One of my favorite toys of 2018 thus far is one that's perfect largely because of just how simple it is. The Simplay3 Carry & Go Track Table is a one-piece, 2-in-1 play space for cars, trucks and trains. The first side is an off-road race course that's filled with hills, valleys, curves, ramps and straightaways. Flip it over and you have a train table with built-in universal tracks, a figure-8 layout and a lake and quarry in the middle. With its lightweight plastic construction and molded-in handle, kids can easily carry this themselves, and because it's only 4" tall, the design is truly space-saving - easily stored underneath a bed or in a closet. I caught this on-display at the 115th North American International Toy Fair in NYC back in February, after which we received one for review in The Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ. Check out the video below to see this in-action!
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Before they opened a new store that's conveniently less than five minutes from Rock Father™ HQ, one thing that I really admired about Meijer was their pet department. In a lot of ways, it always felt more like a pet store than a pet department. Visiting Meijer at least once a week (and sometimes more), we're always in there purchasing food to feed our family, and that includes food for our dog as well. If it's been awhile since you've taken a good look at what you're feeding your pets, now is the perfect time to do it - and that means taking a real look at the total package from ingredients to price. Does your pet food contain real meat? Are you overpaying for what you're getting, or settling for lower-quality food to save on price? With Meijer (check out mPerks savings!) and Purina®, you can feed your dogs like family!
It might be cold outside right now, but before we know it, spring will be here and the kids will be ready to rock the neighborhood once more. For little ones ages 18 months-5, The Simplay3 Company has something new this year - a fresh spin on the classic push/foot-to-floor vehicle. The My Buddy and Me SUV transforms from child's push car to kid's ride-on with patented 180° floor rotation. The best part is that this ride is designed for two children, solving a problem we had when our girls were smaller - no more fighting to get in since it's designed for two to ride! As we look forward to warmer temperatures, the folks at Simplay3 have teamed-up with The Rock Father™ to give you a chance to win a My Buddy and Me SUV for your kids!
My wife and I have been intrigued by the idea of a neighborhood library for awhile - an interest piqued by the growing Little Free Library movement. Perhaps you've seen them around - little boxes or buildings placed in a yard, each encouraging neighbors to take a book or leave a book for their neighbors to enjoy. Until now, those libraries were either built buy their caretakers or ordered from craftsman - but for inexperienced builders such as myself, none were really simple or affordable enough to make me pull the trigger. Then came some news out of Ohio that the team at The Simplay3 Company were working on a solution - a simpler option "for folks wanting to make a positive impact in their community." Their new Simplay3 Sharing Library is the end result of designers who found themselves inspired by the Little Free Library movement and wanted to get them into as many neighborhoods as possible.
In doing what I do, I've been fortunate to see a lot of great toys cross my path over the past few years. For 2017, there's certainly been some highlights, but one of the best new toys was a late entry, and one that had escaped me until its makers hit me up earlier this fall and sent over one for review. When it comes to playsets, I grew up in an era that had a bunch of them - iconic sets from Star Wars, G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe, to name a few. While there's no doubt that kids want the biggest and best, the grownup mentality is that there's a real problem with those awesome playsets... storage. Our girls have some incredible sets here, ranging from the Barbie Dream House to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sewer Lair. They're massively fun, but also massive in size... big, bulky plastic sets that aren't easy to store in-between adventures. Now, the makers of ReadySetz have emerged with their first playset - one that both provides a fun environment for imaginative play and solves the space problem. It's one of 2017's coolest new toys, and one you've likely never heard of.
As a guy whose earliest years were well-documents on his parents' Super 8mm camera (which I'd later use for "filmmaking" purposes), I will forever hold a place in my heart for Kodak, and as the film company continues to reinvent itself in both film and digital worlds, today comes news of a partnership that will see some vibrant Kodak imagery come back into the toy department this fall. Cra-Z-Art has entered into a strategic brand licensing agreement with Eastman Kodak Company to produce and distribute puzzles in the U.S. The puzzles will feature beautiful photo imagery and be available in various size piece counts from 100 to 2000. Those puzzles will be Made in the USA.