Author Archives: Step2

Step2 Takes “American Made” International

On February 23, 2014, Crain’s Cleveland ran an article highlighting Step2’s continued commitment to bring our play toys to hungry overseas markets like China.  As referenced in the article, we believe that our kid’s toys are perfect for the Chinese consumer who is interested in toys that promote developmental growth.

Last week, Step2 hosted two high ranking Chinese CCLC (Certification Center of Light Industry Council) Inspectors at our Streetsboro and Perrysville facilities.  While here the Inspectors audited our Design, Engineering, Safety, Quality and Manufacturing processes.  We are proud to report that both of our facilities passed the audit clearing the way for the next step, testing of our products at the Shanghai Toy Testing lab.  When testing is completed, the CCLC will certify our products as having met their Toy Safety Standards and enable our continued growth in the Chinese market.

meeting at Step2 about international growth

To our knowledge, no other US toy manufacturer has tackled an endeavor of this size. While others are importing more of their product for sale in the US markets, we are keeping production here in the US and exporting to strong international markets like China.

group picture with Step2 ride-on toys

Rounding out our international week here at Step2, we were visited by four international business students from Ohio University along with their Professors and Department Chief.  This visit marked the midway point of their semester, where they are tackling a hypothetical international distribution problem presented to them by Step2. We are excited to be helping the next generation of entrepreneurs start thinking about on-the-job issues they may encounter.

students at step2

Step2 remains focused to find creative ways to support international growth.  Whether it is investing time to a collegiate program at the state level or dedicating resources to quality and safety to bring our product to new markets, we are committed to the expansion of Step2 products at home and abroad.

Blanket Tricks: Turn Kid’s Toys into Forts

Blanket tips for imaginative play

Blankets provide your family with warmth, but they can also be used to spark imaginative play. The power of imagination is incredible. Do you remember placing a blanket over chairs or a table and creating a secret fort when you were a kid? Children can still use these items to create forts but they could also use many toys found in their playroom to create these magical hangouts. Here are some toys that we thought would make some pretty cool forts:

Climber Fort:

secret climber fort for kids

A large blanket can be placed over top of the climber and kids can pretend to be camping out in a tent in the desert or in a rocket ship ready for takeoff. Little ones can also place a blanket on top of the platform, stairs and slide to crawl underneath and pretend they are at the bottom of a ship or hanging out underground.

kid's climber fort kid's climber fort

Table Fort:kid's table fort

Place a blanket over the table and this fort can fit two small kids underneath. You can supply your children with a flashlight and they can tell each other stories during a sleepover! For extra room, place chairs on each side and kids can spread out to enjoy the comfort of their brand new fort.

bigger table fort

As always, Step2 recommends adult supervision during playtime. What toys have your children placed blankets over to create a fort?

Win $500 in Step2 Prizes at the #PartyInAJar Twitter Party March 21

Come celebrate the upcoming release of Party in a Jar, Step2 Ambassador Vanessa’s, of See Vanessa Craft, fun new craft book for kids, at a Twitter party on March 21st (1pm MST/3pm EST)! We’ll also be chatting all about crafting with kids and Step2 will be giving out some awesome prizes. Make sure to follow Step2 on Facebook and sign up for their Birthday Club for special offers, sales, new product info and more!

THE DETAILS

When: Friday, March 21st @ 1pm-2pm MST (3pm-4pm EST)

Hashtag: #PartyInAJar

Hosts: @seevanessacraft and @makeandtakes

Vanessa Rodriguez Coppola spreads her love of glitter and hot glue through her blog, See Vanessa Craft, and is passionate about upcycling through crafting. Vanessa lives in the Arizona desert with her husband, Rich, and their two children. She is the author of the NEW craft book Party in a Jar.

Marie LeBaron is the founder and managing editor of Make and Takes, and author of the book Make and Takes for Kids. She’s a mother of 3 living in Seattle. There’s always some sort of project going on in her home, her kitchen table is often cluttered with crafts. When she’s not crafting and creating with her kids, she loves to read, run, and blog!

Prizes: @thestep2company will be giving away the following products during the Twitter party (worth $500!).

Sand-tastic Activity Center
Duck Pond Water Table
Easel For Two
Puppet Theater
Deluxe Art Master Desk
Build & Store Block & Creativity Table
Creative Projects Table

Make and Takes will be giving away 1 signed copy of Make and Takes for Kids book & See Vanessa Craft will be giving away 3 signed copies of Party in a Jar book.

Winners will be chosen randomly from among participants who respond to questions asked by the hosts during the Twitter party. You must be present at the Twitter party to be eligible for prizes, 48 contiguous US states only (but everyone is welcome to participate in the Twitter party).

We’re Moms Too: Potty Training

ButtonPottyTraining

It is so hard to believe that we are at the point in our lives where our baby is using the big boy potty.  This is one of those milestones I’ve worried about hitting.  I have a brother who is ten years younger than I am and he was nearly FOUR YEARS OLD before he was officially housebroken potty trained.  I remember my mom and dad having such a stressful time over this and I dreaded it.  Likely because of that experience, we never put much emphasis on using the potty.

We purchased a potty chair and a potty watch some time ago.  We introduced him to the potty and set it up in our living room (don’t judge) and we let him run around naked quite a bit (again, don’t judge).  We know that he is encouraged to sit on the potty at school twice a day.  Outside of this, we hadn’t tried to ask him if he had to go “pee pee” nor did we suggest that he sit on his potty at home.  With no fuss and muss about the potty, one can imagine the surprise we experienced when we found him tinkling in the potty on his very own back in November.

I had just arrived home from work.  Myles was running around the house with his bare butt hanging out.  I was giving my hubby a download of my day when all of the sudden we heard, “psssssst” and looked over at our son, sitting on the potty and peeing!  I literally jumped up and down like I was the next contestant on The Price is Right.  I was so excited and got weepy…over pee pee.  We gave high fives to Myles, high fives to each other, took pictures and gave him chocolate.  We made this a very big deal because it WAS a very big deal.

potty training

Those of you who have followed our journey know that many of our milestones haven’t been easy, so I feel I’ve earned the right to brag about my awesome boy who potty trained himself.  He is now working on pooing in the potty (which has been moved to the bathroom) and aside from the one accident he had on the floor (that hubby stepped in) that is going great as well.

The irony of what gets me excited now that I’m a Mom is not lost on me.  I just want to bottle up all of these amazing little moments and savor every last one in every way possible.

Tena and her best friend (and hubby) had their first child in July, 2011. Their little guy has a congenital heart defect and he is one tough little cookie; don’t ever think about calling him sick though – “his plumbing is just different.” Tena is an animal loving vegetarian and is excited to teach her son about compassion and the importance of volunteer work. She secretly hopes her son will be left handed like his momma. She is the Online Marketing Director for Step2.

FriDIY: Chalk and Dry Erase Board Table

fridiychlktbl

Are you ready for some artistic and creative fun? Well, so are we! That’s why we made a chalk and dry erase board table out of one of our table and chair sets for kids. You and your little artists will have a blast crafting this table. This table is great for your children’s fine motor skills and can enhance their drawing and writing abilities. Let’s get started:

kid's chalk and dry erase board table

  1. Gather your materials:
  2. Put the newspaper underneath the table, chairs and paints. Remove lids from the paints and begin stirring.
  3. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to prepare the paint.
  4. Use painter’s tape to create a divide in the middle of the table.
  5. Tape all four sides of table.
  6. Sand down the entire table with sand paper.
  7. Paint the chalk board paint onto one side of the table (apply two – three coats of paint).
  8. Paint the dry erase board paint onto the other side of the table (apply two – three coats of paint).
  9. Tape the front of the chairs and paint one chair with chalkboard paint and the other with dry erase paint (this step is optional)*.
  10. We also painted the back of the chairs.
  11. Let paint cure for three days before applying any chalk or markers. After the three days you can remove the tape from where you feel is necessary (we left the tape in the middle of the table to distinguish that each side of the table is different and tape on the fronts of the chairs).
  12. Let the drawing fun begin!

Check out all the awesome ways you can draw on this chalk and dry erase board table and chairs:

IMG_1428IMG_1425 IMG_1423

*Painting the front and back of the chairs with chalk and dry erase board paint is optional. We wanted to show all the different ways your kids could draw on the table and chairs set. However, if you do decide to paint the front of the chairs, we recommend your child wears clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. If they sit all the way back on the chairs, they could get chalk or dry erase marker on their clothes.

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