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VTech Toys Blog

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I was a cleaning expert long before I was a mother. For the 12 years I had spent in my expertise role before having my daughter, I would often field questions from concerned parents asking how they could clean their toys. I could easily provide answers to them, but it was only when I had my own child that I truly understood parents’ deep-rooted need to understand how to clean toys properly. Firstly, our kids become utterly attached to certain toys and second, E V E R Y T H I N G goes into their mouths. And what goes into their mouths eventually goes into mine. If she’s sick, so am I. While I don’t consider myself a germophobe and believe our bodies need exposure to all kinds of germs (er, Covid aside) to build and maintain an effective immune system, there are certainly lines I will draw. Many parents pass toys down between their own children or hand them off to friends or family with younger kids. My friends gave me several of their favorite toys they kept for me, and you better believe I cleaned them well. When maintained, they’ll last! I’m excited to be partnering with VTech and LeapFrog to share my best tips for how to keep toys clean and make playtime healthier for your family. We have plenty of these toys at home so I know the ins and outs of them intimately. Since there are so many categories of toys, I’m going to highlight a selection of these two brands’ toys and categorize them by their unique cleaning challenges.

A few quick tips right off the top:

1. Plush toys that do NOT have batteries or special appliques or fabrics can generally be machine washed (we place ours inside a delicates bag) and machine dried on the lowest possible setting. Check the care label or manufacturer’s website to be sure.

2. How often to clean something depends on how frequently the toy is used, how dingy it looks and if you’ve been in a situation where the toy requires immediate cleaning (e.g. the toy was just tossed around in the sand pit for an hour).

3. You want to go for scent-free, gentle solutions wherever possible.Vinegar and unscented dish soap or castille soap are great to use.

4. DIY solution recipe:for general toy cleaning, you can use a solution of 2 cups water to ½ tsp dish soap. Wiping a toy clean with vinegar can also work for everyday cleaning - the vinegar smell should dissipate within a few minutes.

5. For disinfecting, you can get a nontoxic toy cleaner of your choice or you can make a bleach solution (like what they do at daycare). Personally, I don’t use bleach at home but this is entirely up to you. The homemade bleach solution should never be mixed with other cleaners and the recipes: 10 ml (2 tsp) bleach per 1 liter(4 cups) of water as a disinfectant. The toy will require 2 minutes of exposure time, and can be rinsed or wiped clean after.

6. Keep toys out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources

7. Remove batteries from toys if they won’t be used for an extended period of time. It’s good practice to empty the batteries out before storing toys for the next child, or before cleaning.

8. Don’t expose battery-operated toys to moisture or liquid

9. Make sure plush toys are completely dry before use to avoid mold and mildew

Rattles and teethers Time does fly. Mine are long since packed up as my kid has her full set of chompers, but when this was all the rage in our house, I would remember thinking about how gross these are since all they do is collect drool and sticky stuff that attaches to drool. When our rattles and teethers looked, well, rattled, here’s how I’d clean them. Solid, no batteries If they were solid - as in no holes - and no batteries, I would place them on the top rack of a dishwasher inside a dishwasher accessory basket or a delicates bag, which is perfect for corralling small items. Run on a regular cycle with other dishes. Battery operated, or air holes Looking at a toy like the VTech Twist & Hug Koala Rattle, it has battery casing and an on/off switch that can easily have liquid seep in (avoid these areas when wiping). I would take a cloth dipped in white vinegar, wring it out well, and wipe the toy down. Vinegar is great for removing sticky build up and also as a general cleaner with the ability to kill some germs. If you feel you need to disinfect a toy like this, you can use the soap and water solution above to clean first, and follow up with the bleach solution or a nontoxic disinfectant. Personally, I like to follow disinfectants with a wipe of clean water and a clean cloth to rinse product off the surface. If any detailed cleaning needed to take place, for example there was a build up of dirt around the on/off switch, you can use a lightly moistened cotton swab to clean those grimy areas.

Battery operated toys with many buttons

My daughter began playing with the VTech Sort & Discover Activity Cube at daycare and soon after, she got one for her first birthday. It was a fast favourite and one that still gets trotted out when friends or little cousins visit. Another example of a toy like this would be the Touch & Swipe Baby Phone or the LeapFrog 100 Animals Book. This category of toy does need a little extra love, and I would chunk it in with sit-to-stand toys or battery operated learning tables in terms of cleaning methods, like the Explore and Write Activity Desk (which we got for Christmas last year) or the Magic Star Learning Table (we have one of its predecessors). If the toy comes with removable electronic components, then remove those first before cleaning. Otherwise, remove the batteries. I’d have a few cotton swabs ready (I really like the cosmetic one with pointed tips) or a cleaning toothbrush. Using a cloth dipped in cleaning solution (vinegar, soap and water combo, or a child-safe cleaner of your choice), begin wiping the components of the toy. Dip the toothbrush into your cleaning solution to get into tighter spots, ridges and corners of the toy so long as it doesn’t get into the battery casing or on/off switch. You can also use the pointed cotton swab for this. If you are satisfied with the results, allow to dry. If you want to take it a step further and disinfect, you can do so by applying the disinfectant and allowing it to sit wet on the toy for about 2 minutes (or whatever your product’s instructions state for dwell time), and then rinse clean with water and dry with a cloth. Once fully dry, replace the batteries. For toys with no batteries, clean the same way.

Battery operated plush toys

Now this category, this category pains me. These toys get drooled on, rolled on the floor, shared with friends, and yet, you can’t machine wash them! My daughter has several of these beloved talking and singing friends, including My Pal Violet. Other examples include the Snug-a-Bug Musical Critter and Lil’ Critters Roll & Discover Ball. Submerging these in water can damage small and large electrical components that can render these today useless, and placing them in the dryer can rattle them enough to loosen these parts. In short, hand wash with care.

For starters, vacuum these toys to remove dust and dirt by slipping a pantyhose over a vacuum attachment to remove as much dust as you can. Feel free to do this with a lint roller, too. Before washing by hand, remove all batteries and electrical components where possible. To wash by hand, use a quarter teaspoon of castille soap or delicates wash in 2 cups of water. Stir up and dip a clean cloth into the solution. You can also use a cleaning toothbrush to apply and agitate the solution where needed. Apply gently and work into the surface as needed. Keep any moisture away from electronic components while cleaning. Once this is done, you are going to ‘rinse wipe’ the toy where you have just applied soapy water, so grab a fresh cloth and clean water to do this, you want all suds gone and you want to be sparing with the water. When done, roll in a clean towel to blot up excess moisture and allow it to air dry. If the fur looks matted, fluff it up by blasting the toy with a hair dryer set to cool. Building blocks

I remember buying my friend’s son a box of these for his first birthday and she raved about how much he loved playing with them - he still does and he’s now 7. I picked up the same set of LeapBuilders Jumbo Blocks for my daughter just before she turned one and they are most often used to build Peppa Pig castles (🙄), especially now that she has the LeapBuilders Shapes & Music Castle, too. Cleaning these are the absolute easiest of the lot. In fact, any plastic toy with no electrical components or air holes can be cleaned this way. Place them into a delicates bag, toss on the top rack of the dishwasher the next time you run through a load, and...voila. That’s all. Done.

Keeping toys clean helps to keep our families healthy and also prolongs their useful life making them treasures to pass from child to child, and family to family. I hope you have found this guide helpful!

Written by: Melissa Maker, Cleaning Expert, author and host of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube.

Melissa Maker is an accidental cleaning expert - because she hates to clean! In 2006, she launched Clean My Space, a cleaning service in her hometown of Toronto, Canada, to help out people just like her. In 2011, she decided to create digital content to help drive bookings by launching the Clean My Space YouTube channel. Since then, the channel has amassed over 200 million video views and over 1.5 million subscribers along with a healthy Instagram following and busy website. She also founded a microfiber cleaning tools company in 2016, called Maker's Clean.

While Melissa has delivered her expert advice on cleaning products, tools, and DIY substitutes for over ten years, she wasn’t always a cleaning pro and understands that people are looking for practical, time-saving solutions to everyday problems.

She is also a foodie and mother of 2-year-old Riley.

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Updated: Jun 29, 2021

What's on your kids’ holiday wish list? With tech being almost impossible to avoid when it comes to our kids, I'm almost certain your kids already have their eye on a few of this season's hottest tech toys. There's no denying that we all love to see how excited our kids get when they receive a toy they wished for, but as parents we get most excited when we know that our little kids are learning all about technology and developing important tech skills when they're given a VTech® product! That's why I've curated this top tech toys holiday gift guide to help you choose some of this season's hottest tech toys. The tech toys featured here don't just make fun toy gift ideas, they're also great tech toys that promote learning, creativity, knowledge and skills building. I've even included tech toys for kidsthat don't involve any screens -- yes, they do exist -- and can help develop a kid's aptitude for life skills and knowledge bases.

Which of these tech toys will your kids be adding to their holiday wish list?

VTech® KidiZoom® Creator Cam

Empower your kids to become a kid creator with the KidiZoom® Creator Cam and make all their content creator dreams come true!

Kids can take still photos and also create awesome videos with this high-definition video camera kit for kids. It includes a built-in microphone, editing and creative tools, green screen features and more than 20 animated backgrounds. Kids can easily set up their own video shoot with the included abletop tripod/selfie stick and use the easy on-screen editing and creativity tools to create trick shots and time-lapse videos to share with others. Photos and videos taken on the KidiZoom® Creator Cam can only be uploaded to a computer via an included USB cable at a parent's discretion. The camera comes with a microSD card slot to increase storage up to 32 GB (card not included). Recommended for kids ages 5 to 10.

VTech® KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX2

Every little kid wants to be like Mom and Dad, down to the tech! The KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX2 is a great multifunction smartwatch, just like Mom and Dad's. Best part, it's designed just for kids!

With the KidiZoom® Smartwatch DX2 kids can take pictures, videos, play games, tell time and more! Featuring a new sleek and stylish design, this durable smartwatch includes 55 digital and analog customizable watch faces to help kids learn to tell time. This kid smartwatch also features two cameras that lets kids capture everything from action videos to selfies and these can be customized in the Silly Me app and made into new watch faces. Also included are an assortment of fun digital games, like Monster Detector, which uses the camera and augmented reality to help kids find and capture monsters in the real world. Kids can also use the watch's motion sensor for active play challenges or to track steps. Additional content is also available from Learning Lodge. Using the included Micro-USB cable, kids can also upload photos and videos. Recommended for kids ages 4 and up.

VTech® KidiGoTM Walkie Talkies

These days, we seem to be outdoors a whole lot more! Stay connected and add some extra excitement when adventuring outdoors by gifting the kids a set of KidiGoTM Walkie Talkies.

Keep in touch anywhere you go with the KidiGoTM Walkie Talkies’ 500-ft range. These kid-safe, two-way radios feature a digital connection that's clear and keeps kids' conversations secure, preventing other walkie-talkie users from listening in or chatting with them.

Little adventurers can also send messages back and forth by choosing from preset animated messages using the large, backlit LCD screen. The KidiGoTM Walkie Talkies also include four two-player games for real-time gaming between devices -- perfect for downtime during your next outdoor adventure! Recommended for kids ages 4 and up.

VTech® Jiggle & Giggle Fishing Set

Since many of our little kids are learning from home right now, it's more important than ever to continue to foster learning and help them practice and master new skills in fun ways.

Cast your line into a sea of play and learning with the Jiggle & Giggle Fishing Set! Little kids will love catching sea creatures on the magnetic bobber and watch them wiggle. Seven sea creatures wait on the pretend pond playmat, ready to jump on the line. The smart bobber recognizes each sea creature you catch, triggering the creature to respond with its unique personality in songs and phrases.

As kids play, the interactive fishing pole teaches them about animals, colors and numbers with three play modes, 10 songs and five melodies. As kids line up the bobber with each magnetic creature, they're developing hand/eye coordination. The light-up bobber teaches colors as it changes color to match the color of each sea creature and reinforce color learning. What's also nice is that kids can place their catch in the storage bucket when playtime is done, and tuck the pond playmat inside with all seven sea creatures, for easy storage. Recommended for little kids ages 2 to 5.

VTech® Myla's Sparkling FriendsTM

Last but not least, my personal favorite is VTech®’s Myla's Sparking FriendsTM. These Sparkling Friends make playtime magical! These adorable Sparklings are colorful, talking, singing friends that are as unique as our kids.

Each of these adorable tech toys talks, sings and lights up with a kaleidoscope of colors and can respond with more than 100 fun responses related to mood, feelings and lucky colors. Kids can change the Sparklings' color by touching their magical necklace and then touching their horn, eyes or wings to change their color as well. Kids can accessorize themselves and their Sparkling Friend with the included shared accessories -- hair clips, combs, and rings. Each of Myla's Sparkling FriendsTM is so cute and unique that I just had to list each one below. Kids will love collecting all five (each sold separately) -- Mia the Mystical Unicorn, Riley the Unicorn, Ava the Fox, Finn the Fox, Penny the Peacock, and Piper the Dragon (coming to Walmart this fall). Recommended for kids ages 4 and up.

Mia the Mystical Unicorn

Touch Mia's magical necklace, then touch her horn, eyes and wings to change their color. Squeeze Mia's legs to flap her wings and trigger lights and playful responses.

Brush her mane and tail using the included comb and add some extra flair with two included hair clips for you to share.

Riley the Unicorn

Touch Riley's magical necklace, then touch her horn, eyes and wings to change their color. Squeeze Riley's legs to flap her wings and trigger lights and playful responses. Brush her mane and tail using the included comb and add some extra flair with two included hair clips for you to share.

Ava the Fox

Touch Ava's magical necklace, then touch her hair, eyes and ears to change their color.

Push Ava's leg to wag her tail and trigger lights and playful responses. Brush her tail using the included brush and add some extra flair with two included hair clips for you to share.

Finn the Fox

Touch Finn's magical necklace, then touch her hair, eyes and ears to change their color. Push Finn's leg to wag her tail and trigger lights and playful responses. Brush her tail using the included brush and add some extra flair with two included hair clips for you to share.

Penny the Peacock

Touch Penny's magical necklace, then touch her crest, eyes and tail to change their color. Push Penny's wing to move her tail and trigger lights and playful responses. Add some extra flair with four included charms to put on her tail or place the crown on her head.

Piper the Dragon

Touch Piper's magical necklace, then touch her horn, eyes and wings to change their color. Squeeze Piper's legs to flap her wings and trigger lights and playful responses. Add some extra flair to Piper with a crown and two included bracelets that kids can use as rings.

Which of these top tech toys will your kids be adding to their holiday wish list?

Monica Encarnacion is a Digital Parenting Writer and Consultant. She is the author of the blog NYCTechMommy. Monica spent 12 years as an elementary classroom teacher in NYC and was a Technology Teacher for several years. Working with elementary school children and their parents inspired her interest in identifying digital platforms and other tech resources that would promote learning, language development, and help children make connections with the world beyond the classroom.

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If you were wondering how to craft your very own *last minute* Go! Go! Cory Carson costume, this is the post for you!

My name is Jacqueline and I work for VTech - one of my friends asked me if I could help come up with a costume for her son who was begging to be Cory from Go! Go! Cory Carson (VTech's preschool show on Netflix!).

So, I googled how to make a car costume, and I think I've come pretty close:


  • A box your kid fits into. I chose a grocery box I already had that was 10.5 x 15 inches

  • Cardboard

  • Orange craft foam - I found 12 x 18 inch sheets and used 6 of them

  • White craft foam - again, used about 3 12 x18 inch sheets

  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks

  • Duct tape (I happened to have orange, but don't think it's a deal breaker to have other colors - it's for the inside.

  • Black Sharpie to draw the face or you could cut out face shapes from black construction paper or craft foam

  • Yellow craft foam or construction paper for headlights

  • Red craft foam or construction paper for tail lights, mouth, and license plate

  • Ribbon or webbing for straps


Find a box that your kid fits in. I chose a grocery box that happened to have straps already attached to it & it was easy to send home with my friend to make sure it fit her son - here's a blurry FaceTime screenshot of the "fitting" day :)


Grab your duct tape and hot glue gun - it's time to cover the outside of our box in orange craft foam!

(I originally thought I could just spray paint the box orange... terrible idea. Foam's the way to go - learn from my mistakes!)

Step Three

To make Cory's head/face you're going to want to get some cardboard and cut it to the width of your box. Height is up to you - I haven't totally decided if we're going to put Cory's face on this and have it end chin-height on the wearer, or if we're going to leave the "windshield" empty and raise it up over his face so that his face is there instead of Cory's... TBD!

You'll then want to cover that piece with orange craft foam. If you're going with the solid windshield / Cory Carson face, you'll want to also glue a piece of white foam behind it.


Cory Carson has some racing stripes down his hood - cut those out of foam and glue 'em on! I then added a 1" stripe of foam around the bottom for his "bumper"

I also added some curved pieces to be the "sides" and will add a third to be the back piece - I'm going to wait on gluing these to the costume until I have the kiddo try it on to make sure I don't position them too high or too low.

That's it for now - I'll update when it's complete with pics for you! - Jacqueline

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