Tag Archives: playhouses

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!

Step2 Outdoor Play Toys Awarded 2014 PAL Award

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It’s our goal to create products that inspire young minds and enrich imaginations. Step2 toys provide children with open-ended play allowing little ones to express themselves creatively, without limitations.

We’re honored to receive the 2014 PAL (Play Advances Language) Award from Play On Words for the Great Outdoors Playhouse and Alpine Ridge Climber and Slide. Toys that receive this award are known to spark creative play, which is essential for development.step2-wins-play-on-words-pal-award

The Great Outdoors Playhouse has unique features that both kiddos and parents love.

  • Working water pump with a paddle wheel and bucket
  • Spacious interior and high ceilings provide plenty of room for tots and preschoolers
  • Dutch door that opens and closes
  • Grill features click-and-turn knobs and accessories
  • Planting station and flower box with a drain hole can be used to plant flowers
  • Mail slot for sending and receiving play letters (not included)
  • Crawl-through entrance near the grill allows for an easy entrance and exit
  • Seven piece accessory set and rustic decals make it a home away from home

step2-great-outdoors-playhouse

The Alpine Ridge Climber and Slide is a one of a kind backyard jungle gym that provides your little ones with hours of active and imaginative play.

  • Walls have grips, holes and steps to assist little climbers
  • Five climbing walls all present a different challenge
  • Wide platform features a steering wheel and adjustable viewer for make believe adventures
  • Extra-long slide to make exiting this outdoor play set even more fun
  • Several crawl-through tunnels that are perfect for hide and seek!
  • Bottom step doubles as a seat, perfect for snack time or resting

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What do you think of these two outdoor play toys?  Check out additional Step2 products that have won the PAL Award in previous years.

The Definition of Beauty

Thoughtful Thursday The Definition of Beauty

Everyone is beautiful, no matter what their abilities or what they look like. Here at Step2, acceptance is key and we’re inspired by Katie Driscoll, founder of Changing the Face of Beauty. We first met Katie and her daughter Grace during our 2013 Everybody Plays Campaign that showcased the beauty, happiness and uniqueness of differently-abled children at play.

Grace in play in the Princess Castle Playhouse

Changing the Face of Beauty is a movement that focuses on showing the world how beautiful all people are. It’s their mission to encourage companies to cast children and young adults with different abilities as models in their advertisements. In the beginning of 2015, Changing the Face of Beauty launched a campaign called #IMREADY and invited 15 national retailers in 2015 to hire differently-abled models.

So far 37 companies have committed to featuring models of all abilities in their ads. To challenge a company to participate, just post a picture and tag your favorite retailer along with the #IMREADY hashtag.

We’ve always believed in including children of all abilities in our emails, website and social networks. Check out our latest beautiful model Hadlie hanging out on the Castle Top Mountain Climber.

Hadlie on Castle Top Mountain Climber

This Thoughtful Thursday, we honor and thank all the companies that have participated in the #IMREADY campaign and Katie for her amazing efforts to teach the world about acceptance.