Of Monsters and Airplanes: The Enduring Joy of Paper Toys

Of Monsters and Airplanes: The Enduring Joy of Paper Toys

What comes to mind when you hear the term “paper toys”? Whatever you envision, chances are the idea of paper toys in our digital era doesn’t evoke quite the same level of enthusiasm as some other playthings do. Paper toys seem quiet and simple, perhaps even old-fashioned. But paper toys such as paper dolls, which…

The Mighty Minion

The Mighty Minion

A new, rapidly growing species has sprouted among us: small, yellow, overall-clad creatures, helpful and hilarious, who love to sing, dance, and laugh. What are they? Minions, the lovable— often Cyclops-eyed—characters from the immensely popular films Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. While some folks may consider the babbling and singing of minions purely nonsensical,…

Hello, Vintage Phones? It’s You I’m Looking For

Hello, Vintage Phones? It’s You I’m Looking For

Do you remember when there was a bit of mystery involved in answering the phone? When you’d pick up the receiver and not know who was on the other end of the line? (An act so intriguing, Lionel Richie even wrote a song about it!) As the youngest of three kids in a busy family,…

Let’s Make a Deal

Let’s Make a Deal

When you hear the term “game show,” what comes to mind?  A theme song? A colorful set? Enthusiastic hosts and fabulous prizes? Whatever your answer, chances are you’ve watched a game show at least once. Growing up, my mother and I often watched game shows together and our viewing included everything from $25,000 Pyramid and…

Molding Minds

Molding Minds

If someone placed a lump of clay in front of you, what would you do? Would you immediately be drawn to pick it up and shape it into something? Would you pass it from hand to hand, simply enjoying the tactile qualities? Perhaps you wouldn’t be inclined to touch it at all, maybe you find…

Did You See That? It’s Optical Entertainment!

Did You See That? It’s Optical Entertainment!

Is it me, or does there seem to be a renewed interested in 3-D films? Are there any movies that aren’t being released in 3-D? The popularity of the medium recently encouraged me to think more about why visual trickery fascinates so many people. As it turns out, our interest is hardly a fleeting trend….

Playing Along: Music in Our Daily Lives

Playing Along: Music in Our Daily Lives

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love music. On more than one occasion I’ve enthusiastically announced to friends, “I love songs!” because my musical enthusiasm encompasses a broad range of forms—scores, jingles, top 40 hits, or even the impromptu songs I compose while driving (a regular occurrence). A recent encounter with Milton…

The Heart of the Issue: Mattel’s Forgotten Family

The Heart of the Issue: Mattel’s Forgotten Family

Over the years, Barbie has had countless competitors, including Jem and the Holograms, the Disney Princesses, and even Spectra, the chic pink-haired gal from outer space with metallic limbs and eye makeup rivaling the likes of David Bowie. Among the many contenders, none have challenged Barbie quite like the Heart Family, who—ironically—appeared to be the…

Constructing Creativity

Constructing Creativity

What is it about construction toys that continues to entertain us as both children and adults? Is it the satisfying “click” we hear as pieces come together? Is it the towering structures we create? Or is it the tactile nature of the medium, allowing us to bring imaginative play to life, creating something that, moments…

The Mighty Miniature

The Mighty Miniature

As children, many of us assume that the larger the package, the better the present, right? I believed this until my eighth birthday, when the largest gift box contained… a cat litter pan. (A relative thought it an appropriate gift, as my parents had recently allowed me to adopt a kitten.) It was then and…