Learn along with Super Why!

If you’re not already a fan of the PBS smash hit Super Why!, you must not have little kids. It’s hard to resist a show that’s all about a love for learning, reading and fun. And this month is a great time to either renew your adoration for the Super Why! crew or to get acquainted with them; right now we’re in the midst of Super Why! Wonderrific Weeks (careful, that link has video/sound that begins playing automatically), with each week belonging to a different character. Today (Monday, August 10th) kicks off Princess Presto Week!

I always enjoy learning about the the backstory on my kids’ favorite shows. If you want to learn more about how Super Why! was created—did you know it was developed by the women behind Blues Clues?—check out this segment on Fox News. Creators Samantha Freeman and Angela Santomero talk about the show as well as some general philosophy about kids and literacy and television. It’s a really interesting interview, I think.

And if you’re looking for Super Why! toys, well, of course we’ve got you covered. The Super Why! Store here at Ty’s Toy Box is chock-full of newly-released Super Why! toys! The only problem you’ll have is decided which one(s) to buy. I’m a fan of the Wave and Learn Magic Spelling Wand, but there’s lots of great choices. You just can’t go wrong with Super Why!

Edited to add: Through the end of August, check out this Super Why Super Deal—you’ll get a free plush with every $14.99+ purchase!

Yo Gabba Gabba is at Jack in the Box

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. At least, I know what I’m thinking—I’m thinking that when it comes to toys in kids’ fast food meals, it’s hard to know what to wish for.

On the one hand, if the toy is something objectionable and/or crummy, you have to weigh the pros and cons of sneaking it into the trash under cover or darkness. Or dealing with what happens when it breaks .

On the other hand, if the toy is something cool, then your kid wants to eat fast food every single meal.

it’s a double-edged sword, to be sure.

That said, most of us parents succumb to the siren song of the easy drive-through meal at least once in a while, and it’s a convenient carrot to dangle in front of the kids if the toy is something they love. And so the current Yo Gabba Gabba kids’ meals toys at Jack in the Box may grant you a couple of months of good behavior and compliance, really, as Junior works towards collecting all five finger puppets.

Plus, there’s a special link on that page to save 10% on your purchase of Yo Gabba Gabba items at the Yo Gabba Gabba Store here at Ty’s Toy Box, and many of our offerings are already marked down.

It’s hard to argue with savings and well-behaved children. Even if it does cause “Party In My Tummy” to get stuck in your head. (Yeah. Sorry about that part.)

Your child could be the next Raggs star!

Does your kid love to watch Raggs on TV? Does he or she love to ham it up for the camera?

If you answered “Absolutely!” to both of these questions, today may just be a very exciting day for your family… because today is the day that the Raggs Rockin’ Kids Search begins!

“Raggs,” the hit public television preschool series, [...] will hold auditions from June 1-30 at Raggs.com for 100 kids to appear in a special talk show segment of the series. The winners will be selected based on video submissions, which parents can upload to the Raggs.com website or mail in.

“This is not a talent competition. The goal is to find 100 really animated, talkative and clever kids who represent a diverse sampling of families in our country,” said, Toni Steedman, President and Founder of Raggs LLC. “It is a unique opportunity for the ‘Raggs’ television series to have a direct connection to our viewers.”

(If you’re unfamiliar with the hit preschool show, there’s a section where Dumpster the Cat chats with kids about the show’s theme. It’s completely adorable.)

Refer to their website for all of the official contest rules and such, and then get to taping! Video submissions must be in by the end of this month. And then… maybe your child will get to be part of Raggs at their studio in North Carolina.

Of course, if Junior is trying to decide what to wear for his close-up, allow me to suggest, oh, anything from the Raggs Clothing Store. I can’t promise it’ll give him a leg up, but it can’t hurt, right? Right.

The Sensational Turtle Girls! What do you think?

(Free prize giveaway below)

I look at toys every day. As owner of TysToyBox.com that’s pretty much my life (that and my kids homework, sporting events, etc.!)  If you are reading this blog, chances are that you have kids and are pretty in tune with what your kids like or don’t like as well!

But I’ve often wondered if I’d know a good idea if it was, well, still just an idea on the drawing board. Not yet a TV show, not yet a book, and nothing on the toy store shelf.  Focus groups and formulas aside, would I know a good idea if it bit me?

Well, here’s my chance! And since we’re all in this together, Ty’s Blog readers, here’s your chance to play “Queen/King of All New Toy Inventions for a Day!” Will you take a few minutes to look at a new idea we found and tell us what you think?

The inventor used to work at Mattel, so his basic inspiration was to develop a fashion doll that was more interesting than Barbie and less (how shall I say) “sassy” than Bratz. But with all the traditional hair play and clothes play features needed to make it a commercial success.

But here’s his dilemma: It’s not an ordinary fashion doll, but something kind of, well, quirky. And because it’s not in the mold, so to speak, of Barbie or Bratz, it’s a bit more risky.

Two major toy companies have already said, “Creative and cute, but no thanks.” And he has been told by others in the business that they’d be more likely to license the concept if the characters were fairies or mermaids…something more “obvious” and “proven.” Which the inventor hears as, “Make it boring.” He’s of the belief that if it’s fun, and mom smiles when she sees it, it’s a big winner!

So what should he do next?

Does he present it to the next big toy company as is? Does he bring the idea to a smaller toy company? Could he possibly develop the brand by going straight to consumers online? Does he make them mermaids? Or does he call it a day and pat himself on the back for at least having tried?

Ty’s loves to find and promote emerging toys, and it doesn’t get any more “emerging” than the five “Sensational Turtle Girls!” Their story goes something like this:

Since forever, little girls everywhere have closed their eyes and tossed coins into fountains, wishing for their dreams to come true.

 

What becomes of those wishes? The Sensational Turtle Girls bring little girls’ wishes to life and go with them, together as friends, to “live the wish,” wherever those wishes might lead.

 

Hidden inside each character’s shell is a “wishing coin.” The promise is that if a little girl uses this special coin to make a wish, believes in the wish with all her heart, her wish will someday come true.

 

On the back of each wishing coin is a secret code that leads to an online world. Girls who buy Michelle will enter a world of Princesses and fairytale castles in Paris. Those who buy Shelby will go with her and The Girls to the Royal Ballet in London. Rachelle’s wish takes her to the art scene in SoHo. Shelly’s, to a movie premier in Hollywood, and DonnaShella’s to a fashion show in Rome.

 What do you think? We’d love to hear your feedback.

We are giving away a $50 TysToyBox.com gift certificate to one lucky feedback participant (chosen on Monday, May 25). Please provide your comments below.

Ty (The Toybox Daddy)

Have a lovely day out, with Thomas

When my son was about two, he entered the Thomas Phase. I think many boys do this—it’s like they hit a magical age where a switch flips in their brains, and all they see, everywhere they look, is talking trains. We watched the Thomas show, he never wanted to play with anything besides his Thomas trains, and if you had the gall to place any other sort of toy in his hands, he would immediately pretend they were trains. (And really, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a small boy conducting a conversation between two markers. “You naughty engine!” etc.)

As parents we grew a wee bit tired of the All Thomas, All The Time thing, but we also enjoyed his enthusiasm; so when the Day Out With Thomas tour came to a nearby town, we took him to meet Thomas. And that child just about lost his mind with glee. He kept squealing and exclaiming and pointing and just generally acting like this was way better than Christmas. If you have a little Thomas fan, I cannot recommend this event highly enough. It’s something they’ll remember for a lifetime.

You can view the current Day Out With Thomas schedule to see if Thomas and his pals are coming to a locale near you this year. (I love the way they have this set up, now—you can even buy tickets online! You couldn’t do that back when I took my son years ago.)

Of course, if you want to have the ultimate Thomas experience, surprise your little fan with a personalized Thomas shirt before you go! Ty’s has plenty of styles in stock, although I recommend the Really Useful James shirt. (There was an entire year, there, where “Really Useful” was the highest compliment my kid could offer. Heh. I sort of miss that.) Anyway—go enjoy. The train phase only lasts a few years, so enjoy it while you can!