Archive for the ‘Toy News’ Category

Amazon Video Game Sale

video games at amazon

For a "limited time" Amazon is having a buy-one-get-one-at-half-price sale on select XBox 360 and PS3 games. Games include Fallout New Vegas, Left 4 Dead 2, Lego Star Wars, Portal 2 and much more. There seems to be 63 game titles in this offer. Just add the titles to your cart and it should take off the amount at checkout.

Of course, they take 1/2 off the lowest priced item.



Toy Sale on Amazon

Amazon toy sale

Amazon is running a sale this week on toys! For a limited time, select toys and games are up to 50% off. Offer good Monday, August 8, 2011, through Sunday, August 14, 2011.

Bounce House goes Airborne in New York

Yesterday, June 5, 2011, a heavy gust of wind suddenly picked up three inflatable bounce houses at a soccer event at the Oceanside United Soccer Club in Long Island, NY. There were children inside at the time and 13 people were injured, none seriously.

One bouncy house was lifted completely off the ground and became airborne. That one (shown in the video) seems to be a slide and not a house, so there probably weren’t any kids on it when it lifted off, although they were probably thrown off when the gust hit. Some people on the ground were struck by the floating, rolling houses.

There were no criminal charges filed.

It seems to me that if these houses had been properly anchored, this incident wouldn’t have happened.

Check out the video of the incident, then scroll down for some bounce house safety information.

If you or your organization is planning on having bounce houses at your event, following are some safety tips from the Safe Inflatable Operators Training Organization that you will want to follow.

Before signing a contract for bounce houses ask the following questions:

  • Are they insured? Get a copy of their insurance certificate.
  • Are they trained and how much experience do they have with inflatable rides?
  • What safety measures do they provide?

Once they arrive and as they are setting up check for the following to be sure it is done properly:

  • A tarp should be placed on the ground to protect the bottom of the house from rocks and sharp objects so it won’t deflate while children are playing on it.
  • The house should be staked down or heavily weighted with weights or sandbags.
  • Once inflated, check for rips or holes and general wear-and-tear. Has the house been patched many times?
  • Make sure the house is fully inflated and not sagging anywhere.
  • Be sure the operator goes over all operating and safety procedures verbally and leaves a printed copy. Ask questions if you don’t understand anything.

Once the operator has set up the unit and leaves be sure to:

  • Have someone attending the house at all times.
  • Children ages 3 and under should not be allowed on the ride.
  • Group children according to size. Big kids should not bounce with 5-year-olds.
  • Do not exceed the maximum ride capacity.
  • Perform safety checks frequently.
  • Turn the unit off during inclement weather or high winds.
  • Seek medical attention for any injuries that do occur.
  • Follow all rules left by the ride operator.

Parents at events and amusement parks should follow these safety tips:

  • Make sure you child only rides with other children of his/her size.
  • Be sure there aren’t already too many children on the ride. Get your child out if it becomes too crowded.
  • Always watch your child while on the ride. Accidents can happen in a split second.
  • Get your child off the ride if they seem to be getting tired. Sitting children are much more at risk of being jumped on by another child.
  • Be aware of all the safety rules.
  • Make sure someone is always supervising the bounce house and watching the activities inside.
  • If a bounce house does collapse, remove all the children immediately.

CNN Via Gizmodo

A Great Deal on AA Batteries

It’s worrisome when toys are recalled due to safety issues. And in the past few years there have been more recalls than there should be.

Did you ever wonder what happens to all the batteries that were on those toys when they are pulled off the shelves and out of warehouses? They can’t be sold as new because they were in the toys.

The good news is that all those battereis are are pulled out of the toys and sold as surplus at a somewhat reduced rate.

American Science & Surplus is offering AA Duracell batteries for $3.25 for a package of 8.

via Gizmodo

Big Discounts on Radio Flyer Ride-Ons at Amazon

Radio Flyer Grow "N" Go Bike

Right now Amazon has savings of up to 45% on select Radio Flyer ride-on vehicles.

While the sale says "up to 45%", savings I saw ranged between 20% to 51%. The bike shown here is 42% off.

It’s not a huge selection, and the classic red wagon
is not included in this sale, but it’s the perfect time of year for this type of item and there are some great savings.

In addition, the items ship with FREE Super Saver Shipping and Prime Shipping (check the Details at Amazon).

Oldest known Monopoly Board sells for $146,000.00

original monopoly board
The only known suviving original Monopoly board

Earlier this year (or possibly late December, 2010, I’m not really sure) the oldest known Monopoly board sold at a Sotheby’s auction for £90,000, which converts to about $146,000. The Strong National Museum of Play was the high bidder for the board and it will go on display at the museum in Rochester, New York.

This board is the only known surviving example of around 5,000 that were hand-crafted by the games "inventor", Charles Darrow. It is circular rather than the familiar square board and it’s hand-drawn on oilcloth. Darrow drew the properties and his wife and son colored in the spaces.

There is some controversy over the origins of the game. It is certainly known that the game is based on a game created by Elizabeth Magie in 1903 called The Landlord’s Game which was more of a political statement rather than a game. She wanted to draw attention to the way in which rents enriched property owners and impoverished tenants. At least one version of The Landlord’s game is known to exist, which would pre-date the Monopoly board that just sold.

After Lizzie Magie invented the game it was used by various professors for instructional purposes and became popular with Quakers (who eliminated the auction rule because they didn’t believe in it). The streets were mostly around the city of Chicago at that time.

monopoly board
A closeup view of the original board

In the 1920’s the game was apparently popular in Reading Pennsylvania, mostly through fraternities at Williams College.

Ruth Hoskins became aware of the game in Indianapolis and took it back to Atlantic city, where it took on the Atlantic City street names. This version was taught to Charles Todd, who taught Esther Darrow, the wife of Charles Darrow who then began to distribute the game as "Monopoly" with the hand-drawn boards which were reportedly the exact size of his dining room table. (Whew!)

marven gardens
Sign at the real Marven Gardens

You may know that the streets on the Monopoly Board are all in Atlantic City, but did you know that one of them, Marvin Gardens, is both not actually in Atlantic City and is misspelled? The actual location, Marven Gardens, is a housing area in Margate City New Jersey and is said to be a combination of Margate City and Ventnor City due to it’s location between them. Charles Darrow made the original mistake of misspelling it on his circular boards and it has never been corrected.

The history of Monopoly is as complicated as the game itself. The issues surrounding the origination of the game led to various law suits which were not finally settled until 1985 a change in the trademark laws, lobbied by Parker Brothers, allowed them to again claim ownership of the trademark name "Monopoly".

Alex shows his lasso skills

Alex tries out lassoing at Toy Fair

Uncle Milton, King of the Anthill, Passes Away.

Uncle Milton
with some of his nieces & nephews

Milton Levine, better known as Uncle Milton, passed away January 16, 2011 at the age of 97. He died of natural causes at an assisted living facility.

Uncle Milton was the co-inventor of the Ant Farm and a legendary contributor to the toy industry and pop culture. He was the co-founder of the company that would become Uncle Milton Industries.

He founded the company in 1946 selling novelties and introduced the ant farm in 1956. The company has sold more than 20 million farms and it’s been recognized as one of the top 100 Toys of the Century by the Toy Industry Association.

Uncle Milton was at a Fourth of July picnic in 1956 and was watching some ants. He started thinking about collecting ants in a jar as a child and announced "We should make an antarium."

He and his brother-in-law, E. J. Cossman then invented the iconic plastic habitat with the little barnyard that everybody is familiar with. They hired collectors to obtain red harvester ants from the Mojave Desert and paid them a penny apiece. One supplier showed up at Milton’s office with a jar of ants and when he couldn’t get paid the amount he wanted, he opened the jar onto his desk, releasing ants all over the office.

They were faced with some unique challenges when they began their business. The first was setting up the two-stage sale process so that customers could receive their live ants. They also needed to get permission from each state to ship live ants. You still can’t get them in Hawaii, where they are considered an infestation danger (you have to find your own).

The ant farm hasn’t changed much over the years. They had to use a different glue when they discovered that it was toxic to some ants. And in recent years they have replaced the sand that they used to use with volcanic ash, which makes it easier to watch the ants.

Uncle Milton has said that he thought the ant farm would sell for about two years and he sometimes joked that the ants’ most amazing feat was putting his three children through college. Two of those children, Steve and Ellen have been actively involved in Uncle Milton Industries since Milton’s retirement. The company now sells a wide range of products.

Goodbye Uncle Milton, we’ll miss you.

Dave’s Cool Toys Blog
We post news about new toys on our site, new toys in the market, general toy information, or stuff we just thought was cool (usually toys).

We welcome your feedback and comments.

Be sure to check out our toys at Dave's Cool Toys. We work hard to find toys you won't find at the big box stores. Now go out and play!

Dave Ference

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