Toys for kids

What to look for when buying toys

Buying toys for your children can be a great thing, but you may not know what you should be looking for in these toys. Once you know what you should be looking for in these toys, it is easy for you to select the right one for your children. Without this information, you may have trouble in selecting the best toys for your kids.

The first thing you should be looking for in the toys for your kids is how durable these are. When you know about how durable these toys are, it is easy for you to get the one which will last you for a longer period of time. Without this, you may have to get your children new toys on a regular basis.

Something else you should be considering in the toys for your children is the location these were manufactured in. When you take this into consideration, it is easy for you to select the toys that are made in areas you can trust. Without this, you may end up getting a toy which can end up being recalled at some point in time or even cause your children harm.

Another aspect you should consider is if your children will play with the toy or not. For example, if your children cannot play with the toys because of the age requirement or they are not interested, it is easy for them to hate the toys. Investing in toys for your children and knowing the toys they are playing with is a good thing. The problem that you can run into is not knowing what to seek in toys for your children. 

Where are the Merida toys?

There’s a gaping void where Pixar’s latest merch push should be.

Last night, while having an adventure at our local store, my daughter and I made her wish list for her birthday and Christmas, which are both quickly approaching. We always make a single list for both—limited to twenty items or less, which she knows she will likely get about half of—and this was our first time doing so in the store itself, browsing through as casually as we pleased.

She found a lot of cool things she wanted—craft supplies, Hot Wheels cars, a Star Wars fighter pod (though she wants a Chewbacca with a closed mouth rather than an open one) and a wicked awesome Lego werewolf pack. Some Littlest Pet Shops and Moshi Monsters also made the list. Puzzled, she asked me where Merida’s stuff was—she was hoping to add her bow and arrow.

I told her I’d put it on the list, but her question was a good one. After all, Toy Story 3 has been out for a couple of years now—yet an entire aisle was dominated by that movie’s toys, while the “princess” aisle featured less than six Merida toys. All of them, by the way, did not look like Merida, and my daughter wanted none of them, least of all the wig offered for girls to have long Merida hair.

Seriously? Since when do we sell wigs to go with Disney films?

The fact that the bow and arrow were sold out—indeed, there is almost always a gaping hole where they might be featured—should tell toymakers something. The abundance of wigs is clear as well: girls don’t want wigs. Girls want Merida’s bow and arrows.

There’s a gaping void where Pixar’s latest merch push should be, and though I’m not one to cry for more stuff to bury our children in, I am a little miffed. Merida is amazing. Brave is amazing. Why can’t we have some toys to bring home and celebrate that fact with—to reenact our new favorite movie with cool action figures and not made-up dressed up dolls? (I kid you not; the Merida figures have makeup on them, though in the film she did not wear makeup once.) Can toymakers not get over sexualizing girls for five minutes and make us some actual good quality toys here?

In the meantime, it looks like I need to get a bow and arrow online sometime soon.

Teddy Bears And Children

It is almost expected that most children will never forget their first teddy bear. In fact, many children who have been gifted with these unique stuffed animals often have a difficulty separating from them as they continue to grow older. For the most part, there is nothing wrong with this, because as the child continues to grow older, they will treasure this simple item the most. At a younger age, we develop an interest in teddy bears because as children, these toys seem the most relatable to us.

Teddy bears and stuffed animals are the toys that many of us slept with in our most formative years, so there's a sense of bonding. If a child has nightmares, it is the teddy bear that comforts them when they have awoken in tears. As the child begins to age, the teddy bear can become a source to confide small secrets in, especially for shy children. If a family member or friend has died, a teddy bear or stuffed animal that was gifted to the child by the deceased relative may be considered a source of comfort to the child because it reminds them of the individual that they miss the most.

Sometimes older children hold on to their teddy bears from younger years because of the personal value of the bear itself. The stuffed bear is no longer used for comfort or even as a security blanket, but is kept because it holds personal significance as a gift from a relative or someone else they care about. It can also remind the individual of good memories from many years ago. A teddy bear is a special gift for this reason, because it is not just a toy, but an item that can be treasured for many years to come.

The Faithful Teddy Bear

Teddy bears have been a loved toy for several decades since their initial creation. They are so popular that they have become a wonderful gift for people of all ages, whether young or old. These soft and loveable stuffed bears come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Almost everyone can admit that these stuffed bears are cute and adorable. Over time, the style of the teddy bear has evolved somewhat, but it still remains true to the traditional appeal of what the toy has always been able to offer. Children generally never forget what their first teddy bear was like and most will at least always keep one around, even as they continue to grow older. It's not uncommon for people to keep their old teddy bears as a keepsake to later on give to their own children when the appropriate time has come. Still, teddy bears are even so popular that many people have dedicated themselves to faithfully starting a collection of different types of bears. 

It's likely that teddy bears will continue to be popular with children and adults as time continues to progress. In some sense, teddy bears have become a part of the culture -- perhaps even pop culture -- on an international level. They are a toy that is recognized and enjoyed by everyone, regardless of the location or time period. However, what most people don't realize is that the teddy bear has a great amount of history associated with its general existence. Next week's blog will focus greatly on a series devoted to the history of the teddy bear.

Eco-Friendly Plastics

Good for the Earth and Safer to Chew

It's a fact. Young children chew on things. Even when they are past the point of teething many children taste their toys. Chewing seems to help some kids concentrate and process new information. This takes the importance of the materials our children's toys are made out of to a new level. It's not just about durability, it's might also be about the toys healthfulness. 

Enter Sprig toys. This great line of plastic toys is made out of reclaimed wood and recycled plastic. Worried that the recycled plastic carries harmful toxins? The manufacturers of Spring toys test for BPA, phthalates, lead and other toxins. Not satisfied with government minimum levels they strive to exceed US and European safety standards, and all of their toys are tested by independent laboratories to prevent in-house mistakes. Sprig makes baby toys, cars and trucks all powered by your child's imagination.


Green toys also make fantastic toys out of recycled plastic. In their case, they use only recycled milk jugs so that you can be sure their toys are safe to eat off of. I especially like this line because they make a tea set and dishes your little one can eat off of and that is dish-washer safe. Our kids both liked to have "real" tea parties with actual food and drink. I didn't want to hand over my tea set, but most toys made me cringe when used as actual dishes. The green toys set was a huge relief. Thankfully, it was also loved by both of my children!


LEGO Minecraft Feels Redundant

Collectible set to ship this summer


Oh, gosh. I think we've encountered an infinite loop of geekery. Danish toymaker invents play set with infinite building possibilities. Swedish programmer designs computer game based on same philosophy--creating whole worlds from blocks. Danish toymaker picks up on Swedish game's popularity, releases set based on its own virtual protégé. Will this go on forever? Am I staring into the abyss?

So, yeah, the LEGO set of PC games has inspired an actual, real life LEGO set of its own. The LEGO Minecraft set is currently available for pre-order and will ship this summer. 

What does the result of a geek loop look like, then? Well, it's blocky. And small. And not really as exciting as one might have hoped. Aside from the two specially-made minifigs that come with the set (Steve and a creeper), it's all made up of parts that you probably already have in that giant bucket of LEGO bricks that's still sitting in your parents' basement. It's all colored one-by-one bricks. The ones meant to represent lava are red and translucent, but they're not the first LEGO bricks to let light through. You could probably come up with a more convincing and exciting kit just by sourcing the remainders of your childhood.

But if you're a firm subscriber to the word of Notch, then I guess you're going to have to pick up this box of bricks. It'll set you back $35, which isn't so bad for a small collectible set. I'd wager it's not as much fun to play around with as either computer Minecraft or regular LEGO, though. 

American Girl Best Friend Dolls

Nellie, Elizabeth, Emily, Ivy, and Ruthie

In 2004, in addition to the traditional American Girl dolls, the first Best Friend doll was released. The best friend series featured the best friend of each American Girl doll. As of 2011, there have been five “Best Friend” dolls. These dolls are Nellie, Elizabeth, Emily, Ivy, and Ruthie.


Nellie O’Malley is the best friend of the American Girl doll Samantha. In addition to being featured in Samantha’s stories, Nellie has her own book as well. Her book is titled “Nellie’s Promise”. The Nellie doll features strawberry blond hair and dark blue eyes. She comes in her “Meet” outfit: a white and blue dress, tight, black shoes, and a blue hair ribbon.


Elizabeth Cole is the best friend of Felicity Merriman. Elizabeth has been featured in her own book titled “Very Funny, Elizabeth”. The Elizabeth doll features blond hair and light blue eyes. She is dressed in her “Meet” outfit: a pink gown, white shift, white shoes, and hair ribbon.


Emily Bennett is the best friend of Molly McIntire. In addition to playing a part in Molly’s stories, she is featured in her own book “Brave Emily”. Emily has dark auburn hair and light blue eyes. She comes dressed in her “Meet” outfit: a blue dress, red headband, black shoes, and red socks.


Ivy Ling is the best friend of American Girl Julie Albright. She has straight black hair with bangs and brown eyes. She wears her “Meet” outfit: a pink and yellow shirt, green pants, and tan boots. In addition to her role in Julie’s books, she has her own book titled “Good Luck, Ivy”.


Ruthie Smithens is the best friend of Kit Kitteredge. She has dark brown hair and gray eyes. Her “Meet” dress is a purple flower print and she wears a matching purple ribbon. In addition to being featured in Kit’s books, Ruthie has her own story titled “Really Truly Ruthie”.

Lord of the Rings LEGO Sets to Arrive Next Year

Danish toymaker acquires rights to make toys based on the Peter Jackson films
File this one under "oh ye gods, yes, please let this happen as planned." LEGO, the building toy manufacturer responsible for approximately 83% of my childhood, has just acquired the rights to make toys based off the Lord of the Rings series. They're expected to hit shelves this June. 
Warner Bros. Consumer Products awarded the toymaker free reign over all of the characters, scenes, and settings from the Peter Jackson films. That includes the trilogy of films that's already out, as well as the two upcoming films based on The Hobbit. That means everyone from Bilbo to Saruman to Figwit (look him up if you don't know who I mean) is fair game for the LEGO treatment.
As a former proud owner of both Indiana Jones and Star Wars LEGO sets, I've got to say I'm tempted to start up my block habit again just to get my hands on some of these sets. I mean, some of the most epic scenes ever written are included in the Lord of the Rings books and movies. Can you imagine a Mines of Moria playset? The Ents' attack on Isengard? Helm's Deep? These are possibilities that approach the scale of the full Death Star kit. Collectors better get ready to empty their wallets as some of the coolest LEGO kits ever start to make it to the shelves.
Of course, there's also the very real possibility that we'll see video games based on the new line of sets. As someone who was disappointed by the initial round of LotR games, I hope the LEGO charm does the franchise good this time around.