"Here at GeekDad we review a lot of products — books, toys, gadgets, software — and I know it’s impossible for most parents to actually afford all of the cool stuff that gets written up... [W]hile we love telling you about all the cool stuff that’s out there, I understand that as parents we all have limited budgets and we sometimes need help narrowing down our wishlists. So to help you out, I’ve worked really hard to narrow down this list to five items that no kid should be without. All five should fit easily within any budget, and are appropriate for a wide age range so you get the most play out of each one.
These are time-tested and kid-approved!"
The Seven Worst Gifts for Children!
This year’s list of the worst toys is brought to you by plastics, those bright synthetic polymers that threaten to overtake the living rooms of middle-class parents.
Make Magazine has released its Ultimate Kit Guide
which rates 175 DIY kits. Kits like the: 6-in-1 Solar Robot Kit
, the Infrared Jammer Kit
, the KaraKuri Somersault Doll
kit, the Loud Objects Noise Toy Kit
. But best of all you will find the astounding MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer
. "The Thing-O-Matic is a breakthrough in 3D printing technology. The Thing-O-Matic prints thing after thing, it's completely automated! You hit print and the machine does all the work. Want to print 100 butterflies? Easy. Want to print an entire chess set? No problem. Buy it, assemble it, and enjoy being the first on your block to live in the cutting-edge personal manufacturing future of tomorrow!" [more inside]
Address is Approximate.
"A lonely desk toy longs for escape from the dark confines of the office, so he takes a cross country road trip to the Pacific Coast in the only way he can – using a toy car and Google Maps Street View."
On the eve of the show's second season debut, My Little Ponies creative director and former showrunner Lauren Faust
was kind enough to grant a retrospective interview looking back at season 1
Hungry chipmunks + toys = CHIPMUNK ADVENTURES
! [more inside]
"Hot Wheels, Nerf Balls, Spyrograph, View Masters... Remember any of those? Well, that’s the idea behind Jellio
. Think of all those times that you flashed back to something from childhood, and it put a huge grin on your face. Well we think you can surround yourself with a few of those memories on a long-term basis."
slices and reflects images from Google Maps, creating kaleidoscopic cartography. [more inside]
Meet Bebe Gloton
, the Breastfeeding Doll who's coming to America. The NY Times opines
, Facebook users can't agree on whether it's good
, but what does God
Sephiroth the World's Enemy [SLYT]
A Final Fantasy stop-motion video. Also: a behind the scenes look
at the toys & animation, involved.
It was bound to happen eventually. After a quarter-century
, 26 Academy Awards
, and an unparalleled streak of eleven artistic and commercial triumphs
, Pixar's latest project, Cars 2
, is Certified Rotten
. Critics have assailed the film
as a slick but hollow vehicle for Disney's $10 billion-dollar Cars
merchandising industry "lifestyle brand,"
replacing the original's serviceable tale of small-town redemption with zany spy games
, hyperactive chase sequences
, and even more lowbrow aww-shucks potty humor
from Larry the Cable Guy
. But it's not all bad news! Along with a fun new Toy Story 3 short
, preceding today's (3-D) premiere showings is a first look at next year's Brave
-- a darkly magical original story
set in ancient Scotland featuring the studio's first female lead (and director
). Evocative high-res concept art [mirror]
is available at the official website, and character sketches
have leaked to the web, with the apparently striking teaser trailer sure to follow. Also, be sure not to miss the sneak peak of Brave
's associated short, "La Luna"!
The best word to describe it is probably “relentless,” in that it’s relentlessly cute, relentlessly happy, and relentlessly entertaining. In its own way, it reminds me of a movie like Singin’ In The Rain, in that both properties aim to overwhelm any cynicism directed at them via sheer and utter joyfulness. It seems like it should be easy to watch either property with an ironic sneer of detachment, but both utterly wear down all defenses.
- The A.V. Club
. My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic (previously
) is the curiously addictive cartoon accompaniment to the famous girl's toy line. It just finished it's first season, and all of the episodes can be seen on YouTube (start here
) and this all encompassing torrent
. While intended for girls 6 through 8
, the show has spawned a surprising additional fan base of young-adult men. Calling themselves bronies, they have created a staggering amount of fan material (check the blog Equestra Daily
, chan Ponychan
, and image dump Ponibooru
) and turned the ponies into a widely pervasive meme
, all with the apparent blessing of Hasbro
. [more inside]
Kids know that the best toys are the ones you make from stuff that's lying around. Arvind Gupta's been doing this for three decades. Take a look at his Turbine bottle cap
Helicopter foam cup
Drinking straw flute
The CD hovercraft
Magic Paper Fan
, Drinking Straw Centrifuge Pump
, Climbing Butterfly
Or check out the rest of his 1000 videos(!)
. Go to his website
and discover an armload of books and pamphlets describing more toys (some of them classic) along with science experiments, math activities and stories. A sample:
The amazing Touching Slate
, a drawing toy for blind children.
Hands On - Science Sense
Hands On - Ideas and activities
The Toy Bag
Finally you can hear Arvind in person at TED.com
giving career advice, showing off a dozen toy examples, demonstrating the structure of methane; telling a Large Hadron Collider joke and finishing with the wonderful "Captain's hat" story. [more inside]
PFC Rupert Valero is a U.S. soldier stationed in Afghanistan who makes amazing custom toy robots
out of recycled materials.
Some people have claimed that Barbie is really about giving girls the image of an empowered woman. There can be little doubt of empowerment when it comes to Black Moses Barbie
- she fights for freedom
and has all the coolest playsets and accessories.
The cyclotrope is a cycle of 18 images that is spun at a certan speed so that the frame rate of the camera filming it gives the illusion of animation. Created and animated by tim wheatley.
Like a Zoetrope
but using a bicycle wheel. [more inside]
The Easy-Bake Oven has inspired
others en route to being immortalized in The National Toy Hall of Fame
. But with 100-watt incandescent light bulbs effectively prohibited from manufacture starting in 2012, the suprisingly versatile
cooking instrument is being retired
in favor of an "Ultimate" model powered by a non-bulb heating element.
Adorable amigurumi toys look on as a new friend crochets itself.
is billed as the Ultimate Transformers Resource. [more inside]
This Valentine's Day make love, not war...
An Alabama sex shop is offering a handgun- for-sex-toy promotion for Valentine's Day. [more inside]
Filed under strangely fascinating: Popin' Cookin', powdered miniature sushi that one makes oneself and eats as a candy
. Wait for the salmon roe at the end. There is a type of sweet in Japan that’s sold under the category of "intellectual education candy". These are sweets you must make yourself using the ingredients contained in the box. This way, children can enjoy the process of making candy, which allows them to develop their creativity.
The non-edible version, Konapun
. [more inside]
You may not be familiar with the name Mel Birnkrant
, but if you've played with toys in the last 45 years, you're probably familiar with his work. [more inside]
The BBC and toy company Character Options will be putting a new Doctor Who
themed series of construction toys on store shelves around the world in the next few months. Just when you thought Matt Smith and Karen Gillan couldn't get any cuter...
Bram Bos, maker of easy-to-use programs for making electronic music, has released all his old software for free download.
Get some free VST instruments and samples from KVR Audio
and make some music, or at least download Hammerhead
and make some beats!
"From 1965 to 1971, we played together, inventing one thing or another.... But, like the bride of Bluebeard, there was one door I was not allowed to enter. That was the door marked “Colorforms”. That alone was off limits. Harry had invented Colorforms, the vinyl plastic pieces that stuck to a shiny surface. And he was convinced that there was no idea or application involving Colorforms, nor could there be, that he had not thought up already.... [H]e would entertain no further discussion on the subject. The very mention of “stick-ons” was off limits. The door to Colorforms was shut and bolted. Until 6 years later, through a curious set of circumstances, I broke it down once and forever." The Colorforms Years
is Mel Birnkrant's illustrated history of two decades of ups and downs working with Colorforms
, the first plastic-based creative toy and one of the first toys promoted in television commercials. [more inside]
has pics of things that people aged 30-40 will remember from their childhood and adolescence. Who could forget Tiger Handheld games
, Hypercolor shirts
, Paint With Water books
, Surge soda
, Scholastic Book Club
, Slice cola
, Ring Pops
, and, last but not least, Zack Morris's cellphone
. Lead Soldiers
. Plastic Army Men
. But if you like your toy soldiers not so harmful to the environment and a little more do-it-yourself, you can get paper soldiers
. Here are some Print-fantry soldiers you can download for free
. [more inside]
A giant lego machine which builds a small lego airplane.
A 10 min video of lego building lego... I couldn't make it through without fast-forwarding, but as a lego enthusiast, I was intrigued by the way the assorted pieces were provided to the machine and moved along to the final creation.
Looking for literary superheroes? Behold the awesome powers of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne
17 Least Appropriate Playmobil Sets For Children
: Yep. A randomly numbered list on which several items are questionable. But really, whoever approved #1 for production was more than a little bit twisted.
A printable, foldable, playable, toy a day.
PDFs of little figures to print out and fold. Part of the joy is how they're all shaped the same. Among my favorites: all of KISS
, Mr. Natural
, Darth Vader
, and yesterday's reversible Superman/Clark Kent
. There is also a template
so you can make your own.
The Transfomers Wiki
is a surprisingly complete resource about everything related to one of the largest sci-fi franchises that exists to sell toys
. You can find information on everything from 1986's The Transformers: The Movie
to the more recent Transformers Animated
and the bizarre Japanese line Kiss Players
(that one gets NSFW). The wiki has just reached 10,000 articles
, which I guess means that it is ruined FOREVER
. [more inside]
:: Dolls of the 20th Century - A Celebration in Pictures and Histories