Marching into 2017

~ Toy Mashup. ©2017 Ruth Green Concepts, Inc.  All rights reserved.
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Party Animals

Reposted from Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/150378075039274960/
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Hello Hijab

These moms are making tiny hijabs for their kids’ dolls

Updated 1:44 PM ET, Mon March 20, 2017  Reposted from: CNN

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Dolls in the handmade tiny hijabs aimed at raising “a kinder generation”

(CNN)When her 5-year-old daughter got glasses, Gisele Fetterman got her a doll that had glasses, too. It was important that her daughter, Grace, saw herself in her dolls, Fetterman said.

It’s that same intention that led the Pittsburgh-area mom to be sure Grace’s dolls reflect everyone.
“We make it a point to be very deliberate in her doll collection,” Fetterman said. “We want them to look like the world.” Her daughter has dolls from all over that reflect different racial backgrounds, she said. Grace even has a doll in a wheelchair.
But one day, Fetterman noticed Grace didn’t have any Muslim dolls. She asked her Muslim friend, Safaa Bokhari, if her daughter had any dolls with hijabs. She didn’t, but Bokhari loved the idea.
“I was happy,” said Bokhari, who lives in nearby Oakland. “I wanted to do that before, but because I’m not a citizen, I couldn’t do it.”
After enlisting the help of a local artist to make hijabs for Grace’s dolls, Fetterman and Bokhari decided to expand the project and sell the tiny hijab accessories to other parents looking to teach their children about diversity.
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Grace, who is 5, with her dolls.
The result is Hello Hijab, an initiative that aims to highlight diversity and educate kids about the traditional headscarf and what it means to the Muslim women who wear it. “There’s a little card for each one that talks about our differences and how our differences bring us together,” Fetterman said.
“We need that in America,” Bokhari said. She’s faced discrimination for wearing her hijab. People stare, she said. Sometimes they call her names.
“People are doing that because they don’t know us,” she said. “This is just a piece of fabric. It doesn’t mean we’re aliens.”
For her, the Hello Hijab mission is about providing a better future for her daughter.

‘Raising a kinder generation’

Reflecting on the recent increase in hate crimes, Fetterman said the initiative has an important mission to teach her daughter and her peers about inclusiveness. “We wanted to find a gentle way to reach the children, so that we’re raising a kinder generation,” she said.
Bokhari was surprised by the support she found from the Muslim community. “They want that for their daughters also,” she said. “The Muslim community has made me feel supportive and strong now.”
With the help of two Muslim seamstresses, old hijabs will be repurposed and made into tiny ones, Fetterman said. The online shop opens April 1.
All the proceeds made from Hello Hijab will be donated to local organizations “doing important work for human rights,” Fetterman said. The groups include the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh chapter of the ACLU of Pennsylvania and the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Pittsburgh.
160208105621-hijarbie-4-medium-plus-169Hello Hijab will be one of several projects under Fetterman’s volunteer-run nonprofit For Good. The group’s goal is to make Pittsburgh the kindest city in the country, Fetterman said.
“Hello Hijab believes that while we may look different and have different beliefs, our similarities far outweigh our differences,” wrote Fetterman along with the group’s co-founder, Kristen Michaels, on their website. “We strive for a world where we all live and love together.”
“I feel happiness really,” Bokhari said. “We didn’t sell any hijabs yet, but I feel that I’m starting a true thing.”
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Go Figure!

Action Figures Come To Life In Stunning Images By Japanese Photographer

Japanese photographer Hot.kenobi plays with his action toys and uses photography to tell their entertaining stories. Osaka-based Hot.kenobi creates a universe where box office rivals DC and Marvel comics (sometimes Disney’s Star Wars as well) not only battle each other, but also have some fun in both surreal and everyday situations. Most of his compositions are explosive and feature a lot of movement, perfectly supplemented by special effects and a healthy dose of humor.

Whether it’s Hulk smashing a can of soda, or Spiderman trying to ‘play’ Captain America’s shield on a CD player, these images bring the colorful personalities of unlikely friends and foes.

More info: Instagram (h/t: ufunk, demilked)

Action Figures

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Action Figures

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Take Note

Here’s a great way to upcycle your old game cards…and keep track of your thoughts. Create one-of-a-kind mini notebooks. A real win, win for the new year!

Reposted from Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/269793833896649916/

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Audi lang syne

Awesome Ad Proves There’s No Such Thing As Girl Toys And Boy Toys

They’re just toys.

Thank You Audi. An awesome Audi advertisement proves PLAY knows no gender.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/audi-ad-proves-theres-no-su…#InspirationGeneration via @HuffPostParents

Taylor Pittman, Parents Associate Editor, The Huffington Post
12/23/2016 11:29 am ET

untitled-1Audi Spain is making an awesome statement about how absurd it is to label toys by gender.

The car company posted an animated ad on YouTube on Dec. 17 that begins at a closed toy store with a pink side of the aisle and a blue one. (We’ll let you decide which side is for girls and which is for boys).

The ad later shows a doll ditching her pink carriage for a fast blue car. During her drive, she sees other toys defying gender stereotypes.

At the end of the ad when the store opens again, a boy asks if he can have the doll and the car she’s in, but the mom says they don’t go together. He grabs them both anyway.

Reminder: Let toys just be toys.

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Jurassic Seuss

Jurassic Park meets Doctor Seuss

Check out this incredibly fun collection of Doctor Seuss-inspired Jurassic park dinosaur toys. They are from Sillof, who has created a ton of really cool custom made toys over the years. The series is called Suesstastic Park. Reposted from: http://geektyrant.com/news/jurassic-park-meets-doctor-seuss-in-awesome-toy-mashup

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Regular 2 Decaf 2

The R2D2 Coffee Press might make mornings manageable

by – on October 5th, 2016    Reposted from CoolestGadgets.com

Star Wars courses through our veins much in the same way that caffeine does. It helps us to care about approaching each day, and gives us and our friends something to commune over. Coffee helps us stay alert, and Star Wars, in all of its various forms of media, helps us pass the time that we spend awake. It should only make sense then that we find a way to combine the two in one beautiful marriage of form and function.

This R2D2 Coffee Press will not only represent your geeky love of the story of a dysfunctional family in the stars, but will also provide you with the necessity of caffeine. This is officially licensed Star Wars merchandise, which doesn’t mean as much lately since so many things fall under that category. However, this is really cute, and is a purchase that will add something to your day rather than collecting dust on a shelf. No one in their right mind wouldn’t be excited about 32 ounces of coffee made for them by R2D2.

This is comprised of a stainless steel plunger, glass body, and a BPA-free plastic housing with the likeness of your favorite droid. Sorry BB8 lovers, but his body shape just isn’t conducive to a french press. This pre-order is going to cost you $39.99, which is nothing to snuff at since there will shipping to take into account as well. The only difficult part about your newfound friend will be keeping the coffee stains off of its white exterior.

Available for purchase on ThinkGeek

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Land Rover unveils record-breaking Lego structure

Published on: September 30th, 2016  Reposted from http://toyworldmag.co.uk/news/land-rover-builds-record-breaking-lego-structure/

Land Rover has revealed the New Discovery seven-seat SUV by breaking a Guinness World Record for the largest Lego structure ever built.

Lego-480Long-term Land Rover Discovery owners Bear Grylls, Sir Ben Ainslie and Zara Phillips took part in the dynamic live reveal of Land Rover’s new model, around a 13-metre high Lego version of London’s Tower Bridge.

The set was made from 5,805,846 Lego bricks, breaking the previous Guinness World Record by 470,646 pieces. Laid end to end, the bricks would stretch from Tower Bridge in London to Paris. Led by the UK’s only Lego certified professional, Duncan Titmarsh, it took five months for expert Lego Master Builders in the UK to construct the structure. It was erected in the grounds of Packington Hall, Warwickshire, UK.

As part of the reveal sequence, Bear Grylls appeared by abseiling from the top of the huge Tower Bridge installation, through the open drawbridge and onto the stage beside the New Discovery. The finale also saw Sir Ben tow a Lego replica of the Land Rover BAR boat, a 186,500-brick model.

The model of Tower Bridge was flanked by two Lego Discovery Zones, celebrating 27 years of Land Rover Discovery heritage. An Equestrian Zone, hosted by Zara Phillips, featured a British picnic scene made entirely from Lego bricks, and the Bear Grylls Adventure Zone included a Lego fire and boulders to represent a scene from a mountain exploration.

Emma Owen, Lego UK and Ireland spokeswoman, said: “We are thrilled that Jaguar Land Rover has used Lego bricks to add some Guinness World Record-breaking creativity to the launch of the latest Discovery. This is an epic, outstanding build that absolutely captures the imagination in a way we haven’t seen before.”

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LEGO Legacy

How does LEGO thrive in the age of video games? Storytelling.

LEGO reported Tuesday that it saw flat sales in North America, but mainly because it couldn’t keep up with demand for its multicolored blocks. Some experts say the dip is but a blip for one of the toy industry’s greatest success stories.

By Lonnie Shekhtman, Staff Reposted from www.csmonitor.com

 

Dale Wilcox/AP Images for LEGO Canada, Inc.

After years of explosive growth and record profits, iconic building-block maker LEGO reported Tuesday that it saw flat sales in North America in the first half of this year. But that’s not entirely bad news.

The family-owned Danish toymaker says part of the reason for the sales slump is that it could not meet high demand in the Americas because of problems with its global supply chain, according to the Wall Street Journal. This led the company to invest less in marketing the blocks here.

“In the US, we acknowledge that we have not provided the initiatives and support needed to keep the same high level of growth,” as in Europe and Asia, where sales grew by double-digits so far this year, says the company’s executive vice president and chief financial officer John Goodwin in a statement online.

To adjust, the company says it has bought a new factory in China, expanded production in Mexico, and will double production at its Hungary plant. On top of that, LEGO said it has hired 3,500 workers so far this year, adding to its 18,500 global staff members. All this will help lift North American profit in the second half of 2016, Mr. Goodwin told the Journal.

Despite the slump in some sales so far this year, the company has been growing its annual sales by 21 percent, and annual profit by 36 percent, on average in the last eight years, according to David Robertson, a professor of innovation and product development at Wharton business school. He wrote a book about LEGO, “Brick by Brick,” in 2013.

In the age of video games, apps, and Netflix – and a decade after the company nearly went out of business – the growth is impressive. And it begs the question: How does a half-century-old, rudimentary building-blocks toy still attract so many people?

“LEGO is really good at telling stories around the brick,” says Prof. Robertson. “It learned that you can’t just have a box of bricks.”

The company today makes lines of block sets that revolve around storylines: like those of a set of ninjas who fight evil, called Ninjago, and Legends of Chima, about tribes of anthropomorphic animals. These sets are accompanied by video games, TV shows, action figures, and even a LEGO conference. “You have to think what else besides the brick would get kids involved with the toy,” Robertson explains.

LEGO also has also struck gold with its licensing deals over the years. The company has an exclusive license with Star Wars to make themed brick sets featuring the some world’s most popular characters. “If you want to build a Death Star out of plastic blocks, LEGO is now your only option,” NPR’s “Planet Money” reported in 2012.

Through the years, the company has also licensed Indiana Jones, Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story, Harry Potter, Batman, and many others.

More recently, the company has made a successful foray into movies. “The Lego Movie” in 2014 featured popular LEGO characters and helped push the company ahead of Hasbro and Mattel briefly into the spot of #1 toy manufacturer in the world. This, despite the fact that Mattel has Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and now Lego-like Mega Bloks under its name, as Fast Company points out, while LEGO has only one line of business.

“They’ve got some very strong licenses and a very strong management team and incredibly high brand equity, so all these things maintain them,” says Richard Gottlieb, consultant to the toy industry through his company, Global Toy Experts.

But, says Mr. Gottlieb, LEGO could face some challenges, particularly from competitor Mattel. In 2014 Mattel bought Mega Brands, the Canadian maker of Mega Bloks, “so they can begin eating into Lego sales,” says Gottlieb.

“[Mega Brands] now has Mattel’s power for strong licenses and to promote the products,” he says.

Though LEGO beat its biggest competitor in sales in the first half of last year, it has not exceeded Mattel yet in full-year sales, which include the profitable holiday season, as the Journal reports. Mattel’s sales were also down as of this past July.

Regardless of the dip in toy sales this year, though, Gottlieb says he has faith in Legos.

“Whatever they do, LEGO sustains a certain level of high quality and attention to detail,” he says.

[Editor’s Note: LEGO’s average annual sales and profit has been updated from the original version.]

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Girls R Us

Mattel’s American Girl dolls to be sold at Toys R Us stores

Mattel’s American Girl dolls will soon be sold at Toys R Us stores, a major expansion for the toy company’s brand of pricey dolls.

The dolls are now sold at American Girl’s 20 stores and on its website. Making the dolls available in more places could help Mattel Inc. reverse the brand’s declining sales. Last year, American Girl sales fell 8 percent from the year before.

Starting in September, Toys R Us will sell American Girl’s new line of $60 WellieWisher dolls at all of its 870 U.S. stores. A month later, Toys R Us will open American Girl shops within about 100 of its stores. Those shops will sell the WellieWisher line and American Girl’s signature Truly Me dolls, which cost more than $100.

Mattel said it will be the first time the Truly Me dolls have been sold at a U.S. retailer outside of its own stores.

In a note to clients Wednesday, Jefferies analyst Trevor Young said the deal “bodes well” for an American Girl turnaround. Young expects sales of the brand to rise by the end of the year or early next year.

Mattel, based in El Segundo, California, said it plans to work with Toys R Us to open more American Girl shops in 2017.

Associated Press

Copyright © 2016, Chicago Tribune
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Blast-Off to Sand Land!

Are You as Jealous of This Kid’s DIY Spaceship Bed as We Are?

A Brooklyn dad built a spaceship loft bed for his son that will blow your mind.

By Hollee Actman Becker  Reposted from: http://www.parents.com
Spaceship loft bed dad built for his son.
BrooklynEWD/Imgur

A Brooklyn dad just finished a DIY project for his four-year-old that, IMHO, puts all other DIYs to shame. Check out this futuristic twin-sized spaceship loft bed—complete with stairs, storage, and a seriously cool control panel—that the whole family can pile on top of for story time.Lucky kid!

Reddit user BrooklynEWD shared a bunch of pics of his masterpiece on Imgur, along with a play-by-play that gives readers the 411 on how he basically crushed this project—which was actually his first DIY build ever! The first step, making a model of the bed and control panel using 3D modeling software Sketchup, was no easy task. “This was easily the most labor intensive part of the whole process,” he explained.

Once he had his design down, Dad decided to add a spaceship chair, which he created based on the dimensions of a pre-made seat cover for a go-cart. Sounds pretty cool. By why not just go out and, you know, buy a chair?

“I went to the extra trouble so my son could go to the shop with me and watch the machine cut the chair from a piece of 1/2″ birch ply, then he could fit it together to make the chair himself,” he explained. “I want him to see that we can make things ourselves, and that not everything has to come from a store.”

World’s Greatest Dad alert!

Seat and control panel in spaceship loft bed dad built for son. BrooklynEWD/Imgur

When construction was finished, he then got to work sanding and priming. “The clock was ticking,” he said. “My family was out of town for the week so I worked on this every evening for 7 days to complete it.”

That’s some serious dedication. But in the end, he decided to leave the space under the bed unpainted, so that he will have another project to complete with his son down the road. “It’s important to me that he make the space his own (when he’s ready),” he wrote. “And this seemed like a great way to facilitate that.”

A super-fly bed with an important takeaway message. Top that, Martha Stewart!

The highlight of the whole project is definitely the control panel, which features an iPad for a screen and boasts knobs and switches that actually light up.

Dad builds son a futuristic twin-sized spaceship loft bed. BrooklynEWD/Imgur

So amazing! But ingenuity like this comes at a price.

“It definitely cost more than I had hoped,” Dad admitted. “The final price for all materials was somewhere around $800, but the vendors’ labor almost doubled that. It was less than that $4000 ‘Star Wars bed’ from pottery barn kids, so I feel like I won.”

We’re pretty sure his kid won, too.

Son at control panel of spaceship loft bed his dad built for him. BrooklynEWD/Imgur
Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld.
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Explore, Create, Play

Why Melissa & Doug Toy Line Makers Say Boredom Is Important

Good Morning America
Reposted from Yahoo News
Untitled-1

Melissa and Doug Bernstein, the married creators of the Melissa & Doug toy line, built their $350 million conglomerate using creativity and hard work. And they’ve never paid for a single ad.

They’ve also never invited TV cameras into their home. Until now.

ABC News’ Juju Chang visited the couple inside their Westport, Conn., home, where they talked to her about what made a good Melissa & Doug toy.

“We take old-fashioned categories but we inject real … excitement and pizazz,” Doug said.

He agreed that the company’s products tend to slow down childhood, saying “that’s exactly what we want them to do.”

Added Melissa: “What we’re trying to say, in our simple way, step back and engage in some time together … just play.”

“That is the essence of childhood. Through imaginary play you discover who you are. You explore,” she said. “You create … You try things and fail. And it’s OK because it’s just imaginary. So you learn to take risks and discover in that who you really are.”

Studies show that children learn best by interacting with people and not screens. The Melissa & Doug philosophy matches the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that parents limit screen time for young children.

The Bernsteins also say boredom is key.

“We believe that boredom is a great thing because from boredom, all creativity comes,” Doug said.

Melissa likened boredom to “staring at a blank canvas and saying ‘oh, my goodness, I need to fill this up. What do I do?”

That’s when “magic happens,” she said.

From dress-up to playing grownup and puzzles to crafts, Melissa & Doug toys flex every muscle of a child’s developing sense of identity – and the toys are often tested by their six children.

After 28 years and more than 5,000 products, the Bernsteins’ company –- which started as a humble operation in Doug’s father garage — is now in the same league as toy titans Mattel and Lego.

“When we first started making products, we threw them in the back of my father’s old Malibu station wagon and … we’d go into stores,” Doug said, adding that they “literally begged” retailers to give their products a try.

Melissa chimed in that they “cried sometimes.” The two recalled that they ate “chicken hot dogs and ramen noodles” for about two years.

“Ramen were 10 pack for 99 cents and we had one-burner stove. And we ate that for basically two to three meals a day because that was all we could afford,” Melissa said.

The Bernsteins have come a long way since then. Their home sports its own basketball court and bowling alley, all built for family fun.

Doug credits his wife for the philosophy behind their company’s success.

“When you see Melissa’s face talking about this, you know why this works. Because there is no one more genuinely and authentically living and breathing this, and she is. And that’s where this all comes from …,” he said. “She has never once done a marketing study. She has never once polled anybody. It all comes from her own inner excitement and frankly tapping back into her childhood where she was extraordinarily creative and playing with crafts, all day long, making her own dolls, making all her own crafts. And I think that’s what she took with her throughout life.”

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