From inflatable games to obstacle-course-sets, the newest outdoor toys offer fun activities for all!
Play. What is it? The definition of play is “activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, especially by children.” It is interesting to note that when used as a noun, the word “children” is added. But play is truly for all ages, especially when you take it outdoors!
Have you ever noticed how engaging a toy or other plaything becomes when an adult is added into the play arena? It doesn’t matter whether it is a ball, bike or bucket of sand. When adults get into the action
with kids and their toys, the activity often gets even more lively.
Take scooters, for instance. Popular with youngsters, they come in a variety of styles and sizes for all ages, including adults. One of our customers bought adult scooters so that she and her husband could scoot with their kids. She later returned for two more adult scooters. The idea, it seems, caught on with her neighbors, who began monopolizing her and her husband’s scooters when the children were out scooting. Now the entire neighborhood turns out for scooter events and rides on the weekends.
The Latest Inflatables
What’s going to be all the rage in parks and yards this year? Inflatable toys and games. Inflatable pool floats and beach balls have been around for a long time, but now inflatables move on land with giant blow-up balls that kids can roll around, race or run with, or even wear like a “bumper suit!” A favorite is the Bright Lights BBOP Balls with LED lights – the more movement one does, the brighter the LED lights become. Other blow-up games you might see around – such as a giant bowling game or ring toss – can engage the whole family as they make up moves and challenges. Adults also appreciate the safety of these inflatable
toys and how tired the children are at the end of an outing. While many outdoor toys and games are fun for kids by themselves or with friends, getting the whole family involved together makes it even more fun for all. After all, play is for kids of all ages!
B4 Adventure “Slackers Ninjaline 56’ Intro Kit” with seven obstacles, including nylon rope knots, wooden monkey bar and two steel gym rings.
Fitness for Fun
Another trend that is on the rise is to turn a backyard into the neighborhood hangout – but not a hangout where kids sit around doing nothing. This is a hangout where youngsters have fun while strengthening their bodies and challenging themselves. Backyard ball games of all sorts have long been a tradition with children and families. But now, inspired by such challenge programs as “American Ninja Warrior,” backyards are being transformed into similar-type courses that test strength, agility and endurance. There are rope lines with rings and bars to swing from one to the other, and zip lines that can be strung up between sturdy trees. These build confidence, strength and athleticism. Of course, safety must also always be a factor.
Perfect not only just for the backyard but for on-the-go-fun while at the park, in grandma’s yard or wherever one finds a nice plot of grass is the “American Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course Race Set,” which provides many different ways to set up courses for agility training, jump training, hurdle challenges, target games and more.
1. Toysmith Get Outside, GO! “Bashminton” set with two oversized, 21" soft rackets and a 4½" bashable birdie ball. 2. Waboba “Moon Ball” zero-gravity, 2½" ball, for ages 3 and up, bounces more than 100 feet. 3. ChippoGolf “Chippo” golf game includes two target boards, two chipping mats and six high-density foam practice balls.
4. WindNSun RainForest “Macaw” 61" x 35½" nylon kite with fiberglass frame, for ages 8 and up. 5. Create A Castle “Sand & Snow Castle Kit - Pro Tower Kit” with 10" and 6" tower/turret split-system
cylinders, corbel, brick form, window cutter and more. 6. Jakks Pacific MorfBoard “Skate/Scoot Combo” includes T-bar plus lock-and-release scooter and skate wheels to convert from a scooter to a skateboard.
Get out and play! -
Everywhere you go right now, walls of backpacks, lunch totes and composition notebooks are there to greet you, reminding us that our sleep in days, long lazy afternoons and swim time is about to end. We all know that there is a little more to getting ready for school then picking out your backpack and new sneakers. Getting your school routine back on track should probably be considered one of the top priorities so a few of us older moms here at Kidstop got together and came up with a few tips we have found to work over the years.
Make It Fun – Shopping for your Back to School supplies should be a fun day for you and your child. (If you have more than one – one child per day.) Start the day early by going to breakfast at your fav breakfast stop and then off to shop. That day can start the “earlier rising” routine to slowly re-introduce the early wake up time. The goal is to start your new school year on a bright and less harried note when the first week appears. Don’t wait too long to set up your back to school routine. The longer you wait to get the children into the habit of going to bed at a set bedtime, the harder time your children will have getting up for school in the morning. Of course, if you can help your children get into the routine of going to bed earlier, choosing their clothes for the next day and being sure everything is in their backpack the day will start much better.
Of course we’re going to tell you our favorite backpacks and items for the school year like:
Backpacks from LEGO & MadPax.
Keep It Interesting – Another suggestion from our team was to re-introduce “lunch time”. Pick a day or two to try out your new lunch totes. Go to the park or somewhere fun and bring along the lunch totes stocked with a grade A lunch. Make it feel just like a school day lunch complete recess!!
The NomNom Lunch Tote is insulated so packing lunchtime goodies in the roomy and insulated bag is no problem. Use the adjustable divider to keep hot foods separate from cold foods or simply fold the divider back if you don’t need it. The double stacked canisters below, can keep mac & cheese warm and fresh fruit chilled till lunch time. Here in Arizona where the lunch totes have warm days in the lockers this, too is an A+.
And for all the little surprises to hide away in backpacks and lunch totes – we got you covered there with lunch notes and food surprises like creating fun sandwiches with FunBites!
Have a great school year and our hope is to help you to make it just a tad bit more special!
Summertime means fun, vacations, sleepovers…. and then all of a sudden the meltdowns start. The tears, the crying, the tantrums which we don’t understand in the midst of all this family fun. We need to remember summertime is all about the fun, family and friends but it also brings that break in our routine which can be fun and great but for little ones this can cause anxiety, feeling out of sorts or simply feeling left out. So we brainstormed and came up with a few tips to help you keep your summer on track.
#1 Keep A Schedule
Written schedule on the fridge or one with pictures for younger kids, just like us, kids want to know what’s happening next. How many days till we go to Uncle Mike’s and Aunt Debbie’s? When do we leave for Disneyland? These questions can be answered with a walk to your calendar. Add simple chores that they can do to help you prepare for the big day whether it be laundry one day or packing our little travel backpack the day before.
DO plan for weekly fun like family game nights, early mornings at the park or zoo and outings for ice cream and movies. Simple things build strong families.
#2 Pick A Code Word
Having one’s schedule changed can add stress onto our little ones because they don’t know what to expect next when walking down that hallway to a plane, being in one’s car seat for a longer period of time. Pick a family code word that when your child uses it, assure them that you will respond right away. Talk about what’s happening and we suggest rewarding this behavior with a little snack or surprise. We feel that diaper backs and Mommy travel backpacks should hold a few surprises! You get the picture. Teach them to handle stress by talking to you, not melting down. It will help to them to keep calmer.
#3 Have Family Meetings
Before events, hold a family meeting. Let them know what’s happening. What time you will be leaving and what they can expect to happen (and remember, events are fun!) but by setting parameters you have created the same environment teachers do. Here is what is happening and here’s your schedule now let’s go have fun.
#4 Plan Ahead & Keep Cool
Okay, Moms, you got homework. Planning ahead for those little emergencies that can railroad your outing, well, that’s our job. Packing an extra set of clothes, sunscreen and snacks if water is planned for the day. Small toy to keep them occupied during the drive to the event but pulling one out for good behavior, priceless. Kate’s favorites for packing extras and I still use today? Itzy Ritzy travel bags.
Keeping cool? Our pick at Babystop is the Prodoh Active Wear. UV protection and fabric that dries in minutes. You know – for the times they run through that splash pad one more time? We love the Prodoh shirts and shorts!
#5 Keep Sleep a Priority
We all know this one too well and how quickly the crankies appear when slumber disappears. Continue to make your child’s sleep schedule a priority even in summer. While you may adjust your schedule to accommodate a later evening, it is still important to establish a sleep pattern and wake times throughout the summer that keep kids in the game. Three weeks before school starts, revert back to your school schedule to help your little ones get back in the groove this August.
It’s official, summer has arrived in the valley. If you need any other ideas or want to see what we have to help keep your summer time a great time, stop by Kidstop & Babystop or check out our website. New things are always showing up to help make this parenting a job a little easier & with smiles. Have a great summer!
Last week, one of our moms walked in and said “we’re here to sign up for your Summer Classes” and my heart sank. We had made a decision not to do them this year, thinking that most of you wanted week long classes…. Never fear, our college crew is here and have put together a totally awesome Calendar of Summer Events that will get you out of the house for a fun hour or more with Murphee & crew. The neatest part is that all of our events start with story time & the girls have picked out some wonderful books to share with you and several activities are free.
Soar into summer with your own hand painted glider. Of course, college kids can get a little artistic but never fear, we will help you put your Picasso touches onto your plane and have you flying in no time.
June 11th time 10:30 to 2:30 FREE
Create the perfect accessory for all your summer travels with this adorable PlushCraft Heart Coin Purse. We love the PlushCraft™ line and know that many of you have these adorable pillows on your bed. PlushCraft™ makes fabric crafting fun and easy. Use the stylus to punch colorful fabric pieces into pre-made pillows, room decor items, and new this year 3D pals.
This event is free and to celebrate PlushCraft™ Mania, all of our PlushCraft™ kits will be 20% off this weekend. A great summer to do a craft to keep a little one busy for a few hours and to enjoy for a long time.
June 14th &15th Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty Party $5
Become a Mix Master yourself by creating your own unique Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty. If you have a kid in grade school then we know you have heard the words “Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty” and now you’re mixing your own on this day. And here’s a little history on the company…. “Puttyworld was born in the spring of 2001 and we’ve been having crazy fun ever since. After expanding beyond the capacity of my parent’s basement, we moved our production to a vocational facility in Philadelphia’s suburbs. There our product is proudly Made in the USA.” Supporting USA products is something Murphee & team LOVE to do.
Sand Art Monkeys will be hanging out at Kidstop this week. You will be creating and customizing your own sand art creation and learn about how monkeying around can help conquer your fears. We’re not kidding as we explore the book “Climb the Monkey Bars? That’s Bananas!” written by our local authors Leslie & Brian Miller.
Friday June 24th & Saturday June 25th $5 It’s a magical weekend with Fairies!
Channel your inner fairy while creating a beautiful flower crown that is as enchanting as the fairy world itself. Come explore all the magic at Kidstop this weekend and all Fairy Fun stuff – 20% oFF just in case we need to go home and practice a little bit longer with the Fairy Dust. Our July Activities will be posted in a couple weeks.
A side note, we love to keep our college kids working when they are not in school. By participating in our activities, we keep these girls employed over the summer.
Very soon our kids are out of school for the summer. To them it is ten weeks of freedom, fun and lots of great things to do. Right? Right! For Moms & Dads, well maybe a little apprehension as we juggle schedules and try to keep kids busy & still maintain some sort of schedule? It is possible. Here’s a few tips from Murphee to make make this summer one to remember.
1st tip – Create a Summer Calendar with them. Mark off any vacation time with family, weekends with grandma & grandpa and any other overnight trips. We love the magnetic calendar from Melissa & Doug or you can use a couple sheets of poster board. Make them fun, colorful and easy to countdown the days & time till the next event.
2nd tip – Every week could be built around a theme. Make it fun and something the whole family will enjoy like Flag Day, Father’s Day, the 4th of July…. A weekly theme includes an outing, family dinner and don’t forget a family fun night doing a craft or playing a game together. Game night can include your theme (need a few suggestions come visit Murphee & her team of toy experts).
3rd tip – Share with friends. You never know who might want to join you on your outing to the zoo or to celebrate a week of mommy and me activities. Better yet, call the parents of two of your kid’s best friends and see if they would like to do a sleepover night. Your house one month and rotate for three months. (That will give you two nights all to yourself this summer.) Plan an early day outing and make the slumber over from 10 am till 10 am. (Bonus – that’s like a day off and a night!)
Murphee can help you come up with some really fun & cool ideas for fun-filled weeks like a week filled with music. One day at the MIM – Musical Instrument Museum which is such an incredible outing and then one day special meals for all…
Plan a little Old School – music lessons with their favorite instrument or
Plan a little New School – Murphee’s newest set of drums & piano
Drop in and visit Murphee & McGuire for more ideas for your calendar. Summer is almost here!
When you hear the “Do we have to” whining that can get to be too much, it’s time to put the fun back into bath time. One of the most common frustrations shared by parents and new parents alike is how to make bath time fun and safe. With the temperatures climbing outside, bath time becomes an even bigger must do. Murphee’s got this one covered!
The first thing is that it must be comfortable to take a bath and Murphee thinks those hard, plastic tubs are downright scary! So for our newborns to toddlers we suggest the Blooming Bath. Handmade from incredibly soft, cuddly materials, Blooming Bath’s petals hug any sink to create an adorable, safe, fun and convenient bath time experience for your most precious possession. Babies aren’t the only ones delighted by this fun addition to their bath. Grown ups also enjoy a comfortable and worry free bath time with baby.
Good luck getting all five cutie pies out of the bathtub – the four ducklings in the water race, and your happy toddler! The Musical Duck Race has a fountain that whirls, spins and circulates water around a track, with nine musical sound effects (parents – there is a mute button). Kids will love quacking it up in the tub!
Murphee came up with a formula that transforms bath time from a scary and stressful task to an enjoyable bonding experience between you and the little ones you love. Great bath time toys & fun soaps can keep little ones in the tub giggling till totally squeaky clean!
Make bath time a time they look forward to. Hang out with them and talk about their day and then wrap them up in a wonderful soft towel! Of course, we have you covered there.
Super soft Zoocchini hooded towels are high quality and made of thick 100% cotton. Each hooded towel has a cute little face on the hood with embroidered details making it their fav bath towel! Ideal for bath time or swimming.
If you’re a parent or you know someone who is about to be one (congratulations, by the way!), and remember this is the time of day that you and little ones unwind and let all of the day’s ups and downs slip away.
And last, but definitely not least, pick one of your favorite books and finish your day with a smile and a hug.
So, you say you want to become a toy tester?
Murphee has watched her big sister do it flawlessly for years and now it is her time to shape the future of our toy store & baby store. McGuire’s words of advice to Murphee? Stay upbeat and realize that your job as a toy tester does not come easily and we will expect LOTS of wonderful info from you as you test hundreds of toys that arrive every month!
Murphee is up to the challenge but has a small request from all her fans. She wants your assistance in testing all these toys. We are looking for families to help us test the dozens (if not hundreds) of toys that enter our doors. Twelve families will be selected to test two toys per month and then report back to Murphee on one of her Toy Bark Reports, post on Kidstop’s or Babystop’s Facebook pages to tell all of us of their findings and to post reviews on our web pages. Murphee and her manufacturer friends are ready for the good, the great and the … ugh … ugh …. so so? We just want honesty on what you think of the toys we have found. THEN the event you have been begging us to bring back is back. Kidstop’s Annual Toy Tester Event will be held on November 5th with the winning toys announced later that month on a toy list no one should miss. Our toy experts have been thanked profusely every year and now with Murphee at the helm we are planning to bring you the best toys one can find in our store AND on our web site. When we put a Paw of Approval on a toy, it is a great toy.
Miss Murphee training under the watchful eye of Miss McGuire.
Miss McGuire is doing fine, just ready to enjoy more R & R without all those responsibilities. You can find her most days snoozing under Kate’s desk at Babystop or sunbathing outside on the patio. McGuire definitely deserves her retirement time. All of us at Kidstop miss her but know that she is just steps away so hugs and treats continue as usual.
We realize month after month, that we have so much to share with you, so much that we have learned from our manufacturers AND our customers that we have to continue our blog and get to you – our customers – the best parents in the world. We are proud of you and we share stories of success week after week and we’re going to SHARE! Sign up now for Talkin Toys with McGuire and if you have really little ones, Murphee is starting her own blog at babystopaz.com. Thank you!
After a year off to help Murphee get Babystop up and running, I’m back and ready to talk some toys with you, my customers. After 10 years in the head toy tester seat, I have convinced a few powers that be to let me recruit you to help me, to test toys and talk about them. So, make sure you check in with me from time to time as I’ll be recruting toy testers to try out a toy at home or build, ride, paint… Do mark your calendars because we are designing Sqwishlanders at Kidstop on Saturday, the 29th of Oct from 1 to 4. One lucky toy designer is going to win that day. You’ll have to vote for your favorite on my facebook page. Have a great week!
mom says i’m getting a little sister. she will be arriving this weekend. her name is murphee, and she will be the mascot of babystop, mom’s furniture store. here’s a picture of her:
i’m kind of excited, but i’m not sure what to make of all the fuss. the two-leggeds here at kidstop are really excited – in fact, they can’t seem to talk about anything but murphee! that’s a lot of fuss over a little puppy, isn’t it?
here’s a video of murphee and her mom and siblings. can you pick out which one is murphee?
come on up to babystop this weekend and drop in for a visit – murphee should be there after noon!