Tag Archives: Everybody Plays

Thoughtful Thursday: Everybody Plays

thoughtfulthursday everybody plays
For the past three years, Step2 and Infantino have teamed up to create a marketing campaign focused on showcasing the beauty, happiness and uniqueness of differently-abled children at play. The darling children that have been photographed for our Everybody Play’s campaign the past two years have been featured on our emails, website, Step2’s Amazon page and Step2’s YouTube channel.

Last week, 50 families from across the country traveled to San Diego to be a part of the Everybody Plays photo shoot with photographer, author and mom Kelle Hampton. Something occurred that was more powerful than just a marketing campaign for Step2 and Infantino; there were proud moments, milestones, smiles, giggles and friendships built during this magical occasion. This photo shoot was and still is an ongoing movement to show that every single child, no matter their age or ability plays, and has fun doing it.

Grace’s mom described her experience at Everybody Plays as comfortable and special. “No one cared what type of abilities your child had, they were just happy your child was there.” She was so proud to see her daughter play with other children and pose for the camera. Other moms, including Apollo’s mom, felt at ease as Kelle took pictures of their children. “[Kelle] was comfortable and flexible with them all. If a child was having a hard time, she simply gave them a break. Once they were happy she was ready to shoot again. There was no pressure and everyone was having fun.”

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Photo by: 5boysand1girlmakes6.com
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Although these wonderful children were the focal point of this photo, none of these beautiful pictures would have been possible without Kelle. The way she photographed and handled each child with such passion was heartwarming. She posted about her experience last week on her blog. “If you were part of the shoot this year, I want to tell you how special it was meeting you and your children–all of you,” she wrote. “We had a tight schedule and lots of babies to attend to, but I remember your hugs and your stories and your children. I saw the pride in your eyes, I felt how much you love them.  I watched you soothe them and kiss them and work hard to make sure your babies were comfortable and aware of your presence.”

Children and parents came out of their comfort zones for this event and it could not have made us more ecstatic to see many children overcome their fears and create such beautiful images for everyone to enjoy.

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Photo by: Kelle Hampton

The picture above truly embodies the love and acceptance of this annual event. The little girl in the pink top holding the other children together is Coco, the winner of the Everybody Plays Essay contest. Coco has Down syndrome and Leukemia, which thankfully is in remission. This strong little warrior just finished her last round of chemotherapy earlier this year and, as much as she has been through, her smile proves how spectacular she really is. She is a testament of strength and courage – we can all learn something from this inspirational little girl.

The families that attended this photo shoot go through struggles every day, but they also make the most of each day with their special and extraordinary children. The Everybody Plays campaign recognizes that each child has different abilities, but we also salute the parents that have given their time and dedication to their kids. These parents are pushing to make the world a better place for their children. With their help, Step2 and Infantino can exemplify the message of love and acceptance. After all, everybody plays.

Step2 and Infantino Proudly Announce the Everybody Plays 2013 Participants

Everybody Plays

Everybody Plays is a campaign that celebrates the uniqueness of all babies and children. This is the third year that Step2 and Infantino have proudly teamed up to promote the inclusion of all children on packaging and advertisements. As in years past, Step2 and Infantino held an open online casting call for participation in this year’s photo shoot. New to the casting call for 2013, entrants were asked to submit an essay describing how they teach self-acceptance and the acceptance of others to family and community. In addition, one entry was selected to receive an all-expenses-paid trip to San Diego to partake in the Everybody Plays photo shoot.

After a long and extremely difficult selection process, three-year-old Chloe “Coco” from Roseville, CA was selected as the winner of the all-expenses-paid trip to San Diego. Chloe’s mom’s and dad’s essay about their acceptance of their daughter Chloe’s special needs, and their subsequent adoption of Olivia, another child with special needs, was moving. Her infectious smile and strength proves that she can change the world and reduce the stigma surrounding children with special needs.

 

Everybody Plays

 

All of the stories that were submitted were powerful and inspiring. In addition to Coco, we are pleased to announce the following children will be joining us at Balboa Park in sunny San Diego on September 25th and 26th for the Everybody Plays 2013 photo shoot. These adorable children will be photographed by photojournalist and celebrity-blogger Kelle Hampton with Step2 and Infantino products.

Everybody Plays 2013 Participants (In Alphabetical Order):

Aaliyah, La Puente, CA
Aiden, Santa Barbara, CA
Alice & Charlie, Lakewood, CA
Alice, Saint Charles, MI
Apollo, Bellingham, WA
Aubrey, Long Beach, CA
Bentley, Cathedral City, CA
Bobby, Chicago, IL
Cassidy & Charlotte, San Fransisco, CA
Charlie, Davis, CA
Charlotte, Reseda, CA
Cody, Santa Clarita, CA
Curtis, Encinitas, CA
David & Jonathan, Arroyo Grande, CA
Emily, San Bernardino, CA
Emma, Valencia, CA
Ezekiel, Windsor, CA
Findlay, San Diego, CA
Finn, Vista, CA
Grace, Palos Park, IL
Hannah & Jedidiah, Carpinteria, CA
Isabelle & Elizabeth, Windsor, CA
Jake,Littleton, CO
Jaxon, Simi Valley, CA
Jordyn, Santa Paula, CA
Joy, Dayton, OH
Jude & Izzy, Ferndale, WA
Kalissa & Hayley, Los Angeles, CA
Kingston, Hermosa Beach, CA
Lee, West Covina, CA
Leila, Edmonds, WA
Liam, Pasadena, CA
Louis, San Diego, CA
Lydia, La Mesa, CA
Makenzy & Skyler, San Marcos, CA
Marielle, San Diego, CA
Mason, Los Alamitos, CA
Matthew, Sunnyvale, CA
Natalie, Chula Vista, CA
Nathan, Simi Valley, CA
Oliver, Yuma, AZ
Parisa, Los Gatos, CA
Ryder, San Marcos, CA
Rylee, Lomita, CA
Savannah, Salem, MA
Sofia & Joaquin, Rocklin, CA

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who submitted an essay – each one was truly beautiful and inspiring. Congratulations to all of the 2013 Everybody Plays participants. Thank you for inspiring us to continue to show the world the power of acceptance of children everywhere. Step2 and Infantino look forward to sharing the beautiful pictures of these amazing children in 2014.

Everybody Plays 2013 Casting Call & Contest

Everybody Plays
 

Everybody Plays is a campaign that celebrates the uniqueness of all babies and children from their faces, smiles, and styles. Because we believe in embracing our differences to promote acceptance of kids everywhere, we encourage you to enter our 2013 Everybody Plays Casting Call. This casting call includes a chance to win a trip to San Diego for the Infantino & Step2 photo shoot event on September 25th & 26th.

Enter by telling us in 300 words or less how you teach self-acceptance and the acceptance of others to your family and around your community. The family we select must reside within the 48 contiguous US states in order to participate in the all-expense paid trip and photo shoot experience with author and photojournalist Kelle Hampton of Enjoying the Small Things – Kelle Hampton .

We will also be selecting 50 non-agency children from ages 3 months to 5 years who live in or would travel to the Southern California region.  All entries must be completed by July 30th at 11:59PM ET through our Everybody Plays Facebook tab —> http://a.pgtb.me/ZHJHSt

We look forward to seeing your photos and reading your stories!

New Toys, New Campaign at Toy Fair 2013

The Step2 Company, LLC. showcased new products for spring and fall 2013 at the Toy Industry Association Toy Fair 2013 in New York City February 10-13. Proudly displaying photographs of the Everybody Plays photo shoot by photographer and best-selling author Kelle Hampton of Enjoying the Small Things. The Step2/Infantino booth showcased fun, excitement and, of course, creative play.

Photos taken by Kelle Hampton during EverybodyPlays Photoshoot

On display from our new spring line was a mix of versatile outdoor toys. The Fixin’ Fun Outdoor Grill™ is a stone oven barbeque grill that can be used for indoor play or outside as “me too” play. It features grill knobs that make real “clicking” sounds, plenty of counter space to prepare “meals,” and a realistic “lift up” grill lid. Plus, a molded-in side burner creates an extra cooking area.

Included with the grill is a 10 piece Stack ‘n Stay Hot Dog Set. Two additional accessory sets can be purchased separately – the Stack ‘n Stay S’mores and Stack ‘N Stay Hamburgers. Designed to help with gross motor skills, these unique play food sets have grooves so they stack and stay together.

Step2 Fixin Fun Outdoor Grill and Stack 'N Stay Sets

Also new for 2013 is the Fun & Sun Climber & Sandbox. This 2-in-1 climber and elevated sandbox is great for small outdoor spaces and gives children a place to climb, slide and be active as well as a small sand area for sensory play. Children can pour sand in the cascade accessories and watch the sand flow. Included is a protective lid, a shovel for digging and a drain plug making for easy clean-up.

Step2 Fun & Sun Climber & Sandbox

The featured spring item at Toy Fair this year was the Easy Turn Coupe. To celebrate the launch of this new little car, Step2 displayed this toy front and center as guests entered Booth #437.

After conducting extensive research with moms and dads, we found that our customers wanted a few new features when it came to their child’s play car. This included a see-through roof to keep an eye on their child while at play, a handle to easily push the car, and a better turning radius for all of those tight squeezes around the couches and kitchen table neighborhood. We also added a removable floor board so little feet are protected when mom is pushing, cup holders for both mom and child, and fun features included a gas cap, ignition key, and working horn.

Step2 Easy Turn Coupe Toy Fair 2013

In conjunction with the Easy Turn Coupe launch at Toy Fair, Step2 is launching a new campaign entitled I {heart} Easy Turn Coupe on the Step2 Facebook page.

Step2 focuses its charitable efforts on programs designed to enhance the health and education of children while enriching their lives and their family experience. It is that mission that has made The Saving tiny hearts Society (StHS), an organization that funds life-saving grass roots research of congenital heart defects (CHD’s), a non-profit that Step2 has supported for many years.

Several years ago, Step2 learned that CHD’s are America’s #1 birth defect affecting over 40,000 babies every year. With that type of statistic, it should have come as no surprise when one of Step2’s own, Tena Crock, was impacted by a CHD.

At her 20 week ultrasound appointment, Crock believed that the biggest news she would receive that day was the gender of the little miracle growing in her tummy. Instead, she learned that her son had a complex CHD, double inlet left ventricle (single ventricle) among other issues. Because of the established relationship, Crock was able to reach out to the founders of StHS who offered her support and information while educating her about their important research efforts.

Crock’s son underwent three heart surgeries and one heart catheterization in the first 7 months of life. He will have one more surgery before he is school aged, but for now, he is a happy and healthy toddler, enjoying the toys that Mommy brings him home from work.

Easy Turn Coupe Facebook Tab

Step2 would like to continue its support of the StHS with our “I {heart} Easy Turn Coupe” campaign. We invite you to watch a quick video on the Easy Turn Coupe and tell us what feature you {heart} most about it. For every comment received on the Easy Turn Coupe Facebook tab, Step2 will make a $1 donation to StHS (up to $10,000). You can submit your comment now through  April 6, 2013.

About TIA |Toy Fair

Celebrating its 110th year, the annual American International Toy Fair® is the largest toy and youth product marketplace in the Western Hemisphere, bringing together more than 1,000 exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers and sales agents from around the globe to showcase their toy and entertainment products. The Step2 Company has exhibited at Toy Fair for 18 years. In addition to NY Toy Fair, Step2 also exhibits annually at International Toy Fair Nürnberg.

Step2 Booth at NY toy Fair 2013

The Power & Influence of Moms

I know for sure something that enriches my life and something I could not live without – Moms!  The amount of information that I have learned from other Mom’s and the amount of love, happiness, fears and hardships that that other Mom’s have shared with me is much more than a college course, a parenting lesson, or even a semester class could have taught me!  I am a huge fan of all Moms, Grandmother’s, single Mom’s, adoptive Mom’s, working Mom’s and stay-at-home Mom’s.

We all have a story- a story full of heart.

In October I was blessed with the opportunity to travel on two business trips – both wonderful, both Moms focused!

The first opportunity took me out to San Diego, to work with Infantino at our second annual “Everybody Plays” photo shoot, featuring Kelle Hampton as photographer. http://www.kellehampton.com/2012/10/everybody-plays.html

I was able to meet with the women (all were Mom’s) who helped to orchestrate, organize and pioneer this wonderful event. Kelle was of course amazing and getting to know her was something I will cherish and appreciate.  The Everybody Plays shoot is a photo shoot that highlights and celebrates the ways children play; children with all different abilities. Kids are kids no matter what their abilities and it’s fun to celebrate their individuality. Step2 and Infantino sponsored this event and will be featuring these beautiful children on packaging, marketing campaigns, and on any graphic or signage needs. It is hard to express how astounding this event was. There are lots of breathtaking photos on-line. Here are some I took with my phone but don’t do the children justice. Through this event I met amazing Moms.  One Mom was caring for a baby named Genevieve who has spinal bifida. She learned of this when her husband was in Afghanistan. He came home for the birth and is still in Afghanistan. She was excited to meet Kelle. I hope to be involved in this Everybody Plays shoot every year! This year it was on the news and positively affected hundreds of Moms and families. My heart grew from attending the event!

The second trip I took was to Chicago for Marketing to Moms. Moms are all that and a bag of chips. We also have $2.4 Trillion in buying power in the US. Each seminar was filled with insights on Mom’s, what she wants for her kids, all she does in a day, and how important her decision making is when it comes to the household budget.

Cheers to all Moms!  You are amazing and you can do it all because you do!

Sara is an on the go – down to earth Momma, married to a Marine and the mother of two get dirty wild and crazy, play in the mud boys. She loves Michael Jackson, dancing and spending time with her family. She is honored to be able to teach her little guys about the world around them, about kindness love and the human spirit. For fun, she loves to make jewelry, shop, ski and spend time outdoors getting dirty with her boys. Sara is a Sr. Product Manager at Step2.

Step2 Unveils New Toys and 3 Year Warranty at Toy Fair ’12

We’re excited to be part of Toy Fair 2012 in New York going on now through February 15. This year, we’re  showcasing some of our new products for Spring, Summer and Fall 2012, rolling out a new 3 year warranty, and displaying the photos from our Everybody Plays campaign taken by author, photographer, and mother Kelle Hampton as the backdrop to our booth.

Toy Fair 2012 - Step2 booth

Here at Step2, we know that no two kids grow, talk or play exactly alike and we believe that that’s what makes them awesome. Our Everybody Plays campaign celebrates exactly that and encourages celebrating each child’s’ uniqueness through play, laughter and love.

Toy Fair - Step2 Choo Choo

Toy Fair is one of the largest toy trade shows in the world and one where products from around the globe are premiered. Step2 is thrilled to be part of it and believes it’s the perfect forum to spread our passion for happy parenting with new, innovative and fun toys and accessories developed to make you, and your little ones, smile.

Toy Fair - Step2 3 year warranty

You can be part of the fun too! We’ll be posting pictures of the fair during the event on Facebook. We’ll also be tweeting about the event with the hashtags #tf12 and #everybodyplays. We hope you like what we have in store for 2012!