Newspaper article The Canadian Press

From Colourful Crafts to Construction, 'Kid-Powered Creativity' Rules Summer Toys

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

From Colourful Crafts to Construction, 'Kid-Powered Creativity' Rules Summer Toys

Article excerpt

'Kid-powered creativity' hot for summer toys

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TORONTO - Whether they're building blocks or using the pavement as a canvas, notable summer playthings are aimed at helping children keep both their minds and bodies active.

At its annual Hot Toys of Summer event, the Canadian Toy Association featured more than 80 toys, games and activities for kids to stay engaged and entertained whether playing indoors or outdoors.

Association spokeswoman Margot Somerville said what's innovative about the items showcased was their focus on "kid-powered creativity."

A cross-section of toddlers and young children was on hand for Wednesday's event at the Toronto Zoo. Many channelled their inner pavement Picassos using multi-hued chalk. Several youngsters also gravitated to the Discovery Kids jumbo-sized inflatable ring toss set and a miniature trampoline from Little Tikes with a handlebar for stability.

"It really is all about burning that energy, getting healthy, getting fit and finding really fun ways to have kid-powered energy," said Sommerville.

Mellissa Ruscio said she is very interested in outdoor toys that will allow her seven-year-old son, Hayden, and five-year-old daughter, Hannah, to be self-expressive as well as using their physical fitness.

"My kids are very active. They like to be able to draw themselves. They like to be able to do things when they're moving," she said.

"My daughter in particular ... she's actually the one that liked to crush up the chalk and put it in water and make her own paint. She wants to do things where they're using their own skills, their own imagination, their own creativity."

Several of the products offered novel twists on classic play. In addition to colourful outdoor bubbles from Crayola, some kids got a kick out of the Bubbly Mermaid from Lalaloopsy, which creates a crown of foamy globules when her tail is squeezed.

Girls in particular gravitated toward the Play-Doh DohVinci Style and Store Vanity Design Kit, using a sculpting tool and styler to create swirls, stripes, flowers and other decorative shapes. …

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