When it comes to imaginative play, my friends at The Step2 Company are always on top of the game in coming up with new ways to expand the horizons of children. For 2017, one of the most unique new offerings is the All Around Playtime Patio with Canopy™, a new style of kid's playhouse that's wheelchair accessible, and exceptionally spacious in combining multiple play options into one affordable package. To celebrate the coming of warmer weather and getting kids back outside, The Rock Father™ and Step2 have teamed-up once again, and we're giving you the chance to win one of these for your yard! It's Made in the USA (Ohio!) of US and imported parts. Check it out...

It's a crisp 5° here at Rock Father HQ as I write this, but it's never too early to be thinking about spring (and summer) while the dead of winter continues to set in. A new year means new toys, and 2017 is already shaping up to be a big one - and we haven't even hit Toy Fair yet! One of the first items to become available is the PAW Patrol Water Table by The Step2 Company. Produced under license from Spin Master, this new table brings the excitement of Adventure Bay into the water play realm, complete with fun action features and a trio of included characters from the hit Nick Jr. series - Marshall, Skye and Zuma! The second PAW Patrol item from Step2 following the excellent Lookout Climber (reviewed here), to get a new year of toys kicked off right, Step2 and The Rock Father have teamed up to give readers a chance to win one of these great water tables for your house!

Backyard Theaters are a trend that's been picking up steam in recent years, and for good reason: Families have really been taking advantage of ways to "take the indoors outdoors," and having your own movie screen in your backyard can be a crowning achievement. While the idea might seem complicated or expensive, it certainly can be, but it hardly has to be. With a little preparation, you can enjoy the communal cinematic experience of "Movies in the Park" or an old-school Drive-In right in the comfort and freedom of your own backyard. My friends at The Walt Disney Company asked if I'd be up for starting a backyard screening series right here at Rock Father HQ, and to be honest - it was something I was already looking into doing, so when they offered to provide some tools for the kick-off, those plans got rolling fast, with a screening to celebrate the home release of ZOOTOPIA in-mind. But first, I needed a trial run.

Published in Movies, TV and More

Many times over the years, I've used the phrase "as a kid that grew up in the 80s," or some variation thereof. While born in the 70s, the 1980s are my reference point for play, and sometimes that play got messy and weird. It was a decade that brought forth the gross-out humor of the Garbage Pail Kids (I still have the movie on DVD), Madballs, and even the famous SLIME that still remains a part of Nickelodeon's DNA 30+ years after YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON TELEVISION. The "gross" toy movement of the 80s also brought with it one big disappointment for me - the HE-MAN and the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE Evil Horde Slime Pit. I wanted that thing so bad, and after receiving it for my birthday, my parents took it back to the store after reading that the green slime "may stain furniture and clothing." Didn't even get to open it. But now, in 2016, my wife and I are parents, and we know full-well that kids just love boogers. Not just the fantastic kindie punk rock band, THE BOOGERS, but the genuine article - pick 'em, flick 'em, eat 'em. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I never recall ever eating a booger, but The Rock Daughters have both been known to dine from the nostril, from time to time. So do they dig BOOGER BALLS, the new outdoor concoction from Funrise Toys (makers of the excellent TONKA and Gazillion Bubbles)? Well, yes... very much. In fact, this past Saturday was "National Pick Your Nose Day," but do kids really need a "day" for that? 

Step2 Brand AmbassadorOn my first visit to The Step2 Company's Ohio headquarters last year, there was a rather large mockup in the R&D department that immediately drew some attention from the entire group of Brand Ambassadors that I was there as a part of. While Step2 has long-been known for making some fantastic playhouses, we'd never seen one quite like the prototype we were looking at - something that the designers had been wanting to do for ages: one that was two stories. Fast-forward to the Fall of 2015 and The Step2 2-Story Playhouse & Slide is a reality, available exclusively at Toys "R" Us, and a featured pick in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide.

DynacraftNow this is cool. A lot of you know how big both movies and rides (cars/bicycles/powered ride-ons/scooters/etc) are here at Rock Father HQ, and when you combine the two into a fun night outside for families, I'm totally on-board with that. Last weekend, the folks at Dynacraft launched their Experiments in Fun series with a "Ride-in Theater" in Atlanta's Piedmont Park. They transformed the park into a car-less drive-in theater, complete with a 40-foot screen, where families could try out the latest bikes, scooters and ride-ons - the first part of a movement to invite families to "rethink what's possible with their favorite wheels." Take a peek at the highlight video below...

Published in Rock Father Rides
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