February 10, 2010
Snowed in? Cranky?
Declare the day a beach day. Have kids prepare a picnic–and picnic like food. Take out the beach towels. While throwing on bathing suits can be fun, it’s even more fun over your pjs. Sometimes doing something really silly–can change the tone in your house. Truth be told–often the parents need a reset button.
October 13, 2009
The whole gang during the segment
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.
Natalie Morales and Stephanie Oppenheim
September 18, 2009
Talking Truck dances with Roaring T-Rex….watch the video.
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!
July 17, 2009
The Max Liquidator from Prime Time Toys is great fun for the pool. Unlike many other water shooting type toys, the spray in this one is not as harsh–making it a safer choice. It also looks more like a water toy -rather than a plastic assault gun. I personally love the kickboard that has the mechanism built in…allowing you to surprise your kids when they think you’re just just floating around.
July 15, 2009
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.
April 27, 2009
This friendly PushAlong Dog from ImagiPLAY is just right for toddlers that love have wheel toys but are not ready for cars that have small parts. He doesn’t make any sound–also a welcomed novelty these days! There’s also a really cute yellow duck, greencar, and red cat in this line. All $14.99.
April 13, 2009
One of our testers who really liked the 3D Chalk kits just raised a great question…is there something in the chalk that makes it 3D or will the 3D glasses make all chalk 3D…we posed this question to the folks at Crayola…
“Yes, the 3D glasses will work with any Crayola chalk and out sidewalk
crayons. The ones that come with the Crayola 3D Sidewalk Chalk Kit allow for the best results
because we paired warm and cool colors together.”
Al Roker had a fun time with these glasses on our outdoor toy segment last year…click here to watch the segment.
April 10, 2009
Spring time always meant new bubbles in my house. I’m a big fan of the Little Kids No-Spill line–probably because I can still remember crying over those plastic bottles of pink or blue bubbles–remember those? You had to put your finger in the bottle to pull out your wand? This Bubble Blitzer with a Dora the Explorer theme makes lots of little bubbles when you blow…Our testers had no problems making this one work. The Bubble Blitzer Glitter Critters are very cute looking but required more air than our testers could muster. If you’re worried about your child running with the Bubble Blitzer in their mouth (not a good idea)…stick with the original.
April 6, 2009
We got mixed reviews on the new Crayola TaDoodles Drop & See. This three level ball run is designed so that your toddler needs to push a lever at each level to release the ball to the next level. The toy is marked 9 months and up and that’s where the problems arose for our testers. Our nine month old testers could not make the levers work. In fact a play group with mostly 18 month old toddlers also had difficulty. The biggest complaint is that the toy falls over easily–unless it’s against a wall which is hard to make happen when you’re talking about a toy for on the go toddlers. Nothing like asking a toddler to only play with something in one location!
Even without the falling over issues, our older toddlers had problems making the red cat lever operate. Our testers were creative — suggesting that the levers should be bigger and that the base should be wider to address the tipping issue. Everyone liked the concept but all had suggestions on how to “fix” the toy to make it better.
The testers that were 2+ could make the toy work–and even our younger testers enjoyed making the balls go from level to level with help…but still, we think the age label is too off the mark to make this one an award winner.