August 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 8
Let the Giveaways Begin: 1,025 Specialty Toys Go to School!
Ten Educational Toy Companies Improve Education for Thousands
Uncle Skunkle, Crossen Creations, FindIt Games, b. dazzle inc.,PlayMais Canada Inc., Amazing Science!, Moving Picture Books, Education Outdoors, We R Fun Games and The Spelling Bee Game have teamed with TDmonthly Magazine and four retail stores across the country to bring high-quality educational products to thousands of kids across the nation.
Entrepreneurs in the specialty toy industry have long been motivated by a strong desire to make the world a better place for kids, and for the adults they will grow up to be. With healthy, creative, educational play as a goal, they invent and sell toys that they truly believe will benefit children rather than just make a quick profit.
Working on a smaller scale with higher quality materials often results in a higher cost per unit than toys and products sold to a mass market. Less money for advertising means that the products are often not as well known, and don't make it into the hands of all the kids who could benefit from the high-quality play they provide.
To help more kids get the benefit of specialty toys, TOYDIRECTORY and TDmonthly Magazine designated 2012 "A Year of Charity." In May and June, Safari Ltd., Schoenhut Piano Company, Hape and Magicforest Ltd. gave away a total of 350 toys through specialty toy-stores Kazoo & Co., Jake's Toy Box, and Doll House & Toy Store, helping 100s of kids via six different charities.
Sari Powazek of Doll House and Toy Store in Scottsdale, Ariz. said that her charities — The Crisis Center and Devereaux House — loved that the giveaway contained a mixture of products that could be used for a number of children, over and over, such as the pianos and kitchen sets, and also toys that could be used as individual rewards.
Starting this month and continuing into September, Uncle Skunkle, Crossen Creations, FindIt Games, b. dazzle inc., PlayMais Canada Inc., Amazing Science!, Moving Picture Books, Education Outdoors, We R Fun Games and The Spelling Bee Game are giving away 1,025 educational toys, games, and books to specialty toy store owners Denise Teague of Fun Things Etc. in Waynesville, N.C.; Tina Schwindt of Fairhaven Toy Garden in Bellingham, Wash.; Kate Tanner of Kidstop Toys & Books in Scottsdale, Ariz; and Phil Wrzesinski of Toy House & Baby Too in Jackson, Mich.to distribute to their local school systems, Headstart programs, and children's charities.
Already, this unique program has excited local attention. "The Mountaineer," Fun Thing Etc.'s local paper, wrote an article about the store being chosen by TDmonthly to help their community with specialty toys (Fun Things Etc Chosen to Donate Over 250 Toys to Local Schools). The article detailed all of the generous manufacturers
participating in the program, as well as the 1,025 toys they are donating to needy kids and school systems in the winning retailers' communities during August and September.
Because many of the products being donated can be used by a number of children throughout the years, the hope is that many thousands of kids will be able to learn and play and be inspired by educational specialty products and the toy stores that bring so many benefits to their communities.
"We want to expand awareness of the value of specialty toys and make sure that every child benefits from them, no matter what their situation," said TDmonthly publisher Bob Naimi. "Toys and products of this caliber should be available for all kids. I truly believe that the social and developmental skills children learn from well-designed and carefully
made toys will resonate throughout their lives and ultimately improve the quality of all relationships, both personal and political."
Stay tuned to September and October's issues to read about the schools and kids who receive these great toys, and to find out about the final, massive specialty toy giveaway in TDmonthly's "2012: A Year of Charity."
Here are the toys that will be going to schoolchildren across the nation, starting later this month:
Hilarious! Combines fast "moo"-ving action and authentic family-farm mishaps for "udder"-ly unpredictable fun! Teaches basic economics, yet is simple to understand and play. A REAL family game - designed so ages 8 to 108 can easily play together, comfortably! First to "Retire" wins! "Life on the Farm" has won a National Parenting Center "Seal of Approval 2012"; Best Family Fun Tillywig Toy Awards; National Teacher's Choice "For the Family" Award; “Outstanding Product”and “Hot Product” *iParenting Media Awards, among many others.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 288 (added 9/1/2004)
Buzzlewords® The Spelling Bee Game Level 1 - 1st & 2nd grade by THE SPELLING BEE GAME INC.
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This is a fast-paced, fun Spelling Board Game that teaches spelling, vocabulary and reading as it's played using spelling words taken directly from any child's grade-appropriate spelling list. Also available in challenging Adult level for those who think they can spell but might find out otherwise.The fast-paced game teaches spelling, reading and vocabulary. "There are no other board games on the market which allow each player to spell words selected from their own grade level and which combine elements of chance, strategy and spelling knowledge in a way that makes learning to spell fun and easy," Richard J. Sullivan, president of The Spelling Bee Game, Inc., told TDmonthly. Launch date: July, 2009.
Awards: 2010 Creative Child Magazine Game of the Year, Children's Educational Board Game Category; 2011 Creative Child Magazine, Game of the Year, Children's Educational Board Game Category.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24263 (added 6/29/2009)
PlayMais is a biodegradable crafting material made from corn and colored with food coloring. It is manufactured in Germany, 100% safe, and biodegradable. PlayMais stimulates children's imagination and creativity, trains fine motor skills, and develops social group skills. PlayMais can be shaped, squeezed, cut and all it takes is a little bit water to create unlimited fun. Children can build in 2 or 3 dimensions, or wherever their imagination takes them.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34413 (added 6/14/2012)
The sophisticated colors of the realistic Serengeti Scramble Squares puzzle make it among the best selling styles of Scramble Squares overall, appreciated by enthusiasts of African art and nature, naturalists and conservationists. This puzzle is also especially popular with children.
Awards— Dr. Toy’s Best Classic Toys for 2011
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 31871 (added 3/7/2011)
Fishing Camp is a game where both children & adults can play & learn fun facts about Fishing. The game is designed to grow with the player, starting at level one questions, which are primarily identification of fish and fishing tackle. As the players increase in their knowledge about Fishing, they grow into the higher level questions. A fun & educational game where parents & children can play to see who catches the first fish and gets back to the docks. Game includes: 1 game board, 200 game cards(400 questions, and 100 fun facts), 1 decoder, 8 game characters, 1 die, 16 level cards, and 1 GPS card. Launch date: 2012.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33700 (added 2/15/2012)
Now the whole family can play a fast paced hidden object game with the Deluxe Find It Game containing over 70 hidden items. The Deluxe Find It hidden object game includes a deck of cards, a spinner, a timer, the check off pad, and instructions for 6 ways to play and variations to adapt to younger players. The basic play starts with each player being dealt seven cards that vary in point value. At the beginning of each turn use the spinner to determine the action required prior to play (add points, miss a turn, trade hands etc.) Look fast! Players will have 30 seconds to try to find a many items as possible. Play continues until someone finds all of their items and runs out of cards.
Awards: 2010 Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence; Tillywig Sterling Fun Award Winner
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34371 (added 5/30/2012)
By combining high quality animation, rich narration, sound effects and music, Moving Picture Books provide a fun and educational digital reading experience for children ages 0-7. There are 38 titles — both classic stories and new favorites — each available in English, Spanish and English Read-Along-Text versions. Our books can be purchased as digital downloads, or DVDs.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26803 (added 1/27/2010)
Learn fundamental principles of science through Amazing Science Experiments. Viewers learn about electricity, magnetism, heat, temperature, pressure, surface tension, buoyancy, and much more. For every demonstration, a complete materials list is given, and each experiment features multiple camera views so kids can see exactly what happens. Most importantly, every concept is explained in a step-by-step fashion. Viewers not only be amazed - they'll understand the science behind every experiment.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33560 (added 2/6/2012)
Magical Rainbow Boardgame and Playset by CROSSEN CREATIONS
Other products from CROSSEN CREATIONS
The Magical Rainbow is a magnetized game that takes children on a special adventure through its lands. Players race to a pot of gold, watching out for Paddy the Leprechaun, who on every turn travels from land to land protecting his gold. Throughout the journey players will try to collect gold coins, avoid the Leprechaun and his lucky trinkets, and use strategy to win the game. This game is designed to teach children color recognition, sequencing, patterns, counting, strategy and sharing. "It’s more than a board game, it’s a tool for releasing the imagination in every child," Crossen Creations President Frank Crossen told TDmonthly.
Awards: 2009 Family Choice Award
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24035 (added 6/9/2009)
Bambooga® - The Human Puzzle Game by UNCLE SKUNKLE TOYS, INC.
Other products from UNCLE SKUNKLE TOYS, INC.
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In this human-puzzle game, players use color wristbands to bind their hands and feet to one another, leading to a sticky mess of people. The goal of the game is to crawl, walk, scoot or jump one’s way towards the finish line, all the while maintaining the connections determined by a shake of the Bambooga Shaker. Bambooga is safe and eco-friendly, adhering to "green-" manufacturing practices with second-generation, sustainable bamboo construction. “Bambooga is the result of a social-entrepreneurship project sponsored by Kids Ark Foundation of Thailand,...an organization that hopes to find a solution to the AIDS epidemic in Thailand,” Uncle Skunkle Toys Inc. Marketing and Communications Director Maya Cardoso told TDmonthly. A portion of "the proceeds from the manufacturing of Bambooga [is] recycled back to Kids Ark and [goes] towards projects to raise education and standards of living.” Launch date: April 2008.
Awards: Bambooga is a winner of "Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Picks Children’s Products for 2009" and also won Creative Child Magazine's "Toy of the Year Award" for 2008. Bambooga has also been recognized with a favorable review by The Old Schoolhouse, a magazine for homeschooling families.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16327 (added 11/30/2007)
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Writer's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ... Read more articles by this author
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