Thursday, April 10, 2008

Male Monkeys prefer boy toys!

I know what you're thinking, this is just another Boy George post, but no! It's actual monkeys and toys for boys.

According to a new study by New Scientist Magazine. According to their article on their web page, Kim Wallen, a psychologist at Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia "looked at 11 male and 23 female rhesus monkeys. In general the males preferred to play with wheeled toys, such as dumper trucks, over plush dolls, while female monkeys played with both kinds of toys."

It's interesting, because the general thought is that boys preferences for trucks, toy soldiers and toys like that is learned, not innate. It's also interesting that while male monkeys preferred boy toys, the female monkeys did not show any preference. So, it proves that males are wired differently, or maybe it doesn't. It's just a bunch of monkeys.

Check out the video here

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Wham-O turns sixty

Wham-O, the company that brought you mega fads like the slingshot, the Hula-Hoop and the Frisbee, turns
sixty this year. According to the Wham-O Wikipedia page, the WAMO slingshot was invented to hurl meat in the air for the training of pet falcons and hawks. (WAMO supposedly being the sound of the target being hit).
The company was founded in 1948 by Arthur "Spud" Melin and Richard Knerr (who just died this past January and was the subject of this blog entry). Read more about this history of Wham-O on the history page of the Wham-O website.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

It's a what?

One of the joys of YouTube is the vast plethora of videos posted there. Search for anything, chances are there's a video of it. Including old toy commercials.

Check the video below for a commercial for the "Swing Wing," by Transagram (where the fun comes from). The commercial is hippie-tastic!


A - With toy safety in the headlines, would a lightning rod worn on the head really be a good idea?

B - People who make commercials have come a long way.

Webkinz - Yea or Nay?

For years, people have argued whether Webkinz are a good thing for kids or not. For a while last year, no one could get any and we fielded 30-50 calls a day from people looking for the little plush toys with an online code on them. All of the sudden, we got a ton of them in - just like everyone else and they sat on the shelves. They certainly sold OK, but not at the rate they did when they were scarce.

Anyhoo, the argument basically runs from the pro-Webkinz (they offer educational games online, computer skills, time away from the TV) to the anti-Webkinz (you call those educational games?, I don't want my kid online, how hard can it be for a kid to learn to mouse?). I've been in the middle. Many of them are cute enough, and they're not ludicrously expensive and while the online don't seem too educational to me, they're innocent and fun enough.

Check out this article in Slate (perhaps the best website in history) about Webkinz.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Washington state lowers the boom

Washington state Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law a measure that requires that toys sold in Washington state be free of toxins like lead. While doing so, she also opened the door to significant changes to the law before it's implemented in July of 2009.

The measure states that any product made for children that contains more than .009 percent of lead, .004 percent of cadmium and .10 percent of phthalates cannot be made, sold or distributed in Washington state beginning in July 2009.


I've been all for laws the set the current federal standards much lower all along. What I've been afraid of is individual laws for each state that would make it nearly impossible for toy manufacturers to hit a moving target. Washington clearly wasn't going to wait for a new Federal law to stop them from taking matters into their own hands.

I think this could be a crushing blow to little independent toy stores in Washington state, as if independently owned stores weren't already at a severe disadvantage against big box retailers like Walmart and Toys R Us.

Read the story from the Seattle Times here.