December 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 12
Educational Giveaways Impact Thousands
Ten Companies Spread Knowledge Throughout Country
Part II of TDmonthly’s "2012: A Year of Charity" got more than 1,000 unique educational toys into the hands of teachers and students across the country, thanks to generous donations from Crossen Creations, FindIt Games, b. dazzle inc., PlayMais Canada Inc., Amazing Science!, Moving Picture Books, Education Outdoors, We R Fun Games, Uncle Skunkle and The Spelling Bee Game. The donations were facilitated by the hard work of four specialty toy store owners who won the chance to give the toys to their local schools and charities.
No One Left Out
Phil Wrzesinski of Toy House & Baby Too, a Jackson, Michigan favorite since 1949, split the toys into 25 boxes. One went to each of the 20 school districts in Jackson County and five were won in a drawing by customers who donated them to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Toys for Tots, and two local children's camps.
"The coolest thing about it was just the way in general people responded," Phil told TDmonthly. "The schools were thrilled and tickled pink. Students sent us thank-you cards. But really neat was the response from customers and people saying they love Toy House, so it was a big plus for us."
Phil linked the giveaways to Toy House's celebration of Neighborhood Toy Store Day to maximize exposure for the donating manufacturers. One photo of all the principals gathering toys from the giveaway has attracted 2,400 views on the store's Facebook page, and plenty of comments from customers. The giveaways were mentioned in a local newspaper article from M-Live on the store's numerous events and in a broadcast report by the local NBC affiliate.
Watch a a video of the schools collecting their toys from Toy House
Thinking Outside the 10 Boxes
Kate Tanner, longtime owner of Kidstop Toys in Scottsdale, Ariz., used her PR firm to come up with an extra spin for the giveaways. She had to delay her donations until after she closed a furniture store and opened a new Baby store, so they’ll take place during the holidays – when many other companies are donating toys. So they’re looking for a corporate sponsor to partner with to get the maximum amount of media coverage possible.
"We’re not looking for photos out of this," Kate told TDmonthly. "We’re looking for a video that will go viral."
The giveaways will take place the second week of December, so check back here to see whom Kate partnered up with to promote the ten donating manufacturers and the charities who receive the toys.
Both Tina Schwindt of Fairhaven Toy Garden in Bellingham, Wash., and Denise Teague of Fun Things Etc. in Waynesville, NC, held their giveaway events in October (Read the article here).
Feedback on Toys
Phil said he and his customers have been intrigued by Bambooga by Uncle Skunkle and the Deluxe Find It! – neither of which he has carried before, even though he sells other Find It versions. He already carries the Education Outdoors games and Life on the Farm by We R Fun – all of which are good sellers for him.
Tina, who is teaching educators and kids to play all of the donated games, provided this article’s photos of kids at Carl Cozier Elementary playing Bambooga and students from the Life Skills class at Sehome High School enjoying Deluxe Find It and the Magical Rainbow boardgame.
Denise's customers loved the toys, too. Her window display of the donations attracted so much attention that customers came in specifically requesting those products.
She got glowing feedback on Crossen Creations' Magical Rainbow:
"[A] speech teacher said it was great for kids because it gave them conversation interactions to work on the words," said Denise.
Stay tuned for details on the other games and DVDs, too!
Here are all of the generously donated products:
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.
Other products from 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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