Gifts For A Little Ballerina

Around their third or fourth birthday, many little girls start to show an interest in being a ballerina. Maybe they see the live dance recital of an older friend or see dancers in a movie. Perhaps their favorite storybook or cartoon character is a ballerina. Regardless of how it happens, it won’t be too long before your little girl is twirling in tutus and asking to take ballet classes. So, when the time comes, and when a birthday or other gift-giving holiday is approaching, consider these gifts for your little ballerina:

Olivia Dream Theatre playset.

Ages 4+.

Find other Olivia toys here!

 

 

Angelina Ballerina Puzzle.

Ages 3+.

Find other Angelina Ballerina toys here!

 

 

Dora The Explorer Be a Ballerina! Book.

Ages 4+.

Find other Dora the Explorer toys here!

 

 

The Wiggles Dorothy the Ballerina shirt.

Sizes 2T-4T.

Find other The Wiggles toys here!

 

 

Sesame Street Zoe Ballerina Princess doll.

Ages 3+.

Find other Sesame Street toys here!

 

 

So, whether you’re celebrating your little girl’s third birthday, her first ballet recital, or just indulging her new passion for tutus, you have plenty of options for the perfect ballerina gift!

 

 

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!”

Creating Teddy

Ken Forsse was a pioneer is his day.  Creating new characters was always on his mind while building animatronic characters for other companies.  Ken used to work for many children’s entertainment companies, including Disney and Sid & Marty Krofft Entertainment, before starting his own company, Alchemy II.  Alchemy II was responsible for building the animatronic characters that were found on Dumbo’s Circus and Welcome to Pooh Corner.  Finally Ken dreamed up talking Teddy one day, an animatronic character that you could actually take home with you and have it read to your children.

Ken had named his company Alchemy because he identified with the Middle Age process of turning lead into gold.  He wanted to have the same effect in essence with his stuffed characters, transforming them into lifelike beings.  Ken developed a method for synchronizing the mouths of the stuffed characters with the voices that came out of them.  He placed the directions for the parts movement and the audible soundtrack within the same tape.  Ken persuaded Worlds of Wonder to manufacture the toy in 1985.  For the first year it seemed like his toy had in fact turned into gold-around $2 million, to be exact.  Later on, however, the business experienced financial difficulty and had to file bankruptcy.

Today the new Teddy is available with a digital cartridge.  Visit our online toy store for more information.  The Teddy Ruxpin series that we now sell have a Digital Program Cartridge and cannot be used with the 1980s, cassette driven Teddy Ruxpin. Let Teddy read to your children today!  Little or no adult supervision is required.

Chuggington Makes Rails

Meet Wilson, Brewster and Koko, three railway locomotives, from the fictional town of Chuggington.  These three fancy locomotives share important values with children such as friendship, honesty, and listening.  Children also learn to resolve conflicts, be persistent, and finish tasks that they began.  These episodes are designed to teach important social-emotional skills in a way that helps preschoolers prepare for their beginning years of  childhood.  Honestly, with all of the wonderful children’s shows out there, you can’t help but be impressed with this one.

Although the show is computer generated, you know that you are getting a high quality show from the same creative team that helped to produce Bob the Builder.  The show is produced by Ludorum plc, a company that was founded in 2006 by Charlie Caminada, Rob Lawes, and Dick Rothkopf.  Rothkopf was the previous chairman of Learning Curve International, a company which designed and manufactured educational toys for children.

What’s most impressive about this series is the unique toys that are out there on the market. I have to admit, when I was a child, I absolutely adored trains.  You can physically move the trains anywhere, which helps to develop children’s kinesthetic skills. You can use your imagination to create a story where the train saves the day.  Your child will truly benefit from this toy.  There are so many options on this website. Check it out, we offer some pretty cool trains! Not to mention games, engines, and much more, perfect for any time of the year. In the words of the three “Trainees,” “Wheels to the Rails!”