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2008 Year End – Best Lego sets

by James

deathstarlego1.jpg

We’re ending 2008 with a look back on some of the best toys of the year. And with toys, brings Legos. And some of the best Lego sets out in 2008 were impressive, most impressive:

Lego’s Death Star – it may be one of the coolest and most involved Lego kits ever. The Death Star, complete with 4,000 pieces, 25 mini figures, and showing 14 scenes from the original Star Wars Trilogy. Cost is $400, but for the amount of pieces, minifigs, and scenes to reinact from the epic sci film series, it’s more than worth it.

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2008 Most popular toys

by James

Bakugan

Looking back over 2008, we see several cases of toys that capturing our imaginations, and our pocketbooks. They had names like Lego (usually followed by “Star Wars” or “Batman,” and names you may not be able to pronounce, much less play. Here’s the list of this year’s hottest toys for 2008:

Leading the pack is Bakugan Battle Brawlers. A very interesting idea. Think of it as YuGiOh meets marbles. You take these special spheres and roll them towards a thin, metallic battle card. When it rolls onto it, the sphere opens to reveal a monster ready for attack. And that’s as far as I can get in even coming close to understanding it. But kids are eating it up like a starving pet called to dinner. Cost for starter pack is around $15.00. Ages 5 and up.

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Toys for Tots giving down, help severely needed

by James

Toys for Tots

“Semper Fi” is latin for “always faithful.” And nothing spells out that definition more than Toys for Tots. The US Marine Corps started the Toys for Tots program in 1947 when Marine Corps Major Bill Hendricks of the Marine Reserves of Los Angeles collected and distributed more than 5,000 toys to needy children. The program was deemed so successful, that the USMC officially adopted the program in 1948 and expanded it into a nation wide campaign. Over the past 59 years, the Marine Corps has collected and distributed over 370 MILLION toys to more than 173 million children nationwide.

But with the economy as it is this year, the Marine’s have fallen on a severe toy shortage. That means that unless things turn around dramatically in the next two weeks, many needy children won’t get a toy for Christmas. Now we know that times are tough for everyone, but this simply cannot happen.

RLeeErmey

This is a mission that we must help the Marines accomplish. So while you’re out picking up that toy for Junior, pick up an unwrapped toy for at least $10 and drop it off at the nearest Toys for Tots collection center. You can find the nearest drop off spot here. You can also make a direct donation online. And remember, it’s tax deductible.

That’s the same as two cups of mochajavachino at the local Starbucks. Surely, we can all do without two cups of that stuff so kids can have a happy Christmas, right?

So get on it. Getting off our soapbox now.

Cue Marine Corps Hymn.

Hat Tip – Cool Toy Review

Toys that have gone to war …

by James

Slinky

Often times, kids spend time with their toys, acting out playing soldier as they pretend to take an objective while using their toy guns to heighten the realistic fantasy. Nerf is making a killing (pardon the pun) taking advantage of this predominantly boy interest with their latest air soft based Nerf firearms. It’s good, harmless fun. Boys are just wired to play GI Joe. But what people may now know is that a host of kids toys have actually become real life weapons of war over the years and Mental Floss has a short list of those that helped defeat the enemy and bring freedom to the land.

The first, and most historically famous, are metal crickets – those tiny “clickers” which D-Day invasion troops used to identify themselves in the dark when behind enemy lines. Before hand, flashlights were used to communicate, but planners worried that the light would expose a soldier’s position. So the crickets were employed and each paratrooper was issued one with a code of how to use it to communicate. These crickets allowed paratroopers who were spread out over miles in the dead of night to rendezvous safely and move out in force.

Silly String

Next, is Silly String. Yes, thats right, Silly String was used in the Iraq War. The foam is fluorescent and can be used to expose and mark tripwires and booby traps. In World War II, troops were trained to recognize enemy aircraft and ships from afar using View-Masters. After the war, it became a staple for every kid wanting to see things in 3D.

View Master

According to some, the board game Monopoly was sent as part of care packages to prisoners of war during World War II. And inside the board itself was a secretly drawn and hidden map of the German or French countryside should any prisoners seek a break for freedom.

Finally, there’s the Slinky. Now what could a metal coil that walks down stairs do for national security? Radio operators in the field would connect them to their radios and then toss them up into trees to act as defacto radio antennas. They can hold onto things, and yet, still be taken down quickly when ready to move on to another position.

Hat Tip – Mental Floss

Hasbro $10 Deals

by James

Hasbro $10 deals

With the economy as it is, every little bit helps. So if you’re looking for a stocking stuffer, a gift for that little nephew or niece, or even wanting to get that Toy for Tot, check out Hasbro’s $10 Deals. There’s a new one every day.

idog

Today’s … the IDog!

Lincoln Logs Stony Brook Town Set – Largest Lincoln Log set ever

by James

Lincoln Logs Stony Brook Set

Parents looking for an old school toy to give their kids for Christmas may want to check out the largest Lincoln Logs set ever, affectionately known as the Stony Brook Town set.

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ATV gives kids the Dino Thunder

by James

Trex 1

“Power Rangers, Dino Thunder, hah!” That was the cry of one of my son’s favorite kid TV shows. And in it, the heroes rode ATVs and Motor Cycles built from mechanical dino DNA. Far fetched and campy to be sure, but it was a fun way to kill a half hour. It also has one of the original Green Rangers in it as Dr. Tommy Oliver. So, what does this have to do with today’s post? The Fisher Price A.T. Rex ATV is green, is based on the T Rex. Just like the Green Ranger. Coincidence? We don’t think so.

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CSI Facial Reconstruction Kit

by James

CSI Face kit

Some kids like to build Legos, others like to blow stuff up. But there must be a section of kids out there that likes to solve cold case murders judging by the CSI Facial Reconstruction Kit. Based on the long running, #1 rated CBS drama CSI (or CSI Miami, or CSI New York, or CSI [insert city name here], this kit allows kids to learn a mix of science, puzzle, art, and fantasy, as they work painstakingly to recreate the face of a victim from the skull left behind.

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Classic Toys: Erector Sets

by James

Erector sets

The budding little civil engineer in the family would love this classic toy … ERECTOR SETS! Since 1913, erector sets have been used by kids to create everything from cranes to buildings, towers, excavators, bridges and more. The Erector set can teach kids to build just about anything they can imagine, but also teach them creativity, observation, deductive reasoning, logical thinking, principles of mechanics, physics & problem solving.

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Classic Toys: Electric Football

by James

EFootball

With video games dominating the game playing world of youngsters these days, it’s hard to even get them to look at something so low tech as a metal football field rattling from electric currents while little plastic football men randomly move along in an attempt to drive a fabric football across the goal line. And often, ending up congregating in the corner as the field hums with an annoying buzz. But that’s the allure of Electric Football, a classic game that kids all over the 60s and 70s played with both passion and patience.

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