On each play kitchen’s page, you may have noticed we have listed the height, width, and length dimensions to better assist you during your decision on which play kitchen to purchase. However, we have received questions surrounding the height of the counters on our play kitchens. Therefore, we decided to create a scale to reference and compare the highest point, width, length, and height of the counters of each play kitchen to help you decide which kitchen is perfect for your child!
The physical development of children is very important to us here at Step2. The toys that we create help develop the sensory, fine motor and gross motor skills of toddlers and preschoolers. Fine motor skills are defined as “actions performed with the small muscles in the hands, fingers and wrist.” Many of the new toys from spring 2013 collection will help increase the fine motor skills of your little ones.
The Stack ‘n Stay Hamburgers and Stack ‘n Stay Smores food sets help children to stack together different foods that are found in and on a hamburgers and smores. Children can interchange all of the topping on the hamburgers and smores to create a new recipe. In addition, children will be able to associate the realistic color of the play food with the actual food. Also, children can count the different play food they put onto and take off the burger and smores. These food sets can be used with play kitchens and also with the Fixin’ Fun Outdoor Grill. This particular grill also features another food play set, which is the Stack ‘n Stay Hot Dog set. Playing with the grill knobs and flipping the food on the grill will also enhance the use of a child’s fine motor skills.
The Sand-Tastic Construction Set and Sand-Tastic Castle Set will teach children how to shovel, pour, build, and roll while in the sandbox. The characters that are on the truck and bulldozer are interchangeable, which will help children to click pieces together just like they do on the Stack ‘n Stay play sets. In order to increase the different skills that children are developing, you can also put marshmallows or rice instead of sand in the sandbox. By replacing the sand for other materials, children will be able to improve their sensory skills.
Besides playing with shovels and sand sets in sandboxes, the Fun & Sun Climber and Sandbox, which was also released this spring, can help assist with fine motor skills. This toy includes a shovel for digging and pouring sand in the sandbox portion and through the cascade accessories. This toy not only helps with fine motor skills but gross motor skills by encouraging children to climb and slide using big muscle movements.
The toys from the spring 2013 collection are different from traditional fine motor skills activities such as cutting paper and tying shoe laces. The frequent change of activity and position will keep children fascinated. What activities and toys do your children play with to develop their fine motor skills?
Infantino, Step2’s sister company is raising the bar on fun by adding a free HappiTaps Beary Happi or Puppi Love to any qualifying** Infantino purchases of $25 or more. HappiTaps products are a twist on a snuggly buddy that combines with smart phone* technology to create interactive fun for your little ones.
At checkout add the coupon code:
HappiTaps products are *compatible with iPhone® 4S, iPhone® 4, iPhone® 3GS and 3rd & 4th generation iPod® Touch. iPhone and iPod Touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries.
**Qualifying purchase includes Infantino items that total $25 or more in Infantino merchandise (not including shipping, handling, or tax)
Here at Step2, we pride ourselves in manufacturing quality toys that will receive recognition based on their durability, creative play value, and fun designs. Over the years, many of our great products have received numerous awards. When choosing a toy for your little one, it is important to find out which toys have won different awards.
Some of the awards that you will find when searching through the quality products are:
- iParenting Media Awards: Recognizes the top products for kids and parents. The products are reviewed by childcare facilities and parents. The products are judged upon quality, durability, and play value. The Creative Projects Table, Fun Flow Sink, and Fresh Market Kitchen have received this award.
- Top Pick, Today’s Parent Magazine: Today’s Parent Magazine comes out with a list of top picks for toddler toys during the holidays to make shopping easier for parents! The Creative Projects Table and Easy Steer Sportster received this award.
- 3-Star (highest) Rating, Canadian Toy Testing Council: Each year, hundreds of toys are selected and tested by Canadian children in an everyday setting. The children assess the design, function, durability and play value of the toys. There are three different types of ratings: Three Stars, Two Starts, One Star, Novelty, or Not Recommended. The Creative Projects Table, Neat & Tidy Cottage, Par 3 Mini Golf Course, Puppet Theater, Naturally Playful Lookout Treehouse, Push Around Buggy, All Star Sports Climber, 50’s Diner, LifeStyle Grand Walk-In Kitchen, and LifeStyle Dream Kitchen have received the 3-Star Rating.
- Seal of Approval, The National Parenting Center: Toys are selected through an eight week process where parents, children, and educators examine the nominees. The judges fill out questionnaires based on the desirability, sturdiness, stimulation, and other essential characteristics about the quality of the product. The Creative Projects Table, Puppet Theater, Sand & Water Transportation Station have received this award.
- Platinum Award and Gold Award Oppenheim Toy Portfolio: This review of children’s products is conducted by child development experts, Joanne Oppenheim and her daughter, Stephanie Oppenheim. Toys from infants through later school years are judged. Toys with the Platinum Award are the most innovative and engaging products of the year. The Pin Pals Bowling Set, Push Around Taxi, Twist & Fold Gym, Neighborhood Fun Center, and Grill & Play Patio Café have received the Platinum Award. The Gold Award is given to outstanding new products that enhance the lives of children. The Gourmet Café Kitchen, Whisper Ride Buggy, Grill & Play Patio Café, and All-Star Sports Climber have received the Gold Award.
- Reviewers’ Choice Award, Buzzillions: A survey is sent out to people who have purchased the nominated products. Products in each category are then ranked by star ratings and number of reviews. The Playmats 24 x 24 inch, Naturally Playful Adventure Lodge Play Center, Par 3 Mini Golf Course, Lift & Hide Bookcase Storage Chest, Deluxe Canyon Road Train & Track Table, Art Master Activity Desk, Naturally Playful Sand & Water Activity Center, Naturally Playful Welcome Home Playhouse, Outdoor Storage Bench, and Up & Down Roller Coaster have received this award.
- Best Toys of the Year, Parents Magazine: This is a list of amazing toys presented toward the end of the year to help gift givers shop stress free during the holiday and become familiar with the hottest toys of the year. The Par 3 Mini Golf Course, 50’s Diner, and All Around Easel for Two have received this award.
- AblePlay Award: AblePlay is a website that provides information about toys for children with special needs. The website was created so that consumers can make the best decisions about toys to purchase for children with special needs. The way toys are chosen to be on the website is through a toy rating system. The rating system that AblePlay goes by focuses on cognitive, sensory, communications, and physical abilities of children. Products are rated on a scale from 1-5 based on these categories. The Deluxe Canyon Road Train & Track Table, Fun Flow Play Sink, Sand & Water Transportation Station, and WaterWheel Play Table have received this award.
- 10 Best Active Products and 100 Best Children’s Products, Dr. Toy: Dr. Toy, Stevanne Auerbach, PhD, is an expert on children’s toys. She gives a unique and original review of each child’s product she assesses. Many parents, teachers, and toy consumers refer to Dr. Toy’s advice and guidance when it comes to making a selection for a toy. The Puppet Theater has won both of these this award.
- Best New Outdoor Toy, 2009, UK Toy Fair: This fair is the only event dedicated to toy, game, and hobby exhibitions in the UK. The Skyward Summit has won this award.
- T.O.Y. (Toy of the Year) Award, Family Fun Magazine: FamilyFun recruits dozens of families to test more than 250 play toys. Based on their feedback of the products, there are ten winners chosen each year along with twenty other toys that deserve honorable mention! The Real Projects Workshop, 50’s Diner, and Extreme Coaster have received this award.
- All-Star Holiday Toys, Toy Wishes Magazine: This award is presented in December and the products are chosen through online voting. This program honors the favorite toys of the year. The 50’s Diner has won this award.
- Recommended Toys, Parents Choice Foundation: This organization is the one of the oldest nonprofit authorities that reviews the quality of children’s toys and media. Parents Choice Foundation reviews toys that help children to grow. The 50’s Diner and LifeStyle Grand Walk-In Kitchen have received this award.
Have you purchased any of the award winning toys from this list?
Here at Step2, we understand and promote the importance of families spending time together. A great way for families to spend valuable time together is by partaking in hobbies everyone can enjoy. Sharenanny.com gave us some great ideas for kid friendly hobbies that may spark the interest of you and your little ones:
- Rock collecting: As we transition into spring, we may find many interesting objects on the ground that were once covered by snow or leaves. Try collecting interesting looking rocks with your kids when you decide to clean up the yard or go on a nature walk. Try putting similar color rocks into the same jar and see how many different jars of rocks your family ends up collecting!
- Photography: Many parents enjoy taking pictures of the children so they can reflect on the memories of their kids as they grow up. Teach children how to take pictures whether it is with your phone or digital camera (parent supervision is strongly recommended). Have your children take pictures of things they find intriguing whether it is pictures of their toys or trying to take pictures of you, it can be a fun experience you can both enjoy. A fun project you and your children can do together is taking a picture of each other each day for a certain amount of time and the make a flip book out the pictures and see how much both of you have changed. Check out this example of this an awesome flip book!
- Scrapbooking: While you are taking pictures, this is a perfect opportunity to take those pictures and decorate them and put the photos into albums. You can spark the artistic and creative side of your children by having them choose the placement of the pictures, coordinate the colors, and use different decorative embellishments.
- Playing Instruments: ParentalGuide.org expresses the benefits of children that play instruments. It helps improves children’s cognitive and motor skills. Teaching children basic notes on the piano or having them bang their hands on a drum may be a noisy experience but you will have a blast making noise together.
- Cooking/Baking: This is an activity that children can do right along with their parents with their very own play kitchen. Teaching children different ways to prepare food will help aspiring little chefs to learn how to cook and bake from a young age.
- Exercising: Keeping children active is very important. By spending time together doing basic exercise moves, it can promote a healthy lifestyle and a entertaining way for both of your to work up a healthy sweat. Whether you are having a dance party or playing outside, both of you will have tons of fun staying in shape.
What hobbies do you share with your children?