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April 2011 | Vol. X - No. 4
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Let's Get Physical

These Outdoor Toys From Toy Fair Will Get Any Kid Moving


Some speculated that the prevalence of toys encouraging movement and outdoor fun at this year's Toy Fair were a result of Michelle Obama's “Let's Move” campaign to end childhood obesity. Whether or not that was the case, TDmonthly's toy experts saw lots of innovative outdoor toys and bicycles at the fair. Gyrowheel by Gyrobike was back, offering a gyroscopic self-balancing front wheel for beginning cyclers' bikes. Meanwhile, KaZAM was showing its more traditional balance bike, a bicycle without pedals that helps kids focus on balance when learning to ride. Zike LLC's new freestyle scooters are a combination of both a scooter and a bicycle. Kids pump the foot platforms to propel themselves, instead of using traditional pedals. Sbyke offered up a similar bike/scooter fusion product, but with a more scooter-centric movement system. Other items, like the Party Pumper by Puponator and new toys from Marshmallow Fun, put a less physical emphasis on outdoor play.





Designed as an alternative to training wheels, the Gyrowheel senses imbalanced riding and recenters the bicycle once it begins to wobble. This effect is accomplished by an interior disk that spins independently of the wheel to stabilize the bike even at very low speeds. It installs quickly with a wrench and has a simple on/off button, three stability settings, rechargeable batteries, and light and sound indicators. The 12" Gyrowheel is available in black and white. Watch Demo Video; Watch Gyrowheel: Top-5 Video, Toy Fair 2010
— John MacDougall, owner of Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., was impressed with this product at Toy Fair 2010. It's "a step up from a balance bike with a gyro that keeps balance without training wheels. Tech + Bike = Perfect," he said.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26580      (added 1/6/2010)
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MSRP: $99.95
Age Range: 3 to 5
Launch Date: November 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Bicycles & Tricycles
Wheeled Toys
Sporting Goods & Accessories



The KaZAM provides an alternative way to learn to ride a pedaled bicycle based on the concept of balance first, pedal last. It is a training bicycle that assists children to balance, increase coordination and ultimately ride a traditional bicycle for the first time with confidence. "This customized toddler bicycle has the steering and balancing challenges of a traditional bicycle but it has no pedals, chain or training wheels. Unlike all the competitors on the market, there is no more awkwardness with where to put your feet when gliding and cruising on a run bike — the KaZAM is uniquely designed with a foot rest area thereby making the transition onto a pedaled bicycle quicker and seamless! Because of its unique patented footrest and design, KaZAM appeals instantly to children and their parents," John Lugo, partner at KaZAM, told TDmonthly. Launch date: November 15, 2008.
Awards: Dr. Toy 100 Best Children's Products - 2010
— "All colors are great,"Kate Tanner, owner of Kidstop Toys, told TDmonthly at Toy Fair 2010.
— Glisyn Lewis Jarrells, manager of Imaginations Toy & Furniture Colo. in Blacksburg, Va., told TDmonthly in a March 2013 survey that they sell around 10 Kazam balance bikes during the warm-weather months.
— In a July 2013 survey Diana Nelson, owner of Kazoo Toys in Denver, Colo., told TDmonthly that Kazam balance bikes are her store's overall best-selling toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24276      (added 6/29/2009)
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MSRP: $169.00
Age Range: 5 and up
Target Age Range: 9 to 12
Specialty: Yes (as of 2011)
SKU or Item #: yes
Launch Date: February 2011
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Bicycles & Tricycles
Outdoor Fun
Sporting Goods & Accessories



Zike's new freestyle scooters are a combination of both a scooter and a bicycle. Zike is the "World's first hybrid scooter marketed directly to children that can fight childhood obesity and is fun to ride," Nathan Scolari, owner of Zike, told TDmonthly. A unique foot pumping action propels the bike forward, while relying on the balance properties of a traditional bicycle. Launch date: February 2011
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31790      (added 3/4/2011)
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MSRP: $249.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Bicycles & Tricycles
Sporting Goods & Accessories



The Sbyke is a rear-steering scooter that is self standing and weight shift controlled, making it easy for both children and adults to ride. It features interchangeable stem lengths so it can be used by short and tall alike. The front wheel, a standard bicycle wheel, makes the Sbyke more durable and able to cover rough terrain than a traditional scooter. Holds up to 250 lbs.
Awards: Dr. Toy 2012 Best Green Product, Dr. Toy 2012 10 Best Active Products, 2012 Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products, Parenting Magazine Best in Play award at Toy Fair 2012, and ISPO 2012 Showcase Winner.
— As of 9/21/2012 this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 1 review on Amazon.com. Pros: Well made; glides smoothly; fun for kids and adults.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31754      (added 2/22/2011)
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The Party Pumper comes filled with assorted balloons, including the magic twisty animal balloons. Use the pump to fill the balloons with water or air. Eliminates the mess of traditional water balloons that have to be filled up at the sink or outside using the garden hose. Even young children can easily fill their own balloons. Available in Purple or Red.
As of 05/18/2011 this product had 4.4 out of 5 stars from 13 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Easy for kids to use; kids like filling the balloons with air as well as water; eliminates the mess created by using the sink or hose to fill balloons. Cons: Two customers received defective product.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31874      (added 3/7/2011)
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MSRP: $35.00
Gender: Boys
Category: Guns & Accessories
Novelties



This pump-action device fires miniature marshmallows approximately 30 feet on a line. This shooter has two magazines that hold 25 marshmallows each and is top-rack, dishwasher safe to clean. The shooter, like all Marshmallow Fun Company products, is designed to shoot nothing but soft, safe marshmallows.

Where to buy:
SOUTH
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31763      (added 2/23/2011)
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Justina HuddlestonWriter's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author

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