Right now, I’m in Brazil (mentally speaking, of course). While I wish I were relaxing on one of their beautiful beaches, the place I’m in is a far cry from the sandy shore. We’re packed in like sardines at the Sao Paulo stadium, but hey, it’s worth it just to see J. Lo and Pitbull in the midst of an Amazon rainforest made up of walking trees and dancing flowers…Poof! I’m wide awake now, but as they say, a mom can dream, can’t she? If you or your kids want to live out their World Cup fantasies over the next few weeks, we have a few toy suggestions to help get your game on. Playmobil’s Take Along Soccer Match comes with everything needed to play pretend on the go, including six athlete figures. Goalies are connected to an actual goal joystick, so you can control their movements. This portable playset can go from the playroom to the backyard where you can try out your own moves…
Stuck indoors on yet another rainy day? Diggin Active’s Pop Up Soccer brings the sport inside with this set that comes with a goal, soft indoor soccer ball and 3 cones. Whether you practice drills or challenge your opponents to a kick-off, you’re bound to have a ball (pun intended). Moms will love how this set stores easily, with the ball and cones fitting inside the fold-up goal.
And what’s a soccer field without its players? Kaskey Kids Soccer Guys is a complete set of colorful players, portable playing field and net. Perfect for practicing fancy footwork in the comfort of your home. Who likes crowded stands, anyway?
In a Nutshell: Can’t make it to Brazil? Create your own World Cup at home with these soccer playthings destined to score points with kids big and small.
My newly-minted 6-year-old received a stuffed lemur for her birthday earlier this week. Because we don’t know too much about this species (except from what we saw in the Madagascar movies), it seemed like a perfect opportunity to learn about something new. But before we could hit the library, our local newspaper ran a story about a nearby university’s scientist who received an award for her research on…yup, you guessed it…lemurs. Naturally it got us to talking about these mysterious creatures who happen to be endangered species. That’s when things got a little tricky; trying to explain what it means to be a dwindling breed to a kindergartner is not as simple as recapping a lengthy article meant for adults. So, since the experts say kids learn best through play, it only makes sense that we speak their language. Today, in honor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s observation of Endangered Species Day, we’re saluting two kids’ items that educate kids on those creatures fighting to survive. PLAYMOBIL’s Endangered Animals of the World line of playsets lets kids experience the wonders of wildlife safely, as they explore a variety of miniature habitats. We love the Pandas in Bamboo Forest, which comes with one figure, an off-road bike, two pandas and two cubs and a bunch of accessories for pretending to observe these fascinating creatures. And in the just-released All in a Rainforest Day, kids can read all about endangered species, including my daughter’s beloved lemurs. Did you know that over 90 percent of all lemur species are currently threatened? Through this highly visual, informative book, you’ll learn that and a whole lot more.
In a Nutshell: Inquisitive, young minds who can never get enough from the natural history museum will take great pleasure in toys and a book worth checking out.
It only takes a couple of Christmas catalogs to fill our mailbox, and boom! We’re already thinking of holiday gift ideas. And with Hanukkah right on top of Thanksgiving this year, kids will be drawing up their wish lists faster than we can clear the dinner table! My 9-year-old is begging for her own iPod, but the jury is still out on whether Santa will deliver. One toy we’ve got our eyes (and ears) on this year is PopStars!, a super-cool playset line from Playmobil. If you’re already familiar with this company’s tremendous assortment of themed castles, pirate ships, farms and other adventure-packed settings, you’re no stranger to the tremendous play value…not to mention the multitude of miniscule accessories they come with! But don’t worry about adding another set of storage bins to your family room. The PopStars Stage comes with a manageable amount of stuff: four figures, a drum set, two guitars with stands, microphones and a few other accessories. And of course, don’t forget the spot where all the action happens: a stage with flashing lights and built-in speakers, so you can attach your MP3 player and really rock out. Hmmm…maybe we can hold off on that iPod for another year?
Walnut Special: Playmobil is hosting a “Battle of the Playmobil PopStars!” contest on Facebook. Fans will be asked to choose a favorite featured band and give it a fitting name. Two lucky winners will receive a $500 shopping spree online, and other prizes will include the PopStars line and Playmobil mystery figures. Visit popstars.playmobil.com now through November 15th. Good luck, and rock on!
Right about now, I’d do just about anything to be sitting somewhere warm, a warm breeze blowing through my hair, tropical drink in hand and a juicy book or glossy magazine to devour. After last week’s blizzard and contending with the aftermath of treacherous roads, cranky folks (including my kids home from school) and other minor annoyances, I’m ready to call it quits and get out of Dodge. Lucky for me, I got to attend Toy Fair in NYC over the weekend, and it’s the memories of those happy-go-lucky playthings that are carrying me through this otherwise depressing period. Yup, I’m still a kid at heart and look forward to getting the scoop on what’s new in the world of play for the year ahead. While there was plenty to see in a short amount of time, my brain keeps returning to one particular toy that captured my attention and gave me a much-needed mental departure from a drab winter. Playmobil’s Large Furnished Hotel is the place to be. Coming to stores this August, this more-than-generously-sized playset is a resort that spares no expense for an awesome play vacation. Your stay begins in the lobby where check-in is computerized (of course) and there are plenty of cool magazines to check out if there’s a line. Once you receive your room assignment, take a ride on the elevator and use your room key to open the door (it really works!). After a good night’s rest, you can head down to the hotel cafe and dine on a sumptuous breakfast feast served by your own waiter. The kids can hang out in the game room after you’re done touring the local sights and then it’s back to the room for yet another restful night’s sleep. Yes, we know this vacation is really just a state of mind, but until we can make it out of town, Playmobil has made this staycation one worth taking.
In a Nutshell: “Wish you were here.” With Playmobil‘s well-stocked get-away playset, your kids may feel like they’ve gotten away without even leaving home.
After an unseasonably mild day in the middle of February, my thoughts naturally turn to summer vacation. Each year, our family takes a week-long getaway by trading in the daily Long Island rat-race for a leisurely paced sojourn somewhere in New England. Last summer it was Gloucester, Mass. and the year before that, coastal Rhode Island (we tend to favor towns by the sea, if you hadn’t already guessed). As I peruse the myriad of family-friendly destinations up north, I find myself drawn to Martha’s Vineyard again and again. I love the idea of a place where my day is dictated by what beach I’ll swim in and what flavor of homemade ice cream I’ll be sampling later on. Thoughts of a great escape couldn’t have been far behind in the making of Playmobil’s Harbor line of playsets and vehicles that will launch later this spring. We were treated to a walk-through of the line’s latest updates at last week’s Toy Fair where we paid particular attention to the Car Ferry with Pier. Not only does this ferry really float, but it has a fold-up ramp that ensures a smooth departure for both vacationing vehicles and their passengers. It also comes with four figures, a motorbike, bicycle and life rings to get people to their destination safely. So, no matter whether your resident playmates are headed to the Cape or up the coast, with the Playmobil Car Ferry, they won’t miss the boat. As for me, I’ll send you a postcard when I get to the Vineyard…
In a Nutshell: Feel like you ferry your kids around all day? Let their imaginations take them for a ride instead –and tell them it’s the captain’s day off. The Playmobil Car Ferry with Pier will be available in April.
If back-to-school shopping is practically here, can Halloween be that far behind? I’m not one for rushing the seasons, but my girls have already starting talking about what they might want to dress up as on October 31st. (So far, we have one ghost, but that’s likely to change at least a half-dozen times). Since I’m paying closer attention to how many sweets we consume during the summer months alone (ice pops, lollipops, cookies), the candy-filled month of October frightens me more than a black cat crossing my path. While the kids will surely be getting plenty of treats, it’s nice to look out for the sugar-free variety, too. If you suspect you may be hosting a Halloween gathering at your home this year in lieu of trick-or-treating, consider an alternative to traditional goodie bag favors with the Playmobil Halloween Sets. Adorably packaged in a plastic pumpkin come 2 figures dressed in their Halloween best: one as a devil and the other as a tiger. If your kid happens to own a Playmobil playset of any kind, you’re already familiar with how well these figures lend themselves to hours of pretend play. With these latest additions, kids can expand their scenarios beyond the realm of everyday. Halloween is definitely the right time for letting imaginations run wild. With this festive treat, your costumed character can give his sweet tooth a rest and still enjoy October 31st.
In a Nutshell: Give your favorite trick-or-treaters a little something to remember the day by, so they can enjoy Halloween all season long.
It only takes one 60-degree day in February to make one’s thoughts turn to warmer weather. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and everyone seems just a bit more peppy. It makes me want to figure out my summer vacation plans already! No wonder, then, that Playmobil’s new Summer House playset has captured our attention. This house is stocked with every amenity to make your summer playdate complete. French windows open wide to let the salty sea air inside, while lush wisteria draping over the veranda is so real, you can practically smell it. Out on the patio, you can enjoy dinner al fresco as you roast up burgers and weenies on the BBQ….doesn’t food always taste better when it’s eaten outdoors anyway? You can work off that meal with a bike ride around the property before heading up to bed. Now that sounds like the perfect ending to a great summer day.
In a Nutshell: No need to have Hamptons envy; Playmobil has a pint-sized play version to ready you for summer living.