Lunar Travels with Big Loo

Lunar Travels with Big Loo

Meet Big Loo, your new best friend. If you ever go to the moon, make sure you take Big Loo with you. With him along, you won’t need any other companion. Advertised as a robot from the moon and perfect for lunar exploration, the 38-inch Big Loo functioned like a one-man, er, one-robot army. Louis…

The Best Toys Ever

The Best Toys Ever

What’s your favorite toy? I had the chance to talk about some of my favorites from the National Toy Hall of Fame with Gerri Willis on The Willis Report not long ago. The Fox Business network brought me to New York City as part of the lead-in to holiday toy shopping and to remind their…

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…

A Mere Bagatelle: From Marbles to Pinball and Beyond

A Mere Bagatelle: From Marbles to Pinball and Beyond

What does it take to play a game? Historic outdoor games like Duck on a Rock only require found stones. Other traditional outdoor games such as lawn bowls, bocce, and croquet used wooden balls. Early table versions of these games employed smaller ivory or wood balls or clay marbles. All these games have one thing…

Screen-Play: NBC’s Community and the National Toy Hall of Fame

Screen-Play: NBC’s Community and the National Toy Hall of Fame

Community is one of the most playful shows on television. The comedy about a study group at dysfunctional Greendale Community College not only features unconventional storytelling methods and an innovative visual style, but its characters actually play—all the time. And either its writers have been looking to The Strong for episode ideas, or the toys…

Born to Laugh: The Element of Humor in Play

Born to Laugh: The Element of Humor in Play

Holiday time is a good occasion to think about humor and play since it’s filled with reflection, rest, and relaxation with relatives and friends—a time to play again. Like vacation time, holidays let us back off a bit, lighten up, and try to laugh a lot more, for our own good. I firmly believe that…

The Toy Experts

The Toy Experts

Every autumn, The Strong inducts two or three toys into the National Toy Hall of Fame. The process begins by staff examining the thousands of nominations received from the public through the Hall of Fame website and in letters, emails, and phone calls. Museum curators, educators, historians, and administrators then carefully consider the many toys…

Lindbergh Lands in Paris! Toy Industry Gears Up!

Lindbergh Lands in Paris! Toy Industry Gears Up!

When Charles Lindbergh made his famous New York to Paris flight from May 20 to 21, 1927, he became an overnight celebrity. Parisians mobbed Le Bourget airport immediately after his landing and even tore bits of souvenir fabric from the wings of The Spirit of St. Louis, his trusted airplane. But Lindbergh’s arrival back in…

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….

Creature Comforts: Toys that Soothe

Creature Comforts: Toys that Soothe

The National Toy Hall of Fame hasn’t embraced cuddly toys in a couple of years. Of course I was thrilled to see The Strong honor the rubber duck recently (have you seen my wedding cake?). But it’s the soft, snuggly playthings—the blanket, the teddy bear, Raggedy Ann and Andy—that give me warm fuzzies. These are…