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As the holiday gifting is on everyone's mind, those looking for something new and exciting for little ones ages 18 months-5 years should check out this fresh spin on the classic push/foot-to-floor vehicle. The Simplay3 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 once had when our girls were smaller - no more fighting to get in since it's designed for two to ride! A 2018 Holiday Wish Guide™ Pick, the My Buddy and Me SUV is available in red or blue, and makes a perfect WOW gift for little ones that are ready to rock the road (the sidewalk). Simplay3 Black Friday Cyber Weekend Sale: Use Code GIFT10 for 10% Off + Free Shipping at Simplay3.com through 11/26/2018

Published in Rock Father Rides

A Special Veterans Day Feature to Kick-off the 2018 Holiday Season...

At Toy Fair in New York earlier this year, I finally had the opportunity to meet Tom Murdough, founder and CEO of The Simplay3 Company. Launched in 2016 and based in Ohio, the name reflects the power of simple play, but the "3" is indicative of the fact that this is the third toy company from Murdough, who famously founded both Little Tikes (1969) and The Step2 Company (1991) before taking a detour into "retirement" (at least from toys) for a portion of the past decade. While Simplay3 is a rare example of of an American toymaker that actually produces American-made toys (along with "grownup" items like mailboxes and wheelbarrows), it's also unique in that it's a privately-held, Veteran-owned business. Mr. Murdough was a member of the United States Marine Corps, having served from 1961-1964.

For Veterans Day 2018, IAmElemental, pioneers in the female action figure category, will debut a new children’s activity book, the Elements of Power Workbook.  The books are being Made in America, printed by Auch Printing, Inc. - a second-generation veteran-owned business based in Glenside, Pennsylvania. All profits from workbooks sold during the month of November will support United Through Reading, an organization that connects military families who are separated -- for deployment or military assignment -- by providing the bonding experience of shared storytime.  In addition, on Veterans Day, observed Monday, November 12, all profits from all sales at IAmElemental.com will benefit the charity.  

Published in Books, Mags, Comics

It's Pumpkin Spice Season. As Starbucks preps to unleash this year's supply of the official beverage of fall, I've already done my first "pumpkin-everything" haul for 2018... sadly, a few days later than usual as it appears my local retailers were slacking in terms of stocking the seasonal goods this time around. But who says that humans should have all the fun? Now, thanks to twitter, I know that Greenies is serving up a Limited Edition batch of Pumpkin Spice Greenies - a worthy treat for all the canines in the house! 

Published in Food and Drink

It's not often that I get fully behind a Kickstarter project, but there's one going right now that I really believe in and they could use your help! One of our favorite toys of the past year came from a small company in California that most people have never heard of: ReadySetz. Their Urban Playset (reviewed here) quickly became a favorite with my girls for imaginative play, and for me as an environment for action figure and toy photography. For their next endeavor, they're going out-of-this-world with a much-requested Space Base Playset. I mentioned it recently in my Star Wars column over at The Pop Insider, and since then I've been brought on-board to photograph one of the handmade prototype playsets. As with the Urban Playset, the girls and I were blown away - so I can't wait to get our hands on an actual, fully-realized production model down the line. As of this writing, the clock is ticking and they're just shy of the halfway mark with just 10 days to go. Similar to when Hasbro crowdfunded their massive Jabba's Sail Barge earlier this year, the ReadySetz Space Base is seeing a slowdown in backers, so my fingers are crossed that we'll see an uptick here in the final days. By my math, they'll need to see another 250 pre-orders of the $65 large playset to meet their all-or-nothing funding goal. These sets are MADE IN THE USA and offer a durable, eco-friendly, easily-stored fold-flat design that's a perfect play space for all of your space-themed figures and vehicles! Will you back the base?

At the 115th North American International Toy Fair this year, I happened to come across the Imperial Toy booth and some of their latest offerings on the bubble front. For years Imperial's bubbles have been a staple of outdoor play, but one new spin on the classic is something that's been kicking around since 2015, gradually being improved and readied for its major public push. Created by a pediatrician and allergist,Lick-A-Bubble is a special solution that allows kids to create flavored bubbles from just about any drink (just stay away from dairy, pulps, and steer non-carbonated). And for the grownups, yes - you can use this with your favorite "adult beverage" - and that's exactly how I first tried them.

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