The Best Places To Buy Toys

From Transformers to Ghostbusters, Howdy Doody to Teenage mutant ninja turtles, toys are always going to be hot properties, so in a world where everything seems to cost an arm and a leg, it makes sense for you to go hunting out the best prices. Between looking at carefully chosen places online, and keeping your eye open on your local businesses, your child should never be without the cool TMNT toy that everybody else is playing with, nor should your collection be missing that one piece that has always slipped through your fingers.

Everybody knows about the powers of websites like Amazon and Half, but have you considered all of the vendors that sell their products through them? The retail prices on Amazon are sometimes no better than that of the local big chain stores, but a little digging and you might find that another retailer out in the country is selling the same product for half or less! When you are going to be doing a lot of toy buying, such as Christmas) keep track of whom you are buying from to try and make sure that you can get it all shipped together. Shipping adds to the cost, so every little bit is going to help.

Aside from the obvious websites, there is nothing wrong with checking out Ebay. Many times a store somewhere in the country will receive a surplus of a product, and are using the online auction house to offload as many of them as possible at a cutthroat rate. When it comes to auctions though, vigilance is key, as other people are contending for the same products you are. Keep on top of the site and know when the auctions are going to end to guarantee that you win the toy you’ve been looking for. Similarly to Amazon, if this vendor is selling something cheaply, they are bound to have other things that they are trying to sell. See if you can get multiple auctions won from one vendor to keep up with the savings.

The last, but certainly not least place to look for any sort of toy or collectible is the classified news. You may find some good deals online, but working locally is going to give you a good sense of community spirit, as well as helping your own local economy. There are people in your town with just as many collections, stores, and financial needs as there are online, so you are going to find tons of deals just on your own block. Your county probably has two or three papers, and each one of them is going to be a new selection of products that people are looking to sell. If the trail runs cold, you could always post an ad in the classifieds yourself to ask people locally if they know where to look. You would be surprised how many people like to help their neighbors.

However you go about finding the cheapest possible deal for the toy you want, the key is to never give up and take a price you are unwilling to pay just to ‘get it over with’. Deals are everywhere, as long as you know the right places to look.


Most Popular Toys Of All Time

The holidays are on their way and parents will soon be shopping to find a great bargain for their children’s most desired toy. It is interesting to look over the past and remember some of the most popular toys of all time.

Toys have a long history of entertaining mankind with records of playthings dating back to 4000 B.C. in Babylonia. Archeologists discovered a board game that appeared to be the beginning of chess and checkers. Yo-yos constructed out of stone were a toy used in ancient Greece during 1000 B.C. and children in China were recorded flying kites about the same time.

Crayola crayons were released in 1903 and, according to Forbes, the average child in America colors for approximately 28 minutes each day. By the time children are 10, they have colored through an estimated 730 crayons. Furthermore, parents and schools buy 2.5 billion crayons every year. Teddy bears were also released in 1903 and are still one of the most popular toys for sale today.

Another favorite that was released over 90 years ago is the Raggedy Ann Doll, which was released in 1915 and Lincoln Logs were on store shelves a year later. Lincoln Logs were designed by John Lloyd Wright who was the son of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. He was motivated by his father’s design of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

In 1938, the View-Master was released. This fun toy was the invention of William Gruber, a piano tuner, during World War II. The U.S. military used similar devices for training and now more than 1 billion View-Masters have been sold.

Scrabble came out in 1948 and currently an estimated one in every three American household store the game in their entertainment closet. The game has sold over 100 million boards throughout the world and North American residents alone purchase between 1 to 2 million sets every year.

The 20th century brought the creation of a variety of cherished playthings. Toys that are still popular include board games such as Monopoly, Sorry and Tripoley, which were first sold in the 1930s. Twister was released in 1966 and was an instant hit selling over 3 million games within the first year. It has gone on to sell over 22 million and is still for sale on the toy aisle.

Other toys were popular when they were first sold and then fell out of favor only to be rediscovered by a new generation. For example, Cabbage Patch Kids were popular in the 1980s and began selling again in the 2000s. A similar situation occurred with Troll dolls, which were a big hit in the 1960s and were nowhere to be found in the 1980s. However, the dolls found a new generation to love them in the early 1990s.

Mr. Potato Head became available in 1952 from the Hasbro Playskool Company and was the first toy to be advertised on television. The toy provided Hasbro with a profit of over $4 million its first year on the market. Another unique creation was Play-doh, which was originally invented to clean wallpaper, but after color was added, the product appealed to children. Its creator, Joseph McVicker, was a millionaire by the time he turned 27. Mattel, another large toy company, reportedly sells approximately 1.5 million Barbie dolls every week, which totals about two dolls each second.

Toys bring the imaginations of children to life. They encourage creativity and help children’s brains to develop correctly. Furthermore, toys bring back the enjoyment of childhood and the pleasure adults experienced during the budding years of their youth. Quality toys of the past are still among the most popular toys today, and children currently enjoy the entertainment that sparked the imaginations of their parents.


Keeping Track of Your Toy Collections Online

As your toy collections grow, it can be harder and harder to stay organized. This can sometimes result in passing over excellent deals because you overlooked something you needed, or buying something you already have. Both can be frustrating, and both can be easily avoided.

Thanks to smart phones, tablet PCs and a host of internet-enabled devices, using a a website with free hosting to track your collections can be a great way to make sure your inventory is always up to date. Here are some of the benefits to creating a website to keep track of your collections.

1) Give back to fandom.

Almost anything you collect is also collected by someone else. Often, there are whole communities of people that share your love and can benefit from your experiences collecting a particular toy. If you’ve uncovered a rare variant, or a particularly noteworthy edition of a figure, your information may help other fans and collectors identify and complete their own toys.

Sometimes, this community can also help you. By meeting other collectors, you can learn about potential holes in your collection, acquire hard to find items and even score some great bargains. Knowing that you belong to a community of collectors can also make your hobby a much more enjoyable and pleasant experience.

2) Access almost anywhere, at almost any time.

Wifi is blossoming and cellphones are harnessing 3g and 4g technology to give “smart” devices unparalleled access to the internet. This means that your website can become a portable checklist, available at almost a moment’s notice, almost anywhere.

Rather than passing up an excellent deal because you can’t remember whether you have an item at home or not, you can save yourself the agony of hunting online auction sites later by double checking your collection online. You can also avoid that sense of buyer’s remorse that comes when you buy something, not realizing it’s already in your collection.

This level of access is particularly important when traveling, visiting new stores or attending toy shows. Few people feel like carrying pages of print-outs along with them to garage sales, flea markets, and antique stores, especially if what they collect is somewhat rare or unusual. At toy and hobby shows, however, the printed checklists can get in the way of enjoying the event, especially as you block access to a vendor’s table while flipping through a complicated spreadsheet. Enjoying your collection online is a convenient and portable way to enjoy the hunt without worrying about paperwork.

3) A small price to pay.

Websites can range in cost from free to unnecessarily expensive, but for most collectors, a small free or low-cost hosting solution can be more than sufficient. Even people with little or no technical skills can get started with a simple blog, which is easy to set up and maintain. Entering a new collectible is as easy as sending an e-mail. You type a title, perhaps a brief description of the item, attach a picture and click publish. More technologically advanced people can opt for more traditional style websites using HTML code or a variety of web-building software to get their collection online. If you’re certain that the free options won’t suit your needs, you can often find cheap, reliable web hosting that will give you a free trial period.

In conclusion, keeping track of your toy collections on your own website can be a great way to participate in the collecting community, help others, keep your checklist available for when you need it, and you can put your collection online for little to no money, regardless of your technical proficiency.

Investing In Toy Collections

Almost every adult, at one point or another, will come to the sudden realization that they would be set for life, if only their parents had not thrown out their old toys. In reality, most toy collections won’t give you the security you need to retire on, but they can be an excellent and fun investment opportunity. Here are some things to look for when investing in toy collections.

1) Rarity

Supply and demand is crucial in toy investing. Obviously, the items worth the most are those that many people want, and few people have.

When toys are easily destroyed, or come with accessories that are easily lost, it becomes harder for collectors to find pristine examples. This drives up the value of toys that are still carded or in the original boxes. When toys are left in toy boxes or thrown in with other toys, there may also be paint loss, paint “rubbing”, or small dents. Particularly rugged toys, or toys that did not have small pieces, may have a better chance of surviving rugged play and therefore, there may be more high quality examples available for future collectors.

2) Popularity

Popularity can be both a negative, and a positive. On the one hand, popular toys are more likely to be fondly remembered by collectors, if for no other reason than because it seemed like everyone had that toy. Unfortunately, this may also mean that there are many examples of this toy available for collectors, reducing the potential profit.

Toys with the greatest profit potential are often rare, hard to find or obscure toys, within popular toy lines. For example, while online auction sites may be filled with listings for Masters of the Universe or Star Wars toys, many of those listings will be for common figures that were produced in high quantities. More obscure characters or figures produced toward the end of the line often had smaller print runs and become increasingly popular amongst collectors hoping to “finish” a set.

3) Variants

A brown stripe, different color scheme or rare package can sometimes have a huge effect in the value of your toy. Although these variants or minor differences from one toy to the next may appear trivial, some collectors will pay a considerable premium for these variants. Be sure to do your research before making your purchase because some sellers may be unfamiliar with the toy line’s variants, and you can sometimes find a great deal.

Beware of fake variants however. Unscrupulous individuals have been known to cut open a toy’s packaging and then, after reversing or exchanging the figure, attempt to sell it as a “packaging error”.

4) Genre

Some types of properties are eternally popular, while other genres and licenses come and go. Comic book heroes have been around for generations, so 1960′s board games featuring Superman or Spider-Man still appeal to today’s collectors.

Contrast that, however, with toys based on some of the more obscure Hanna Barbera cartoons, or on Westerns which have smaller, more niche, audiences. These niche audiences can still be profitable for investment purposes, however. Die-hard fans of smaller properties may be more willing to pay a premium for related toys, which may have had smaller production runs or far fewer types of merchandise.

In conclusion, investing in toys can be a fun hobby, but it’s not always as easy as sorting through your box of childhood memories. Collectors are looking for complete, undamaged and hard to find pieces. Educating yourself about a type of toy or a particular toy line can help you make wise choices and avoid unwise investments.


How To Save Money on Toys

Parents all around the country are finding it increasingly difficult to stay within their budget when it comes to shopping for toys for their children. Naturally, parents want their kids to enjoy their childhood and may sacrifice their own needs to assure that their kids have some nice toys to play with while they are growing up.

The problem today is that new toys are quite expensive and if you have two or 3 kids, that means buying presents for birthdays, Christmas and a number of other planned and unplanned occasions. With so many families struggling to pay their mortgages and so many parents out of work, it can be hard to find the money to buy the latest electronic toys and games that children love. The days of the $2.00 toy are over. A few video games a toy truck and a doll can easily total over $100, which is not easy to swallow even in good times.

There is no need to panic when it comes to buying toys for your children. There are ways to get toys at a fraction of the full retail price if you are willing to do a little extra work. You may need to look online for some special sales where toys may be discounted up to 50%. There are a number of toy manufacturers and retailers that have special deals several times per year. Perhaps the best time of the year to shop for toys and save some money is to wait until just after Christmas.

Traditionally, retailers stock up on all of the latest and greatest toys several months before Christmas in anticipation of the shopping frenzy that leads up to the holiday season. Buyers try to predict which toys will sell the best and usually they are pretty good with their predictions. However, every Christmas season, there are some toys that just do not sell as well as expected. There is nothing wrong with these toys, but they need to be moved off of the shelves so new and more popular toys can be displayed.

After Christmas sales are very popular with toy retailers. The longer a toy or other product sits on the shelf, the more it costs the retailer in lost sales. As any retail consultant will tell you, shelf space is very valuable and premium; eye-level shelf space should be devoted to the best selling toys. Slow selling toys are often moved around to less desirable areas to be displayed and retailers accordingly mark them down to move them out.

Your 5 year old child does not know whether a particular toy is good or bad and will be happy with almost anything you decide to buy. Toys that are put on sale right after Christmas can sometimes sell for half the price they were selling at just a week or two before the sale. It is the same item, just at a much better price.

If you really want some great bargains on toys, perhaps the best place to shop is at Goodwill stores or other thrift shops. While most of the toys have had some use, many of them are in like new condition. Buying a sturdy Tonka truck for $2 or $3 is like saving 90% off of retail price. You may not get a box, but put the truck in front of your 3 year old and watch them start to play.

Other ways to save money on toys is to join a toy-trading club. There are several nationally based clubs that facilitate the exchange of toys. When your child gets tired of or outgrows their toys you can exchange them for some other toys. To participate in one of the toy clubs, you only need to pay a small membership fee. The money you save on toys will pay for the membership fee in a few months.


How to Buy Toddler Safe Toys

No matter whether you are purchasing toys for your own children or for other little ones in your life, the safety of the toys in question is likely one of your major concerns. While one might be tempted to assume that any of the trinkets in the toys aisle of your local retailer are safe and kid friendly, sadly many toys have dangerously small parts that present choking habits. Furthermore, manufacturing regulations are not always enforced, which can lead to the production of toys that shouldn’t ever hit the market. Fortunately, there are several ways to make certain that the toy you are purchasing is a good match for the precious toddler in your life.

One of your first steps is to follow the guidelines posted on the packaging of most toys sold in major retailers. Toys that are appropriate for certain ages may not be suitable for younger children. For example, a young toddler does not have the same sense of reasoning and logic that an older child has developed, meaning the purchase of an inappropriate toy could lead to disastrous consequences. Double check labels from the manufacturer that describe the target age of the item’s user. Some manufacturers also include warning information if the toy contains small pieces or other choking hazards. By making certain to make an informed decision, you’ll ensure the safety of the child for whom you are shopping.

Double checking the packaging is a great place to start, but the labeling alone is not enough to get an idea about the overall safety of a particular toy. You may want to pay particular attention by reviewing recent recalls of all toys on the market before hitting the stores, in the event that a retailer has not yet pulled an item from its shelves. This is not only an important step for those purchasing a new toy, but also for those who have older toys in their homes. Recalls occur when a manufacturer discovers that a toy could place a young child at risk, so don’t overlook these important warnings.

If you’re having a difficult time finding a toy that would be suitable for a young child, you might want to investigate some of the useful resources available to parents online. Many parenting websites and blogs provide valuable information about toys that are acceptable for young children. These sites can also provide a forum in which parents can discuss their concerns and questions with other parents.

In addition to the toys found on the shelves of large stores and multinational retailers, many parents choose to give their children toys made by independent manufacturers. These toys often lack packaging information, and because they are produced in such small numbers, recalls are practically nonexistent. If you choose to purchase a similar toy, it’s important to pay close attention to the craftsmanship of the toy and the materials that have been used. You may also want to spend some time playing with the toy yourself, tugging on it and subjecting it to rough handling. This will help you to make certain that the toy is well-made and safe for young toddlers.

Buying a high-quality toy for a young child can be a real challenge. While the “fun” factor is certainly an important part of any purchasing decision, the safety of the toy in question needs to remain a priority. By following some of these guidelines, you can easily make certain that your next toy purchase is safe for any of the children in your world.


History of Toys

When you discuss the history of something, it is best to start at the beginning. But with the history of toys, it is difficult to do so as toys have been around as long as we can remember. It is quite likely that the first human children either had toys made for them or created their own with pine cones, rocks, tree branches or whatever else they could find. It has always been the nature of children to play.

Toys have been discovered in ancient ruins from as far back as 3000 BC in the Indus Valley civilization region, an area in what is now Pakistan and northwestern India. Some of these early playthings included toy carts complete with terracotta horses, sculpted birds adorned with feathers and toy monkeys that slid up and down a string. These are some of the earliest pieces ever discovered to indicate ancient children were given actual baubles to play with.

In ancient Egypt, young boys played with wooden toys like small boats and animal figures. Marbles were common and boys participated in team sports using balls made of leather and filled with chaff or other light material. Young Egyptian girls are known to have played with dolls made of stone, pottery and wood with movable limbs and wigs.

Children in ancient Greece played with many toys including clay animals and pull-along toys on wheels. It was in Greece that the yo-yo made its earliest appearance. When children passed into adulthood they would offer their toys as a sacrifice to the gods. Girls surrendered their dolls as part of their rite of passage on their wedding night, usually around 14 years of age.

Throughout the centuries, children continued to play with toys that were handmade from one material or another until the industrial age brought about manufacturing. Spinning tops, stuffed animals and dolls were made using materials such as metal, cloth and porcelain. Tin soldiers were popular in Germany in the early 1700s and toy soldiers in general have remained popular throughout the years.

With the invention of plastic, the toy industry was revolutionized as this new synthetic material made mass production cheaper, faster and easier. By the early 1900s, children were able to choose from an abundance of toys including everything from dolls and doll houses to toy cars and rocking horses. Soon toy companies were competing for a share of the growing toy market.

The Toy Manufacturers of America, the first trade association for toy makers, was established in 1916. In 1930, Fisher-Price was established by Herman Fisher, Irving Price, Margaret Evans-Price and Helen Schelle. Marvin Glass established Marvin Glass and Associates in 1941, a toy design studio that was the first of its kind and was responsible for creating the popular Rock-Em-Sock-Em Robots. By 1950, Louis Marx and Company was the largest manufacturer of toys in the United States. Founded in 1921, the company began to lose ground after the 1950s and was sold in 1972 before being completely liquidated in the early 1980s.

In the latter part of the 1900s, electronics became the latest trend in toys with dolls that are computerized to simulate a real infant and video games that mimic everything from football to an alien attack. As children have become more sophisticated, toys have striven to keep up with their growing imaginations. But the basic nature of children to play remains unchanged. While it is impossible to say exactly where the toys of tomorrow are headed, it is sure to be down a path that is familiar though the way may be lighted by new technology.