcher (that also makes a lot of noise and light up)…and then you press the trigger. These things really do take off. Marked 3-7, but seriously these are really fun to use no matter how old you are. 3 and 4 year olds will need a lot of help getting the plane on the launcher but 5s and up will get it quickly and love it. If you have a 4 year old working on counting, the Shake n Go Cars ($14.99) are the best things going. Kids have to count to ten while they shake the car–and then the car takes off. When we tested them, we had the best time because the kids we tried them with were so excited that they kept skipping numerals. With the flyers, the more you shake the launcher, the further the plane will fly…how cool is that!? They retail for about $14.99.

Trends from Toyland: IToys ME2

We’re looking forward to trying out IToys new ME2 – a plug-in that encourages kids to move around. The more they move around in the real world with the hand-held ME2–the more award points they get for playing on line.  The ME2 has sensors that monitor movement. Of course we will need to have our testers weigh in on the games (kids create their own avatar to play on line).

The ME2 is part of a new (positive) trend in toyland.  Last year Fisher-Price introduced the Smart Cycle for preschoolers- a stationary bike that also requires kids to cycle in order to play the video games.   Parents that we talked to really like the idea of anything that gets kids up and moving– one of the reasons the Wii has been such a hit.  At least you know the kids are moving something besides their thumbs.

Trends for Toyland: New Geo Trax

Geo Trax (Fisher-Price) fans will be really happy with the new sets scheduled for later this year.  One includes an airplane that does a loop in the air (on special track).  You can add this “airplane” feature to your existing track. The plane is controlled by remote control–very cool as a center piece for this play environment.  Many of our five and six year old testers really prefer this set to traditional trains.  As sad as that makes me on some levels, it’s easy to see why–it is a fun setting that has lots of motion.  We look forward to testing this set!

Marketing On-Line Safety: Fisher-Price, Hasbro, LeapFrog

Responding to the concerns of worried parents over the lurking dangers to kids on the internet, toy makers are trying to make computer experiences safer.  Fisher-Price and Hasbro have created “gated environments” where parents pay for the platform or key to safe sites that also block your child from surfing the web. Taking it a step further, LeapFrog has created a platform that stimulates a computer experience on your television (not a bad idea if you’re worried about your child’s sippy cup near your expensive equipment!). Of course it should be noted that screen time is not as important for your preschooler as active physical play and creative activities that develop fine motor skills as well as imaginative play of their own making. Interacting with a screen is no substitute for interacting with real objects and real people.