Springtime in February? Why not!

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

seuss-jurassic-park-8

 

seuss-jurassic-park-6 seuss-jurassic-park-4 seuss-jurassic-park-5

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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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From A Scent Far, Far Away

New Star Wars Perfumes Finally Tell Us What Jedi Are Meant to Smell Like

Peppercorns, patchouli, and oranges, apparently.

Yes, Star Wars merchandising truly knows no bound, and after The Force Awakens took over women’s cosmetics at Covergirl last year, not even the makeup counter is free from getting in on the galaxy far, far, away. Case in point? A new line of perfume in Europe that comes in Jedi, Empire, and… Queen Amidala fragrances, complete with Lightsaber-inspired bottles.

Untitled-3

So, how do you bottle up religious cults, horrifying dictatorships, and an elected monarch into smells? According to German-based perfumery Lifestyle Perfumes, it involves a large quantity of citrus fruits, which feature in all three of the themed fragrances. I’m sure there’s a Wookiepedia entry somewhere that explains why the citizens of the galaxy were so into citrus. Here’s the breakdowns for the Jedi and Sith perfumes:

Untitled-2 Untitled-1

 

Sadly no specifics on Amidala, just a picture that features oranges, chocolates, and vanilla, and presumably not the smell of whatever those big bulbous space cows she and Anakin were rolling around with on Naboo were called in Attack of the Clones. If you like Star Wars, smelling nice, and are European, these are available now.

JamesWhitbrook
James is a staff writer for io9. He reads comics so you don’t have to—but sometimes you should anyway!
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Check This, Mate!

This Giant Chessboard Is Made Of Refugees And Migrants’ Life Jackets

“It’s a metaphor for the human struggle for survival, for better life and prosperous future.”

06/09/2016 06:31 pm ET
  • Elyse Wanshel Associate Editor, Good News, Reposted from: The Huffington Post

Maria Chatziantoniou/University of the Aegean
The colossal chess board.

Talk about being strategic.

Students, staff and volunteers at University of the Aegean on the Greek island of Lesbos have taken the boats and life jackets left on beaches by migrants and refugees and have turned them into a giant chessboard.

Maria Chatziantoniou/University of the Aegean

“It’s a metaphor for the human struggle for survival, for a better life and prosperous future,” Maria Chatziantoniou, who teaches in the environmental department at University of the Aegean, told The Huffington Post.

The Greek island is a common stop for people fleeing war in the Middle East. In fact, the island saw almost 450,000 refugees pass through during 2015 alone, the Guardian reports. People usually travel to the Greek island by boat, rest there for a time and then head deeper into Western Europe in search of a new life.

When people leave their homes for these long trips overseas, they bring very few possessions with them, many of which get lost while en route. When they arrive at Lesbos, they are often forced to leave their sea gear behind before making their way to other countries on foot. As a result, their discarded items like life jackets and inflatable boats flood the beaches.

Maria Chatziantoniou/University of the Aegean
Students, staff and volunteers take the foam out of discarded life jackets.

The outdoor installation, dubbed “The Global Chess Board” and located on the university’s campus, was initially conceived by Fereniki Tsamparli, an artist and member of University of Aegean. It also includes the usage of discarded academic papers that act as a “fusion” between the students and the refugees and migrants.

Maria Chatziantoniou/University of the Aegean
The shaping of the pieces.

The chess pieces, which are roughly 4 feet tall, were shaped using the foamy interior of refugee life jackets and then were covered with pulp from the discarded paper. The board consists of plastic material derived from the boats and are covered by paper pulp as well.

Maria Chatziantoniou/University of the Aegean
The pieces covered in paper.

The colossal chessboard is available for anyone to use and the pieces are meant to reflect the thousands of people who have landed on the costs of the Greek islands looking for safety, peace and better future.

Maria Chatziantoniou/University of the Aegean

Yet, Chatziantoniou has another layer of symbolism she wants people to take away from the piece as well, telling HuffPost:

“That we can play by our own rules as long as basic human rights and the environment are respected.”

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Guys and Dolls

Mom’s Awesome Toy Line Proves Boys Can Play With Dolls, Too

“Why can’t a superhero, builder or dino explorer also be a nurturer?

Taylor Pittman Voices Staff Writer, Reposted from: The Huffington Post

When Laurel Wider’s son came home from preschool and told her that “boys aren’t supposed to cry,” she decided to tackle gender stereotypes through something that kids adore and appreciate: toys.The mom from Northampton, Massachusetts, is the creator of Wonder Crew, a line of dolls that aims to empower kids, especially boys who may be told by society that dolls are reserved for girls.

Wonder Crew is a line of dolls that aims to end the idea that boys can’t play with dolls.

Wider told The Huffington Post that she became inspired by the moment she learned about the gender stereotypes her son had encountered, specifically the idea that boys shouldn’t cry.

“I was shocked; he’d been raised in a household and community that was very pro-feelings — I’m a therapist after all!” she said. “But I soon realized that, of course, these messages and pressures about what it means to be a boy or a man exist everywhere. Of course my son would be affected, too.”

Wider interviewed 150 kids, parents, educators, psychologists and experts in the toy industry to learn more about how playtime impacts kids and discovered what they can learn from playing with dolls.

“I learned that doll play teaches a wealth of social and emotional skills,” she said. “Boys are interested in playing with dolls, yet for many parents and some boys there’s a stigma attached to this type of play and the word ‘doll’ itself is a barrier.”

And so Wonder Crew was born. Wider describes the “crewmates” as having a combination of “the adventure of an action figure with the emotional connection of a favorite stuffed animal.” The company completed a successful Kickstarter campaign in April 2015 and now has dolls and accompanying outfits available for order and pre-order in its online store.

Wonder Crew

“Why can’t a superhero, builder or dino explorer also be a nurturer?” asks Laurel Wider, creator of Wonder Crew.

Wider told HuffPost the 150 interviews she conducted earlier helped determine the clothes for the dolls, which include a chef’s uniform and a builder’s outfit.

“We learned about the most popular preschool pretend-play scenarios and then combined those with opportunities to nurture,” she said. “Why can’t a superhero, builder or dino explorer also be a nurturer?”

Though Wider became inspired to make the dolls because of boys, she clarified that all kids are encouraged to play with them. She mentioned plans for adding to the Wonder Crew line to create a diverse set of dolls that will include “female crewmates.”

Wider isn’t stopping at dolls though. She told HuffPost a Wonder Crew TV show is in the works to help spread an important message for kids.

“Our mission is to empower all kids to see themselves as connected, creative, strong individuals with the ability to go anywhere, be anything,” she said. “And we are doing just that!”

See the Wonder Crew site for more information.

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