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With summer officially here, that means a lot of wet fun for a good percentage of the population. Personally, my family thinks I'm a party pooper since I don't particularly care for swimming, and like Anakin Skywalker I'm not a big fan of sand either so that makes me a ton of fun at the beach. But my kids love the water - in fact, they've been in swimming lessons since shortly after birth and they make me pretty proud. Where I draw the line is with putting a pool here at Rock Father HQ (I love our big, solid yard). Fortunately, Grandma has one, and that's been the perfect spot to enjoy some of the new inflatables from the folks at Swimways (a subsidiary of Spin Master). After seeing a few at Toy Fair, we received a few for review, and the ones that they sent are pretty appropriately themed for my areas of expertise - they're Star Wars and Marvel.

When it comes to summer toys for outdoor fun, it always seems that the simplest ones tend to be the best. One recent entry that captured the spirit is the Zoom Ball, something the folks at Goliath Games included in a  shipment of review materials that we received right around the time of the North American International Toy Fair this year. At the time, outdoor play wasn't the first thing on my mind (it was cold), but now it's prime time for warm weather fun, and Zoom Ball is a hit. As they say, you just "Zip it to Rip it!" Check out the video below to see it in action...

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.

You may have seen me post about Zuru Toys' Bunch O Balloons earlier this year - most likely on my social networks, or when I co-hosted a twitter party for them with The Toy Insider. Realizing I hadn't given them a proper feature here on the site from my hands-on experience, it's time to throw down a few words about the water balloons that have been famously touted for the ability to "fill and tie 100 balloons in 60 seconds." Quite simply: they absolutely work.

It's a chance for your kids to "make it rain" in their very own little water park! The Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table is and my friends at Step2 have teamed-up with The Rock Father™ to give you a shot at winning one for your own backyard! One of 2017's Top Summer Toys as chosen by The Toy Insider, this is big fun for kids ages 18-months and up! Check out the details below, and enter to win!

This year, TOMY is celebrating 70 years of being John Deere licensee - a tradition that began with the first Ertl toy tractors back in 1946. Growing up in the 80s, my cousins and I had a pretty nice assortment of Ertl John Deere farm equipment - the big metal ones - and we played with them hard, in the sandbox... in the mud... in rain or shine. A few years back, our oldest daughter had a little John Deere hat that said "Dirt Makes Me Cuter," a statement that still rings true (though the hat is outgrown), and seeing that little yellow and green logo always made me recall my teen years living in the Quad Cities, not far from the John Deere World Headquarters in Moline. Living in Illinois, and having farmers in our family, in a lot of ways it feels like John Deere may be a part of our DNA, so it's always cool to see our little ones playing with toys that capture some of the same feeling from when I was little... and lately that feeling is back with some new items from the John Deere Preschool collection, sent to Rock Father HQ for review by the folks at TOMY. 

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