Disclosure: We were provided with a Toyota Sienna to test drive for 3 months as part of the #SiennaDiaries. While we received a stipend to participate in the experience, any opinions are our own.
No one was happier to ride in the minivan for 3 months than our 4-year-old. The experience not only allowed us to share some fun family experiences, but it taught us a lot about Gavin. Boy did I completely underestimate the impact that a vehicle could have on a child.
First, enjoy our YouTube video that highlights Gavin’s Toyota Sienna Review. (Video credit to ©Derek Wilmot)
The Sienna allowed Gavin to earn more independence.
We upgraded Gavin to a Britax booster seat, and he was so enamored with the sliding doors of the minivan, that he loved being in control of getting in and out of the vehicle on his own. I loved that he could do this without any fears of whacking the car door into neighboring parked vehicles.
The Sienna peaked his natural curiosity, and taught us more about his love for gadgets, technology and how things work.
He explored the backseat, with a keen awareness of details, locating all sorts of features I probably would have never known were in existence.
The Sienna helped improve Gavin’s social skills and solidified the mere fact that my child is probably destined to be a fearless, passionate and persistent leader who doesn’t take no for an answer, because at the preschool level this kid already has a tremendous impact on his own community.
I’d argue that he could sell the features in this vehicle better than a dealership representative. He cried real crocodile tears if I tried to take our actual vehicle for the day so my husband could drive the Sienna, and had all sorts of reasons and alternatives as to why I should drive the minivan that day.
At daycare pick-up Gavin offered “showings,” inviting his friends inside, demonstrating the features of the seats, television and moonroof. Everyday his friends begged me to wait until their parents came to pick-up so they could tour the minivan with him. Without my approval Gavin apparently arranged playdates with his friends, telling them where they could sit in the car and where I would drive them. Other parents from daycare asked me about the features of the vehicle, because apparently Gavin got their kids so excited about the Sienna, that they wouldn’t stop asking their parents to “buy a slider door car like Gavin’s.”
The Sienna taught us about how much Gavin loves our family.
Gavin repeatedly asked if we could arrange another roadtrip so that his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and family dogs could ride together with us in the car.
The Sienna helped us teach Gavin about giving back to our community.
With Toyota’s encouragement to participate in a community service project, Gavin and I delivered a donation of new toys to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston with an estimated retail value of about $1200. The experience provided us with an opportunity to use our interests to give those who need it a little ray of hope and sunshine. He continues to ask me questions about that specific day and knows exactly why we use our toy resources to help others in need. Our actions now are serving as the foundation for values I hope he will transfer into his adult life with his own family.