Toy Collecting Information for Toy Aficionados

One of the biggest misconceptions about toys is that they are only for kids. People often associate toys with children. In a traditional sense, this point is indeed true; toys were traditionally made for children in order to keep them busy or entertained. However, if one were to look at toys in a more modern light, this point would no longer hold true. These days, toys are not only made for kids, but also for adults. For kids, toys are mostly play-time paraphernalia. For adults though, toys are collectibles.

Anyone who has a passion for toys or anything toy-related can become a toy collector. Of course, in order to be a successful collector, one needs to know first the ins and outs of toy collecting. Though most toy collecting information is available online, one needs to consider some very important things first before one starts collecting toys. Here are a few of the most important toy collecting information and tips for aspiring collectors:

The first thing one would need to know is that as a collector, one would need to be passionate about what one wants to collect. This is very important indeed. Being passionate about a certain line of toys means having not just the drive to collect anything and everything that is available for that certain toy line, but also having the patience to find them all. Not all collectibles are easily available for purchase, you see. Sometimes, you really have to go the extra mile to find a certain piece to complete the collection. There’s a reason why manufacturers usually put in their product literature “Collect them all!”

Second, one needs to make sure he or she has ample storage space for their collections. Toy collections can get very big. One may initially want just a few pieces, but any seasoned collector will tell you that it will never be the case. Toys, especially ones that are rare and well-made, need to be stored properly. This means one has to have ample space for proper arrangement and sorting of the toys.

This second tip is a very important piece of toy collecting information; because if one doesn’t allocate proper space for his or her toys, the toy might end up damaged. Remember, as a collector, you have to learn to take care of your collected toys. This means giving them a good home. In relation to this, one should also learn to clean his or her collected toys regularly as this will keep them in tip-top shape for longer periods of time.

The last tip worth noting when it comes to toy collecting is to interact with fellow collectors. Why is collector fellowship so important? This is because having a network of fellow toy lovers can do your collection good. Many toy collectors get to complete their collections with the help of fellow toy aficionados.

For example, if you need a certain G. I. Joe figure and you can’t get a hold of it because it was only ever released in, say, Australia, then being part of an International online network of toy lovers can help you get your toy. There are many toy collector forums and networks online. All you need to do is join in these networks and interact with everyone. Aside from getting a helping hand with your collection, you can also learn helpful toy collecting information and tips from your network. You won’t just gain toys; you’ll also gain new friends.

If you want to get the best toy collecting information available, make sure to attend in as many toy conventions as you can. At toy conventions, you’ll get to see extremely rare toys; you may even get the chance to meet people who are willing to trade collectibles with you (depending on what the both of you need). Indeed, toy collecting is one of the most enjoyable hobbies today!


Continue Reading

Toy Collecting Information Worth Remembering

When it comes to collecting toys, there is no real standard. No real rules apply to this hobby. One can collect whatever set of toys he or she may want from any toy line. However, in order to become a good and successful collector, certain toy collecting information and tips should always be remembered. People do have a lot of freedom when it comes to collecting toys; but before they can start collecting anything, they must start on the right track by knowing the basics of collecting toys.

There are many toy collecting information and tips to consider before one can start a hobby of collecting toys. Of course, like with almost all sets of tips, a few do rise as the most important ones. The three most important toy collecting information and tips are: Knowing how and where to find the toys you want; keeping in touch with fellow collectors with the same interests as you; and having a place to house your collection.

As a collector, there are certain traits one would need to develop in order to be successful. Resourcefulness is one of these important traits. This is because not all collectibles are easy to get. Some are rare and hard to find. To be a successful toy collector, one needs to have the capability to locate hard-to-find pieces. One has to know where to look and when to look. Sometimes though, being resourceful isn’t enough. When it comes to collecting toys, you cannot always work on your own; which brings us to the next important tip.

When collecting toys, it is of utmost importance to keep in touch with fellow collectors. Why is this so? It’s because having a support community will help you and your collections grow further. Having contacts with common interests as you can really help, especially if you get to a point where you are in need of a toy that’s not easily accessible to you. Moreover, by having a network of fellow toy enthusiasts, you can learn more toy collecting information.

The final important tip when it comes to collecting toys is to learn proper toy care. Toys need proper care in order to last a long time. Toy longevity is indeed important, especially if the toys one collects are rare and one-of-a-kind. One simply cannot risk getting damage on rare toys as it will be hard to replace them in one’s collection.

It is very important to have good storage space for your toys. Make sure the space is ample, and make sure to clean the area and the toys regularly. For extra precaution, one can seal the toys in transparent boxes to keep them safe from the elements. Moreover, make sure that the room temperature of the toys’ storage area is not too hot or too cold, as extreme temperatures can compromise the toys’ material.

In order to enjoy collecting toys to its fullest, it is best to learn as much toy collecting information as you can. If one is really good at collecting toys, one can even profit from this hobby. The best way to learn all of the ins and outs of collecting toys is by reading a good resource on the topic. By preparing oneself with a good reference material, one can be a master toy collector in no time.


Continue Reading

Choosing Safe Toys For Your Children

Every time I hear that there is another toy recall, I think to myself – you have got to be kidding! How do these dangerous toys even get to the shelves and within reach of our curious children in the first place? Did the manufacturers realize that they were potentially harmful? Are there quality control measures to ensure this does not happen?

I personally know a sweet lady who is a mother of three little girls. When I was visiting with her one day, I noticed pictures of a little boy on the walls and asked who it was. She told me it was her son who had died at age three when a toy got stuck in his throat. His father had tried desperately to remove the lodged toy, but his attempts were fruitless, and the child succumbed. I was horrified and can only imagine how much they both suffered from this sad experience.

It is difficult to watch our children every minute, but we can make every attempt to remove any toys that could do harm from those that they play with every day. Your children also may receive toys as presents from well-meaning family members and friends for birthdays and holidays. How can you be sure that the toys you have in your home are safe for your children?

It is good to be aware of the CPSC US Consumer Product Safety Commission Homepage, which is where you can look to see if a particular toy has been recalled. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed so you will be able to see the latest recalls. If you know of any incident related to a toy injuring a child, you can also report it on this great site to help others.

Most recently the CPSC announced the recall of toy dark gun play sets that were sold at the Family Dollar Stores. Two children, aged 9 and 10 (both boys) put the soft darts into their mouths and accidentally inhaled them into their throats. Because of the suction cups, they were unable to get the darts removed and the children died of asphyxiation. Children of all ages can be harmed if they are not careful with toys.

Another suggestion is to pay attention to age recommendations on toys. They are put on the packages for a reason. You may think your child is old enough to play with a toy that is made for an older child, but toys with small or removable parts can cause injuries or asphyxiation. Some older children also still like to put things in their nose, ears and mouths, so you are the best judge to know what is appropriate for them.

If a toy is broken, it is best to throw it away immediately. Be aware of what is in your toy box. If tiny or broken pieces of toys are present, clean them out.

If your child receives a toy as a present or you have purchased one that they wanted, you should try hard to break it (do not do it in front of the child, however). If you can yank on the stuffed animals eyes and they are loose, they could come off and get lodged in the child’s throat. Try to think of ways in which your child may use it and test to see if the toy will fall apart. You can also test all toy gifts since they were not given with the intention to harm the child. It is better to be safe than sorry.

If you buy secondhand or garage sale toys, test them to see that they are safe for your child. It is ultimately up to the parents to check out the toys their children play with to ensure their safety.

Teaching your children the proper way to play with their toys will also educate them so they can play safely. It is not just enough to tell them not to point a toy dart gun at another child. It is also important to think of other ways that the toy may be harmful to them.

It is not only cheap toys that have been recalled, but recently there have been several well-known toy companies that have recalled toys. Just as an example, Step 2 recalled Buggy Toys because the pin that holds the handle on loosens and it detaches posing a danger to a child. These toys have been sold for over ten years and were made in the United States.

Another well-known toy maker, Gund, have recently recalled their Paperboard Baby Books because the styrofoam in the binding can detach and choke a child. These books were made in China and have been available since January 2009.

A company that makes wind chimes for babies recently recalled their Tiny Love Wind Chime product because a two-year-old baby punctured his cheek with a sharp rod that became exposed when he pulled the chime apart. These were also manufactured in China.

Another Step 2 toy that has been found to be a hazard is the Basic Rhythms Drums. The plastic clips that attach the drumsticks can break off and be a choking hazard.

Many parents may have these toys in their homes, but not be aware of the toy recalls. Parents purchase toys that are supposed to encourage development and positive growth in their children, either physically or mentally. It is best to study out the safety of toys beforehand to make sure you are investing in toys that will be safe for your children as well.

Continue Reading

How You Can Choose Safe Toys This Holiday Season?

As you search for the perfect toy to give to the little ones in your life this holiday season, you may be confused and even scared about some of the recent media attention on toy recalls and overseas manufacturing of toys, in general.

Some parents have even decided to look for other gift alternatives instead of buying toys. But is this really wise? Toys are intended not only to be a form of entertainment for children, but also a beneficial and vital part of their development. They provide a wonderful source of learning and entertainment for kids of all ages. Playing with creative toys enhances motor skills and provides a constructive way to release energy. By selecting quality toys from a company that researches their manufacturers thoroughly and regularly, you are giving a child an amazing way to foster creativity and stimulate intellectual development.

With this extreme attention on toy safety and product recalls in recent months, particularly on toys imported from China, it is crucial that consumers be informed and not misled. While it is true that over 80 percent of the toys sold in this country are imported from Chinese manufacturing plants, countries don’t make toys — companies do. It’s important to not view all toy companies as a singular entity.

It is a fact that big name toy companies like Mattel have had some products recalled due to safety issues, but it is imperative to set the record straight. Most toy recalls are due to design issues – such as small parts that come off and present a choking hazard and not for the use of unsafe materials. These design-types of recall issues have nothing to do with Chinese manufacturers and are, in fact, not a manufacturing issue at all.

Small toy companies are concerned about recall fears being attributed to all companies, instead of the specific companies affected. There are thousands of toy companies in the U.S., yet the weight of attention to recalls among the large toy companies such as Mattel and Hasbro bears heavy on small toy companies. A small toy company in Madison, WI had this to say on their blog regarding the Mattel toy recall:

“The Mattel recall is bad for the entire toy industry… Mattel’s failure to effectively oversee their suppliers darkens the public perception of all Chinese manufacturers. It’s unfortunate this negative perception extends to companies that actually enforce rigorous quality standards, factories whose products consistently pass safety and lead tests…”

American consumers should be aware that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) is also working very hard to ensure the safety of toys and other products imported from China. An International Consumer Product Safety Program known as the 2007 China Program Plan has been implemented. Responding to the problem of product recalls from China, the CPSC states, in part:

The Commission is exploring a variety of means to reduce the number of consumer products imported to the U.S. that pose a substantial product hazard, that violate mandatory product safety standards or that otherwise pose an unreasonable risk to American consumers. These efforts have included the creation of a new Office of International Programs; the development of the China Program; participating in product safety seminars; direct notification to manufacturers and to General Administration for Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) when a Chinese manufactured consumer product recall occurs; and stepped-up port and market surveillance to help keep defective or violative products out of the hands of consumers.

It is important to understand the impact of applicable U.S. standards, including ASTM-F963, which “relates to possible hazards that may not be recognized readily by the public and that may be encountered in the normal use for which a toy is intended or after reasonably foreseeable abuse. The standard covers requirements and contains test methods for toys intended for use by children under 14 years of age.” These standards are put in place as a voluntary way for the toy industry to police itself and protect the public.

A second way that the CPSC works with toy companies to provide safety information to consumers is with package labeling. Parents and others can help safeguard the children they are buying toys for by reading the labels and following the recommendations and warnings. Many issues in toy safety are directly related to consumer choices to purchase toys not intended for a particular age group. Most toys are given an age rating and a warning if there are specific reasons, such as small parts, if there are inappropriate for young children.

Continue Reading

Educational Toys And Children’s Books – A Must For Optimal Childhood Development

The brightly colored plastic mobile dangles lazily overhead in the infant’s crib. The baby coos as its tiny arms swing a rattle back and forth. In another room a pre-school youngster is busy assembling the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and upstairs a teen is conquering worlds on a computerized video game. What do all of these activities have in common? They are examples of children playing with educational toys.

It seems that a home with children is a home full of toys. Parents want children to have happy, healthy childhoods. Toys are a big part of growing up. But, with stores filled with toys and games many parents begin to question which of these toys are appropriate and which toys will help their children develop normally? These are good questions.

There is no doubt that toys are a normal part of childhood. Kids have played with toys of some kind for as long as there have been children. It is also quite true that toys play a significant role in the development of the child. The types of toys with which a child plays often have a strong influence on the child’s adult interests and behavior.

Play consumes a large portion of a child’s time each day. It is during this play that children learn some fundamental lessons not only about themselves, but also about other people and the world around them. It is through play they develop physically, mentally and emotionally. Play is essential to the child’s development.

Educational toys are tools of play designed to develop motor skills, cognitive powers and emotions. Other toys may simply be fun. Too often, the label ‘educational’ is attached to toys regardless whether or not the toy was actually designed to ‘teach’ the child a skill or ability. Sometimes the term is used as a marketing gimmick to command a higher price.

So, how does a parent know if a toy is actually an educational toy? The answer to that question is to understand what the toy is designed to teach or accomplish.

Children learn best when learning is fun. Children learn at a very early stage to do those things that they enjoy and to avoid activities that are not enjoyable. Nearly every parent wants to believe that his or her child is special, that they are developing mentally or physically at a faster pace than other children. There is often a temptation to overburden the child with toys that are beyond the child’s stage of development, or to concentrate on toys that stretch the child’s skills. The truth is that there must be a balance between cognitive development toys, skills-based toys and toys that are simply ‘fun’ or relatively effortless to use. Pushing a child too strenuously can be just as damaging to development as not providing sufficient stimulation.

The plastic mobile dangling above the crib is an important aid in helping the infant learn to first focus its vision and then to distinguish between shapes and colors. The rattle helps the baby learn to identify and determine the source of sounds. Shaking the rattle develops coordinated movement. Both the mobile and the rattle are educational toys. The mobile is a cognitive development toy and the rattle is a skill-based toy.

Examples of other cognitive development toys include jigsaw puzzles, word puzzles, flash cards, drawing sets, painting sets, modeling clay, chemistry and science lab sets, telescopes, microscopes, educational software, some computer games, some video games and children’s books. These toys are labeled with the age range of the child for which they are designed. These are the toys that teach children to identify, make choices and reason. Smart parents will make sure their child or children are given toys appropriate for their age range.

Skill-based toys include building blocks, tricycles, bicycles, bats, balls, sports equipment, Legos, erector sets, Lincoln logs, stuffed animals, dolls, crayons and finger paints. These toys teach children the relationships between different sizes and shapes and how to assemble, color and paint. All of these activities are important for developing fine motor skills and increasing physical abilities.

Child safety is an important consideration in the selection of skill-based toys. Toys inappropriate for the child’s age or development may create a safety hazard. For example, babies and toddlers should not have access to toys such as bow and arrow sets, BB guns, toys with sharp edges or corners, small parts or substances that may be swallowed or electrical toys.

Continue Reading