Category Archives: About Us

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!

The Lessons of Parenthood

we're-moms-lessons-of-parenthood.fw

Written by Melisa as a part of the We’re Moms Too series

When you first become a parent, you feel so many emotions.  You’re scared because you are responsible for another’s life and making sure he or she is safe at all times.  You’re excited that you have created a beautiful baby that you get to love and teach right from wrong and you vow that you will do all that you can to ensure your child has the happiest, healthiest life they can.

You teach by example, reminded by what you learned growing up, remembering what you did and didn’t like.  You make mistakes that you learn from and vow to never make again, especially if you are lucky enough to have another child.

You carry on traditions that you hold near and dear.  I too carried on traditions with my children.  I spoke of Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny and played the parts too.  As I played each part, I was rewarded as I watched the joy wash over their faces as the tooth fairy received hugs and kisses.

easter-bunny.fw

When my daughter was about 10-years-old, she and I were in the car going somewhere.  Out of the blue, she asked me if there was a Santa Claus.  I was caught off guard and asked her what she thought.  She said no.  I told her that she was correct and that he wasn’t real.  I thought I was doing the right thing by telling her the truth.  She became very angry and hurt, yes hurt – I remember to this day the next words that came out of her mouth – YOU LIED TO US!  I was devastated; I had never meant to cause her any type of pain.  I was only carrying on the tradition that I had grown up with.  She then asked about the Easter Bunny and tooth fairy and I was forced to tell her that they weren’t real either.  It took her a few minutes to process and understand why I did what I did, but from that day forward, I did not speak of Santa, the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny.

You also treasure the unforgettable moments, like when my daughter saw a black and white picture of me and said “Mom, you were born before color?”  Or when my son asked me to marry him when he was four-years-old.

You come across many bumps along the way that make you wonder if you will survive parenthood, especially the teenage years, but you will and you do.

All of these things you do with the hope that your children will grow up to be responsible human beings who are successful and happy in their journey through life.  I’m proud to say, I did survive and succeeded at parenthood.   I have two beautiful children and two beautiful stepchildren, who have graduated from high school and college and are all pursuing their careers.   They are also the first to stand by me and help me through any difficult times.

melissa-family.fw
About Melisa
2009_09230041Melisa is a Senior Human Resource Generalist at Step2. When she is not “encouraging” her husband to remodel their house, she spends her time shopping for jewelry, camping in her RV, discovering new wineries and reading.

Dad Practice

we're-godfathers-dad-practice
Written by Jason as a part of the We’re Godfathers Too series

Inevitably, I’m going to be a Dad one day, so it’s helpful getting lots of practice now.  I’m the Art Director at Step2 and we have dozens of mini models scampering in and out of our studio every month for product photo shoots. Some kids are cranky, several little ones really love being in front of the camera, others are afraid of the flashing lights and a couple won’t leave mom or dad’s side. And there are a few that are daredevils! Whatever the case, we always have to be on alert to ensure their safety.

I’m getting married this October 2015.  My fiancée, Lynsey and I have a little 16-month-old nephew (and godson) named Dominic. While mom, dad, grandma and grandpa see him everyday and know his abilities and limitations, we’re never quite sure what new tricks he’s picked up from previous weeks. His new skill is climbing everything and giving me a panic attack when I’m around.  I seem to be the most worried when he’s scaling his climber like King Kong. I know kids need to fall a few times in order to learn, but being a parent means keeping your head on a swivel 24/7! During our toy photo shoots, we only have to be attentive for the 30-60 minutes while the kids are in the studio….apparently, I still have a lot to learn.

were-godfathers-too-main

Step2 is headquartered in Northeast Ohio, and obviously it’s basketball playoff time. Dominic loves watching the Cleveland Cavaliers with us.  Even in the car or stroller he points out every basketball hoop in the neighborhood. “BALL!  BALL!  BOOM!”  His dad had to chase him down the other day as Dominic was waddling furiously to the hoop across the street.  Yikes!

But there’s no better dad practice than working with kids at your job and having a thrill seeking nephew/godson.  I’ll be a good dad one day, and by then I’ll be really good at swindling kids for smiles and laughs without having to give them sugary treats!

dominic-playing-on-step2-climber

About Jason
jason-bio-picutreJason is the Art Director at Step2.  He’s a science & astronomy nerd and thinks digital currency is inevitable.  He has a slight Beatles-like obsession with the band FOALS and thinks Elon Musk is too smart to be fully human.