Desoto Dragon by Manhattan Toy
Ages 4 and older
Toy Tips: B+
Social Interaction: B+
Desoto is a large ride-upon dragon made from a variety of colorful fabrics. The material is durable for use with multiple children. In our testing groups, most of the children sat and jumped on it while adult reviewers encouraged this as a prop for story time. The ride-upon action (this does not move) allows for creative and imaginative individual and group play. Many times Desoto became everything from a dog and horse to a character in a fairy tale. Most testers incorporated other toys into their imaginative adventures. It’s best to wash often with a wet cloth after use.
Tester’s Tip: “Once the child is no longer interested in play, wash it well and use as decor. It makes quite the conversation piece in any room!”
Gymini My Nature Pals by Tiny Love
Age 2 months and older
This round, soft fabric activity mat is styled to look like nature. Activity mats are used for entertaining baby and provide a soft place for supervised baby play. Activities allow for baby discovery and parent and child social interaction. A detachable caterpillar toy hangs from the arches and features lights and music that can play for up to 20 minutes, although a baby should never be left unsupervised or not attended to while the toy is entertaining. Lights, which stimulate gazing, hand-eye coordination, grasping, reaching and thinking skills, can be activated by baby’s touch. Other removable toys that hang on the arch provide self discovery and additional independent or social play. The arches can be repositioned in a variety of ways for baby’s comfort and growing size. They can be lowered to accommodate tummy time play. A crawling infant may escape, so it is best to monitor which ages and stages are best for baby. Be sure to wash the mat often as well as clean the detachable toys.
— Recommendations from Marianne M. Szymanski, publisher of www.toytips.com, Toy Tips Magazine and co-author of “Toy Tips: A Parent’s Essential Guide to Smart Toy Choices.”