I actually love doing segments with lots of kids. I think it adds to the energy of the piece – but I do have to say last night I had this momentary thought “eight babies!, really?!…what were you thinking!”
The kids had a long wait until it was time to go into the studio–and one thing I’ve learned over the years, never show kids toys long before they go on air – especially when you’re talking about babies and toddlers. To expect them to be engaged with toys for more than 10 minutes in any given setting, just isn’t reasonable in real life, much less in a tv studio with so many people, lights and cameras around. So we had some other related toys for them to play with in their separate “green room”…but at a certain point, they all started moving about the lower concourse — to say this particular group of kids were cute, is an understatement. The kids were all in what I call that “cupcake” stage where they are just full of pure joy. (At least at that moment!)
Once we got to the set, I was happy. The kids and their parents were engaged with all the toys we had selected. (You can hear them throughout!) Doing segments with Natalie is also fun because she’s in the middle of this zone with her two sons…so she gets it.
This is a picture of Matthew (4 months old)…enjoying hanging out on the Infantino Twist & Fold mat.
And here’s a pic with Natalie after the segment is over….To watch the segment, click here.
Tomorrow I’ll be talking about some of our award winning picks for babies and toddlers. Looking forward to sharing some of the really great products for these age groups. We’ll be there with eight babies/toddlers! Should be lively!! The award winners are all featured on our Platinum List for this holiday season on our website, www.toyportfolio.com
So after I got done video taping these guys, I went back to work in the other room. But it turns out they didn’t need me to keep going…here are two photos taking about 20 minutes apart…they are quite able to entertain themselves…and move about! In the second photo it looks like Monty is leading a Congo line!
Just got back from the studio. The segment before mine ran a bit longer…so my five minutes became four 1/2 minutes—but we got through all the great products. Natalie was great. To read the article with all the shopping information, click here.
I left without eating one of the delicious donuts! Oh well!
As we’re wading through all of the new toys that will be vying for your toy dollar come December, I was just thinking how much fun blowing bubbles can be. I’m not sure why I keep focusing on bubbles, but for the past few days, I’ve really wanted to play with some bubbles.
When you’re really little there’s the excitement of watching bubbles being blown by others and chasing them down–and as you get a bit older there’s the ultimate satisfaction of making your own bubbles. Now I find it really pleasing because it is such a pure play experience-no batteries, no instructions…you’re good to go. Come to think of it, that’s probably why it’s on my mind so much–many of the toys we’ve been looking at this week are very high tech. Not that there’s anything wrong with high tech toys–but none of them deliver what bubbles do. You make something so beautiful and then, in a matter of moments, watch it as it floats away….lovely really.
I loved the pink and blue plastic jars of bubbles –with the wand. Remember those? The way the bubble solution always found it’s way to my hands…it was just fun- unless of course I knocked it over…and then there were tears! The picture below is from one of my birthday parties (my brother James is on the left). That is not me in the background, but I do remember that ride-on.
For this new generation, bubbles are a whole new experience–thanks in large part to the folks at Little Kids–the inventors of the No Spill Bubble Tumbler…no more tears from an accidential spill. No more sticky fingers from trying to get the wand out of the solution.They have them now in all sizes–the little ones make great party favors!
Now for super big bubbles–I’m a huge fan of the BeeBoo Big Bubble Mix Kit from Extreme Bubbles, Inc. You can watch my demo on the TODAY SHOW last year. I’ve also noticed that it doesn’t matter how old people are–they love trying this toy out. Even my most reserved teen age (and mostly retired) toy testers love this product.
As we all enjoy summer, there are so many people working on the 2009 Holiday Season. As toy reviewers, we are in that group–and when we used to do the annual book, we were always a year ahead. Our annual book was always designed for the next year—so at any given point in time, I had great confusion as to which year we were actually in. I told my kids that if I ended up in a ER someplace and was being given an exam that included naming the date…please don’t have them be alarmed if I was off a bit. (Morbid…a little I guess.)
I have to say our new web-based system (new and improved website coming for fall)…has improved our general spirits here considerably. For the 15 years we did the book, we had to be done writing by July 4th- no joke or we wouldn’t make the printer deadline. The next week would be filled with the copy-editor’s notes and then a round of inserts for toys that arrived just in time. We reserved space and copy for things we thought would be terrific…and then adjust them accordingly before we went to print. The last book we did never saw the light of day due to the lead issues. Painful that we did all of that work – it was a good edition.
The web has allowed us to write longer reviews and to be less concerned about hard and fast dates.
The lack of such an extreme deadline has also meant that my mother and I no longer have our annual June fight–where we’d start arguing over some book or some toy…that of course had nothing to do with any specific product but just the tension of getting a book out with so many details that had to be fact-checked. Our working relationship has been one of the treasured experiences of my adult life. We still laugh when a really ridiculous product comes across our desk–and we still marvel at a toy that seems to get it just right.
The new date for the Best Outdoor Toy segment is June 9th in the 9:30 to 10am half hour. Let’s hope the third date is the charm. Some segments just seem plagued–but happily all the toys worked today and the kids were very cute. Al and I successfully played badmitton in the studio without hitting any lights. My childhood friends should be impressed that I hit the birdie repeatedly until I didn’t! One of the two year olds has trouble with the word..”truck”…luckily he wasn’t wearing a mic.