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Toy Review: PlayTape

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playtapeKids love their cars. There is just something about the tiny replicas of the real thing, whether in plastic or metal, that gets the imagination rolling. Even adults give in to the urge to “drive” cars by pushing them around the living room and making roaring engine noises. It has always been a problem to determine where these cars were going, sailing over couches and across tables without any roads to guide them. Now, those cars, kids, and kids-at-heart can have their roads thanks to PlayTape from InRoad Toys.

In an interview during the 2014 NY Toy Fair, where PlayTape made its international debut, inventor Andrew Musliner said that he came up with the idea thanks to his three boys who were constantly playing with their toy cars. Their cars went everywhere—up the recliner, winding around the dinner table, crashing into pillows. Musliner wanted to create some roads to keep the cars on the right track. A line of tape seemed the most reasonable option since it can be stuck down and printed like a roadway, and, as Musliner mentioned, “Kids love tape!”

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The tape idea posed new problems of sticky residue or scraps, but through years of development, Musliner perfected his invention. PlayTape today is a hardy, paper-like tape that is easily torn from the side but will not fall apart. It is sticky enough to hold up to play but loose enough that cleanup is quick and leaves no ugly tape-marks. In our testing, the tape stuck well to wood, carpet, walls, glass, felt, and even bed comforters. Its only struggle was smooth, loose-knit fabric on furniture, which may be a blessing to parents wanting to keep cars off the couch. Cleanup involved simply pulling up the tape and crumpling it up; the tape is recyclable though not reusable as the glue loses stickiness readily. There were no discernible marks left on any of the surfaces.

A promo video (above) shows PlayTape in action. It may be spread out into a track on the floor or used more creatively to ramp up walls or curve around a track made of a blanket. PlayTape is durable enough that, with proper anchoring, kids may even build bridges. A great deal of the fun of PlayTape is its creative value, inspiring imagination to design and erect new roads for travel or even make art, such as the map of Lower Manhattan. Previously the toy cars only drove through “white space,” Musliner calls it, and PlayTape is a way to fill it.

playtapemanhattanPlayTape is printed in classic asphalt black as well as brighter orange and purple to make identifying easier. The attractive print is artful enough that you can use it as a border for decorating a room or outlining a scrapbook. Musliner says that more designs are on the way. One can imagine cobblestone streets, rocky paths, old-time brick, or even gravel as new roads for toy cars to explore instead of the old living room rug.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.