I am a native Texan. I love it here, but now that I am also a blogger, I realize that if I want to find out what’s new and hot before everyone else, I need to be where the action is. The action seems to be in New York City or Los Angeles (bright lights, movie premieres and the fast life).
I wasn’t sure I would ever make it to NYC for a press event, but thanks to the fun and generous folks at TimetoPlayMag.com, I enjoyed a whirlwind, overnight trip to the Big Apple for the Time to Play Spring Showcase. Upon arriving in NYC after an eventful trip (weather and flight delays), I had the opportunity to meet several bloggers and awesome PR folks for dinner at a New York City restaurant. The entire place was talking at once, the eatery was packed and I felt like I was at home. If you had ever attended one of our family reunions, you would know what I am talking about.
The next day, I was up bright and early and headed over to the Altman Building for the 2011 Time to Play Spring Showcase and press conference. The place was packed with brands I had worked with before and brands I anticipate working with in the future. It felt like Christmas and I couldn’t help but wonder what my kids would think. They would be running around excitedly, trying out all the new toys and giving their opinions. I decided to try and see the toys from a child’s eyes. It was fun! I turned on my video camera and walked around the exhibit hall, taking in the sites, excitement, energy and sounds. I even saw my youngest son’s friend Caillou. He would’ve jumped and screamed with delight upon spotting that fellow. In fact, when he saw my video, he did just that.
I learned that many of the brands have new and innovative toys that I didn’t even know about. I learned so much. Here is my video:
One of my favorite items was the Blastos Mini Bubble Blasters (as shown in the video). I know bubbles seem like such a simple thing and nothing to get super excited about when you think of all the high tech toys that were there. If you are a parent of a child with special needs, you become excited at those little things that are made better or easier for your child. These bubbles do not require blowing and emit a continuous stream of bubbles for children’s enjoyment. My son has apraxia and only very recently (at the age of four) learned to blow out his birthday candles. During his speech and occupational therapies, the therapists use bubble as a way to get him to imitate sounds like “pop” and “bu-bu-bubbles”. They also use them as a therapy tool to help him learn to blow, use his mouth and to speak. At home, bubbles are a favorite outdoor and bath time game and I think it is wonderful that my boys can now play with bubbles on their own without me having to help.
I also really enjoyed speaking with the representatives from ID Toys, maker of the Caillou line. This line is new here in the United States. I know many children will be happy about this announcement since the show is very popular with the preschool crowd. My boys have the Caillou dolls and the Caillou Learning Train (we reviewed these on my blog earlier this year). They are well made and the characters look just like those on the TV show. I definitely want them to try the Caillou Bathtime Activity Set soon.
Just about every company I met with had at least one item that I thought would be great for children with special needs and typically developing children alike. I loved the Cars Toddler Swing from JAKKS Pacific, Inc. It is adorable and my boys are HUGE Cars movie fans so I think this would be a really fun and simple swing for little ones. I could go on and on, but I won’t. I will be featuring some of my favorite items at Potamus Prefers, so stay tuned!