Schoolhouse Rock

Schoolhouse-Rock

When it comes to scholastic studies, most kids loathe having to memorize things. When it comes to song lyrics, however, most kids can master them after only hearing the words a handful of times. With this in mind, Schoolhouse Rock debuted in 1972, catching children off-guard with their infectious little tunes that taught important lessons about history, science and grammar - without most kids ever realizing what was going on. How well did it work? Well, decades later, many of us can still remember the lyrics to some of our favorite Schoolhouse Rock segments as if it were yesterday. Let’s take a look back at these perpetually-popular educational shorts. Continue reading...

Uncle Milton’s Ant Farm

Uncle Milton's Ant Farm

Today, we take a look back at a true classic, an educational toy that lives and breaths and burrows and scurries. For over fifty years, kids have stared intently through the clear plastic walls of their formicarium (the scientific term for ant farm), as their new ant friends labor intensively to construct a sand-tunneled utopia. Granted, anyone can build one of these observation instruments with a handful of easy-to-obtain supplies, but we have long put our trust into a man named Milton Martin Levine, known to millions of kids as Uncle Milton, to supply us with his special Ant Farms (ants included). Continue reading...

Little Professor Calculator

Little Professor Calculator

In the 1970s, electronic games began to emerge as an exciting new form of entertainment that was quickly embraced by the nation’s youth. Arcades were no longer rooms containing pool tables and pinball machines, but now allowed for a rousing game of Pong and a few other modern marvels. The Atari game system even allowed this emerging technology to become available from the comforts of home. With the kids completely enthralled by everything electronic, it was even possible to sneak in an educational game or two under the radar. One of the more successful ones was the Little Professor, a hand-held device that taught math to unsuspecting kids. Let's take a look back at this fondly-remembered teaching toy. Continue reading...

View-Master

View Master

Sure, there have been plenty of technological breakthroughs over the years that make something like a View-Master seem more than a bit antiquated. But there is such a simplistic charm to this little plastic box that allowed the young mind to travel to faraway lands, once visited or never before explored, and see them in all of their three-dimensional splendor. Everyone who has experienced the pleasure of a View-Master distinctly remembers the little lever and the clicking sound it made when advancing to the next frame. And any tourist of earlier decades can remember a time when seemingly every destination, not to mention every department and toy store, displayed racks containing hundreds of little discs. Today, we look at the history of, and our fascination with, the View-Master. Continue reading...

The Electric Company

The Electric Company

Once little tykes began to outgrow Big Bird and friends on Sesame Street, they could plug into another PBS series that catered to the 7-10 age group. Primarily using sketch comedy to impart educational lessons, The Electric Company quickly became a favorite of kids and is still fondly remembered to this day by many of them. Continue reading...

Reading Rainbow

Reading Rainbow

For slightly over two decades, millions of children were encouraged to develop a love of literature, thanks to the innovative and critically-acclaimed PBS series, Reading Rainbow. For its efforts, the show garnered over 200 awards during its run and is still fondly remembered by many a former kid who spent hours in front of the television, enthralled by one good book after another. Continue reading...

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

Mister Rogers Neighborhood

From 1968 to 2000, Fred McFeely Rogers invited viewers to spend some quality time in his little yellow television house. Soft-spoken, but with strength of purpose and complete sincerity, Mister Rogers offered a simple but powerful message: “I like you just the way you are.” And, in retrospect, we liked him just the way he was. Today, we look back at this iconic and educational children's show that left many of us with such fond memories. Continue reading...

Teletubbies

Teletubbies

“Over the hills and far away, Teletubbies come to play.” It was a British Invasion of another sort, when a new fab four arrived on American shores after finding much success in their home country of England. This time around, however, the moptop hairdos were absent, replaced by geometrical antennae, as well as far more [...] Continue reading...

The Magic School Bus

The Magic School Bus

Scholastic's The Magic School Bus had the ability to traverse the ocean floor and zoom through the intricate chambers of the human body. If only we could all get out of rush hour traffic and go where the Magic School Bus goes, the world would be a happier and better educated place. Continue reading...

2-XL

2-XL Toy

With the technological boom of the twentieth century came unprecedented advancements and innovations, the most remarkable of which was arguably the computer. The potential wasn't lost on toy manufacturers as computers entered the public consciousness. By the end of the 1970s, electronic play-things began to populate the marketplace. Where most toy-makers sought to create toys that allowed children to play, Dr. Michael J. Freeman had other ideas. He recognized an opportunity to both entertain and educate. Enter 2-XL, the robotic 8-track player modeled for fun and learning. Continue reading...