Glass Slippers Galore

Glass Slippers Galore

Cinderella has a long history of influencing popular culture and playthings. You might even say that she’s left a big footprint. The popular princess and her glass slipper came to my attention recently as I read an article about the upcoming Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella. The article focused on the creation…

And the Winner Is…

And the Winner Is…

Watching the Emmy Awards recently turned my thoughts to the upcoming 2012 induction of new toys into the National Toy Hall of Fame on November 15. Although our induction ceremony doesn’t boast television stars, glittery evening gowns, or tearful acceptance speeches, it nevertheless offers suspense leading up to bestowing a significant honor on two (or…

Time for Lunch Boxes

Time for Lunch Boxes

Back-to-school shopping lists can include all sorts of practical gear—pencils, crayons, binders, and paper—as well as the backpack to tote them in. But none of those purchases bears the weight of conveying a school kid’s identity the way that a lunch box can. Lunch boxes didn’t start out to be billboards for your personality. They…

The Scoop on Ice Cream Makers

The Scoop on Ice Cream Makers

What could be more fun than playing with your food? How about playing to make your food? The ball-shaped Play & Freeze Ice Cream Maker recently acquired by the National Museum of Play at The Strong promotes itself as the entertaining way to produce homemade ice cream wherever you are—in a campground, aboard a boat,…

Sandcastles

Sandcastles

Summer seemed endless when I was a kid. After school let out, the days passed slowly and the month of September felt like a long, long distance away. Now, as an adult, summer days feel short and precious, slipping through my fingers like sand until suddenly it’s autumn. And the sands of time aren’t the…

Romney, Etch A Sketch, and the National Toy Hall of Fame

Romney, Etch A Sketch, and the National Toy Hall of Fame

I’m always interested when one of the classic toys in the National Toy Hall of Fame earns its share of media attention, and this time Etch A Sketch had its moment in the spotlight. When one of Mitt Romney’s aides recently compared the fall presidential campaign to the timeless drawing toy, my ears perked up….

In Honor of Jan Berenstain

In Honor of Jan Berenstain

I didn’t grow up with the Berenstain Bears—having been born just a little too early—but I more than made up for that omission in my adult years thanks to an opportunity to spend time with Jan Berenstain, author and illustrator for the hundreds of Bears books. Over their long and productive careers, Jan and her…

Remembering Oz

Remembering Oz

Is The Wizard of Oz imprinted on your memory? I had a fresh realization of all the ways the classic 1939 movie is ingrained in my own mind when I recently explored The Wizard of Oz exhibit at The Strong’s National Museum of Play. Growing up in the 1960s, I eagerly anticipated the annual showing…

The Wheels on the Bus

The Wheels on the Bus

Back to school can mean a lot of things. For some of us, the start of school remains inextricably linked to freshly-sharpened yellow Ticonderoga pencils and a new box of Crayola crayons. Even decades after my elementary school days, the aroma of a box of crayons transports me to preparations for returning to class as…

The Scents of Summer

The Scents of Summer

Summertime carries memories for all of us. Recently, a Consumer Reports article about sunscreens prompted me to think about the aromas that mean summer for me. Growing up long before the acronym SPF had any significance, I remember when Sea & Ski and Hawaiian Tropic marketed themselves as “suntan lotion,” a product that had more…