Archive for the ‘Toys’

I recently took an underwater adventure, where I swam above a coral reef, watched colorful fish swim by and held out my hand to touch the glittering scales, I listened to dolphins communicate with each other and watched as they jumped out of the water and danced on the waves. It was the most magical adventure, and no, I didn’t have to go to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to experience this … I did it all from the comfort of my desk at work.

I am writing this blog post as a woman who is way older than the desired age for ArtSee Studio™; a woman who spent a sufficient amount of time yesterday completely enthralled with the amazing drawing kit. ArtSee Studio™ is for children aged three plus, but I’m adamant adults will have a blast with it too!

ArtSee Studio™ lets kids be taken on an interactive journey of color, sound and motion. It’s an innovative drawing kit, which can transform simple drawings and paintings on any iPad® into animated games and activities.

Not only does ArtSee Studio™ give you the opportunity to turn a blank canvas into a Van Gogh-style masterpiece, it’s also packed with games and activities, which help enhance your child’s cognitive development.

For more information visit the ArtSee Studio™ website: http://artseestudio.com.

After hours, of fun with ArtSee Studio™, I would recommend it to everyone! Take a wild African safari, where you can mingle with the lions and giraffes or build a racetrack and imagine yourself as a Formula One driver… ArtSee Studio™ brings your imagination to life!

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ArtSeeStudio

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtseeStudio

As a kid I loved exploring. My friends and I would wander into the woods and fields on the outskirts of the small town where we lived, whether rain or shine, and go on mini adventures to see what treasures we could find.  Our nets would be out as will sifted through the dirt on the river bed, our mini shovels would dig holes under the trees… and we would go home with a small bag full of colored glass and smooth rocks thinking we’d be rich!

What would have happened if we’d found mysterious alien gun parts on our treasure hunt expeditions?

When the going gets tough and aliens invade your hometown, you don’t want to be one of those scared kids who runs and hides behind your mom and dad waiting for the trouble to pass over! You want to be on the front line of the action! Putting together those strange, mysterious gun parts you’ve found to battle those aliens and run them out of town!

You’ve got 9 mysterious raygun parts and more than 20 wacky combinations which you can use.  Maybe you’ll blast goo or lightening…. Or maybe you’ll have to try the various combinations and see what happens!

Have hours of fun over the holiday season battling aliens to save your hometown!

Have you played Mysterious Raygun? If so, go to our Facebook page and share with other Mysterious Raygun fans what your favorite and the most effective gun combination is! https://www.facebook.com/AppGear

One of my favorite subjects in school was history. I know! You probably think I’m nuts! But learning about where we originated from and ancient cultures has always intrigued me. Painting pictures in my mind of what life was like without the luxuries we’ve come to take for granted in modern times…. Hot water, electricity, the internet… (Imagining life without internet is worse than any horror movie I’ve seen!).

One of the most fascinating ancient civilizations, to me, was the Ancient Egyptians.  Like Ancient Greece, many children died young and those who survived were married by the age of 12.  Although childhood was short lived the Ancient Egyptians enjoyed a variety of leisure activities and games.

A popular game in Ancient Egypt was the board game, Senet, which translated means the ‘Game of Passing’. It is one of the oldest known board games and the rules of the game are still under debate.  Other games and toys included; wooden dolls, proof of this was found in 1887 when British Archeologist Sir Flinders Petrie discovered an Egyptian doll, which dated back to 1800 BC! Egyptians were also well known for mechanical toys, which they made using string and hinges. Does anyone remember toys, which you would pull by a string, and they would move their legs as you tugged the toy behind you? The Egyptians invented the mechanical crocodile with snapping jaws, which is where our modern day toys originated!

Spinning tops and marbles were also common toys. WowWee recently released a new range of toys based on the simple marble but have given it a monstrous twist to make a historic game more fun!

Have you played Monster Marbles and taken a trip back to the past?

I started my journey into the past with my best friend Google…. And my adventure began in Ancient Greece.

Babies born in Ancient Greece had a difficult time surviving. Many died within the first few days of life and those who did survive were considered adults by the age of 12 and expected to marry and start a family of their own. To me, this was a terrifying thought… I am way past the age of 12 and still don’t see myself as an adult!

Although childhood in Ancient Greece was short lived, archeological records show the recovery of toys such as; dolls made of terracotta or wax, bows and arrows and yo-yo’s.

One of the earliest toys ever recorded is a mechanical puzzle, which originated from Ancient Greece in the 3rd Century BC. The game consisted of a square divided into 14 parts and the aim of the game was to create different shapes from these pieces. As you can see from the picture below… this was no easy feat!

Toys from Ancient Greece were made from materials found in nature like stone, wood, clay and grass. Each toy individually made by hand… a vast difference from how toys are made and produced today!

Would you have survived in Ancient Greece as a child with only a stick for a toy?

So, what are toys really? Apart from generally being brightly colored objects, which sometimes move and run on batteries?

Toys are tools (not the kind of tools you purchase from a hardware store) educating children and training them for the life they will lead in society. For example: the abacus was invented to assist children with counting and numbers, and colored building blocks were (and still are) used to help enhance cognitive behavior, hand-eye coordination, and to stimulate creativity.

Babies are eager to learn about the world around them, wanting to experience every shape, color, texture, taste and sound. A favorite toy for babies is the rattle, whose sounds and coloring are used to stimulate babies’ senses. Toddlers can play with a wider variety of toys and as children reach pre-school age toys can really start integrating the learning of letters, numbers and language skills.

We understand how toys are used in present day, but what about in the past? Were toys used for the same educational purposes and integration into society?

I have fond memories of my childhood… the toys, the games, playing outside until it was too dark to see. I was born and raised in the UK and although we loved playing outside it wasn’t always possible with the wet and windy weather England is world renowned for. We were however, lucky to have, at our disposal, a vast amount of toys, games and gadgets to entertain ourselves with indoors.

Even though we had enough toys and games to fill a small country… we always wanted more. My dad would say, “We didn’t have that when I was young… you should count yourselves lucky”.

We took everything for granted! We really did believe that a man with a white beard and a red suit came down the chimney once a year to deliver us gifts (even though we didn’t actually have a chimney…). I now realize just how lucky we were, and just how hard my parents had to work to buy us things to keep us happy (and quiet).

I’ve always been intrigued by history, and remembering my dad’s words all those years ago prompted not only a trip down memory lane, but a desire to research toys of the past.

Did ancient civilizations have toys? What was the first toy? Where does the term toy even come from?

More to come…