Could Kermit Be Wrong?
Jul 25, 2010
It's hard to go anywhere these days without being inundated with with the concept of "going green". Virtually every industry has been touched by this groundswell, and the toy industry is no different...and we're a better industry as a result. Still, the more I think about it, being green is not about toys made from recycled milk cartons and bamboo. It's not about packaging with soy-based dyes, either. In the end, it's really all about the whole idea of play itself. Indulge me here...
Let's say you have a choice of playing a family board game or going to a movie. Which is the "greenest" alternative? You can drive to the theater (using gasoline and creating emissions), spend $40-$50 (or more) on tickets and food in a variety of packages (all of which are headed for a landfill), and watch the movie in a theater that is using who knows how much electricity to power a multitude of lights, machines, and equipment. On the other hand, you could stay home and play a board game that you bought for $25 five years ago, pop some popcorn on the stove - and as a bonus - spend the time in meaningful conversation with your family. The fact is, by their very nature toys and games are non-disposable, unplugged, and provide hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of constructive play. The answer is clear and it proves once and for all that despite Kermit's claims, it really is that easy being green.
Disclaimer: I like movies. I like candy in disposable packages. I'm not suggesting we stop going to the movies...but what if we all traded just one movie night for a game night?
Jul 23, 2010
Ever see what regular nail polish does to a styrofoam plate? It ain't pretty. In this world of ecological responsibility and worrying about our carbon footprints, let's extend that to mean beautifying fingers and toes with something that's safe and healthy. Fingernails are porous, so shouldn't we be careful about what we're putting on them? Piggy Paint is the fantastic new (and wildly popular) non-toxic, non-volatile, non-melt-a-styrofoam-plate nail polish (and remover) that is safe for any age - and that means you too, mom. More colors than you can shake a stick at, and always "natural as mud". Check it out!
The Cardboard Box Effect
Jul 20, 2010
If you've been around many middle school kids this year, you've no doubt seen lots of arms graced with a collection of shaped rubber bands. The number of these highly affordable yet utterly enchanting little bands that have crossed retail counters in the last six months is staggering. And with almost every sale, I hear a parent say "who would have thought something so simple could cause such excitement? They're just rubber bands!" And therein lies the beauty...
There is nothing revolutionary about a rubber band (at least not since the original one was invented), and these "new" rubber bands don't do anything unusual. Put one on the table and see what it does. Nothing, right? These bands are nothing at all until they capture the imagination of a child. From searching for the newest styles, to inventing new color combinations to wear, to figuring out how many guitars equal one mermaid in a lunch room barter session, it is the engaged mind of a child that makes it all "work". Only the passion and imagination of millions of children can turn a loop of silicone into a phenomenon. And that's exactly how it should be.
It's as classic as the tale of a child who gets a gift and only wants to play with the box. They don't play with the box because it's a box, they play with it because of everything it becomes once they turn their imagination loose. At their very core, children need to be engaged. They need playthings that encourage them - even force them - to do something. These are the toys they'll turn to over and over, and it's this very "doing something" that holds the promise of education, enrichment, and enlightenment. So, as simple and inexpensive and "low-tech" as they may be, perhaps at least for now a rubber band is more than just a rubber band...