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March 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 3




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Infant/Toddler: Babies Like Good Design

Tots Grab Quality Toys That Grab Them


“The moms believe this well-crafted toy [Curvino] can be passed through family for generations.”
The wooden Curvino Push Toy by Selecta became a favorite with moms and babes alike because of its craftsmanship and flexibility. Dragonstone Castle by HABA (ToyShow) let the kiddies pretend to be kings (and queens) for hours. My Traveling ABCs by BABE EASE (ToyDirectory) was successful as a tactile toy for the infants, while the companion book “Shopping With My ABCs” helped toddlers learn letters during shopping sprees.

Participating in this month’s Roundtable were Penelope Pauley, mother of Lucy (2-1/2 years); Christy Chambers, mother of Nigel (2); Maggie Rochin, mother of Orlando (3); Diana del Pozo, mother of JoJo (1); and Sharri Hefner, mother of Sydney (6 months).

Curvino Push Toy by SELECTA SPIELZEUG
Category: Infant & Toddler
Gender: Boys and Girls

What It Is: A wooden pushing toy that becomes a steerable toy truck when the handlebar is removed.

What the Moms Thought

The moms believe this well-crafted toy can be passed through family for generations. Christy loved the toy’s flexibility and maneuverability. It turned and handled better than other push toys and remained standing when her son Nigel (2) dropped the handle. Penelope appreciated the handle’s scale because it fit her 2-1/2-year-old daughter Lucy’s hand well. Diana felt that the toy was not age appropriate for her daughter JoJo (1), but looked forward to using it in the near future.

What the Kids Said

Nigel (2) loved pushing the toy. Lucy (2-1/2), who has many other push toys, was thrilled when the little truck kept up with her as she ran through the house. Sydney (6 months) squealed with joy as I ran the toy over her body.

How to Improve It

The moms thought the Curvino was perfect.

Would You Want Another Toy Like This?

Most definitely! The moms also felt this would make a great gift because of its classic, versatile design.

My Traveling ABCs and companion book Shopping With My ABCs by BABE EASE
Category: Plush; Books
Gender: Boys and Girls
Price: $34.95

What It Is:
Plush stuffed toys in the shape of the letters, with rings for travel and a companion shopping book that introduces letter and word recognition through simple, colorful design and illustrations.

What the Moms Thought


The packaging of My Traveling ABCs excited the moms. However, some were disappointed because the letter shapes do not truly represent the alphabet. One mom had to refer to the companion book to find which shape represented which letter. The infants’ moms thought the letters made great grabbing toys, but the toddlers’ moms felt that using the product as a learning toy would be counterproductive. Personally, I liked the design so much that I used it as wall art in Sydney’s (6 months) room. She stares at the colorful toys while on the changing table.

In contrast, the companion book “Shopping With My ABCs” was a hit. The sturdy cardboard material made it durable for the infants. The toddler moms used it successfully on several shopping trips.

What the Kids Said

Penelope’s daughter Lucy (2-1/2), who is in the process of learning the alphabet, was confused by the shapes of the plush letters. She often asked, “Mommy, what is this?” as she pulled out shapes she should have recognized.

How to Improve It


This is a fantastic concept made with high-quality materials. The moms would love to see more representational letters.

Would You Want Another Toy Like This?

Only if the letter shapes were improved.

Dragonstone Castle by HABA USA/HABERMAASS CORP
Category: Play Sets
Gender: Boys and Girls
Age: 0 and up
Price: $35.00

What It Is: A well-crafted fabric castle with princess, knight and dragon dolls, expertly designed with strong shapes and vivid colors that stimulate sensory perception.

What the Moms Thought

Moms of both the infants and toddlers thought Dragonstone Castle an excellent toy for their kids. The infants enjoyed the shapes, color and texture of the dolls. The toddlers used the toy as a springboard for creativity. The parents appreciated that there were so many elements (e.g., doors, windows and mirrors) and so many ways to set up the toy in such a small and simple design. All appreciated the carrying case — which had pockets for the accessories.

What the Kids Said

Nigel (2) adored the dragon and the castle. His imagination soared with stories about the castle and the characters. At one point, he discovered that the castle walls fit around his body, so he dressed himself up as a castle. Lucy (2-1/2) loved the baby on the wall. This made her feel as if the characters were part of a family.

How to Improve It

The moms didn’t have any suggestions for improvement.

Would You Want Another Toy Like This?


Absolutely.



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Sharri HefnerWriter's Bio: Sharri is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Most recently, Sharri wrote a one act titled "Spice" for Gene Rhee’s "The Trouble With Romance," which stars David Eigenberg ("Sex and the City"). "Georgia Heat," a script Sharri wrote with fellow NYU alum Mora Stephens, is slated for production Summer 2007 (Janet Yang, Executive Producer). Sharri received her MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Before NYU, Sharri was graduated summa cum laude from California State, Long Beach. While Sharri was completing her thesis, USAToday selected her as one of the top college students in the country. Sharri is the proud mom of Sydney, who was born in June 2006. Read more articles by this author

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