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February 20 2014

February 18 2014

February 16 2014

February 11 2014

Found: Girl in 1981 Lego Ad Is Now an Alt-Medicine Doctor in Seattle

In January, a 1981 Lego ad made the rounds on Reddit and social media. For some, the ad illustrated how ads back then adhered less stringently to gender roles.

The story behind the ad is even more compelling. It's not only the brainchild of a female creative director, but the model herself is also a living embodiment of female empowerment. That little girl grew up to be Rachel Giordano, a now-37-year-old naturopathic (i.e., alternate medicine) doctor in Seattle.

As recounted in the Women You Should Know blog, Lori Day, an educational psychologist, consultant and parenting coach, tracked down Giordano through the magic of Facebook. A friend of a friend knew Giordano, and Day asked Giordano to pose for the picture (below) with Lego's Heartlake City TV news van. Read more...

More about Advertising, Lego, Toys, Business, and Family Parenting

January 25 2014

Build an Engineering Masterpiece With Leftover Soda Straws

A new Kickstarter project meets children at the intersection of education and engineering, with a little whimsy thrown in.

Strawbees are colorful, key-shaped bits of recycled plastic designed to link straws together to create three-dimensional structures. Each piece has a notched flat end, which you can insert into a quarter-inch plastic straw, and a circular head, which acts as a connector and pivot point for multiple straws and pieces

Essentially, they're a low-tech version of the TinkerToys you played with as a kid — and just like TinkerToys, they bury the educational experience of designing and prototyping complex structures beneath the facade of play. Read more...

More about Kids, Features, Sustainability, Engineering, and Toys

January 09 2014

Ozobot Is a Smart Robot That Plays Games With You

LAS VEGAS — Ozobot, a game-playing robot, wants you to get physical with digital games — and it could be on to something.

According to a recent study by the Entertainment Software Association, more than half (58%) of all Americans play video games, which may lead some to believe that fewer people are playing physical board games. On the other hand, the same study says 34% of online gamers play puzzles, board games, game shows, trivia and card games, which suggests many still yearn for some old-school gaming

These findings could help explain the motivation to develop a product like Ozobot. It’s a tiny, one-inch-tall robot designed to work on top of tablet and smartphone screens, as well on as paper. What's more, it will follow both digital and physical lines that players draw on the fly, and can even reportedly tell the difference between a digital and physical surface. Read more...

More about Robot, Toys, Tech, Gadgets, and Mobile

December 30 2013

Charming Tribute Remembers Etch-A-Sketch Inventor

Though French inventor André Cassagnes had a long and successful career as one of France's best-known kite designers, his greatest invention was the beloved Etch-A-Sketch

The toy maker passed away in January, and to honor his memory, Christoph Niemann of the New York Times created a short tribute using the iconic toy to illusrtate Cassagnes' life story.

The creative clip is part of the New York Times Magazine's annual "The Lives They Lived" series, which honors cultural icons who passed away this year

Niemann's video offers a charming look back on the life of an inventor whose product continues to entertain children and adults — and probably will for years to come. Read more...

More about Youtube, Viral Video, Toys, Etch A Sketch, and Watercooler

December 26 2013

Like Legos? You'll Love LittleBits

Playtime is fun. Electronics and circuit boards? Not so much — until now.

littleBits is an open-source library of color-coded electronic modules — miniscule circuit boards with specific functions, such as light, sound, sensors, buttons, thresholds, motors and more — that snap together via tiny magnets in order to make larger circuits. There is no programming, wiring or soldering.

As one would imagine, these simple, intuitive blocks promote limitless experimentation, prototyping and learning and have been dubbed the “Legos for the iPad generation.” Projects range from sound-activated bowties to self-scrolling sheet music. Read more...

More about Education, Entrepreneurship, Toys, Business, and Startups

December 13 2013

10 Vintage Toys That Deserve a Comeback

Now that the Furby is back, it might be time to resurrect a few other toys from the '80s and '90s.

If they were good enough for us, they're good enough for this generation.

After all, do kids really need these newfangled tablets and phones, or would they be happier with a Tamagotchi?

Image: Flickr, HerryLawford

More about Lists, Gift Guide, 80s, Toys, and 90s

December 07 2013

Are These the Official 'Simpsons' Lego Minifigures?

The Simpsons has been a cultural touchstone for 25 seasons and counting. So, it makes sense that America's favorite cartoon family will finally make its way into the world of Lego in 2014

Neither Lego nor Fox Broadcasting Company has released promotional photos of the set, but eBay sellers lego*dudes and votvik have listed what appear to be official Lego minifigures for Homer, Marge, Lisa and Ned Flanders

Homer is dressed in work clothing, complete with his Springfield Nuclear Power Plant ID badge. Marge and Lisa are shown wearing only the top halves of their green and red dresses, while Flanders is wearing his "Hail to the Chef" apron from a season three episode Read more...

More about Pics, Lego, Toys, Tv, and Watercooler

November 19 2013

3 Girls Find Kickass Way to Play With Princess Toys

Keep your pretty pink princess toys, because these girls don't need them.

Toy company GoldieBlox wants girls' playtime to move beyond dolls and fairy tales. The company, founded by Stanford engineer Debra Sterling, teamed up with three science-loving girls and a Rube Goldberg machine expert to create a complicated contraption from all those unwanted "girly" toys.

The team set off the ingenious device, filmed the epic result and set the whole thing to a remixed version of the Beastie Boys 1987 hit "Girls."

The song was reworked to sound more like an anthem for female empowerment than a dude-fueled party tune. Lyrics like, "'cause all our toys look just the same and we would like to use our brains" might inspire even adult girls to construct a Rube Goldberg in their cubicles today. Read more...

More about Viral Videos, Women, Toys, Rube Goldberg, and Advertising

November 12 2013

These Domino Tricks Will Knock You Down With Amazement

Dominoes is a complex game involving foresight, planning and strategy — but really, they're for building intricate chain reactions of miniature destruction

Nobody understands this better than Hevesh5 and MillionDollarBoy, who spent three months organizing more than 20,000 dominoes into the masterpiece of clicks and clatters you can watch above

Working together from across the Atlantic, the two created this behemoth with a technique known as "screenlink." Each section was constructed separately, then edited together to look like one continuous setup, bringing the determination and elbow grease of these two international friends together into one amazing video. Read more...

More about Viral Videos, Toys, Rube Goldberg, Watercooler, and Videos

November 08 2013

15 Happy Meal Toys That Made Your McChildhood

The fries were delicious. The bubbles on the drink lid were fun to push down. But in the end, McDonald's Happy Meals were all about the toys.

Most weeks, the toys were kind of disappointing — nothing more than little plastic action figures that occasionally made an appearance at your Barbie dream house, but mostly stayed in the junk drawer.

Then magically, the ads showed real toys that lit up and changed color and made noise, and you quickly convinced your parents you were in desperate need of chicken nuggets.

Image: Flickr, puuikibeach

More about Lists, Mcdonalds, Toys, and Watercooler

October 05 2013

Toy Hall of Fame Announces 2013 Finalists

From Hot Wheels to Mr. Potato Head, every good toy deserves its proper recognition, and the folks at the Toy Hall of Fame take this task very seriously. That's why the organization convenes every year to put together a list of possible new inductees deemed worthy of the honor.

This year, the contenders vying for a special place in toy history range from the always-styling My Little Pony to the classic tools of living-room-battle known as Nerf toys. The Toy Hall of Fame also recognizes some of the more generic toys, with past inductees including playing cards and the traditional dollhouse. After all, as the organization's site explains, dollhouses "help children learn about interior design and household management." Read more...

More about Toys, Gaming, Gadgets, Watercooler, and Work Play

August 03 2013

These Furby-Inspired Album Covers Will Give You Major Nostalgia

There are many reasons we love the Internet, but mostly it's because no matter how offbeat an idea may be, it has the potential to become a major hit

And today's coolest (read: oddest) Internet idea is Furby Living, a project by Swedish artist William Källback Winter which re-imagines Top 40 album covers with Furbies, the oddly lifelike toys that dominated the late 90s and early 2000s. Winter creates each album cover through a mix of photography and Photoshop, spending two to five hours on each

Winter owns four Furbies himself. "I actually pick the Furby depending on the expression I need," he told Yahoo!. "The original 1998 Furby is great for more wide-open eyes. The 2005 Furby has bottom eyelids, which is great for squinting eyes, as well as a more expressive mouth. The 2012 Furby doesn't have eyelashes, which works better for guys — even though I've only used it for Justin Bieber that way. I usually just try posing them for a bit and see which Furby looks most like the artist I'm recreating!" Read more...

More about Entertainment, Tumblr, Lady Gaga, Toys, and Taylor Swift

August 13 2012

Portland Toymakers Create Ten-Legged Bamboo Companion [VIDEO]

What's made out of bamboo, has ten legs and needs some cash? A new Kickstarter project called the humble velocipede.

Inspired by artist Theo Jensen's Strandbeest kinetic sculpture, a trio of Portland toymakers has created this playful toy that shuffles around your home. The bamboo beast originally started life as a much larger, life-sized cardboard sculpture, but the team has decided to shrink the design and aim for a large production run. That's where the Kickstarter campaign comes in.

SEE ALSO: Meet Moboto: the Talking iPhone Toy

The team at Small Wonder Toys has asked backers for $10,000 to pay for the expensive bamboo used to create the…
Continue reading...

More About: home decor, kickstarter, toys

August 12 2012

February 09 2012

FarmVille Toys Are Coming: Zynga and Hasbro Sign Licensing Deal

If Angry Birds and Cut the Rope can have toys, why can’t FarmVille?

Social gaming juggernaut Zynga is teaming up with toy maker Hasbro to create a “wide range of toys and gaming experiences” based on Zynga properties and brands, a release read.

The first products are expected to hit the market in Fall 2012. The agreement gives Hasbro license to develop and distribute an array of products in various toy and game categories for Zynga’s various properties. The companies will also be able to co-brand merchandise, which could potentially lead to digital product tie-ins.

The Hasbro/Zynga deal is just the latest to create real-life products out of social games. Angry Birds is a bona fide brand of its own, with licensees for everything from toys to plush dolls to baby clothes. Disney’s social network for tweens, Club Penguin, sells plush toys that also act as in-game bonuses.

While Zynga has an enormous audience — 227 million users play its games every month — its biggest hits (CityVille, FarmVille and Words With Friends) don’t have immediately recognizable mascots or protagonists like Angry Birds. Sure, the -Ville franchises share similar character designs but the games are largely about individual player experiences.

That doesn’t mean that products based on the brand can’t work. Speaking only for myself (and not the rest of Mashable) this recovering FarmVille addict would be tempted to buy a miniature FarmVille playset or stuffed Truffle Hunting Pig.

What about you — do you want your own mini CityVille or Words With Friends toy or tie in? Let us know.

More About: casual games, hasbro, social games, toys, Zynga

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January 12 2012

Facebook Campaign for ‘Bald Barbie’ Gains Steam

bald barbie

A Facebook Page petitioning Mattel to create a bald Barbie doll has amassed a significant following in a few short weeks.

The campaign hopes to show girls who’ve lost their hair due to cancer treatments, alopecia or trichotillomania that bald can beautiful. The page has garnered nearly 40,000 Likes, mostly in the past few days.

The Facebook page, “Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let’s see if we can get it made,” was launched three weeks ago by friends Jane Bingham and Beckie Sypin, based on a status update by Bingham proposing a bald Barbie. The Page explains:

We would like to see a Beautiful and Bald Barbie made to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania. Also, for young girls who are having trouble coping with their mother’s hair loss from chemo. Many children have some difficulty accepting their mother, sister, aunt, grandparent or friend going from a long haired to a bald.

Sypin told Mashable they had only hoped for a couple hundred page views and are thrilled by the overwhelming response.

“There’s some stuff on the market, like baby dolls, but there’s nothing like older kids. There’s no fashion doll.” Sypin says, explaining the need for a bald doll.

The Page’s administrators have contacted Mattel with their proposal, and received a form responses that the company does not take unsolicited ideas from outside sources. But Sypin is undaunted, and says the team’s efforts will not stop there.

SEE ALSO: 5 Innovative Facebook Campaigns to Learn From

“Many other companies make similar products, so we’d be happy to see any of them create this doll,” Sypin says.

The Facebook Page has become a community for women with hair loss. Members post photos of themselves, expressing pride in their bald beauty.

Do you think this movement can sustain itself? Would you like to see a bald Barbie? Let us know what you think in the comments.

More About: barbie, Facebook, Social Good, toys

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