November 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 11
SCHOOLS GET AUTUMN BOOST FROM SPECIALTY TOYS
Ten Educational Toys, Games and Videos Convert Parents and Educators
Reports from the first educational giveaways in TDmonthly’s “2012: A Year of Charity” suggest that the toys are making an even bigger impact than expected. The winning retailers are reaching out to all different segments of their communities, ensuring that kids and even some adults in challenging situations get the benefit of well-designed and thought-out games and activities that teach essential skills...and are fun, too!
Magical Rainbow Boardgame and Playset by Crossen Creations, FindIt Deluxe Edition by FindIt Games, Scramble Squares(R) puzzles by b. dazzle inc., PlayMais sculpting and construction sets by PlayMais Canada Inc., Amazing Science! DVDs, Eight Silly Monkeys and other DVDs by Moving Picture Books, Camp boardgame by Education Outdoors, Life on the Farm boardgame by We R Fun Games, Bambooga(R) cooperative game by Uncle Skunkle and Buzzlewords boardgame TheSpelling Bee Game are now being played in shelters, elementary schools, high schools, and senior centers across the nation, thanks to the generosity of the donors and the resourcefulness of the winning retailers.
Tina Schwindt of Fairhaven Toy Garden in Bellingham, Wash., is not simply dropping off the games to educators: she's going into the classrooms and teaching the kids and teachers how to play them.
"We are having a great time visiting schools so far," Tina told TDmonthly. "They are so appreciative. We have made a great connection with a few Life Skills classes at a nearby high school. We already plan to go back."
She visited Carl Cozier Elementary, which services kindergarten through 5th grade and plans three more visits to cover all of the classrooms. She has plans to hold a game night for the school's students and parents. Tina also donated toys to a building that houses low-income seniors and disabled people, and to a low-income daycare.
"Our main difficulty has been getting the teachers to get to a point where they were ready for us to come in and use some of their valuable class time, but they all seem excited about it still," reported Tina, whose daughter is coordinating the project.
Now that the giveaways are over for Denise Teague of Fun Things Etc. in Waynesville, NC, teachers from the 11 schools she donated the toys to are giving her rave reviews on their educational and play value.
The teachers loved using Life on the Farm to teach about finance. Her daughter's speech teacher played the Magical Rainbow board game with her, helping her with colors.
"The speech teacher said it was great for kids because it gave them conversation interactions to work on the words," said Denise.
Denise had held an in-store raffle for one set of the toys, which resulted in thousands of entries from her customers, but only ten winners. The lucky parents and kids have also been reporting back to her on how useful and fun the games are.
"Most people have said 'Thanks for everything!'" said Denise. "I've gotten some thank you's back to me and hopefully the vendors have as well. I've had people asking about where they can find the games and I've passed along website addresses."
Big Things A-Comin'
Phil Wrzesinski of Toy House & Baby Too, a Jackson, Michigan staple since 1949, has been conducting a "huge promotion" as part of his Neighborhood Toy Store Day events on Saturday, November 10.
"We have invited all the local schools to come to the store to pick up their donations that day at 2pm," Phil told TDmonthly. "Plus we'll do the drawing to give our customers a chance to give some toys away, too. I was on a local TV talk show last Wednesday promoting it. I showed off each of the toys, did a plug for the companies and TDmonthly. I taped a radio interview yesterday morning that will be played all next week. I have sent out press releases. So far two TV stations and one radio station are planning to cover the event when it happens. The schools are excited, too!"
Kate Tanner, longtime owner of Kidstop Toys in Scottsdale, Ariz., will be doing her educational giveaways after she moves her Baby Store this month. “Our PR firm is targeting our store moving sale” and will promote the giveaway, too.
Stay tuned for more info…and photos! Here are the toys that have gotten our nation's schools so excited:
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
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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.
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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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