Author Archives: Step2

Lessons in Babysitting

were-kids-too-lessons-in-babysitting.fw Written by Teresa as a part of the We’re Kids Too series. 

Now that I work at Step2, I don’t have as much time on my hands to babysit as I used to––maybe once in a while on weekends if someone calls me, but throughout high school and college, I was always pretty lucky to find a lot of work as a babysitter. I believe this fun, rewarding job taught me some pretty important life lessons about creativity, work ethic, accountability and the importance of fun! Here are some lessons I learned from babysitting:

  • Kids are natural creatives: Kids are basically superhuman when it comes to their innate levels of creativity. As an art student, life could be stressful and crazy, which would put a damper on creativity. During my time babysitting, drawing and crafting with the kids after class was always so inspirational that it sometimes gave me ideas for my own projects for school. I believe we have a lot to learn and observe from children’s artwork. They are always coming up with fantastic ideas and creative concepts and they hardly seem to get “creative block” the way adults do.

1902760_10152248706298923_246736419_n

  • Be timely and respectful and your clients will keep giving you work: When I first started babysitting, I was just a kid myself and I learned some basic lessons about acting like an adult and having respect for others’ time. I found that the sooner I got back to people, the more babysitting gigs I would land. I also learned that building a good reputation would earn me more clients in the long run. Eventually, this led to me being  able to get several babysitting gigs a week through college.
  • Cooking is actually fun and awesome:  A lot of times the families that hired me would actually trust me with ingredients & a recipe , and when I didn’t totally mess it up, it was a huge confidence booster. Eventually, cooking dinner for the kids became my favorite part of the evening! Babysitting definitely demystified cooking for me and I discovered how fun it could be
  • It’s okay to make a huge mess: I learned that the cleanup was well worth play dough on the kitchen table, or DIY pizza toppings, or playing in the rain outside, and muddy shoes. Babysitting isn’t supposed to be boring! A clean kitchen table is temporary, but fun memories last.
  • Laughter is the best medicine: We all know kids are hilarious, and in my mind the humor of what they say far outweighs any ear-torture of a screaming temper tantrum. I got to a point where I had to start writing down all the funny stuff that  I was hearing. They really are true comedians!
  • Time flies:  A lot of the kids I used to watch are now old enough to be babysitters themselves! Some have even graduated high school by now. So, I’ve learned that no matter what, it’s important to live in the moment because time goes by so quickly.
  • Parents are real-life superheroes: We all know that kids can be difficult sometimes. But at least I could go home at the end of the day. All of the parents I’ve worked with have some serious multitasking and superhero skills. They taught me the true meaning of work ethic, the importance of team work, and just how much one person can accomplish, which is a LOT. Not only do they seem to have productivity superpowers, but the parents that I know are quite obviously superheroes in their kids’ eyes! Anytime I feel overwhelmed, I think about other people who do so much more than me and it gives me the added motivation to get things done. Parents are really inspiring in how much they do!

teresa

Did you ever babysit? What lessons did you learn?

About Teresa: 
IMG_1965Teresa works in Creative Services at Step2. She’s also a visual artist, a bookworm and a diehard Incubus fan. When she’s not drawing or painting, she’s going to concerts, playing with her two dogs, Augie and Lucy and going on hiking adventures with her boyfriend Matt.

The Step2 WonderBall Fun House – Designer’s Perspective

Written by Matt Maxwell, designer of the Step2 WonderBall Fun House™

When designing children’s products for Step2, there is always a need to deliver a balance between innovation and familiarity.

Similar to other product industries, we are in a business where people are asking “What’s new?” Moms always want something new, but with tried and true format (also know as the comfort zone). The WonderBall Fun House™ is a good example of an idea that delivers on that premise.

Ball Play Funhouse

Children’s playhouses are an established product segment, and seemed like the perfect area to apply ball play. The playhouse format allows children to play in and around the house, and the height of a roof is a natural element to begin the downward journey of the balls.

Gravity is not only free, which is a good thing when you are trying to stay mindful of product cost, but is also a great thing for kids to learn about during their play time. “Put and take” play is also something very key with this product. Kids get to see the effect of where the balls travel when they put them into play.

Step2 WonderBall Fun HouseEach corner of the house provides unique ball travel, and makes the kids curious to see what happens when they drop the balls in the different places. And the great thing is they can repeat this process over and over again.

As a playhouse, we still wanted to offer the key elements: a covered, but open space of their own, doorway play, mailbox, kitchenette features, etc. Playhouse walls also provide containment for the balls when playtime is over. Playhouse KitchenetteThis playhouse provides low-tech innovation, but also hours of reaching, dropping, bouncing, watching, rolling, chasing, tossing, discovery and fun for kids and parents.

This playhouse is available for purchase NOW on Step2.com!

Create Your Own “Rocket Ship” Inspired by Bing Bong

Make Your Own Rocket Ship

“Who’s your friend who likes to play? Bing Bong, Bing Bong.
His rocket makes you yell, ‘Hooray!’ Bing Bong, Bing Bong.
Who’s the best in every way,
and wants to sing this song to say, “Bing Bong, Bing Bong!”

We recently saw Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out. Yes, we cried when (spoiler alert) Riley’s imaginary friend Bing Bong sacrificed himself and jumped out of his rocket ship with Joy to save Riley. We couldn’t help but think of our kids growing up and moving past “Goofball Island.”

But since they’re still little and we have plenty more years ahead to be goofy with them while they let their imaginations soar, we decided to create a “Rocket Ship” of our own, inspired by Inside Out’s character Bing Bong. (You’ll have to use your imagination too since this rocket ship doesn’t automatically shoot rainbows from its brooms.)

Rocket Ship DIY Bing Bong

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wagon (we used the Step2 All Around Wagon)
  • Cardboard
  • 2 Brooms
  • Streamers in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple
  • Tape
  • Scissors

Steps:

  1. Rip 2 3-foot pieces from each color streamer. Fold in each color in half and tape to the end of one broom. Tape in order of the colors of the rainbow (remember Roy G. Biv? Turns out in comes in handy again when you’re a parent). Repeat on the other broom.
  2. Wrap the top part of the broom handle with a streamer that matched your wagon (optional). We did this because the brooms we found at the Dollar Tree were hollow. Cut your piece of cardboard to fit your wagon (this will be its “wings”). Then, tape each broom to the underside of the cardboard (if your cardboard is one color, don’t worry about the “underside.” We are lucky enough to have a plethora of cartons here at Step2, so we recycled one for this craft).
  3. Tape each “wing” with broom attached to each side of the wagon. Reinforce with tape above and below the wing.

Create Your Own Rocket Ship from a Step2 Wagon - Inspired by Inside Out character Bing Bong

Now your little dreamers are ready to soar off to adventure land with their own imaginary friend!

Manufacturer’s Note: Please make sure children are the recommended age to play with the product featured in this blog post. Adult supervision is required. This post is not associated with or endorsed by Disney/Pixar.