Thursday, May 15, 2014

Product Review: Outdoor Toys

With summer FINALLY approaching Wisconsin, I thought it would be a great idea to share my thoughts on the outdoor toys we have used over the past few years.

First, this roller coaster.  My kids love this thing!  To make it go a little faster and a little longer, we put it on the small hill in our backyard and put a long piece of MDF we had on hand under the end.  This made the ride twice as long and twice as fast!  (I wonder why my children don't have those awesome lightning speed streaks behind them when they ride!)  I bought it off of craigslist and it was in new condition, 25 bucks?  Can't beat it!

Pros: comes apart for easy storage, easy to clean, lightweight, fun for bigger kids

Cons: my kids wish it would go faster (which is why we tried to do that ourselves!)

Recommended?:  If you have the room, yes!
Alyssa's Star Rating: 4 out of 5

Next up, this play set.  Well, not this EXACT one, this is the closest I could find online.  Ours has all the same "functions" as this one except the climbing wall is is on the opposite side as the slide.  On this model, it is next to it.  We bought this for Dallas for his 2nd birthday.  My husband assembled it the night before his birthday and we surprised Dallas the morning of.  He was so excited and I will always remember the look on his face when he saw it.  The set has held up so nicely over the years, but I will say that as Dallas just turned 4 (where did my baby go??) he is almost too big for it.

Pros: fun for multiple kids, color hasn't faded after 2 years, can change out the type of swings, it's not too big so smaller kids can climb with no problem, assembly was pretty easy, customer service was very helpful when we lost one part of the "steering wheel", they gladly sent us an entire new hardware set that the piece came in

Cons: large, needs to be anchored, not really big enough for a 4 year old

Recommended?: again, if you have the room, yes!
Alyssa's Star Rating: 4 out of 5

This next one was a gift and it has been a multi-purpose item for us.  My dad bought it for Dallas after I had him, so it had sentimental value from the start!  We have used it for photo props, walks, parades, birthday party decor and the boys like to pull each other around in it at home.  It's a great classic toy, every family needs a wagon! 

Pros: easy to assemble, easy to pull (even the kids can do it), the sides come off like any classic wooden Radio Flyer, so the kids like to "build" it

Cons: as with any wagon, it's not the easiest thing to pull, so we usually choose a stroller over the wagon to take on outings

Recommended?: Highly
Alyssa's Star Rating: 5 out of 5 

Another gift...Dallas got this for one of his birthdays and for the longest time, it was a huge hit.  Then one sad day, it stopped working:(  We tried everything, new batteries, cleaning, etc.  But nothing worked.  I bought the same exact machine and it stopped working after a few weeks, plus someone pulled the actual bubble blower (the yellow "wand" part) off and it never stayed on after that.  I haven't been able to find anything that works as well as this did.  I think I've been through three bubble machines and we still haven't found one that is as amazing as the first.  We have one now, it does a decent job and the kids like it, so that's the main goal.    

Pros: fun for the kids, it is also fun when we have parties

Cons: uses a lot of batteries...a lot!

Recommended?: if you find one that is amazing, then yes, worth every penny!
Alyssa's Star Rating: 2.5 out of 5

And finally, the cozy coupe!  Who doesn't love this toy?  Again, I bought this on a buy/sell site for $15.  I quickly realized that my crazy boys needed the "floor board" part of the car.  With how fast they like to push each other, someones toes were always being dragged against the ground.....OUCH!  So, I called Step 2 and it was about $4 to order and ship the floorboard.  It came quickly and ever since I'm much more comfortable with the boys playing with it.

Pros: easy to push, easy to clean, has fun interactive parts (gas tank, cup holders, horn, steering wheel)

Cons: the stickers have faded and started to peel off, without a floorboard I wouldn't like it as much

Recommended?: Highly
Alyssa's Star Rating: 5 out of 5

I actually have plans for our coupe this summer.....

What outdoor toys could your family not live without?  What toys have you found that you would not want, even for free?

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