Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Review: Goldberger Toy Waterwonders

Anyone who knows me knows I could be the posterchild for girlishness. My favorite color is pink. I love skirts and dresses, even if I don't get much of an opportunity to wear them anymore. And I maybe own three pairs of shoes with less than a three-inch heel.

So, when I was pregnant and found out I was on Team Blue, I was mystified. What was I going to do with a little boy? Dirt. Bugs. Trucks. Not really my thing. I much prefer ruffles, tea parties and dolls. Don't get me wrong. While it's been a bit of a challenge, I think I've risen to the occasion of "boy mama" commendably. I've gotten grime under my fingernails and - dare I say - enjoyed it!

But I must admit I've been tempted to turn a blind eye to gender stereotypes and invest in a baby doll for Nate. I personally believe it is just as important for boys to learn how to nurture and care for something or someone as it is for girls. Sensitivity and tenderness are not character traits typically associated with males. But why not? I plan to encourage my son's physical and emotional development by allowing him to choose whichever toys he fancies. I'd without a doubt buy a Barbie if he picked it out in a store. But my rugged, conservative husband would surely scoff at the sight of his only son tending to a baby doll. I can already picture him condescendingly saying, "dolls are for GIRLS!". So, until we can have a meeting of the minds - or until we are blessed with a daughter, if ever - I will have to dote on my only niece and save the baby dolls for the holiday season. And when the shopping rush begins, I know exactly where I'll go.

Goldberger Toys, one of the most respectable baby doll manufacturers in the nation, began way back in 1916. For nearly a century, they've been creating toys, dolls and teddy bears for toddlers. Their mission is to design and create playthings that engage the mind, body and soul for children aged 0 to 3 years old and their parents.

We create dolls and toys that are delightful, safe and fun, and are just as parent friendly as kid friendly – in their maintenance, their quality, and their value. Our dolls are made to love, to cuddle, to teach, and to inspire the imagination. Playthings for children in their earliest years help to shape how they grow and learn. The care and attention we put into our toys is returned tenfold by the ways they nourish and teach the children who play with them.

Goldberger is committed to practicing rigorous safety standards. In 2007, they voluntarily converted all of their doll lines to phthalate-free vinyl after reports of potential health issues for children under 3 years of age. My semi-crunchy self was delighted to hear that!

Unlike other toy makers, Goldberger stands behind its products. They were the first company to offer a lifetime guarantee on their dolls. They promise to repair or replace all dolls, depending on the doll or the "injury". Their belief is that dolls are meant to be loved for life and this policy conveys that philosophy.

Many of their award-winning dolls have become valuable collectibles. Their Mommy's Baby doll received an iParenting Media Award and The National Parenting Center’s 2007 Seal of Approval, while their allergy/asthma-friendly Sensitive Baby Sammy doll was honored with a 2008 Amazing Toy Award and featured on The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet.

While their doll line targets toddler girls *sniff sniff* the newest introductions to Goldberger - Waterwonders - are perfect for both boys and girls.

These character-based Waterwonders water toys are designed for active play in pool, lake, stream or tub. Toss them into the water and they light up and flash as soon as they’re wet! Best of all, they’ll float on the surface and wait for your child to pick them up again. When submerged in water, these adorable creatures begin flashing. The Waterwonders toys have a special chip that stops the flashing after awhile, so your child will have many hours of play. The mechanism is both water-activated and waterproof. Each character is individually named and has its own bio attached. Imagine the games you can invent around Albert the Alligator, Fernando the Frog, Sinbad the Shark, Shelley the Turtle, Otto the Octopus and Felicia the Fish!
We were fortunate enough to win Fernando the Frog in a giveaway. The first thing I noticed was how colorful the toy was. Very distinguishable from Nate's other bath friends. Next, I read his adorable bio: "Fernando the Frog counts everything: how many laughs you laugh, how many clouds in the sky and how many flies might make a good froggy dinner! How many times can you toss Fernando into the water?" Okay, how cute is that? I love toys that have their own little story.

As soon as I removed him from the box, Nate came over to inspect him. We were able to get Fernando to flash by lightly touching the sensor attached to his belly. Of course, it didn't take long for Nate to activate him by himself and he was enthralled. After tossing him about in the living room for a few minutes, we decided to test him out in the bathtub.

Here is Fernando, waiting to take a swim in his new home:

I placed him face down in the water and he immediately started flashing. Nate was once again captivated and ignored the rest of his plastic toys to focus on Fernando.

After a few moments of being suspended, Fernando stopped flashing and Nate lost interest. He flung him to the side, only to again spy those tell-tale flashing lights. He would pick him up, flashing would stop and he would lose interest and drop him back into the bath. This cycle continued for several minutes, until Mommy picked Fernando up and manually animated him. As you can see, our new bath toy was clearly a hit:

There are only two very minor, not-even-sure-they're-worth-mentioning downsides that we encountered. First, I think I would prefer the sensor to be placed inside the toy, rather than sticking out. I'm sure there is a functional reason why it exposed and it really doesn't detract from playtime. It just looks like Fernando has a bellybutton :) Secondly, it would be nice if the flashing could continue for just a little bit longer outside of the water. I know that its current design prolongs the life of the toy - which is awesome - but as I mentioned, Nate loses interest because when he takes it out of the water, it stops flashing. Ah, well. What can you expect with a toddler? I'm sure as he grows older, this will be less problematic.

Bottom line: While recommended for ages 3-7, I think Waterwonders are an affordable, fun, safe toy for kids of all ages. Entertaining in or out of the water! They are a great alternative to the mundane rubber ducky.

: You can purchase Waterwonders from Goldberger's new online shop, for $7.99/each. To celebrate the grand opening, they are offering free shipping on all orders over $20!

: Golderberger Toys is giving away 100 of their best-selling toys. You heard right - giving away, for FREE! Every Monday, starting August 3rd and running through October 5th, they are choosing 10 winners to receive a toy of their choice! Enter the "Let's Be Friends" giveaway here.

I was a lucky winner during week 1 - you could be next. Good luck!

Disclaimer: As I mentioned above, I won this toy in an online giveaway. I was not compensated in any way for this review.
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