AblePlay.org, an independent toy rating program developed by the National Lekotek Center, has recently rated five Step2 toys as appropriate for children with Special Needs. These toys are judged in four categories of strengths, including Physical, Sensory, Communicative, and Cognitive, making it easy for parents to identify toys that will help their child develop in the area of greatest need.
What is truly unique about these Step2 toys is their strength across multiple categories. According to AblePlay.org, it is quite common for a toy to be strong only in one category on which it focuses. Four out of the five toys recently reviewed by AblePlay from Step2 have acheived ratings of 4 (Very Good) or higher in three out of the four rating categories!
Star rankings as explained by AblePlay are as follows:
While we have had country-of-origin labeling on our website for over a week now, we have now also created a list of all our toys that are labeled “Made in U.S.A.” or “Made in U.S.A. of US and imported parts”. You may view both the American-made toys list and the Information on Labeling and Quality statement that explains our labeling methods on our website.
If an item does not show up on the “Made in U.S.A.” list, please refer to the product details page on our website for further information on the origin of its components.
With the recent rash of recalls by large toy companies, we’ve been receiving a number of inquiries regarding our toys, and whether or not they might contain lead-based paints. We’d like to help put your mind at ease when it comes to Step2 toys.
First of all, children and their safety are our primary concern. At Step2, we take great strides to ensure the safety and quality of our products.
The vast majority of Step2 products are manufactured in the USA through a process called rotational molding that does not use paint at all. While we do import some accessories and smaller toys from China, none are manufactured at any of the plants involved in the recent recalls. Also, all of our imported products meet ASTM (American Society of Testing & Materials) requirements and guidelines.
We go to great measures to ensure quality control of sourced items and components including:
Step2 utilizes an independent Hong Kong and China-based sourcing group to perform multiple, detailed inspections during production and after production at the factories in China. Any components that are found not to comply with our stringent quality standards are held up and not allowed to ship.
Step2 regularly submits samples of each of our products to independent 3rd-party accredited testing agencies to conduct detailed testing to ensure compliance to the applicable safety standards.
Step2 requires certifications that the coatings purchased by the factories in China for use on our components are, in fact, lead-free.
We hope these facts help alleviate any concerns you might have had about Step2 products. We value our loyal customers and want you to know we will always maintain a level of quality and service that is worthy of your confidence.
We love to hear stories about how Step2 has had a notable impact in your life, and we love even more to see pictures. Jessica from Bethesda, MD recently sent us one such success story.
Jessica lives in a neighborhood that has about 30 young children, but no sidewalks to create any type of safety boundary. Because her street connects two larger streets, they receive a large amount of shortcut traffic. So the neighborhood took action: to date, Jessica estimates that around 15 families on her road use KidAlert signs to caution motorists to slow down.
The results have been great, and the brightly-colored safety signs have even had some unforseen benefits, as Jessica notes, “It has brought our neighborhood together.” You can see how one block of her street looks in this picture that she sent us:
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Jessica does say that the signs have helped slow down traffic. “The cars absolutely slow down now, with all the reminders, at least 40 in all!”
What’s the catch? There is none. We don’t tack on “oversize surcharges” or handling fees: when we say free shipping, we mean free shipping. Still not convinced? Add one to your cart and see for yourself!
Yes, it looks impressive, but there’s a lot about these outdoor play centers that sets them apart from the rest of the crowd:
The two-story playhouse is perfect for multiple children, and encourages active play
A swing extension incorporates the classic, tireless fun of swinging
Multiple entrances and climbing portals into the playhouse satisfy even the most rambunctious of children
The wavy slide and durable construction won’t splinter, and never require painting, staining, and sanding
Your whole neighborhood will appreciate the neutral colors and natural textures!
Finally, there’s a spyglass, ball hoop, mail slot, and rope ladder–what more could you ask for?
Obesity.org reports that 30.3 percent of children aged 6-11 are overweight. ParentsTV.org states that the average child spends 4 hours every day watching TV. The CDC asserts that as children grow older, physical activity drops off rapidly, and that by High School, only 36% of youths participate in physical activities for 60 minutes or more each day.
These factors should be intimidating. Not only does the prevalence of TV and the decline in physical activity result in unhealthy children, but it also signals a shift in social behaviors: today’s youth are becoming increasingly less active in their physical and emotional engagement with the world, resulting in a generation that is in danger of growing up to be less creative and productive than the last.
These are the trends that face our children, and hopefully we will all take the necessary steps to overcome this temptation that they will face: the temptation to sit back and disconnect from the world. What does it take to achieve this success? We must convince our children to engage in real play on a regular basis. We must convince our children to unplug. (And simply using batteries doesn’t count!)
Encourage imagination – Encourage them to use their own imaginations. Younger children enjoy role-playing, doing crafts, or playing with action figures, and older children will benefit from reading, art, and music.
Provide social opportunities – Playing video games all day isn’t the answer. Instead, encourage them to go outside and play with friends. Sandboxes, clubhouses, and sporting equipment are all great tools for teaching your child how to get along with others. They’ll learn valuable skills such as how to manage conflict, how to play by rules, and how to behave in public settings.
Keep them active – Active children are healthy children. Whether they’re climbing, crawling, sliding, running or swinging, your children will be keeping their heart, lungs, and body chemistry in better shape if they’re active. There are many options for keeping your children active, including some that fit well in a basement or playroom.
Step2 believes in healthy children, and this is evident in what we manufacture. We design our products to be exciting and appealing to children, and also conducive to imaginative play and social interactions. Our playhouses, climbers, and outdoor toys are sturdy enough to support even the most energetic of children, and provide plenty of opportunities to actively imagine and interact with friends and neighbors.
We also encourage healthy imaginations with items such as our varying art desks, building blocks, and the Real Projects Workshop. Designed to be fun with one child or three, these toys stimulate creativity and independent thought.
Finally, Step2 has also defined itself with the LifeStyle line of kitchens and children’s furniture. These realistic role-playing toys are designed to draw children into an imaginatively rich environment where play time almost becomes reality. With accessory sets designed for multi-child play and durable construction for maximum use, we build these products to last for years of social growth, physical health, and emotional excitement.
Here’s to your children–healthy, active and happy!