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Save USA Wooden Toys From Going Extinct

The year 2007 many will remember what happened to the toy industry. Reports came out that China was using lead paints in toys. There were many recalls on toys and people started shopping and purchasing USA wooden and handcrafted toys. These USA toymakers are purchasing USA products, providing USA labor and many of these toymakers are small family operations. I know from the fact of being one, that the profit margin isn’t a get rich scheme as it takes many hours to create handmade toys.

Now we step into 2008. There are more problems with China products. In August 2008 a law was passed by congress, HR 4040 dealing with child safety standards for ALL toys and any other items manufactured for use by children under 12 years of age. This bill requires testing of all toy products by an independent government certified lab. Testing also includes a test for plastics in our wood toys!

The cost of this testing can run from $1000 to $4000 on each product. We have nearly 100 products that would have to be tested. And the test has to be done annually!

This issue affects many people:

*Toy stores who will have to destroy all uncertified inventory in August. Imagine our landfill problem and the money the stores will lose. Many will probably have to close their doors, leading to more unemployment.

*Small businesses who cannot afford to buy products due to the increased cost of the testing. At the cost of $4000/ item per year no one will be able to afford to purchase the toys.

*Folks who make any children’s products and sell at Farmer’s markets and craft shows to supplement their incomes.

*Schools that have toys for play time.

*Doctor and dentist offices, hospital waiting rooms.

*Occupational and Physical therapists who use toys to increase motor skills.

*Small businesses (such as ours) that cannot afford the testing and have to go out of business.

*Web sites selling children’s products that will have to shut down (many are run by people trying to supplement their retirement income and have spent sums of money to create their sites.

This law was written to protect children but it was not thought through well. This not only is for handmade wooden toys but for those people who sew clothes, baby items or make anything for children 12 and under. If this law goes into effect on February 10, 2009 it will be a downfall of the American dream and many jobs will be lost.

As stated earlier we purchase USA supplies so therefore those people will not be getting our business. If most of the handmade USA toy business and clothes business close, UPS and USPS will be greatly affected as well. It is a major snowball effect. We have had 3 stores cancel their orders so far as they are not wanting to purchase anything if they will have to discard it to the landfills in August.

There is a small amount of time left to turn this around. Please contact your representatives and senators and ask for an amendment to this law. There is an organization that has formed called Handmade Toy Alliance. This organization has drafted an amendment to the law that would exempt testing for manufactures of less than 5000 items per year and or items made of natural materials.

They also have a petition to submit to the CPSC (Child Products Safety Commission). With this law we are literally killing the hand that feeds us and feeding the ones that harm us.

ToyCon (Toy Conventions) Are Fun For The Family

Toy conventions or ToyCon are periodic gatherings of toy sellers, buyers, collectors, anime fan, costume players (cosplay) and so many other things related to kids toys. We are attending these events for a couple of years already but this year, instead of being grumpy while the kids (including the daddy who is a little boy at heart) happily scrutinize each toy booths, I decided to open my eyes a little bit and enjoy the fair myself.

At the end of the day, I thought of some good reasons why you should try these events someday:

Toy Exhibit – You won’t find these toys anywhere else and they are not for sale. It’s great seeing your favorite movie and cartoon characters (Iron Man, Superman, Thor) again as giant toy figures which really look like them. Taking photos with these toys are free.

Cos Play – Take photos with cosplayers. I don’t know if the people donning costumes for the event are being paid but it seems to me that they are all there for fun.

Collect Toys – Though most toy collectibles are still expensive, there are a lot of nice toys piled in boxes which can be bought cheap (Buy 1 Take 1, 3 for 100) and you can haggle most of the time. Teach your kids the skills of good haggling for the toys they want and you’ll see the benefits of it when they get their choice toys without you breaking your wallet.

See New Trends – It can be a nice feeling sometimes when you know who and what your kids are talking about these days. These events will give you a glimpse of their imaginary worlds and be able to open conversations. Sometimes kids have their own language which only their peers can understand. By accompanying them to toy fairs, you may be able to relate with them better and sometimes teach them with good values too.

Find New Business Opportunities – You will find it amazing how people including many teenagers can be so creative and turn their imaginations to business. You can steal some ideas yourself and who knows you’ll be one of the booth owners next time.

Bonding Time – Attending events like these with the whole family can be a good experience with lots of souvernir photos and memories to take home with. Even without spending big money, everyone will enjoy the company of each other while checking out interesting toys.

Why the Toysmith Busy Zoo Activity Center Is a Great Christmas Present!

The Toysmith Busy Zoo Activity Center is a great educational toy for your 1+ year old child. The Busy Zoo Activity Center is always a popular toy at Christmas and this year will be no different. The Activity Center is a great present for all young children. All parents want the best for their child. This toy is both fun and educational. This article review the toy in depth and provide you with an unbiased vies of this toy.

The Busy Zoo Activity Center has 5 sides of fun and learning. The top has colorful wooden balls looped through a number of colorful figured wire loops. Your child is able to move the blocks from one side to another. There are also several pictures of animals placed onto wooden blocks that can also be moved along tracks built into the top of the unit.

Another side has a series of 4 brightly painted wood doors. On each door is the coat pattern of a particular animal coat design, such as a zebra. When the child opens the door, there is a name of the animal as well as a picture of what the animal looks like. This approach is great for teaching your child what an animal looks like, how to spell its name and what characteristic feature its coat has.

Another side of the center also has a series of painted wooden blocks. This time however, each block has an individual letter of the alphabet. An example picture of the object or animal that starts with that letter is also shown. As with the previous side with the 4 doors, your child will quickly learn how to spell the name of the object or animal as well as learn what it looks like.

The third side has a window with some 4 sided blocks. Each block has an animal painted onto it. By turning the blocks around your child can learn what the correct combination is for the particular animal, such as a lion etc. Also, they can use their imagination to create a new hybrid animal by moving the blocks more randomly.

The last side of the Busy Zoo Activity Center has 3 colorful painted knobs which are linked to a vertical track. The knobs have a picture of a snail, gorilla or elephant painted onto them. Your child can have fun moving them up and down as well as twisting them around.

So what are the main benefits of the Busy Zoo Activity Center
One of the major benefits to your child is that they can learn at the same time as having fun. Each side of the Busy Zoo Activity Center provides a new and exciting way to stimulate your child’s imagination. Each side is also highly interactive making use of pictures of animals, words and bright colors. So your child can learn about colors, shapes, patterns, animals, spelling and combination. Above all they will have lots of fun at the same time.

In summary, in my opinion the Busy Zoo Activity Center is a great educational and fun toy for very young children. This is a toy that my young daughter absolutely loves and it has also helped with her learning. The other thing that impresses me about this toy is the quality. All of the pieces are well made, the finish of the paint and the images are all very good and the general construction is solid and importantly there are no sharp edge or corners.