Friday, July 10, 2009

New 3D puzzles create replicas of Famous Buildings

We received some wicked cool 3D Building puzzle kits today! Made from a type of foam with a paper overlay, you carefully pop the (many) pieces out, and assemble the buildings in stages. For our in-store display sample we opened up the Empire State Building package.

We started by spreading all the foam frames out on the counter-top, and studied the simple diagrams. You might be tempted to pop all the pieces out immediate, but we were glad we didn't as the pieces are numbered on the frame- not on the actual piece. You need to pop them out as you use them. This is a great project for adults, teens, and tweens that have patience and enjoy model making.

It took us about an hour to assemble our 20 inch Empire State Building. But, that was with frequent interruptions from customers and curious onlookers. As you can see from the photo, the building goes up in stages, and then the final pieces were added with crowning glory.

There are six different models...
Empire State Building
The White House
Eiffel Tower
Statue Of Liberty
The US Capital
The Chrysler Building

We laughed at the age recommendation on the box, that advised "for ages 5 and up." Ages 10 and up would be more realistic. You really do need to be careful pulling the pieces apart and bending them along the creases.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

100% Recycled Toys

We received more toys from the Green Toys company today.

We absolutely LOVE Green Toys. This company was started environmentally conscious from the ground up. They use recycled milk jugs as the main ingredient for creating their toys. The milk containers are reprocessed into a super clean fresh plastic called high-density polyethylene (or HDPE). This material is considered one of the safest, cleanest plastics around. Free of phthalates, BPA, and lead, this is as green and safe that plastic can get.
Even the packaging is great. All the toys come in recycled corrugated boxes with no plastics, cellophane or twist-ties, and are 100% recyclable.

Last year, the first item that was available was the tea set. This quickly became our best selling tea set, as it is unbreakable and safe for toddlers, who are not quite ready for a china tea set.

Next, the cookware & dinnerware set was added, and then a sand toy set.

Today we are very please with the super-sturdy (almost) unbreakable trucks. A nice chunky dump truck in shiny bright red, and a earthy green recycling truck ( how appropriate!) Plus, some nice and strong jump ropes, and a flying disk called eco-saucer, is perfect for outdoor play.

These are great gifts that you can feel good about giving!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The evolution of the Tomy Waterful 1970-2009

Waterfuls were what us older kids played with in the mid to late 70's before we had mind-dissolving video games like pong!

Waterfuls were plastic hand-held water filled toys by Tomy. They came in various shapes and sizes, typically smaller cylinders and larger rectangles. The basic was a ball catch, but other themes themes ranged from sports - basketball, soccer, ring toss, fishing and many more.

Fill the chamber with water, and then press the button to use jets of water to launch a basketball into a hoop, play ring toss, or tic tac toe.

It was terribly exciting.

We must have been badly deprived back then.

While surfing for images of Waterfuls, we ran across a few variations we had never seen before, like this PacMan inspired Waterful! We don't quite understand the logic of slapping an electronic video game license on a water-filled toy, but they probably sold truckloads of them.
Did you have one of these?

Many of our customers have been surprised to find Tomy Waterfuls on our shelves. Like Erector, Calico Critters, and Slinky, some toys never go out of style, and Waterfuls continue to be one of our top-selling novelty toys.

This year's incarnation sports a Pirate theme tic-tac-toe, and an Underwater Adventure themed Ring Toss. That seems to make a lot more sense than a "Guitar Hero" brand Waterful!

Click on the picture to go to our website.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mother Knows Best!

Everyone knows you can't go swimming for a least a half-hour after you eat, right?
And why is that? Well, because your body will cramp up and you'll sink quicker than a back of rocks, silly.
And how do we know? Well, because Mom said so. That's why. End of discussion.

So, were we ever surprised to learn that some of those true-isms we all learned as children are actually Mom-isms, and are of questionable accuracy. Mom may have known best, but she didn't know everything!

So what do you do when you are the parent, and responsible for being the repository of all good and true information? Well, you can rely on the sarcastic and witty folks at noodad, to debunk (or verify) some of the stories we all take for granted. Like, what happens if you swallow your gum? Or, do you really have to wear a hat in the winter-time because you lose half your body heat from your head?

You can click here to read the story. Then you can decide for yourself whether you want to be SC (scientifically correct) or continue the fine tradition of colorful, (albeit slightly scientifically sketchy) stories.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Game Night !

On Saturday evening we hosted a fun Game Night with about two dozen members of Buffalo GameBuffs, a local gaming club.

We had a great time playing three different family board games...
Blokus- a real brain-stretching pure strategy game with gem-colored puzzle playing pieces.
Ruin- a "get-your-guy-to-the-treasure-first" type of game with a shifting maze game board and a custom die.
And Dicecapades, a wicked-cool party game with over 100 differently shaped dice, trivia questions, drawing challenges, and the occasional sit-up. Sit-ups? Yes, you read that right. There are physical challenges in this game as well- so how badly do you want to win?

This particular evening was our "practice round" to see how many people we could comfortably fit in our store, so stay tuned for another fun Game Night. We plan on having two alternating game-night events, one for kids ten & under, and one for adults, so if this sounds like something you would be interested in attending, get in touch with us in person, by phone, or e-mail and we'll add your name to the RSVP list!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Summer Olympics: recreated in Lego form

We were just waiting for this to happen!
The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics in miniature...

Apparently, it took the "Hong Kong Lego Users Group" only 100 hours to build this mammoth world with Lego bricks. You might want to ask your mom's permission before trying to re-create this in the kitchen! By the way, our Lego's will be arriving in September.

Click here, to go to another site, for more cool photos of the Lego Summer Olympics.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Riddles and Dreams!

With the French melodies from the Putumayo French Playground CD echoing in our ears we had a Parisian dream last night.

There we were, taking in the sights and sounds of Nouveau Paris when we stumbled upon the Double Shutter Jazz Club. Everything came in twos, even the entertainment! It was a dynamite double header featuring Django Reinhardt and Pink Martini! The evening went splendidly, until the the last Double Shutter call. In a high stakes game against Maximilien Robespierre we had but 3 tiles left standing. We needed to shut the super box in order to beat his impossibly low score of 2. We certainly didn't want to lose our heads! As our dice hit the red felt bottom our alarm went off, bringing us back to the Good Toy Shop!

A Riddle

True or False:
Every word has one vowel in it.

Every word has three vowels in it.
EvEry wOrd. Get it?

Bradley S. from Williamsville got us with that one!
(He was also able to shut the Double Sh
utter game on his third try.)
What a guy!

So now we need to practice our riddles to stump Brad on his next visit. Look out, Brad!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Double Shutter Shut-Out!

After unpacking the explosion of Creativity for Kids merchandise, we fell upon our newest arrival, Double Shutter. A toy test was absolutely necessary! Double Shutter is the next step up from the classic Shut the Box. Instead of having just one row of numbers to worry about, Double Shutter has two beautiful rows of high quality resin similar to dominoes, which produce a satisfying "clack" when flipped down onto their wooden base. The trick in this game is that you have to uncover the numbers in the second row before you can use them! This game can be played by a limitless number of people, depending on everyone's ability to wait their turn, or solitaire style, "Can YOU shut the Super Box?"

The object of the game is to try to put as many tiles down as possible. When a player rolls the dice and is unable to shut any tiles, their turn is over and the remaining tiles are added up to equal their score. The winner of the game is the one with the lowest overall score!

Catherine is getting really tired of reporting that Jerry has once again emerged victorious. We had both never played before so Jerry went first. He shut the entire Super Box on his first try! That gave Jerry a final score of 0, which Catherine had to get on her turn as well if she hoped to push Jerry into Round 2. When his final tiles were clacked into place he asked, "What now? Do I get people dancing around me declaring me Champion?"

We are currently considering if Jerry should get his own special Champion hat.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Careful, it's a Mighty World out there!

Our Mighty World display was in need of something fresh and the play table the company sent us did just that! Upon further inspection of our established Mighty World display, we figured a little reorganization wouldn't hurt either. We were able to spend the morning constructing the table and rearranging some of our own displays. Once the "putting together" work was done, we opened some of the toys!

The coolest feature of the Mighty World collection, is all the little pieces that come with each set and the accompanying attention to detail. Tom's ATV Adventure comes with everything you need to make it through harsh woodland areas. From the gas can to the tiny map of Europe, Tom has got it all. Catherine got a kick out of the ATV which has shocks that really move the wheels up and down to compensate for any kind of travel. If he happens to get a flat tire, never fear, Tom's kit comes with a real working tire iron and four spare tires! Unfortunately, while Tom does not have to worry about where he's driving, he does have to watch his speed. . . "License and registration please?"

Officer Wade is loving his new Patrol Car which can be made into a convertible, when the siren isn't going off that is! He can ride in style and catch the bad guys. The Patrol Car's doors open and close, the license plate can be switched out for a towing hook-up, and both the engine and wheels can be removed for closer inspection!

Meanwhile, on the northwest corner of the Mighty World play table, Megan and Sean are doing some marine research. Sean is in charge of the boat and its search light, while Megan gets to go for a swim with the dolphins, photographing any major developments! The boat was Catherine's favorite with its twin motors and movable search light.

Megan comes in SCUBA gear, but you can put her mask on or off by switching her hair! She goes from the dry, stylish Nancy Drew look, to the underwater investigator, complete with tubes that hook up to her SCUBA tank. Say "cheese" Flipper!

Stop in and see the selection of fun Mighty World toys that we have, and ask us about the free-gift-by-mail promotion they are running for a limited time!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Play Food from Haba's Biofino

Today we unpacked some brand new pretend play food from the Germany company Haba. We may be a bit biased, but we think the Germans make the best toys, and Haba is a good example! For some reason, a lot of care and thought go into the design of toys from Germany. In stark contrast to the corporate mass-market toy industry, (which seems to think that every toy must be made from plastic and have it's own movie, television show, or slick commercial) the toys from Europe, and some small U.S. toy makers, are always more imaginative - and have great design and attention to detail. So it was no surprise that the unpacking of our latest shipment of pretend play food elicited lots of "oohs" and "ahhhs" as each little treasure was unwrapped.

First out of the shipping carton was a vegetable basket, with a wooden crate and six cloth vegetables and fruits. There was a leek amongst the goodies (shouldn't more children know what a leek is) and the banana could be un-peeled and removed from the peel! There were also two carrots and two tomatoes. All the pieces were very carefully sewn in felt fabric with a lot of fine detail so they all looked really realistic.

We also unpacked a bakery box of the most scrumptious-looking cupcakes, and a pretty box of nine Petit Fours, perfect for opening up your own bakery shop, or serving zero-calorie impromptu treats to your tea party guests.
Now, together with the burger & fries, the luncheon meats, wooden eggs, cheese slices, and weiner schnitzel (weiner schnitzel!!!) we have a great selection selection of Haba Biofina pretend food to complement our Dress-Up and Let's Pretend section of the store.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Testing out the Ruin Game by Buffalo Games

Today, we were visited by Lenny & Yvonne of Buffalo games, and they brought an in-store demo copy of the brand-spanking-new board game Ruin. We love to try out new toys, especially a brand-new game that no one else has seen yet! It didn't take long for us to bust into the game and sort through the contents.

We decided to take pictures along every step of our adventure with Ruin. This picture on the left shows all the pieces that come with the game. All the contents are high quality, though we did find that it helped to bend the board back at the creased folds in order to get the plastic card holder to lay perfectly flat.
Once we were set up and ready to play, the first thing we noticed was the incredibly cool extra-large tetrahedral die that comes with the game. It is really distinctive and unlike any die we've seen before, and we've seen a lot of dice in our toy travels!

The whole idea of Ruin is to have players travel around the board racing to be the first with both of their pieces in the center. The board itself changes as the players substitute the maze cards in play with the cards they have in their hands. This means that your opponent can literally sweep the floor right out from under you!

We really had a blast with this game. Jerry admits now that he has been deemed official Good Toy Shop Game Champion, that he has a reputation to uphold. Catherine started out ruthless, sending Jerry back spaces as she pulled the floor right out from under him. But with his usual aplomb and good fortune, Catherine's attempts were thwarted by the innocent yet awesome die! Our game play lasted about 40 minutes, laughing included. The instructions were really straightforward and easy to refer back to when we had a question. This last picture shows Catherine's defeat, one of her pawns in the center, the other limping far behind!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cuddly Kaloo and Brainstonz too!

Finally a great weather day in Buffalo! With most of the kids playing outside, we were able to unpack our newest shipment of Kaloo. Now we've got an entire island in our store full of the softest, cutest, baby plush, complete with baby sofas and booties! We wish the sofas were bigger so we could curl up in one!

The mini plumes are simply precious with their tiny hands and feet coming out of a soft poof of brightly colored, and ridiculously luxurious soft plush.

Aside from the three giant boxes of Kaloo, we also received more Seapals! We just love the brightly colored sea creatures, that like Webkinz, are internet-enabled with their own virtual aquarium. They really add to our variety of stuffed animals. With our shelves restocked, Catherine finished the demolition of the old Keva Planks tower (on accident), and decided to build a castle turret.

Today we tested out a game we are going to be carrying called Pocket Farkel. It's a fun and quick dice game with the rules and scoring information right there on the package. Since she didn't get a chance to go up against Jerry in another round of Brainstonz, Catherine was able to show Candace the game and glean a small victory from that.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Another Rainy Day!

Ogo Sport is in! Yesterday Alex and Jerry decided to play a quick game of bouncy catch outside in the sun. Today we still wanted to play, so we just had to be careful of the in-store displays... Our success rate of not hitting something was about 50/50, lots of laughs are a good way to get into any morning! The Copter Ball has the coolest opening effect, it really flies like a helicopter. Yesterday Alex decided to play with the Keva Planks. With the semi-demolition of our old tower, she crafted a Roman temple, complete with iconic columns!

Today Catherine discovered the Sticky Mosaic Jewelry Box and had a bit of an arts and crafts morning in-between helping our customers. Hopefully she can crack out the Yoho! Diabolo later and learn some new tricks.

It's official, Jerry is the Master of Games. Catherine has to step it up if she's going to beat him at Brainstonz, another strategy game that just arrived. She's been bested at 59 Seconds and Pile It! Now she must begin training (or at least a lot of playing) if she hopes to become the new Good Toy Shop Champion. This past week has been crazy with all of our cool new arrivals. There's almost too many toys for us to play with!

Monday, June 30, 2008


Saturday night was intermittently rainy, (what weird weather we've been having this summer) so we had our Bananagrams game out. We like to play in our store as much as the customers do! Catherine decided to have some fun and instead of playing a full game, she attempted to use all 144 tiles in one giant crossword. It was a pleasant work in progress the whole day. We started with a large handful of tiles and were lucky enough to find all the letters to spell "exsanguinate". Needless to say, this was our starting word! By the end of her shift Catherine had successfully completed the crossword which included words such as swain, quirk, and zephyr.
Aside from the Bananagrams wordy madness, we put together our HaPe Bamboo Collection display, putting out a bunch of cool mosaic works and games made out of brightly colored bamboo. The green and orange boxes brighten up our game section! Catherine has decided after a full weekend at The Good Toy Shop, that having the Kitchen Littles display right by the register makes her hungry for an after school snack like when she was in elementary school.