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Toys for A Lifetime


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F.A.O. Schwarz : Toys for a Lifetime: Enhancing Childhood Through Play by Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D
Photographs by Ben Asen

Universe Pub
ISBN: 0789303558
Hardcover - 144 pages (November 1999)

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Crayola Crayons
Bringing Out the Artist In All of Us
3-9 years


The Crayola crayon, made of simple paraffin wax and color pigments, has become a symbol of creativity throughout the world. The crayon is an inexpensive and delightful simple way to encourage the artistic skills of any child. Binny & Smith, the manufacturer, makes the crayon in three sizes: Regular, Jumbo, and So Big. Your child can design a birthday card for Grandpa, a holiday greeting for his teacher, or a picture for his room.

The name Crayola was coined by joining the French word craie which means "chalk," with ola, from oleaginous or oily. Crayola crayons are made in ninety-six different colors, but their labels are made in only eighteen. Violet and blue-violet, for example, have the same color label. In the history of Crayola crayons, only two crayon colors--peach and midnight blue--have ever had their names changed. The color flesh became peach in 1962 as a result of the civil rights movement; while in 1958, Prussian blue was changed to midnight blue in response to teachers believing that children would no longer relate to Prussian history.

In 1864 Joseph W. Binney founded a company that made paint for barns and later, for tires. The company continued to expand experimenting with new chemical compounds to create new products. In 1885 Binney's son and nephew formed a partnership called Binney & Smith. At that time they diversified to produce shoe polish and printer's inks. In 1900 they purchased a mill and began producing pencils. This product introduced them to the educational market, and they began to see the opportunity to expand into the children's art field. First they developed chalk, and then crayons. In 1903 they developed nontoxic pigments and launched a new brand of crayons. A box with eight different colors retailed for about five cents that year.


Wooden Figure-8 Train
Terrific Trains for the Youngest Engineers
2-5 years


Brio's Wooden Figure-8 Train Set is a terrific, colorful, and practical starter set for young children. With its ease of design, this is a toy that really helps children. They are able to put the track pieces together and create their own personal route. Children have great fun moving their trains around, and when two children combine their toys, playtime is more than first-rate fun. The children learn to work together, to communicate problem-solving ideas, and to think ahead while simultaneously enhancing eye-hand coordination and dexterity. The train layout will give your children many hours of play.

The starter set has an engine, two wagons, a switching track, a straight track and a viaduct. The magnetic coupling allows a child to attach the wagons with ease. The curved track is grooved on both sides, so it's reversible, and the modular system allows new sections to be added easily. The wooded train can grow with the child by adding more tracks, one or two bridges, more trains, and other accessories.

You can "test-drive" your child's likely reaction to the train by watching the children who gather around the BRIO train layout at FAO Schwarz stores. Stand at the track and watch all those little engineering heads spinning. When this generation grows up, America is bound to have lots of new high-speed trains.

Founded in 1884, BRIO is the largest wooden toy manufacturer in the world. Its toys are safe, durable, open-ended playthings that allow your child to be creative and play to he fuller imagination.


A Pocketful of Tricks
7 years and up


A yo-yo is a perfect toy for learning skills that involve coordination, balance, eye-hand coordination, and dexterity. Children gain self-confidence and self-esteem as they learn to do tricks with their yo-yos. That is a lot of value for one of the least expensive and most enduring toys around. Yo-yos are perfect for taking along on a trip. They demonstrate gravity and encourage observation, patience, and follow-trough. Anyone ready to walk the dog or go around the world?

The yo-yo is an ancient toy that became a modern favorite. In ancient China, yo-yos were made of ivory with satin cords. In ancient Greece, they were made from terra-cotta. A Grecian bowl dating back to 450 B.C. shows the yo-yo. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it became a plaything of the royal courts, decorated with jewels or painted with patterns. There's even evidence that soldiers in Napoleon's army played with yo-yos during battles (and they still won!).

The modern version of the yo-yo had its origins in the South Pacific. The word yo-yo means "come back in the Tagalog language of the Philippines. It is believed that in the Philippine Islands, traditional hunters used a version of the yo-yo--a vine around a piece of flint--to kill animals and then easily retrieve the weapon.

In 1927, a Filipino busboy at a hotel in Santa Monica amused the guests by performing tricks with his handcrafted yo-yos. Donald Duncan took notice and offered to buy him out. In 1929 Duncan, who also invented the parking meter, began making wooden yo-yos. He demonstrated them in department stores. They became popular during the depression, then, after a brief lull, Duncan reintroduced yo-yos in flashy new colors and styles, such as a glow-in-the dark version. This repackaging helped the yo-yos regain its popularity. During the sixties, Duncan produced more than sixty million yo-yos. Oe of its current incarnations includes flashing lights and electronic noises.

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