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Articles by Elizabeth Greenspan


Schleich Worlds of Play Capture the Globe (1/1/2010)
Schleich produces realistic, high-quality animal, historical and fantasy toys. The fun and beautiful figurines appeal to both children and collectors.

Learning Resources Keeps Teaching in 25th Year (9/1/2009)
In 1984, Jane Woldenberg realized a need in the educational market for hands-on elementary school math products. Her solution was creating Learning Resources

Family Pastimes Promotes Cooperative Play (3/1/2009)
In 1970, as Jim Deacove was sitting in his backyard watching neighborhood kids playing games, some “heady insights” occurred to him about the nature of traditional, confrontational game play.

Karito Kids Provide Health and Homes for Children (11/1/2008)
KidsGive makes dolls and books that represent girls and cultures around the world. It’s also a children’s charity and the result of a vision shared by Co-founders Laura Rangel, president, and her friend Lisa Steen Proctor, COO.

Rich Frog Capitalizes on Smart Design (10/1/2008)
Maarten van Ryckevorsel had been working as a national sales manager in the toy industry for about five years when a “brilliant play on words” popped into his head

Zoobie Pets Invade 1,100 Stores in Under 2 Years (9/1/2008)
Two years ago, at the age of 23, JC Smoot developed a stuffed animal that could serve as a pillow and blanket when the occasion called for it. He teamed up with his older brother Reid ... and started a company

Brainy Baby Gets Smarter By the Year (8/1/2008)
For parents who want their children to learn the ABCs, 123s, animals, shapes, colors, Spanish and French, Brainy Baby makes toys, games, music, books, videos and more so that babies, toddlers and preschoolers can do just that.

Uberstix Kits Construct Eco-Friendly Play (8/1/2008)
Überstix building system is unique. You can build buildings as tall as your ceiling, and airplanes that fly and boats that float.

Rebuilt Griddly Games Sports Strategy and Fun (7/1/2008)
Named after the world grid, Griddly Games makes sports-themed games that feature diverse, hand-painted characters. Reisa Schwartzman, now owner and president, took over the bankrupt company in December 2006 and, with Penny Osborn, director of operations, revamped the business.

Bananagrams Maintains Ap’peel (6/1/2008)
Abe Nathanson and his family love word games. In 2006, Abe wanted a new game — an anagram game so fast it would drive them bananas.

Investing in Time (5/1/2008)
In 2004 stay-at-home mom Maureen Farinella, a former district manager for Barnes & Noble's software division, realized timing her elementary school-aged children’s required reading was difficult, as one child was a voracious reader, and the other reluctant

Sport Technology Goes with the Flow (5/1/2008)
Want to snowboard in the summer? Ten years ago the answer would have been, “Yes, but…” Now, the answer is the Flowboard.

Play Clay Models Success (4/1/2008)
Linda Clark, founder of Play Clay, was a stay-at-home mother of four when her husband was laid off for six weeks in 1989. In need of money, she started selling her special play dough creation.

Higgins Brothers Makes Life a Circus (3/1/2008)
Don Higgins was on a world tour in 1991 when he arrived in London. He didn’t have enough money for a ticket home to Canada, but he did have time on his hands, so he learned to juggle — in less than five minutes!

Brass Ring: Bubbagum Turns Rotten Teeth to Gold (12/1/2007)
Patrick Brittain likes people to smile and laugh. Four years ago, he invented ugly edible teeth that make a lot of people happy when they wear them.

Toy Buzz: Giddy Goose ‘n Gander Unleashes Inner Pirates (12/1/2007)
Rough seas, pirate ships, swashbuckling adventure. Pirates are popular these days, and Giddy Goose ‘n Gander Games is right in the high seas battle with its two games, Piratack and Piratitan.

Competing With Computers (12/1/2007)
Given the craze over computers and obsessions for being online, thanks in part to Ganz’s Webkinz, it may seem that children have lost interest in good, old-fashioned toys.

Brass Ring: Poppo Pops Out Awards (11/1/2007)
Family games by Poppo Brands took off with a "pop" when they hit the market in February 2007. Since then, the word puzzle games, Poppo! and Zotto, have collectively earned 12 awards

Uglydolls Sit Pretty in 3,000 Stores (10/1/2007)
Uglydoll plush toys are so ugly they’re cute. The first Uglydoll was handmade by Sun-Min Kim as a present for David Horvath in 2001

Woodstock Chimes Rings True (9/1/2007)
In 1979, Garry Kvistad was teaching music at a Midwestern university when he decided to make his first instrument — a xylophone constructed of aluminum lawn-chair tubes that he hung to be played by the wind

Blackall Associates Crafts a Masterpiece (8/1/2007)
The unique and lifelike Masterpiece Dolls by Blackall Associates were an instant success when Shirley Blackall introduced them in 1998

NuOp Design Thrives on Originality (7/1/2007)
In 2005, Frank Frisari and John McCoy pooled their talents to create geometric magnets and the flexible plastic Q-Man. Two years later, they have a line of colorful novelties.

Out of the Box Makes Its Own Rules (6/1/2007)
Word games, board games, dice games, card games. Party games, skill games, family games … Out of the Box Games makes every type of game imaginable.

Only Hearts Club Keeps Growing (5/1/2007)
Soft yet poseable, wholesome yet cool, Only Hearts Club dolls are an appealing alternative to the typical dolls marketed to girls ages 8 to 12

Bling Bling Scores! (4/1/2007)
Real estate investor and photo/video producer Joseph Cassarino was introduced to Jeff McGill, the inventor of Bling Bling, in 2002. Cassarino was so impressed with McGill's preliminary outline that he decided to fund his company.

Secrist Shares Secrets, Gains Sales (3/1/2007)
Reborning — disassembling a doll and rebuilding it into a lifelike baby — has turned the business model upside down

Safari Grows Fearlessly (2/1/2007)
Since 1980, Safari Ltd. has been making all types of realistic animal figures

River Dolphin Toys Makes the Connection (1/1/2007)
A flying dog, a fish that walks on elephant legs, a seal with a lizard tail. Children can make these fantastic creatures with Zoomorphs

Retailer Spotlight: Heights Toy Center (12/1/2006)
The Heights Toy Center in Little Rock, Ark., came into Greg Bonner’s life in 1967, when he was 5 years old.

Great Lakes Toy Company Works for Kids (12/1/2006)
Andrew “Drew” Nauman, inspired by his toymaker grandfather, started designing and building toys as a child.

Teddy Bear Stuffers Knows Its Stuff (11/1/2006)
Annette Block owned a successful corporate gift basket company when she and her husband Stanley saw their first bear stuffer

b. dazzle, inc.'s Dazzling Rise (11/1/2006)
b. dazzle, inc. 's Scramble Squares® 9-piece puzzles are beautiful visual brainteasers.

All in the Family Toy Store (11/1/2006)
He may have thought he was just playing, but when Greg Bonner grabbed a jack-in-the-box as a child, he was really training himself to take over his family’s toy store.

Preschool Prep Brings Life to Letters (10/1/2006)
Preschool Prep Company produces DVDs and books that teach toddlers the alphabet, numbers and shapes while they are learning to talk

Retailing Tips: Brand Your Toys (9/1/2006)
"The only thing that separates us from other stores is customer service ... "

Uberstix Taps Kids’ Unlimited Potential (8/1/2006)
Dane Scarborough founded Überstix so he could answer "yes" next time his son asks him if he loves his job.

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