Finally, the weather has been starting to heat up. While it hasnít been a terribly cold winter in NY, it has felt like a long one. The warm weather signals the start of two things for me: Outdoor tennis season and all types of outside kid play.
In my own terms of having fun in the sun, Iíve always defined play in one of two ways: Water or no water. While children are a lot more tolerant that a man approaching 50 (although I'm still a kid at heart!), I donít like being wet before its 80 degrees outside. So, water blasters, water slides, and all water toys will typically wait until June 1 (unless you live in the more ďtropicalĒ climates or the weather is consistently warmer) and my thoughts turn to some classic warm weather playthings....
As a father of three teenage daughters, I originally perceived bubble toys as a girlís item. But through the years, Iíve watched boys also enjoy playing with bubbles, usually trying to make the largest bubble or blowing the most bubbles. As the kids would play, parents would also slowly mosey on over to take their shot with bubbles. The thing that would drive me crazy is the amount of bubble solution that would get wasted; I always felt like we lost at least 1/3 of the bubble solution. For that reason, I thank the company Little Kids for what I consider one of the great toy inventions: The No-Spill Bubble Tumbler. This eliminates the issue of wasted bubble solution. I always like to compare this idea to the sippy cup (another underrated invention). Today the No-Spill Tumblers come in so many different varieties; Big Bucket for groups, SpongeBob or Dora versions, Zoo animals, plus many others. For any home that plays will bubbles, No-Spill is a no brainer.
I love sports and all the toys associated with baseball, football, and basketball but sometimes itís the simplest toy that can bring hours of fun. When I was young, I used to love playing with a SuperBall. Thereís a new ball out there now that reminds me a little of the Super Ball, only itís much larger; Itís called the Sky Ball. In the bounce world, itís got game! Because the Sky Ball is a little bigger, itís great for smaller hands that havenít fully developed their coordination yet. Itís also good to toss, bounce, or even play four balls with. Sometimes all kids need is a cool ball to have a great time.
Simple toys sometimes make the best toys.
- By Jim Silver
Jim Silver is recognized as one of the preeminent experts in the toy, licensing, and family entertainment industries. As editor-in-chief of family entertainment website www.TimeToPlayMag.com, Silver and his team provide adults with information on whatís fun for children and their families, including toys, games and trends.
Silver is also editor in chief of trade publications Royaltie$: The Journal of the Licensing Industry and Toys & Family Entertainment at aNb Media. You can follow him on Twitter.