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    WedWednesdayAprApril16th2014 A Little Nonsense
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    Howdy, howdy, howdy!


    Welcome to another edition of Blog 4 Kids, where you can learn what’s going on in the world this wonderful Wednesday.


    Today’s Tech

    “Time is not just for watching”

    Usually a watch requires the wearer to be able to read the hands or the LCD display. Checking time is a challenge for those who are visually impaired and until now there hasn't been a tactile timepiece that can be understood by touch alone. EONE has created the Bradley watch to fit this need. The Bradley named after Brad Snyder a US soldier. Snyder was serving in Afghanistan when he was blinded by an IED. Although challenged Snyder never lost sight of his dreams and went on to win a gold medal at the 2012 Paralympics games.
    The visually impaired community can now experience telling time at instances where noise making watch might not be appropriate, such as: in class, during interviews or meetings. The Bradley is a timepiece that lets you can touch time.

    Check out the website for their full story: http://www.eone-time.com



    Tomorrow’s Toys

    There seems to be a theme going on here about revisiting old toys. Last week we looked at a Japanese take on dominoes. This week I couldn't help by be transfixed by a giant game of Jenga. Hopefully you are familiar with the block stacking game, “you take a block from the middle and you put it on top.” Well here we see how you take a simple concept and make it larger than life when Caterpillar heavy excavators play a gigantic board game.

    See, adults can have fun too!



    Action 4 Kids

    Were you an adult 2001-2008? Then you probably remember the Walkman. If you're a parent of kids born after the millennium then you'd have a hard time explaining yesterday's technology. I was around when cassettes were still used, I would record my favorite songs on the radio. Nowadays you Shazam a song you here, anywhere. iTunes now manages your iPod but even that is falling out of fashion with people listening to music on their phones.
    Watch as these kids review a relic of the past: The Sony Walkman.

     


    Wow in the World

    Ever heard of Peter Drakos? He is the best carnival games player in the world.
    You never know where something interesting might pop up. I was at the mechanic the other day waiting for my car and planning this blog post when something on the TV caught my eye. I've won the occasional carnival game in my time but apparently there is someone out there who is a
     master of tossing rings, balls and coins, Mr. Drakos has won around 220,000 stuffed animals since he started in 1972. In fact there was showdown in Las Vegas where about 400 of the world’s best carnival game players challenged each other for the title of "World Champion", a contest Peter Drakos won. I’m saying that this weeks WOW is that all the many stuffed animals Peter Drakos has won go to charities like Toys for Tots or raise funds for the Special Olympics. Giving back and making children smile are our values too!


    Until next week,


    -T4K

    “A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.”
    -Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

     
    WedWednesdayAprApril9th2014 We're Back!
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    Calling all Tech 4 Kids fans!


    Starting this month we will be getting back to tapping on a keyboard and putting capital letters at the start of our sentences to bring you the latest news at Tech 4 Kids. Something tells me that this year is going to be a good one!


    What you can expect coming from our blog:

    Each week visit the Tech 4 Kids blog to hear about the latest in technology, toys, kids and what is creating wow in the world today. To get the ball rolling here is our latest post:


    Today's Tech

    Tech doesn’t always mean the latest silicon innovations, it may be a reimagining of an old favourite  For example check out Japanese Tanabata wooden stars. These colorful beechwood stars are a refresh of the traditional domino. Intricate beauty can be found as you stack them or use them as decorations.



    Tomorrow's Toys

    Have you heard about the latest entry into the blaster category? Mattel is launching their own blaster line called Boom Co. to compete with Hasbro’s NERF and our very own Tek Recon.

    Not to be left out Tek Recon debuted a new blaster at New York Toy Fair; say hello to the Predator!

    For exclusive photos and content check out our Facebook page.


    Action 4 Kids

    This past Saturday Tech 4 Kids staff attended the Starlight Gala in Toronto Ontario. The Starlight Gala is an annual fundraising event for children. The Starlight Foundation provides entertainment and relief for hospitalized Canadian children from the emergency room all the way to recovery. This year Tech 4 Kids made a donation to help sponsor a Starlight child. Giving back in this way fits perfectly with our company motto of “creating smiles.”



    WOW in the World
    Can you believe that Batman is 75 years old this year? March 30th 1939 was when Batman made his first appearance. Over the years Batman has had many different versions. Some of the most influential contributions to his saga have been Alan Moore’s “The Killing Joke” 1988, Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” 1986, Tim Burton’s film brought the Caped Crusader to life in 1989 when Michael Keaton played Bruce Wayne/Batman. The 1989 movie was not the first time Batman was filmed live-action. If you are a die hard Batman fan like we are you might be interested to know there was a Batman serial created way back in 1943. Check it out if you want to see what the 1940s America looked like! If you were a child of the 1990s you probably remember watching Bruce Timms’s Batman: The Animated Series. More recent contributions are the Christopher Nolan films that imagined a modernized Batman in our world today.

    Thank for dropping by Blog4Kids!


    How have you played today?


    -T4K


    FriFridayJunJune14th2013 CSR- Corporate Social Responsibility
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    CSR. It's becoming a common term in the business world but many people outside of corporations know what it means. More than that, they don't even realize that it matters. For those of you who haven't heard of CSR it stands for Corporate Social Responsibility. The first time I heard the phrase I didn't understand what it meant or that it could change the way I would view many global corporations. Essentially it is the idea that corporations need to be actively involved in some way to help do something positive for society. That's it. Not quite as easy as it seems.

    In a world that is dominated by capitalism the idea of sacrificing a portion of profits or participating in something that is not in your own best interest is not always popular. There is no "one way" of practicing good CSR in a corporation - the fact is, there are many areas that corporations can do good for the society in which they do business. It could be as simple as paying your employees fairly - specifically in places that are notorious for exploiting labour). It could be working to meet the needs of your community - donation of your products/services to people in need of them who cannot pay for them. It could be actively working to reduce your carbon footprint and becoming more sustainable in everyday business practices - the whole "think before you print movement."

    As a company that has a set of core values we believe having CSR is an important aspect to doing business. Today I received a letter from a charitable organization that helps children suffering from illnesses. It was a request to support them through donations ... being a toy company it seems only natural the we would be well fit to support an organization that works to care for our target market. My only question after reading the letter was how many boxes am I allowed to ship them. I got to walk around our warehouse and go through numerous boxes of great toys and sort them to find out which toys we could send.

    I'm not writing this to talk about how great T4K is because they practice CSR or are donating to different causes. I'm writing this to talk about the need for corporations in general to practice CSR. I'm writing this because there are too many corporations do very little for society. I'm writing this because we as consumers (I'm a consumer too!) need to expect more from the corporations we support through our purchases. We need to be informed about what corporations are doing and they ways in which they do it. I'm not here to tell you who is "good" or "bad" or in a "grey" area. I'm just here to urge you to understand the potential corporations have when it comes to positive impacts on society. There are numerous businesses doing incredible things around the world. As consumers we need to express our desire for businesses to practice CSR. As corporations we need to remove the tunnel vision that is focused on profits and realize there are more variables to consider to be a successful company. 


    FriFridayDecDecember21st2012 How Christmass should be.
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    Do you feel "Christmassy"?  This is a new term I heard on a recent trip to the UK where I saw it being used in an advertising campaign. At first I thought "what a bizarre word" but as I pondered about what it could mean, I realized that it actually conjured up memories of my youth.  Then I started to ask the question "Why was Christmas so different when I was a kid?"

    As a child there was no doubt that Christmas was my favorite time of the year.  There was something magical about Christmas that I felt only once a year. The world seemed more hopeful, the snow made everything look peaceful and there was much anticipation in the air of giving and receiving gifts and spending time with friends and family. I vividly remember the enchantment that the time of the year brought with it, with fond memories of exploring winter wonder lands, spending time sitting by the fire, listening to carols play over the radio, finding the perfect Christmas tree....all pure magic. I could only imagine Christmas time as being the closest experience to what it would have been like to live in Narnia. Above all I remember that it was the time of the year that everything seemed to slow down and people focused on time with each other laughing, eating and playing games instead of being consumed by there hectic schedule and to do list.

    So I was wondering how the memories of the Christmas of my youth fit in when I turned on the TV last week and saw images of mobs of people stampeding through doors of malls.  Where does "peace on earth and good news to all men" fit into this newly developed sport of power shopping obviously inspired by episodes of Survivor where shoppers try to either outwit or out wrestle their rival shoppers to find that perfect gift at a bargain price.  Why do people want to ruin what is precious? I cannot imagine that someone feels that ripping a product from someone elses hands in order to get it at the best price, is in doing so somehow going to make their life more complete.  Beyond the shopping pandemonium it seems to be a much more common discussion that Christmas is a hassle you need to endure; like getting a cold knowing it eventually will pass.  Baking Christmas goodies buying gifts and decorating the yard for many are now more of an obligation than a celebration of the time of the year.  

    So what has happened to being "Christmassy?" I have long since learned that it is not really what happens to you but how you choose to respond to it. Christmas is what we decide to make of it.  We can choose to make it extraordinary and celebrate the wholesomeness we enjoyed in our youth or we can choose to be overwhelmed by what could be perceived as a time of the year consumed by greed, shallowness and obligation.

    Often it takes looking through the eyes of children to see things in their purest form. If you have kids you know what I am talking about. The way that simple things like a caterpillar or a bubble can be captivating and how imaginations can run wild with the possibilities in exploring the world around them. Christmas holds this same magic to kids and I believe it is something we should guard.  Do not lose that child like curiosity that remembers the magic of the Christmas of your youth.

    What I do know is that being the mall "survivor" champion will not bring you peace, joy and happiness and in fact feeling "Christmassy" has nothing to do with getting the best Black Friday deal. Truly the best things in life are not things.  

    Ask your self how can you make this time of the year as special to you now as it was when you were a kid?  Chose to make Christmas a time that is special, celebrate the season and decide to make it extraordinary for you and your family.
    FriFridayJunJune1st2012 Where do you buy toys!?
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    So there’s this thing called the internet.  If you’re reading this blog post right now, you’ve likely mastered it.  As many of us know, the internet has changed everything.  How we connect with friends for example has been completely revolutionized!  The idea of mailing a letter, or even speaking face to face can all easily be replaced online through email, Skype, and Facebook; a million different ways to connect, all at the click of a button.  The international retail landscape has also been changed tremendously.  Think about 30 years ago.  Let’s say your kids came home and begged and begged for this new toy that Johnny across the street was just given.  How would you go about getting it?  You would likely ask Johnny’s parents where they bought it, rush out to the store, and race to the toy aisle in the hopes that it’s not sold out.  Just your luck, it’s sold out.  Finding another retailer with the same products, or waiting for another shipment could take weeks, and by then your kids have already run away to live with Johnny’s parents.  

      Fast forward to today, and you don’t even have to leave your house to buy the item.  All you have to do is quickly “Google” the name of the toy (heck, even a general description of what the toy looks like will work) and there you have it, all the information in the world on where to buy, what others have bought and said, and even when the next best version will be available!  Your kids will FINALLY love you!

      So what does this mean for you?  What is the best way to purchase a toy for your kids?  Let’s look at some of the advantages of in-store vs. online spending on toys:

    In-Store Advantages
    - Physical touch and feel of product (Great for determining quality)
    - Immediate gratification (Great for shushing crying children)
    - Childhood memories (Great for bring out the child in you as you walk the toy aisles)
    - Clerk assistance and product breadth (Great when you have NO idea what to buy!)

    Online Advantages
    - Extreme convenience (Great when you really have no time for shopping)
    - Virtually unlimited inventory (Great when you really only want that one toy)
    - No geographical limitations (Sold out in Canada? No problem, but it online from Russia!)
    - Product reviews and recommendations (Great when –again- you have NO idea what to buy!)

    Both options definitely have their advantages, and many people will find themselves shopping online as well as in store.  According to a recent study by the NDP group, 3 out of 4 consumers have shopped online in the past 12 months, showing that online shopping has become VERY prevalent.

    How do you shop for toys?  Do you shop in-store or on your favourite e-retailer?  Here are a few of the different ways people purchase their toys which should help you figure out where your allegiances lie:

    In-Store
    - Mass Merchandise Retailers (ex. Wal Mart, Target, Toys R Us)
    - Big Box Chains (ex. Costco, Sams Club, BJ’s)
    - Specialty Retailers (ex. MasterMind Toys, Hobby and Gift Shops, Kidding Awound, Playful Minds Toys, etc.)
    - Grocery/Drug Retailers (Walgreens, CVS, Shoppers Drug Mart)

    On-Line
    - Physical Retailer Website (WalMart.com, ToysRUs.com, etc.)
    - Online Retailer Website (Amazon, GrandRiverToys.com, etc.)
    - Online Sales Sites (Groupon, Zulily, Totsy, etc.)
    - Direct from Manufacturer (Ex. Buying Barbie dolls straight from the Barbie website)

    We would love to hear from you.  What do you think?  Is online shopping better than actually going inside the store?

    - T4K (Graeme)
    Blog 4 KidsToys, Tech, Kids and WOW!by Informative, topical, fun! Blog 4 Kids is the companion blog Tech 4 Kids Inc. Follow along for the latest on toys, technology, kids and WOW. Perfect for parents, geeks and youth. Founded in 2006 Tech 4 Kids is a privately owned Canadian company, currently conducting business in over 60 different countries and territories world-wide.