Coping With Battery Operated Gadgets

Our house is full of kids toys. We’ll clean up the house, finding toys scattered to the furthest corner away from the children’s bedrooms, where the toys are supposed to be kept.

It takes hours to collect together every stray doll, missing puzzle pieces, forlorn teddy bears and Tonka trucks and put them back in their respective places. And yet, somehow our children still insist that they need more toys.

That they haven’t anything to amuse them and the most interesting thing they can find to do is complain to us.

On the rare occasion when our children’s bedrooms are actually housing the bulk of their toys I have taken a chance to peruse their shelves, open their closets and peek under their beds. There are literally toys everywhere!

However, I must say one word in their defense: a great number of these toys are not fully functional due to long-dead batteries that are seldom replaced after the second round. Having such a proliferation of battery operated toys is a phenomenon familiar to most families.

Even more familiar is the occurrence of these toys being inoperable due to their need of fresh batteries.

That brings me to the question, why do parents continue to purchase such battery operated toys. Shouldn’t be have begun to clue in somewhere along the way? Why do we continue to be such suckers? Somehow we think we’re getting a great deal on a particular gift. Do we ever figure in the years of commitment and expense we are getting ourselves into?

Or do we know all along that we have no intention of replacing the batteries and yet continue on buying these battery operated toys, as some sort of sick joke on our children?

Whatever, the case, I know in our family we have so many toys that require new batteries that should we choose to replace them all in one shot, it would likely cost us several hundreds of dollars.

We have tried the Dollar store route. We’ve bought massive packages of dud batteries, thinking we getting a real deal for a dollar. So many times, these batteries will provide a surge of power for a matter of minutes and then resort to short little spurts of energy, ending up completely useless to our battery operated toys.

In the end we’ve simply decided to weed out the most favourite of these toys, leaving the rest in a big box destined for an upcoming garage sale.

These toys will then be passed on to another unsuspecting parent who thinks they too are getting such a great deal. And finally we’ll be rid of the problem of all these battery operated toys that we’ve accumulated, making it somebody else’s problem once and for all!

Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared of Adult Toys

Remnants of the free love generation have thankfully survived and in recent years a sexual revival has resurged in the American psyche and bedroom. This time, however, the participants are a bit wiser and more sophisticated in their sexual exploration. As a result sex toys, once limited to the margins of society, have come full circle and are now in the mainstream of American living. Individuals and couples who had never before tried sex toys are now doing so for the first time. And yet, there still remains some who are scared of introducing sex toys into their life.

This fear comes in large part from a misunderstanding about the uses and ramifications of sex toys. They imagine that sex toys are limited to extreme versions of fetishism or that somehow sex toys are a means of separating you from your partner. These two conclusions cannot be farther from the truth.

With the recent explosion in the popular usage of sex toys, manufacturers have created a wide array of products designed to meet the needs and interests of everyone. While certainly there exists a wide array of S & M products on the market today which those interested in find extremely fun, there also exist a number of products designed for the novice user.

The sex toy industry is completely aware of the desire for many individuals to keep their toys discrete. As a result, a number of products have been designed with that end in mind. Vibrators that look exactly like lipstick containers and lotions and lubricants which are described with terms like ‘relaxation’ rather than more explicit sexual terminology come to mind. The discrete design and packaging of sexual toys allows even the shyest of individuals to feel comfortable.

With fears allayed as to the nature of sex toys, the next question is about their effects on an existing relationship. Whereas in decades past sex toys were largely limited to single individuals or those focused on a particular area of sex, normally labeled fetishism, recently sex toys have been brought into millions of couples bedrooms. Sex toys can be a new and exciting way to spice up sex between a couple who has been together for some time. It can also be an excellent way for couples to explore new areas to find that something works better for them. In effect, sex toys, rather than creating division between couples, are often a source which brings them together in new and exciting romantic situations.

Christmas Toys Are For The Kids… Right?

Toys for grown-ups pushing kids’ toys out of Christmas most wanted list.

Christmas used to be a time for the kids but now the adults appear to be taking over. The top twelve toys this Christmas as identified by the Toy Retailers Association contain a suspiciously high number of toys aimed at bigger kids. This apparent paradigm shift in the toy market should come as no surprise – a brief look around the internet reveals an entire market devoted to the taller toy consumer.

As UK toy stores prepare for the inevitable Christmas rush, their shelves are stocked not only with gifts for children, but of stock on the wish list of an ever growing adult market. A brief look at the most wanted list for this Christmas shows toys such as Robosapien V2, Roboraptor and the Doctor Who Remote Control Dalek. It does not take an industry expert to surmise that these toys are aimed at a demographic with full time jobs and high disposable income rather than a demographic that watches Saturday morning television.

The rise of toys for grown ups has been an increasing trend in recent years and coincides with an increase in retro culture that dominates the film and television industries. Remakes of films and television series that appeal to an older audience mean that subsequent merchandising appeal to a grown up audience who were fans of the series and films first time round – the conspicuous presence of Star Wars toys and Doctor Who toys in UK toy store both online and offline reflect this.

The emergence of a two tier market catering for real kids and “big kids” is apparent and will be particularly evident in the busiest period for the toy market. The market for the older demographic has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years and had led to the specific targeting of the segment particularly through the marketing of technology based toys such as the Robosapien V2 and Roboraptor – toys with a limited appeal to those in short trousers. Increasingly, these toys permeate the marketplace and toy stores looking to capitalise on the big kids market.

It seems that this market is set to grow over the forthcoming years, representative of a wider cultural shift and impacting significantly on the toy market. Whilst the toy market is still dominated by kids toys, it seems that Christmas toys are no longer just for the kids.

Educational Toys – How They Evolved

The modern day busy parent tries to compensate for his or her lack of time for his or her children by investing a great deal on education. Thus, it is not a surprise how many of such parents move mountains just to provide their kids entertaining products that not only encourage play, but also instill discovery and learning.

Makers of toys worldwide recognize this growing trend and are, consequently, coming up with new and improved lines of children’s educational toys and games almost every month. What was once limited only to specialty toy and game shops, educational toys and games are now a staple in every children’s oriented stores around the world, even at general mass retailers, like Wal-Mart and K-Mart.

Statistics show that the sales of toys and games have declined over the years. However, educational toys have been on the rise, as more parents opt to purchase products that would give them the most value for their money, as compared to, say, buying Bratz dolls and Hot Wheels.

The record for educational toys was broken in the Holiday season of the year 2000, when toy maker LeapFrog’s LeapPad Learning System electronic reading toy became the bestselling children’s game of the time, helping the company boost its sales by a whopping 120 per cent!

LeapFrog’s success paved the way for other major and small toy makers to come up with educational toys of their own. Jakks Pacific, under its Child Guidance brand, released its own line of children’s educational toys and games following a deal with Baby Genius. Hasbro released its Baby Einstein line and unveiled its preschool units, namely the Baby Einstein Company and Playskool. These new toys encouraged children to dabble in art, music, different foreign and local languages, and even poetry.

The strong demand for educational toys and games for children has urged major retailers, like Toys “R” Us, to allocate shelves upon shelves for these kinds of toys. And because more and more households are transforming into two-income families, it is likely that the demand will grow further as parents seek products that would try to fill their absence during their children’s formative learning years.

With the rise in demand, it won’t be a surprise when the price tag that comes with these educational toys and games will also decrease as the years pass. Right now, these kinds of toys are still a little expensive (though it hasn’t stopped most parents from buying them). In the future, due to the overwhelming interest, educational toys and games will be accessible to everyone.

Toys For Tots Program Expands Giving Boundaries

Coordinators and volunteers with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program on Okinawa will be working overtime during the holiday season to extend the reach of the 60-year-old charity in the region.

Reserve Marines, activated specifically for Toys for Tots support, began their 2007 toy collection drive during ceremonies at post exchanges on Camp Foster and Kadena Air Base Nov. 3.

This year, program officials added Thailand and Guam to their area of responsibility, according to Staff Sgt. Suzette Smith, a coordinator with Okinawa’s Toys for Tots. The volunteers and reserve Marines collected toys for needy children in Okinawa Prefecture and the Philippines in previous years.

Smith hopes Marines will be able to personally deliver donations to Thailand and Guam as done in Operation Goodwill, which delivers toys and clothes to children of the Philippines during the holiday season.

“The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a shiny new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to needy youngsters that will motivate them to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders,” according to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation Web site.

Last year the organization collected approximately 10,500 toys, according to Sgt. Shamala Henson, a coordinator for Okinawa’s Toys for Tots. She hopes the collection drive can collect at least 11,000, especially since they want to provide for children in two more countries this year.

“I want to break last year’s goals and make sure every child gets four toys like last year,” said Henson.

Program coordinators also want to raise awareness of the Ho Ho Express, a campaign-closing event intended to collect as many donations as possible during the final moments of the toy drive. The Ho Ho Express is scheduled for Dec. 15, the last day of the drive. A bus will visit each collection box on island and program personnel will collect all remaining toys. The event doubled the amount of collected toys in 2005 with help from American Forces Network radio broadcasters, who constantly aired updates on the bus’ location and upcoming stops.

The program needs toys for all ages of children. Toys for pre-teens and young teenagers are typically in short supply.

“People should remember that there are kids that are 13 and that’s usually the age group we lack the most,” Smith said.

Coordinators running Okinawa’s program have a lot of events for this year’s drive and need plenty of volunteers to help them. Volunteers can help with tasks such as sorting toys or promoting donations by making an appearance in public with their dress blues.

Maj. Bill Hendricks and a group of fellow reserve Marines in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children during the first Toys for Tots program 60 years ago. Officials plan to continue the mission as long as there are needy children around the world.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a big “HOORAH”.

Top Toys That Your Cat Will Have A Ball With

Cats need to play, no mater how young or how old they are, they need to have some toys in order to stay entertained. Cats love all kinds of different toys and just like people each cat with have his or her own special preferences. Some of the best cat toys are affordable, some are even things that you have around the house already. Just remember to make sure that all of your cat’s toys are safe, that they have no sharp edges for your kitty to cut itself on.

Here are the top cat toys:

There is not a cat on the planet that will not go crazy for a little ball, especially one that makes noise while it is rolling around the room. Cats love to play with balls, ones that the cats can pick up and carry around are definite favorites. And check out the hollow ones that treats fit into, these are always fun for a kitty.

Laser toys are great because you can interact with your kitty without worrying about getting mauled to death. It is always fun to find toys that you and your cat can play with together. These have a long range and you can really get your cat exercising and having fun with these.

Toys that you already own
There are all kinds of things that you already own that make for perfect cat toys, you just don’t know it yet. You probably drink milk, if you get the big jugs you are familiar with the little pull tabs that come off before you can take the cap off. These are a favorite cat toys, my cats play with these for hours on end.

Another favorite toy that you can get for practically nothing is a pipe cleaner. These cost pennies and they will last forever. They do not break so they can literally last for months on end.

They key to keeping your cat happy with cat toys is to change them from time to time. This does not mean that you have to buy all new toys every couple of weeks, just rotate the toys that you have out and about. Each week change the toys in order to keep tings fun and fresh for your cats.

Toys – The Tools Of Joy

Can any one claim he or she has not played with toys as a child? It is not for nothing that it has become a multi billion dollar global industry. Why children like toys? The playful joy they realize in the company of toys underpins the effective psycho-physical development. Children just love toys.

Toys for Different Age Groups
No surprise, toys are available for children of every age group. Toys designed for tiny toddlers don’t interest older children. Moreover, features and safety features vary in increasing order as the age group.

Safety Considerations
Federal Government and different state governments have enacted appropriate laws. Manufacturers under certification of registration must declare “that material used in such toys shall be new and free from dangerous or harmful substances; providing for disinfection of such material containing products of animal origin; and prescribing penalties.

Lots of Them!
Most top selling toys are based on popular characters. Superman, Batman, and Disney characters are a few examples barring the typical Barbies.

Disney characters are by far the most popular ones among children along with the famous ‘Teddy Bear’. Children identify these characters immediately from a distance which they want to associate with. If you want to check how thick their association is, try denying them a new toy and you will know immediately from the sudden outbursts.

You can see a pattern in choice of toys, too. Tiny toddlers are drawn towards non-moving, stationary toys which go well with them. Kitchen sets and stuffed toys fall into this category. As they grow a couple of years, their world of interest changes to powered/non-powered moving cars, bikes or even trains. Spring wound band master, remote controlled cars; dogs become a rage by the time they dream of owning a toy gun.

As a parent you must notice, by this age, that a girl child’s interests bifurcate from that of a boy’s. If boy likes to drive paddling or battery cars, girls are more inclined towards domestic things like rocking horses, set of mother-baby dolls, furniture sets etc.

As a rule of thumb, girls turn away from toys earlier than boys. Boys may continue to play with war games and toys of warriors of famous characters for a few more years with a likely gun in their hand.

Toys keep you engaged without age barrier, once they awaken the child within you.

Busy Beak are Happy beaks

Good toys have different shapes and textures for the bird to explore and destroy. At least three toys should make a bird work for food Working toys are toys that make them work for their treats or favored foods. Parrots in the wild will spend the majority of their waking hours, hunting and foraging. Toys stimulate their mind and help replicate actions they would execute in the wild. Proper toys and placement enhance a Psittacines life in captivity.

Parrots think they’re working for food while avicultural outsider sees birds playing with toys as birds; playing with bird toys. Your companion parrot is always thinking, and since nothing has changed in their minds, playing with toys is their job. It’s what Mother Nature gave them to survive, this need to forage. If you provide no means of foraging, your bird will seek other avenues. It may be furniture or personal affects. Usually because they are easy and plentiful targets. It’s important to encourage your companion parrot to work for food because it’s a natural behavior.

Three or four toys should be made of soft wood. Soft wood allows you to push your fingernail in forming an indent.

The next toys depend on the bird. Large birds like macaws and Cockatoos may have a huge appetite. Introduce hardwood toys into cages and perhaps toys with hard plastics so they can spend more time on the various pieces. Toys may be strung together with rope, leather, chain or a combination of materials.

The balance of toys should be easily shredded. Toys may be store bought or home made. Parrot toy parts are available and helps keep toy making economical. Soft wood, paper, leather and other textures are important for the bird to explore and destroy

Introduce pieces of food like broccoli or corn, using one of many commercially available or home made toy holders. The food on the toy holder rewards them for playing.

The more textures, shapes, sizes and colors the better. Diversity is important because in the wild your birds eat a diverse diet. An eclectic selection of toys helps maintain your feathered companions interest.

Watch a bird in its natural habitat and you’ll see them chewing soft bark and hard tree trunks. Toys made from compressed palm leaf or treated Yucca introduces hours of “pecking pleasure” Interactive toys made from Plexiglas are very effective at reducing birdie boredom.

The majority of toys should hang or be placed in the upper third of the cage. Introduce a few more to the middle third (without hampering access to food dishes) around a perch made from soft wood, comfortable to grasp depending on the size of the bird’s feet. The bottom third of the cage should remain relatively uncluttered to allow the bird to walk freely.

Spot-check toys and perches on a daily basis looking for frayed or sharp edges that may potentially harm your bird.

The more you change the toy and perch arrangement, the more you challenge your companion parrot. It helps them socialize and helps avoids “toy-phobia”
Parrots can develop phobic reactions to new people, new furniture, and even new birds.

Toys from household items

Adding machine tape
Toilet paper roll
Nuts hidden in nested paper cups
Phone book slipped through cage bars
Wrapped straws – cable tied
Fortune cookies
Saltine cracker packet
Junk mail
Cotton swabs
Doggie rawhide
Shoelaces strung with beads or Cheerios
Branches with leaves
Breakfast-food bowl with newspaper taped to top

Your Budget Guide To Buying Baby Toys

Your Budget Guide To Buying Baby Toys

It is but natural to be to excited to buy baby toys especially if you are a first time parent. However, it’s wise to remember that babies do not care whether his toy or expensive or not. Raising a baby is already expensive without the toys. So be practical avoid impulsively buying toys that your baby will not need. Read on and learn a few tips in buying baby toys within your budget.
Buy toys even before baby arrives. There are, more or less, forty weeks before your baby is born into this world. During this time, be on the lookout for sales and promotions for baby toys that you believe your baby will need.
Do not patronize brands. Do not judge the toy by its name. Well-known baby toy brands cost a lot of money. You’ll be surprised to know that lesser-known brands are also of the same quality and design. Again, your baby doesn’t care whether his toy is branded or not.
Observe your baby at play. Chances are, he will only play with one to two toys at a time and this will be his favorites for an indefinite span of time. This is the main reason why it is not advisable to shower your baby with a lot of toys. It would be best to buy your baby a toy only during special occasions or to celebrate new milestones.
Buy toys that are multi-functional. This will assure you that the money you spent on buying the toy was well-invested. An example of such toy is a baby rattle made of safe plastic rings that can be used as a teether once your baby’s gums start to each. The same rings can be hung atop your baby’s crib or stroller bar as a baby mobile for visual stimulation.
Choose baby toys that can be played with for years. Toys like these can be played from babyhood to the toddler years. A stuffed bear or doll is an example. Older children even hold on to their old baby stuffed toy because its scent brings back feelings of comfort like when they were still young babies.
Choose second-hand toys. The fact that these toys lasted for years is a testament to its durability and high quality. Look for cheap baby toys at thrift shops, garage sales, and online auctions. Thoroughly clean and disinfect the toy before handing it over to your baby. Carefully check the toy to see if there are damages or loose parts that can possibly hurt your baby.
Choose traditional and manual versus electronic toys. Electronic toys will most likely be expensive plus you will need to constantly buy batteries so it can be used. Traditional toys such as balls, stacking cups, and building blocks are as effective as these electronic toys in terms of keeping your baby entertained and stimulated.
Realize the power of the coupon. Utilize your coupons to buy baby toys at discounted prices. Look for coupon codes when buying baby toys online and get to save a lot of bucks. You may even get to finally afford a branded baby toy!

Four Proper Caring Tips For Wooden Toys

It’s not a surprise if your kid adores his wooden toys. Wooden toys like wooden building blocks have been played with by kids of many generations. Even now when modern electronic toys that talk, sing, dance and do all sorts of things are abundant in toy stores, wooden toys are still here offering endless exciting positive play opportunities for your kid.

Because of this, it is just right that you give your kid’s wooden toys the same care and attention that you have for his other toys. Below are tips on how you can take care of your kid’s wooden toys.

One smart caring tip for wooden toys is storing them properly after use. Wooden toys such as wooden train sets have many different pieces that should always be kept in the same storage box to avoid losing any piece. It is also nice to purchase those that come with a storage box like the Maxim Wooden 100 Piece Train Set in Storage Box so that you can be sure that all the parts are always complete.

Second caring tip for your kid’s wooden toys is to clean them regularly. This is not only for the sake of the toy but more importantly for the safety of your kid especially if he shares his toys with other children since germs and bacteria are easily transmitted through objects. Clean his wooden toys by wiping them with a cloth dipped in soap and then rinsing them by wiping with wet cloth. It is good to clean the toys this way instead of soaking them in water.

Third caring tip is about teaching your child the value of caring for his wooden toys. Although it’s you who do the cleaning and the storing for now, don’t forget to elicit your child’s participation in doing these things so that he will learn how to clean and store his toys so that he will be able to do them on his own eventually. Teach your child how important it is that he is able to care and value his possessions and how it is never right to abuse or harm his toys in any way. This means, that banging or smashing his wooden toys is an activity you should frown upon.

Fourth and last tip involves checking on the wooden toys every so often. Check on his wooden blocks to see if they are complete, check on his wooden trains to make sure no part has come loose. Proper maintenance for his toys is needed to ensure that they last a long time with your kid.

While it is very important to ensure that your kid grows up mentally stimulated, it is also necessary to improve his physical skills which are indeed an essential part of his growing up. Who knows? With your proper care, he might grow up as the next Michael Jordan or David Beckham.

Wooden toys delight your kid in a way that no other toy can. More importantly, it contributes to the developmental progress of your child by enhancing motor skills, sparking his imagination and improving cognitive skills. With that said, it is only proper that your kid’s wooden toys receive the care and attention they deserve.