Friday, August 29, 2008

Retro Football? none of you will be worrying about toys this weekend - not with the beginning of the college football season! All of you will be sunk into your recliner with sweet tea in one hand and the remote in the other - hoping that your picture in picture will be working well enough to get a great view of all the games! Of course it goes without saying that you have your snacks and that you have already checked the weather to be sure that your dish service will not be impacted by anything...

But even football has changed... Are you a member of a fantasy football league? Have you subscribed to the new DirecTv fantasy football tool that keeps up with your team? Do you have a laptop or computer next to your recliner so you can watch your stats while you watch the NFL games? Are you texting, chatting or IM friends while the game is going on? has changed - granted, it is probably for the better - but it is definitely not the same old "football experience".

Well, with all your technology and options for football fanatacism out there - Have Fun this holiday weekend! And try not to hurt yourself typing and texting too fast!
Go Georgia Bulldogs!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Remember this one?....When toys should remain a memory!

Ok... so not ALL retro toys are cool. This past year for Christmas, we did what we always do as parents - we looked at all the toys we would want and the toys that we had when we were a kid! (Don't act like you don't do the same thing!) So, how many times have you remembered how "cool" something was, you talk it up to your kids and you finally get it for them - only for it to be a dud!

Need an example? Electronic Football! Remember this guys? Remember how you spent hours playing with this - getting your guys to vibrate across the field? Yeah...well, not so cool! You may remember it being that way (in the same way you think it is still cool to wear your letterman's jacket when your 40) - But it is not! Ask my kids when their Dad eagerly showed it to them on Christmas morning! It was, "great - I could see where this would be cool...sure"

Still not convinced? Raggedy Ann and Andy - Every grandparent in America has told their daughters or daughters in law that their kids "have to have Raggedy Ann and Andy - all kids love them". Not true - have you looked at these things closely - have you seen the creepy expression on their faces? Now I realize that the expression may be different based on whether or not you order an original, mint condition REAL Raggedy Ann or whether you do like most parents, get the cheap one from that weird lady that parks her car on the side of the highway in town and sells them out of her trunk...but still - they are just not that cool! (Don't shoot me for messing with an American icon)

Let's face it - some of our favorite memories of certain toys should remain just that - memories! Even the toy companies know it - some of the toys they are trying to bring back have some significant changes in them! Tomorrow's blog...what's coming back!

Anyway, post and tell me what your favorite toy memory is! What was cool for you?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Classic Toys are Better!

In an article entitled "Do We Need Bells and Whistles? Educational Toys May Be Coal In The Holiday Stocking" by Morentz at Temple University published in 2007, retro toys are evaluated against their modern counterparts and found to come out on top! It proves what we all knew - retro toys (OUR toys) are better! Yeah - we win!

Ok seriously, what the article does go on to point out is that toys of today think for your child in many ways - and the child simply responds. The toys we grew up on required our creativity and thoughtfulness to be ANY fun at all. “Your child gets to build his or her imagination around these simpler toys; the toys don’t command what your child does, but your child commands what the toys do.” says Hirsh-Pasek, the Lefkowitz Professor of Psychology at Temple and co-director of the Temple University Infant Lab.

And what about all of these new toys out there that promise us they will make our kids smart? You know, the ones that we buy constantly and force our children to play with so that they can grow up to be brain surgeons in order to support us in our old age - yeah, those...well, do they work? According to this study and article, Dr. Hirsh-Pasek says “If the toy is promising that your child is going to be smarter, it’s a red flag. If it is promising that your child is going to be bilingual or learn calculus by playing with it, the chances are high that this is not going to happen – even with a tremendous amount of parental intervention.” In other words...better start saving for your retirement!

So...what is the bottom line? Quit paying so much for all the "smart toys" and the ones with all the bells and whistles and make sure that at least some of the toys your kids are playing with are the simple ones - the ones that require them to think, create, imagine and well, be kids!

To see the article by Temple University in it's entirety:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bring Back the Classics!

I don't know about you, but I am sick of the "new" toys that are on the market today! Kids today have tons of options for toys and things to do, but most of them stink. Sure, you have the cool PS3s and Nintendos, but even most of those games have to be filtered for all the language in them. Toys aren't simple anymore - they all have agendas and political messages, they are all trying to teach something or influence your child in some way - what happened to just playing?

Remember the Easy Bake Oven? It didn't bother us back then that there were girls on the box doing the baking - we assumed the boys were the ones eating the cakes! Not only that, but your parents let you play for hours with it unattended and you never once killed anyone with your oven - now they all have to have warnings and "parental supervision is required". Children today have to have toys that play for them - the superhero figures all come with prepared scenes and even scripted actions/abilities. Remember when we used to get a Superman or a Wonder Woman and you went outside to figure out where Krypton was going to be? We made up the scenarios and what each hero was capable of -sometimes we made up the heroes! And Legos...remember when you had to build from scratch - well not anymore! The kits come with instructions to build the exact city from the box!

Listen, there is nothing wrong with some of the new toys out there - but all in all, we have raised a group of kids with no imagination and no idea how to really play. They are so into all of these strange character toys (YuGiOh and all), that they have no idea what to do when you put them outside! I am ready to go Retro!