One of the hardest categories to fill each year are small vehicles that are safe for the 3 and under crowd. Many parents just hope for the best and give their kids small Hot Wheels, Matchbox and wooden trains–the problem with them of course is that they do have small parts that are potentially dangerous. Playskool’s new Wheel Pals line is meant to answer that issue. The cars are small in scale – with everything safely anchored. Our testers loved the new Round About Railway. If you’re looking for a setting that your toddler will enjoy (and not sit on)…look no further. You put the train at the top of the setting and then your child can either hit the plunger (which activates the train sound)…or just push the train down the track. The vehicle moves slowly enough so that your toddler can track the vehicle, a plus. We thought the Railway works much better than the Fold ‘n Go Garage (we found that some of the ramps did not lock in sufficiently well).
Listen up automakers—look what Tonka is suggesting! On the back of this gas pump is a plastic diagram of how you make ethanol. All energy proposals aside, the Tonka Li l Gas Pump ($19.99) is a great prop for pretend play. Comes with a shape sorter, a credit card, and three big chunky buttons to push (to select your preferred fuel choice). Works well with Hasbro’s new Tonka Scoot N Scoop 3 in 1 Ride On…but really you can use it with any ride on.
I spend a great deal on the beach during the summer hanging out with a friend who is an energy expert – he’s a nuclear engineer by training and now puts together major energy deals. Two weeks ago I asked for a ten point plan–how do we fix our energy crisis. Our conversation got very heated (sorry)…I went home feeling depressed that we did not have a coherent plan that our smartest minds had put into place decades ago. Now we are left scrambling for stop gap solutions…
What does this possibly have to do toys? I came back to our office to discover that the traditional “gas pump” toy now has a very political energy agenda! The new Tonka Lil’ Gas Pump allows you to select your gas — one of the choices is ethanol! The box makes no mention of the corn based alternative–but the toy itself allows you to select ethanol by placing the corn logo in the down position. The back of the toy also has a diagram (done in plastic relief) showing how ethanol is made.