Spring into Play With Step2’s New 2014 Toys

Products provide hours of creative outdoor fun all season long

STREETSBORO, Ohio – February 12, 2014 – Spring is in the air and the Step2 Company is delivering new products that will make little ones eager to play outside. From new water and sand tables to climbers and light-up basketball sets, Step2’s new spring line is designed to enrich imaginations and expand creativity.

“Since day one, our mission has been to develop safe, top-notch products that allow children to explore, discover, create, pretend and build greater social skills.  Our new products stay true to this mission,” explains Jerry McDermott, Step2’s chief marketing officer. “Step2 toys are focused on helping kids develop what they need to be healthy and happy contributors to our world.”

With features that encourage simple play and complex learning, Step2’s newest spring products nurture the mind, body and heart of children. Water and sand tables offer updated features for open water play that stimulate the senses and encourage imaginative play. Step2®’s newest climbers, playhouses and light-it-up basketball sets promote physical activity and multi-kid play!

Step2 is turning up the fun and helping children build social and motor skills with these new toys that create enjoyable play experiences for everyone.

  • Wild Whirlpool Water Table™: Imagine the adventures children will encounter with this water table.  The power of the spinning wheel creates a water vortex that takes children to a wet and wild world that includes sea creatures and a boat. (MSRP $39.99)
  • Water Works Water Table™: Children will watch and explore the workings of chain reactions while having fun with the Water Works Water Table™. Water pours through the center funnel and filters into various outlets allowing children to use the accessories to carve new paths for the water. (MSRP $39.99; Target Exclusive)
  • Duck Pond Water Table™: This playful water table will turn your backyard into a day at the park. Children will laugh in delight as they take turns sending the ducks down the slide and launching the frog into the pond! (MSRP $34.99)
  • High Seas Adventure Sand & Water Table with Umbrella™: Imaginations will run wild as children take on a high-seas sailing adventure with this new sand and water table. Kids will take turns powering the water-propelled ship while sending the pirate figures off the plank! (MSRP $69.99)
  • Sand Castle Play Table™: Build sand castles right in your backyard with this play table. The elevated sand table provides hours of creative fun all season long allowing children to develop fine motor skills to dig, build and knock down their sand creations! (MSRP $39.99; Target Exclusive)

With spring ushering in warm weather, climbers and playhouses are sure to be provide an environment that encourages physical activity while inspiring imaginative play!

  • The Alpine Ridge Climber and Slide™ (MSRP $299.99; Toys“R”Us Exclusive) is the perfect climber for active kids who enjoy climbing wall adventures. The five climbing walls complete with grips, holes and steps to assist your climber will promote coordination, balance and strength during active play!
  • Meanwhile, children will be in awe as they roll the colorful balls through the zig-zag maze into the ball pit on the Play Ball Fun Climber™ (MSRP $99.99). The Great Outdoors Playhouse™ (MSRP $199.99; Toys“R”Us Exclusive) features a large open floor plan for all-around play. Complete with working water pump and paddle wheel, grill, mail slot, bird house and flower box, this playhouse will have your kids eager to move in!

Additionally, Step2 is introducing two new basketball sets.  Kids will want to show off their skills in front of mom and dad as they elevate their game and take it to the hoop with the Light-It-Up Junior Basketball Set™ (MSRP $49.99) and Light-It-Up Pro Basketball Set™ (MSRP $59.99) available at Toys“R”Us stores and online. Featuring a large backboard, electronic light-up rainbow rim with sound, real woven net and expandable rim and pole, these basketball sets support gross motor skill development and are designed to grow with your child.

Made in America and backed by a three-year warranty, the new spring products are available for purchase at Step2.com and select retailers including Target, Walmart and Toys”R”Us. For more information, visit www.Step2.com.

 

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.