Teletubbies

Teletubbies

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 colorful (and furry) attire. And, while this description might fit a typical 80s glam band, instead it is about a quartet of four lovable and nonsensical creatures called Teletubbies. 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 Toy

2-XL

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...

Captain Kangaroo

Captain Kangaroo

Every morning, he opened the door to his Treasure House and invited kids to share an easygoing hour of laughter and learning. He wore a jacket with giant pockets, and thus came his name, Captain Kangaroo. He had the longest running children’s program in network television history. (Only Public TV’s Sesame Street can beat the record.) Let's take a look back at this beloved show. Continue reading...

Speak & Spell

Speak & Spell

Ponder for a moment the fate of most educational toys. They are destined to languish in the back of a closet somewhere after getting a disdainful glance in favor of the more exciting toys in the pile of presents. A toy that (gasp) teaches has to be mighty sneaky to get past a youngster’s well-honed radar for such subterfuge. That Speak & Spell managed to lure kids back even after they realized it was a learning tool was remarkable; becoming a best selling toy was nothing short of phenomenal. For years, kids not only enjoyed this device everywhere they traveled but, miracle of miracles, they also learned from it despite themselves. Continue reading...

See 'n Say toy

See ‘n Say

This toy talks. It talks. It’s an inanimate object and it talks. Imagine the delight and awe of the average toddler in the 1960s who received a See ‘n Say. It was like having a little minion that imitated all sorts of sounds at your command. Pretty heady stuff for a 4-year old. Continue reading...

Magic Sand

Magic Sand

Few natural substances are as appealing to kids as sand and water – each offering a seemingly endless supply of playtime potential. Well, as long as you don’t try to mix them. Water can not only reduce the structural integrity of any sand sculpture in the blink of an eye, but wet sand sticks to just about everything, becoming a gloppy pile of unusable mud. Imagine a world where sand and water didn’t mix, imagine the endless possibilities never before imagined. Imagine how much fun it would be. Why couldn’t science tackle this age-old dilemma and make everything right in the world? Why couldn’t a special type of sand be devised that was so impervious to water that one could even sculpt underwater structures with ease. (And if it isn’t asking too much, could you make it available in the three different bright colors?) Continue reading...

Bill Nye the Science Guy

Bill Nye the Science Guy

After decades of teaching kids about the ways of science, the 90s saw the Bunsen-burner torch passed from Mr. Wizard to a new guy with his own quirky method for making learning fun, Bill Nye the Science Guy. Reminiscent of that high school science teacher that every kid hoped they would get, his off-kilter (and often high-speed) approach kept the attention of every tyke that ever tuned in. Continue reading...