Monday, December 24, 2007

What's Hot?

Marshmallow Shooters! Can't keep em in stock! Nothing says, "Happy Hanukkah" or "Merry Christmas" like sugary projectiles going upwards of 30 feet out of a pump-action rapid fire gun! There's a version for the little mini-marshmallows, one for regular sized marshmallows and even a "Bow and Mallow" that shoots it like a bow and arrow. Really, how can you go wrong? We reordered em, and they should be back in stock sometime next week for your post holiday gift-giving needs.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Very interesting article in the New York Times

Jonathan Dee has written an extensive article about toymaker Mattel and it's quest to be a better global citizen in it's manufacture of toys. It's an eye-opening article about the steps they have taken to make it's factories better places to work. It also talks about Mattel's recent recalls. Check it out

Saturday, December 8, 2007

New website tests for healthy toys is a new website that has been organized by The Ecology Center, but presents data collected by over a dozen watch groups throughout the USA.

The site presents data on hundreds of toys, which is listed in a searchable database. They test specifically for the chemicals lead, cadmium, chlorine/PVC, arsenic and mercury, but will also list other chemicals that appear in their tests. Each toy is listed as low, medium or high in toxic material content.

You have to join the website in order to view the data, and right now the amount of listings is somewhat sparse, but this is a site I've bookmarked, and if you're concerned with toy safety, you might want to consider it as well.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Toys for children with special needs

Being so close to the duPont Hospital for Children, we sometimes get customers coming in looking for toys for children with special needs. We try to stock a wide selection of toys that help in the development of children of all ages - but it's difficult to come up with toys that would be appropriate for children with specific disabilities. Happily, there is a great resource on the web that allows you to search for toys that have been independently rated for children with a range of disabilities. is a website set up specifically to help shoppers with their choices of toys for children with disabilities. The site was developed by the National Lekotek Center, which (according to their website) is "the leading nonprofit authority on play for children with disabilities." Check out the video below for a story about brothers William and Owen and their family's experience with Lekotek and the "power of play."

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Wood is Good!

Some of our most popular toys this holiday season are made of wood. Call it nostalgia. Call it an interest in more durable toys. Call it a move to a more environmentally friendly material. Wooden dollhouses, wooden building blocks, wooden trains, wooden games, Lincoln Logs and more.
One of our most popular brands is Melissa and Doug - who's line is filled with wooden toys. I just spent a couple hours putting together the Melissa and Doug wooden kitchen (you can see it in our store's window). It's really cool - it has a fridge, oven, stovetop, a sink, shelves and even a microwave oven - and it's all made of wood!
Also popular is the game 'Gobblet' by Blue Orange Games (left). It's made entirely of wood and Blue Orange Games was awarded the 'Green Toy Company' Award for it's move to replant the trees they use for their products! Plus, the game is great! It's like tick-tac-toe, except for the added twist of being able to jump your competitors pieces. You can try even it out online here.