A Good Book Never Grows Old

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or family friend, you will always want to give the perfect gift. But it’s sometimes hard to justify purchasing a gift that a child may lose interest in as they grow or that will seem outdated in just a short time as newer, more exciting toys are sold. So, when making your gift-giving decisions, don’t forget the most timeless of all children’s gifts: a good book.

 

Looking back on your childhood, it might be obvious that books were some of the gifts you enjoyed the most. What makes books so important for children and why are they so often overlooked as gifts?

From very early in their lives, children are like repositories for information, taking in all they see and hear, processing it and storing it for later use. And, when encouraging a child’s learning process, the power of books cannot be underestimated. A child’s first exposure to a book is likely through hearing a parent read the story and seeing the pictures. Throughout the next few years of their development, the very same book they enjoyed hearing read as a toddler can help them in other phases of development. Re-reading the same book over the course of a few years can aid in character development, teach them to communicate through storytelling and then, eventually, help them learn to read as their familiarity with the pictures and storyline will help them understand the words they see.

A good book never grows old. We often overlook them as gifts because other toys seem more exciting for young eyes, but time has told us that a book has lasting value. So, when looking for the perfect gift, it’s nice sometimes to pick the underdog: a good book. But don’t stop there! Read it to them. Then, read it with them. And then sit back and enjoy it as you hear them read it back to you one day!

The Origins of Thomas the Tank Engine

Thomas the Train originally started out as a children’s book, like many modern day children’s shows.  Thomas the Train is based on The Railway Series by Reverend Wilbur Awdry and his son, Christopher Awdry.  Wilbur Awdry began to tell stories to his son to entertain him when his son had measles.  The Railway Series was the resulting book of his stories.  This book has since became an inspiration to many, and has helped many people through their difficult times just like it helped Christopher when he was young.

Wilbur drew his inspiration from the trains of the Great Western Railway.  At night he would lay awake and hear the sounds of the banking engines helping a freight train up the steep hill.  He imagined the trains were having a conversation and talking with one another, encouraging each other up the hill.  He imagined the freight train saying, “I think I can, I know I can,” while climbing the hill.  The conversation continued, with the two trains encouraging each other up the hill.

The book was later turned into a show which closely followed the book’s storyline, at least at first.  The show details the adventures of Thomas and his anthropomorphized train friends who live on the fictional island of Sodor. Ringo Starr actually helped to narrate the show from 1984-1986. Research reveals that he at first was reluctant to take the part, because he had never read any of the books.  However, he later changed his mind and accepted the part.  He, out of all of the narrators, is the one that is most frequently associated with the show.

Although no new TV episodes are currently being produced, Thomas is still a classic show and piece of children’s literature that is not bound to disappear anytime soon.  If you are a long-devoted fan of Thomas, or enjoy watching the reruns, then don’t hesitate to check out our Thomas the Train Toys. We also have Thomas’s friends Gordon, Edward, Henry, James, Percy, Toby, Emily and many more. For more fun and to play games with Thomas and Friends, click here.

Barney: “I Love You” Never Gets Old

What’s not to love about the over-sized, oversensitive, lovable, cuddly purple dinosaur? I remember when Barney first came onto the screen, singing his famous, “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family!” song.  Every time I listen to it, it still makes me smile. No wonder this show is still on PBS and has been running strong since 1992.  Although Barney has been criticized in the past, Yale researchers Dorothy and Jerome Singer have discovered that the shows contain a great deal of age-appropriate material, and have called the program a “model of what preschool television should be.”

In every show, Barney starts out as a stuffed toy, but then comes to life. He teaches kids important lessons about manners, counting, numbers, letters, and imagination.  Barney’s friends often visit the show and tell stories to the children or take them on adventures.  Other friends that appear on the show include B.J. and Baby Bop.  Baby Bop constantly loses her blankie, but Barney always helps her find it.  Barney also has a bag of goodies in every episode, which is known as the Barney Bag.

In every episode, Barney loves and wants everyone to have a good time.  If you are craving even more Barney interaction, click here for a fun website where you can play some pretty spectacular games.  If your child is into Barney, be sure to check out our selection of Barney toys. We have plush dolls, DVDs, party supplies, and more.  In the words of Barney himself, “What a super-deeeee-duper idea!”

CGI Animation

What is CGI animation? CGI Animation is a process of combining 2D animation and live-action.  It is computer generated using 3D software. Films like Toy Story began to make this type of animation popular.  Dinosaur Train is the second show to use CGI animation from the Jim Henson Company, with Sid the Science Kid being the first.

Not only does Dinosaur Train use CGI Animation, but it takes two of the favorite interests of many children, dinosaurs and trains, and places them into one animated series.  The main show centers around Buddy, who is a Tyrannosaurus Rex that was adopted into a Pteranodon (think: flying) family.  Buddy gathers the majority of his information from riding the magic Dinosaur Train. The Dinosaur Train circles the whole world and can even transcend time by visiting dinosaurs in the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous time periods.

The train cars are customized for every type of dinosaur. That is, the Aquacar accommodates sea-dwelling dinosaurs, windows are available for the long-necked Sauropods, and plenty of headroom was available for the Theropods.

If your child is a fan of Dinosaur Train, look no further than the best online toy store for cool stuff for your kids! Our Dinosaur Train stuff includes clothes, live action figures, playsets, and more. Which kind of children’s shows do you prefer? The newer ones created with CGI animation, or the older ones based upon 2D cartoons?

Countdown to Halloween with Spookley

I don’t know about you, but I’m still wondering where summer went. And now it’s practically the end of September, which means that Halloween is nearly upon us, and once again I’m trying to deal with my kids changing their minds every five minutes about what costumes they want. That’s not even mentioning the candy corn on the grocery shelves that calls to me every time I walk by.

(It’s hard being me. At least in the fall.)

Anyway, Ty’s Toy Box has the cure for the Halloween blues, or at least plenty of Halloween costumes from which to choose, not to mention an entire store dedicated to Spookley the Square Pumpkin.

Have you met Spookley? Here he is:

To find out when the Spookley film will be playing in your area this October, check out the Kidtoon Films site.

And remember—if you shop for a Halloween costume right now, a month in advance, you totally deserve candy corn. I’m sure I read that somewhere.