$30 gets you printable STL files for three suits of Barbie armor -- you'll need your own printer (or use one at your local makerspace).
(Thanks, Tanya Schevitz!)
Like any concerned father with ready access to rugged, waterproof synthetic fabrics at work, Robert Carrier took home a 50-foot roll of beige Naugahyde in hopes of persuading his son to splash down on something safer. He unfurled it in the yard, hosed it down and watched as every kid in the neighborhood showed up and stayed to slide for hours.
Realizing he had a hit on his hands, Carrier used his sewing skills to refine his product. “He stitched a long tube along one side, sewn shut at one end, with spaces between the stitching so that when you attached the hose, the water pressure would build up and water would squirt out those openings and lubricate the surface of the material,” (explains Tim Walsh, author of "Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them.")
Makies, the 3D printed toy and game company, has launched FabLab, its inaugural game! FabLab is a free game for people eight and up, through which you create and customize a character and its accessories, which you can also get as real-world, one-off, custom-fabbed objects. MakieLab, the company that created FabLab, was founded by my wife Alice Taylor, and so I've had an inside view into the process by which the game and its back-end -- which includes a remarkable toolchain for turning 3D game-objects into printable items -- came into being. The Makies here in London are fantastic, and they've done brilliantly with the game, if I do say so myself. Please give the game a try -- and tell your friends!
Tanya Schevitz on how Playmobil’s bold stereotyping can be a teachable moment with her 5-year-old, or not.Read the rest
I just spent ten delightful minutes watching this vlog in which Pixie Blossom unboxes her new, custom, 3D printed Makie doll. She ordered one of the last, limited run of green-skinned dolls, and specified that it be only lightly decorated so that she could give it a total makeover. The result, presented with contagious glee in the final act, is a great testament to her creativity and the idea of giving people toys that are intended to be remade by their owners.
The video was a hit in our household because my wife, Alice Taylor, is the CEO and founder of Makielab, where the Makie dolls come from.
Slawomir Kostrzewa, a priest in Wolsztyn, Poland, is concerned that certain LEGO minifigs are "about darkness and the world of death" and could "destroy (children's) souls and lead them to the dark side." More interesting is that Kostrzewa attempts to back up his argument with research by University of Canterbury professor Christoph Bartneck suggesting that the faces of LEGO figures have become angrier over the years. Kostrzewa's claim is on the heels of his revelation last year that My Little Pony is a "carrier of death."
"Lego the building blocks of Satan, warns priest citing NZ study" (New Zealand Herald)
Professor Bartneck's response to the matter is here: "LEGO is not a tool of Satan"
Thinkgeek bills their $40 Blobfish Plush as a "Grumpy Cat of the sea." While its true that the "world's ugliest animal" is actually pretty unremarkable looking when it is compressed by the awesome high-pressure environment of the sea, there's no denying that it looks like a newspaper caricature of a sad, downtrodden shlub when brought to the surface, which makes it the perfect gift...for that someone special in your life.
Zack sez, "Submitted for your approval -- Bif Bang Pow! has a new line of action figures inspired by the classic TV series done in the scale and style of such 1980s figure lines as Star Wars. Personal favorites include the Invader from 'The Invaders' and Burgess Meredith as Henry Bemis in 'Time Enough at Last,' who is getting a permanent space on my bookshelf where he can finally enjoy some good literature without worrying about breaking his glasses."
"Wheels That Go," a gorgeous 1967 short film by Jim Henson, starring his son Brian, with music by pioneering jazz and electronic music composer Raymond Scott. You'd recognize Scott's big band music from hundreds of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. Many of those familiar tunes are available on the compilation Reckless Nights & Turkish Twilights. Scott's experimental electronic pieces, like the one in this film, can be heard on the collections Manhattan Research Inc. and the Soothing Sounds For Baby series. (via Experimental Music on Children's TV)
Nerf's Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow (part of the wider Rebelle line of action toys marketed to girls) gets pretty high marks from its owners, and promises a dart-range of 75 feet. I confess that I'm conflicted about this -- there's nothing inherently masculine or feminine about Nerf toys, their gendering is already a synthetic creation of the company's marketing strategy.
That said, there are unquestionably girls who feel like action toys are not for them because of normative gender pressure (to which Nerf is a contributor, of course), and the existence of toys that are intended to allow them the space for imaginative play without worrying about appropriate gender norms is a good thing. Especially since the Rebelle toys are not just "girly" -- they're also cool, as well-built and well-designed as the "boy" versions, the perfect imaginative accessory for your little Hunger Games fan.
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There's nothing quite so cuddly as a giant isopod plush toy. It has been encutified to make it even more adorable than the real-life version, with big, round, loving eyes. As the product description notes, these are "passionately loved" by some in Japan and are regarded as "mysterious and cute" -- one in Toba Aquarium has (allegedly) eaten no food for over 4 years.
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Ben Marks of Collector's Weekly says:
Our very own Lisa Hix just interviewed Todd Coupee, who is a collector of Easy-Bake Ovens and wrote the definitive work on the subject, Light Bulb Baking. In her article, Lisa recounts how she and her kid brother destroyed her childhood Easy-Bake Oven (they tried to cook a green plastic steak from a Mattel Tuff Stuff play set, which melted under the incandescent bulb's 350-degree heat), and explains how Kenner ignored the gender politics of the day by marketing the oven to both boys and girls (to have done otherwise would have excluded 50 percent of the toy's potential audience, so the reasons were purely financial).
Seven year old girl tells Lego off for gender stereotyping in toys: "make more Lego girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun ok!?!"
Charlotte, who is seven, wrote this devastating letter to the Lego company over the way that girl characters and boy characters are handled in its increasingly gendered toys: "All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks."
She calls on Lego "to make more Lego girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun ok!?!"
That's a pretty unassailable request. Thank you, Charlotte, for putting it so well.
Where did Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax find inspiration for his magical monsters like the Bulette, Rust Monster, and Owlbear? Apparently inside a bag of crappy plastic "Prehistoric Animals" sold at variety stores in the early 1970s! Tony DiTerlizzi has more: "Owlbears, Rust Monsters, and Bulettes, Oh My!" (via Laughing Squid)
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A British teacher and artist named Guy Tarrant has assembled two cases' worth of toys confiscated from London schoolchildren, soliciting them from fellow teachers. The collection represents items from 150 schools and 30 years, and is on display at the excellent Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. The Childhood Museum is very close to my home, and it's one of my favourite London museums -- I like it better, even, than its enormous parent institution, the V&A down in South Kensington.
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The Beastie Boys have sent a legal threat to toymaker GoldieBlox over the company's extremely clever ad, which parodies the Beasties' early track "Girls". The ad rewrites the lyrics (which are pretty terrible in the original) to insist that girls should take control over their world, reject passivity and subservience, and make things (the video accompanies this with the creation of a Rube Goldberg device that ultimately switches off a TV showing girly toy ads).
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