Toys “R” Us Introduces Reusable Tote Bag to Benefit Save the Children

ToysRUs.TotebagToys “R” Us has introduced an exclusive, 100-percent recyclable, reusable tote bag featuring a young child’s artwork at its stores. One dollar from the purchase of each bag will be donated directly to Save the Children‘s Domestic Emergency Fund, a global humanitarian organization that ensures the urgent needs of children are met during a crisis.

Toys “R” Us and Save the Children have also compiled disaster planning tips and checklists on the company’s dedicated safety site, www.toysrusinc.com/safety, where families can learn more about fundamental supplies for emergency kits, determining a safe location if loved ones are separated, and how to develop a communication strategy. Customers can also visit www.toysrus.com/savethechildren to view an official registry of products, including toys and games, which can be purchased and sent directly to Save the Children to be used for kids during times of crisis. Diapers, wipes, hygiene items, and other basic supplies can also be purchased from this registry.

Radio Flyer’s Chicago Headquarters Goes LEED Platinum

Radio Flyer Inc LEED Glass WallsThe Chicago, Ill., headquarters of Radio Flyer Inc. has received platinum certification for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Focused on environmentally sustainable practices, the certification acknowledges key design decisions, including the renovation of existing warehouse space, dedicated on-site recycling areas, and geo-thermal heating and cooling systems.

Radio Flyer renovated 70,000 of its 150,000 square foot space into an open concept area featuring wooden beams, natural lighting, an indoor and outdoor paly lab, eco-friendly parking lot, and landscaped “backyard” complete with native prairie plants. Other “green” solutions include cisterns that retain 10,000 gallons of storm water, which is re-purposed for fertilizer-free irrigation, bike storage and locker room for employees who bike to work, and a preferred parking area for high efficiency, low emission cars.

COMMENTARY: Cardboard Playhouses Help Kids Think Inside the Box

It’s almost Christmas, and for me, that means logging onto Netflix and making sure that a DVD of the 2004 film, Millions, is in the mail in time to reach me by next Wednesday. If you’ve never seen Millions, you should totally make it part of your holiday viewing, as it is a wonderful movie. Directed by Danny Boyle (of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire fame), it’s not a saccharine-fest like a lot of other Christmas-themed fare; however, it is set around Christmas and packs messages about the importance of charity and human kindness, and of the power of familial love. Watching it reminds you of what the holidays can, and should, be about.

Millions is also a celebration of a child’s imagination, and one of my favorite parts of the film is near the beginning, when one of the main protagonists, 7-year-old Damian, is sitting in his backyard kingdom that’s made out of discarded cardboard boxes. Thanks to Boyle’s whimsical direction, the viewer gets to experience how something as simple as a box fort can become a source of great play potential: At one point, Damian’s entire universe trembles as a nearby train thunders by. He also has one-on-one chats with various Catholic saints, who drop by for darkly humorous interactions, and to relay messages about the boy’s recently deceased mom.

Calafant, Cardboard playhouseIt was because of Millions that I wanted to put together a list of cardboard playhouse toys. Now if you’re like me, you got your first taste of them when you were younger, shortly after a new refrigerator, TV, or bathroom fixture was unpacked at your family home. Today, anyone can still acquire a large box from pretty much anywhere and use it for playhouse-building; however, clean surfaces, such as the ones on the following products, do present an advantage for decorating. There’s another reason why I chose them: They all utilize recycled cardboard, meaning they take something that might otherwise end up in a dump and turn it into a item that creates enjoyment. Since it’s the holidays, if you’re going to give a present that encourages a child’s creativity, why not one that’s friendlier for the whole planet, which serves as every kid’s playhouse? [Read more...]

New Product: Scrap Kins Build-It Book

Earth Day is around the corner and kids can start getting in the mood with Scrap Kins Build-It Book Volume 1, a book filled with recycling projects. Main characters the Scrap Kins are a monster family who live in a recycling center. They give readers step-by-step instructions for 12 projects, such as turning toilet paper tubes and milk cartons into pirate ships, bookmarks, bird feeders, and more.

All of the projects are constructed from materials that are found around the home, including paper towel tubes, cereal boxes, and juice cartons—no other materials are required.

The book, ideal for kids ages 6 to 9, is published by Crackle Press and is 32 pages. For more information, visit www.thescrapkins.com.