You really can find everyone on MySpace

MySpace I feel incredibly old. I feel that my age is just a number… that should be closer to 99 than 30.

See that logo up there? The one that declares MySpace to be “a place for friends” and sounds so lovely? I think that is because “a place for blaring music, seizure-causing backgrounds, and many blinking graphics” was deemed a bit too verbose.

But the kids today, they’re all into MySpace. Or so I hear. (One of them said something about it, while I was hollering for them to get off my lawn.) And people of all ages are using MySpace to stay in touch or reconnect with long-lost pals.

I finally braved MySpace for a while because I discovered that many of the hot licensed characters available at Ty’s Toy Box have their own MySpace pages. Some are created by enthusiastic fans, some are backed by the productions themselves; all of them are another avenue to explore the shows you and your kids love.

Here’s a sampling of the pages I came across:

  • Lazy Town has 801 friends at last check. For some reason I find it hilarious that Mighty Mouse is amongst them.
  • Together Forever is associated with a popular Doodlebops fan site, and boasts 1005 friends. This is one of the more complete pages; there’s tons of information about the Doodlebops, pictures, videos, etc.
  • Avatar, the last Airbender has plenty of Avatar artwork and lists most of the show’s characters amongst its 714 friends. (That’s a rabbit hole of links to fall down, but what a fun way to pass some time.)
  • Strawberry Shortcake‘s page says she’d like to meet: “Any berry happy, berry fun, berry special, berry sweet, berry sporty, berry artistic, berry musical, & just plain berry berry friends.” I am berry, berry scared. (But my daughter loved it.) One of her 465 friends is Rainbow Brite, of course.
  • Backyardigans is a newer page, with only 22 friends so far, but who knows how it will evolve. Or if they’ll decide against the neon hearts background (hope springs eternal).

So, you know, this new-fangled MySpace thing… I guess it’s alright. Even though back in my day we had to just draw pictures of important things on the cave walls.

Stay in shape for the holidays

[A quick note before we begin: Comments are still broken, but it's being worked on and I am lonely without you. Check back later to see if it's fixed.]

Do you know this fellow to the right, here? That’s Magnus Scheving, a.k.a. Sportacus of the hit series LazyTown. If your little ones turn into couch potatoes in front of the television, you need to introduce them to LazyTown. If you think he’s perky-looking in this photo, just wait until you see Sportacus in action. Sportacus doesn’t walk, he backflips. Pretty slick.

Billed as a children’s comedy for the 4-7 age range, LazyTown grew out of what Scheving felt was a need to address rising obesity levels in children. From About.com:

The combination of puppets, live characters, and CGI animation grabs kids with a look that is bright, colorful, and very different from other shows. The exaggerated look appeals to the targeted 4-7 years age group, and is further enhanced by the unique music and fun dance numbers.

[...]

Each episode of “LazyTown” focuses on a physical or social issue that is presented to kids through the example of the characters and the learning process the characters go through as the story develops. Episode subjects range from things like doing a job right to brushing your teeth, and many of the shows in some way emphasize the importance of healthy eating and staying active.

All of this is good, of course. But what endears me most about Sportacus (other than the pointy little moustache…) is this:

Sportacus, the town superhero, travels by mode of back handsprings and other gravity defying stunts, gets to bed on time, brushes his teeth, and keeps his place neat and clean.

I don’t particularly want my kids doing “gravity defying stunts,” but I could definitely get behind some on-time toothbrushing and tidy rooms before bed. Just sayin’.

Anyway, as we head into the Season of Eating, you may wish to review Sportacus’ Top Ten Tips to Help Kids/Families Stay Healthy During the Holidays. I know that any reminder to do more than flop on the couch with a piece of pie is a good thing, this time of year.

And while we’re thinking about the holidays, have you checked out Ty’s line of customizable LazyTown watches? Little LazyTown fans would love to find those in their stockings, and would probably marvel at Santa knowing their names. Granted, prior to LazyTown’s debut, I might have wondered why a child would want a watch with a picture of a pink-haired little girl on it, but now I understand. And if it gets them to bed on time, I’m all for it.

Never underestimate the power of the backpack

Your kids have been nattering on about backpacks for the new school year for weeks, most likely. I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know that The New York Daily News shares their concerns about which pack is the hippest.

Naturally, the Daily News turned to the experts; and that included one of Ty’s Toy Box‘s very own:

“Kids care about who or what is on their backpacks,” says George Stolpe, vice president of marketing for Ty’s Toy Box. “It’s a statement of who they are, what they’re interested in. It’s very personal.”

Hey, I can dig it. I certainly don’t want to carry a purse that someone else picked out for me; I can understand that my kids want to pick their own bags. They’re going to be toting them around for a minimum of 180 days, so it just stands to reason that they’re going to want something they love.

The Daily News goes on to quote Poshmom.com for some tips on how to choose the right bag, and I was okay with their suggestions right up until the last bullet:

Make sure there’s a place for everything: The backpack should have ample pockets and compartments to store everything your kid might need to carry (crayons, pencils, Game Boy, cell phone, etc.). The more places to store things, the better organized your child will be.

I’m sorry… if your kid is small enough to be carrying crayons, why in the world would he be carrying a Gameboy and a cell phone? Why, when I was a child, I had to walk uphill both ways four miles through snow— Oh. Sorry. Bit of a curmudgeon moment, there. I apologize. Ahem.

Back to the bags: The Daily News highlights the demand for character gear, deeming that Hi-5, Lazytown, and Doodlebops backpacks all warrant the “Totally Tubular” moniker. (My favorite bag at Ty’s right now is this adorable Miss Spider “Best Bug Buddies” one, but as the article points out, I don’t really get to pick anymore. I suppose my kids are a bit too old for it, but darnitall, it’s cute.)

Whichever bags your tots end up toting, make sure they can manage them comfortably. And if the kids are being particularly mouthy, might I just suggest removing the Gameboy and the cell phone and replacing them with a few rocks?

[image courtesy of Kids Care Clubs]