If you have ever loved playing with Hot Wheels and/or you know a child that loves Hot Wheels, you have to go buy this toy! I’ve put off testing the Hot Wheels Color Blaster–in part because I didn’t want to be disappointed. I’m happy to report that this toy is as much fun as it promised to be when we saw it at toy fair. You fill the containers with some ice water and then one with warm water — it has a built in track but that’s the least of it. The really fun part is spraying the “warm” car with the spray bottle filled with ice water. The car CHANGES color just as it said it would. You then dunk the car back in the warm water and you’re good to go! It’s that’s fast and magical. Of course it’s really very wet when you get done and there’s a likelihood that the spray bottle will be used on other things (like siblings)…but still so cool! You can buy more cars–frankly I would do that right away…one car just isn’t enough. (We are awaiting the safety verification form for this one.)
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).
We got to meet with the folks from Sprig Toys, a new company that is scheduled to launch a line of action vehicles for the 4 & up crowd. The vehicles will be chunky and rugged–nothing ground breaking in that department–but what is a huge departure is the method and technology that they will use. The trucks will be made from re-purposed plastic and wood. Literally made of saw dust–the vehicles have a strong green component, but not one the company feels is the key to their company–just their way of doing business. Cool.
The action figures will plug into the vehicles via a USB port built into the vehicles and from there the vehicles can suggest “adventures” for the child to participate in. From our point of view the directed play mode is not that important since we strongly believe that kids can generate their own adventures. It was clear that the folks from Sprig think so too–and therefore you can turn off the directed play mode.
The lights and sounds are generated by the motion of the vehicle (not batteries). Also clever. The “electronic base” in each vehicle can also be removed for repair and perhaps, most importantly for smart recycling. Much like a toner cartridge, you can take this component out of the vehicle and not just send it to the landfill. All good.
We look forward to testing the vehicles out with kids. The company is producing the products in Canada–no paint, no phthalates, no lead….They’re off to a very good start.