Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review + Super Social Giveaway- Best Outdoor Toys- Keep The Play Alive This Fall

WHAT: Super Social Fall Outdoor Toys - a mini-salute to the U.S. Open
DOES: Outdoor Toys that are still fun even after summer is done. It's really not about being outdoors, it's about enjoying the outdoors with people.... 
INVEST:  $3- $100+
Some are 4+ and some are 8+
TOOLS: Social Scene Helper, My Body Needs to Move
GIVEAWAY: Totally Awesome: Win the OgoSport Raq set and ONE YoBaby Kick Flipper

I wanted to do a summer outdoor toy post but in truth, the fall is more outdoorsy for me.  New York City humidity can be disgusting sometimes. I totally dislike sweating too.  For a while I even carried around Lanacane because I hated that sticky humid feeling.

Still, I was able to test out a good number of products this summer that I think will be winners for the fall too!  Yes, the fall is filled with homework, karate class, and tutors.  However, you still will go out and when you do, you'll play hard and there is a slight chill in the air..... I don't know about you but I feel alive in the fall. Working out doesn't feel like work at all.

Like Tennis But WAY EASIER - OgoSport RAQ by OgoSport  ($38.00)

With the U.S. Open taking place just minutes away from us, this play is beyond exciting!
What an INEXPENSIVE way to see if tennis is your kid's thing? Seriously, tennis racquets are how much now?
Unlike tennis, you can play with this racquet just about anywhere.... For FREE!
Oh yeah, it works at the handball court.
Can anyone say, "Visual motor skills?"
If you lose your flux ball, you can steal some from your OgoBild stash. It just also happens to be a wonderful, life-size math toy.

Here's a very social toy that works very well when there are even numbers. I wonder if we like tennis because of the even-ness of it all.  Even the court is so very symmetric. I think that relieves a little anxiety for us. Also a relief is the design of the Raq.  It takes the ease of the OgoDisk but pays tribute to raquet sports, which is a sports theme that strikes a chord in many of us.

It's so satisfying to hit the "Flux Ball" A ball that looks like the connectors in OgoSport BILD.  The Flux Ball comes with something that I don't know what it's called but they are basically strips that you can move, attach, or detach and that is supposed to help you adjust the speed.  I have't the slightest clue how to use that but my son loves this ball so much that he won't let anyone use it!  (We keep losing our balls- he didn't want to lose Flux).  You can play with it like you would play with a regular OgoSport Disc but you can also hit it like a racquetball game.  I wish we could do more hand-eye games. I absolutely adore OgoSports- see my other review too!.  The Giveaway includes the OgoSport Raq!


Life After Razor........... Shaun White Supply Co. Stunt Scooter by Shaun White Supply Co.  ($50 - $180 I've really seen prices vary on this- I got mine for $50- see my saving method below*)

Thank you to the boy in the street who rec'd his scooter to me. I could care less if my perfume was named after J. Lo or if my grill was named after George Forman. Sometimes names are a turn-off but that very wise twen really sold me and I'm so glad I listened to him.
These are the brakes for the Shaun White Stunt Scooter
Just to show a little comparison, this is our beloved and very durable Maxi-Kick Scooter that my six year old rides. You can see there is a big difference in the brakes.  I think each brake is fitting for its scooter but you can't help but notice that the Shaun White Stunt Scooter brakes are super thick!
When is the right time to get a trick scooter? I wish I could tell you.  I think they should be over 8. They have to have some agility on regular scooters.  Other hints could be if they have an artistic side. I think you are just being creative with your body when you do tricks on a scooter.
Even though my son loves his Shaun White this and Shaun White that, I think he purposely took off the Shaun White emblem in front of his scooter because he knows that there are some kids who BUILD THEIR OWN SCOOTERS!  It's kind of amazing.  It's modern blacksmithing for kids.
Number 1 is pretty generous and lets others try out his scooter.  Of course, then I ask the kids what is the biggest difference they see in this scooter vs. their own.  After doing a few rings around the track, the kids said, "speed."

One day, in the street, I stopped a twelve year old boy who had a cool looking red scooter and just plainly asked him, "How do you like your scooter?" This method of research had been successful in the past. The first thing this boy told me was that his Shaun White Supply Co. scooter was very safe.

I expected to hear "Cool" or "Awesome" or "Boss" but no... he said it was safe because it had excellent brakes and that the scooter was very strong.  He proceeded to tell me how he saved up his allowance and together with his Xmas money, he bought himself this scooter at Toys R Us for $180 and told me it was worth every penny.  Clearly, he does not know how cheap I am but still, I liked that Number 1 was next to me listening to this child so eloquently recommend his scooter.  We tried out the brakes. (What a nice kid) and I was sold.  The brakes are so thick, I wouldn't be surprised if a mom invented that break.

You should know: there is no folding mechanism.  This thing is heavy too! But the red and white scooters are seriously BOSS!

He tried to ride on two... That is my #1.

Why is this social? Some kids don't want to talk too much.  They just like scooting around together.  When they get older, they tire of just going around and around. This is when they start to worry you with the tricks. However, the good part is that doing tricks invites onlookers (social) and tricks can be done as a means of turn-taking conversation. It's a physical non-verbal of talking but it's still very social!


Body Banter YoBaby Kick Flipper by GarageCo Toys ($15 - comes with instructional DVD)  This is part of the giveaway

I can't tell you enough how much I adore this toy.  It's been beaten up pretty badly but it still works as the UPS man delivered it today!
#2 loves to explain his toys to new friends in the park.

There is one child in the park who absolutely loves this toy.  He is always looking for in my park stash that I lug around with me.

Number 3 is fourteen and she was so so so proud of herself for having done a couple of tricks.

We have the sweetest most understanding neighbors downstairs so he can't really do this here.

Can Not-Talking ever be better than Small Talk? I say YES!!!  Small Talk is largely laborious. It's a forced activity to deal with the unnecessary dread of silence. This is why I like Social Scene Helpers in the park.  I used to tell my kids, "Say, Hi, my name is... " or "Hey what's your name? What grade are you in?'  But these questions don't always lead to conversations because in many urban parks, park play is so temporary that oftentimes, someone's name or grade is really not important. Not-Talking with skateboards and practice skateboards like the YoBaby Kick Flipper doesn't mean that there isn't any communication happening but rather it's just a different form of what conversations do: an exchange of personal thoughts being shared in a non-verbal way via tricks.

A: Hey look at this. [does trick].
B: Cool, what do you think of this? [does some other trick, possibly a variation of A's trick]
A: Wow, how do you do that? 
B: Here, do this first and then you do that. It's easy.
A: Says you. (both laugh)
B. No, I'm serious. Let me show you. 

By the way, their teaching DVD is so awesome.  This product is born from the 2nd job of Bob Ellis, who works in the film industry out in sunny SoCal. No wonder the instruction is so awesome.  It's so easy to learn and practice in your own home!  We don't do that here because of downstairs neighbors.  I have to download their DVD onto my phone somehow! Ugh, I know nothing! (Read full review of  Yo Baby here)


No More Hotheads? - Shaun White Supply Co. Helmet iin White by Shaun White Supply Co.   ($20-$30)  (Got mine for $17 Amazon Warehouse deals.- YES!!!!!!!!)

Why would anyone wear a black helmet when it is sunny out.  But most helmets are black!

Seriously, why is just about every bicycle helmet black? I don't get that. Black attracts heat and it's hot enough having to wear a humongous helmet on your head for an hour.  All I know is that wearing them is just the right thing to do.  The way that is it snow white, plain, and cheap make this a totally awesome buy.


Be Approachable - Neon Rebound Ball by Toysmith  ($2-$5) Yep, that's it. So cheap.

I find this ball incredibly fun.  It costs next to nothing too.

I love love love this toy.  I think it is so very social because no one buys stuff like this anymore.  It's invites curious stares from other kids and adults. Anyone seen playing this, unless they are doing crazy tricks, looks laid back and very approachable. We often forget that part of being social is about being approachable. When you are bouncing your rebound ball, it's almost as if you are saying, "I'm fun. Talk to me."   Moreover, the coolest part of it all is that not only can the string be manipulated to become shorter (for younger kids), it is also really easy, and if you screw up, your ball can't go far because it is attached to your wrist! Being able to do over something so easily is key.  That is why video games do so well with our kids.

It isn't terribly hard once you get the hang of it. The ball is bouncey but not too bouncey and thus uncatchable.  It's also good hand-eye practice and good for adults who are standing around while the kids play and you have nothing else better to do!  It's really fun! (By the way, you may see this from a different company but I'm sticking with Toysmith for now. I recently saw one on sale in a drug store and the ball felt so hard. I don't like that. Especially those times that I miss the ball and it whacks me on the head. Those are fun times with my Toysmith ball but if the ball is from another brand, I can't be sure that I'll be laughing after I get hit.

Savings Tip:  Always Look at "More Buying Choices" on the right side (see below).  It could be cheaper... Most always it is not but you never know....   I found that I can avoid paying taxes sometimes depending on who is the seller!  Oh, and if you shop Amazon a lot and you are a prime member and a Amazon Mom member (free and you can be a granddad too) and find out how you can be eligible for 20% off for Subscribe and Save Shopping. The organized shopper can really score here!

Don't forget to check Warehouse Deals too!

* My savings trick on Amazon.  If you also dwell in the jungle then you know that to keep tabs on the price, you have to check everyday. It's like the stock market. I don't understand it but nevertheless, if I am interested, I will press add-to-cart and then everytime I go to my Amazon cart, I find out if something that I've put in my cart has gone up or down in price.  We bought our scooter for $50. 

And now try to win this incredible Toys Are Tools Fall Outdoor Toy Package

One Set of OgoSport RAQ with Flux Ball and One Yo Baby Kick Flipper

Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.   
educational toy, best educational game, best educational toy, learning tools, toys for learning, toys are tools, child development, therapeutic toys, special needs toys, gifted children toys, games for gifted kids, 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclosure:  Toys are Tools was not compensated by the manufacturer for the publication of this review.  The reviewed items were provided to Toys are Tools to facilitate a review.  Reviews are never promised. 



  1. On my kid's Santa list already is the LEGO Mindstorms EV3. But it's a bit expensive and Santa would need to find a higher paying job first.

  2. I am mulling over a scooter and maybe some type of trampoline but fear my kids will get hurt any thoughts on the trampoline

  3. We enjoyed our bubble machine.

  4. My kids want a karaoke machine.

  5. I think trampolines can be dangerous but then so can skiing. You just have to weigh the good and the bad, right? I would get that the most important part is how much can they follow your ground rules. If so, then maybe that is all we can do for them, the rest is up to luck. I haven't a backyard so I can't tell you what is a good brand but if one of my testers gets one, I will report on it! for sure! This is a hot topic!

  6. I think the favorite outdoor toy this year was his tricycle. He also liked sidewalk chalk and bubbles.

  7. We are thinking about a train set for the holidays.

  8. This summer, our favorite was a bicycle

  9. We're mulling over an iPad with WiFi only; we haven't researched it, but it would be the latest model with 16GB unless we can land more storage for a relatively small increase in price. I think this is the closest to what we have in mind without research:

  10. Naturally we'd get the rubber casing as thick as we can get it :) lol

  11. Our favorite toys this summer were water squirters

  12. our favorite toy this summer has been a bicycle, because both my kids finally learned to ride!