Must-Have Outdoor/Indoor Toys

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,047
    FAMILY magazine editor Amy Bevins talks about selecting the best toys for the holidays including toys that work well both inside and outside.

    Amy Bevins

    Amy Carney Bevins is a writer, an editor for FAMILY Magazine, an educator and a veteran mom with over 110,000 hours of on the job experience. Amy has published numerous articles on topics ranging from cooking and travel to health issues and toys, as well as several humorous and thought-provoking essays about parenthood. She is a regular contributor to FAMILY Magazine. She has also recently completed several children’s books. For the commercial sector, Amy writes website content, advertisements, flyers, press releases, newsletter columns and advertorials. She edits board of director letters, publisher columns, advertisements, flyers, newsletter columns and website content. Amy received a BS and an MA in Special Education from the University of Connecticut. She began her teaching career at the League School in Brooklyn, New York. At this day treatment center, she taught students with severe emotional and learning disabilities. She next worked at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay, Oregon. Here she worked as part of a grant funded team to develop and implement a one year certificate program for Educational Assistants with links to two and four year degrees. This program was also part of a statewide collaboration, incorporating cutting edge technology to provide educational opportunities to students in remote parts of the state. Amy worked briefly as a student teaching Practicum Supervisor at the University of Illinois. Her current job as an editor for FAMILY Magazine ( allows her to combine her love of writing and language with her interest in parenting.

    Amy Bevins: Hi, I am Amy Bevins. I am an editor for Family Magazine, an educator writer and I am also a mom. Today, we are looking at must have holiday toys and what makes them stand out from among the crowd. One of the ways that I found is best to choose toys is to look for award winners. They tend to have long term playability and they won t spend a lot time sitting on the shelf gathering dust. We are looking at active toys. This time we are looking for toys that you can use outdoor as well as indoors, so that if you have a rainy day situation or you just can t get outside and you still need your kids up and moving. You can get them up and getting them so they exercise that they need to so they don t have that cabin fever. One toy that I found that has won over ten toy award is, Kick-A-Flick. If you are looking for a toy that can be used indoors and outdoors alone or together by kids from 3 to 103 that develops coordination, timing and ball skills, does not use batteries, is environmentally friendly and most of all is a whole lot of fun then Kick-A-Flick is a toy for you. Using a simple lever technique Kick-A-Flick launches soft foam balls into the air with just a simple stump.

    Put the ball on the slot and let it roll all the way down to the end before you give it a quick stump that launches the ball into the air and then you can catch it, you can hit the ball with the bat. One of the unique things is not only can you use one of the three balls that comes with it, it also can launch soccer balls, baseballs, footballs whatever your kids can come up with they can launch using Kick-A-Flick and they will also be having a lot of fun while they are getting up and moving. I hope you get a chance you get out and try Kick-A-Flick and have a lot of fun with it. Next, we are going to be looking at one of my favorite products for this entire year. The FlyTech DragonFly is the world s first radio controlled flying insect. It actually flaps its own wins to fly. This is just an amazing product. It has won a huge number of awards this year. Internationally, this has been phenomenal product and I have to say from just to having an opportunity to play with it, it is really a great toy to have for your family. Not only do the kids enjoy it but the parents really enjoy it too, and I have been impressed with how durable it is. We had actually had some kids step on it and run a bicycle over it, not that I recommend this, but some kids actually run a bicycle over it and it s still flying just fine.

    It does comes with some replacement parts, should you crash it hard enough to break it. Until you get a hang of it, I would recommend a ladder, should it happen to way on the roof or two, because it does fly all over the place both indoors and outdoors and it s just a whole lot fun to play with this toy, I hope that you get a chance enjoy it as much as we have, because not only that it is technologically a cool toy but it also gets you kid up and moving, gets your family involved together and you learn some new skills and have a really wonderful time while you are doing it. And I highly recommend this one. Another toy that is going to get your kid up and moving indoors and outdoors laughing, racing and having a great time is Hyper Dash. It s running, racing, thinking, laughing fun. Hyper Dash will get you on your feet while it challenges your mind. Using the electronic tagger equipped with RFID technology, you select the game and then Hyper Dash will tell you which targets to tag. It will either call them by color or number. Sometimes it even throws in a math problem like 8-5 and then you are supposed to find target number three and tag it. You run to the target, tag it and then it tells you the next target that you run to. You go back and forth until you complete a round. The nice thing is that if you are playing independently, it will tell you your time, so that you can work to compete against yourself and increase your time or you can play competitively as a group or as a team and you will be able to keep your group time or your team time. So, it allows kids to work cooperatively and competitively depending on which game level they choose and how many players are playing. The one great thing about this toy is that you can set the targets close together if you have smaller kids or if you have great big playing area, you can set the targets as far away as a football field to really get your kid up and moving. One thing that I found with this product, we tried it out after a sleep over with a whole bunch of 8 year olds and it kept them busy for 45 minutes, even after being tired after a sleep over, it had them fully engaged having a fabulous time, which for me makes it an absolute winner for a toy. Hyper Dash will get your kids and hope fully you too up and moving and having a great deal of fun while you learn and play. Another great product, that I found for this year is Pop-Up Port-A-Bug. Kids are fascinated by bugs. They like to watch them creep, crawl, fly and just be bugs. And they seem to find them wherever they go. With the award winning Pop-Up Port-A-Bug, you will have a mobile bug catcher available whenever your junior entomologist finds a perfect specimen for study. Pop-Up Port-A-Bug is made of light weight escape proof meshing collapses into a handy tote-sack with a built-in carry clip. For more bug to find be sure to check out the companies life creatures packages, its butterfly bugs, frogs, lady bugs and more. To learn more about some of these toys and where you can find them or purchase them, or to find out some of my other top holiday toys picks, please click on the link at my website. There you will find information about each of the toys that we are featuring here today as well as the number of other toys that you might be interested in. There are links to the articles that I have written for Family Magazine and also information on award winning toy organizations. So you can find out a little bit more about how those organizations choose the toys that they pick as award winners. Next, we are going to be talking about creative toys. Toys that foster imagination, art and music, and get your kid really thinking and growing.