Kids + Toys (Educational + Fun) = Future Innovators

Monthly Archives: May 2013

5 Great Gifts For DadLooking for the perfect gift for Dad on Father’s Day?  Look no more because we have great gifts for Dad on Father’s Day! 

Dad appreciates any and all gifts from his family but what he secretly wants to do is PLAY!  Nurture Dad’s inner child with any or all of these great gifts.  The best part?  He can play with these with you and the kids – the  BEST way to spend Father’s Day.


Great Gifts for Dad #1: Rockets  Estes Model Rockets

I can’t tell you how many men’s jaws drop when they come into our warehouse store and see our rocket collection.  We carry a full line of Estes Rockets – individual rockets and kits.  My husband wrote in an earlier blog post about our model rocket collection.    He profiled an all-in-one model rocket, the  Estes 1491 Taser Launch Set.  The launch sets include the rocket kit, launch pad and launch controller and offer great savings over buying those items separately.

Great Gifts for Dad #2: Pedal-Powered Go-Karts    Berg Go-Kart Ferrari Exclusive

Who wouldn’t want their own go-kart?  We carry the Berg Go-Kart line of pedal carts for both kids and adults.  Indulge Dad with his own Exclusive Ferrari FXX Pedal Kart or maybe Dad would prefer a Berg Jeep Wrangler off-road pedal kart or something more modest like the Berg Basic AF Pedal Go Kart.  These go-karts are for kids and adults.


Great Gifts for Dad #3: Ready-to-Fly Airplanes & Ornithopters  G76 Sky Launcher Balsa Airplane

You’re probably detecting a theme – flying toys for dads.    We have a great selection of ready-to-fly balsa gliders from the most basic balsa gliders that Dad flew as a child to more complex balsa airplanes that require some assembly such as the G-76 Sky Launcher that has a 17″ wingspan and a mechanism that releases a parachute or small “rocket” at peak of flight. Requires careful assembly & following directions, some experimenting and fine tuning.

I’m partial to our ornithopter, the Tim Bird because of it’s colors and how “life-like” the wings are when they flap. Tim Bird Ornithopter Flying Toy

Ornithopters are “mechanical” birds.  Some, like the Tim Bird, require no assembly and others like the Illusion Ornithopter Kit need to be assembled.

Great Gifts for Dad #4: Balsa Model Airplane Kits  Spitfire Model Airplane

Dad might have built model airplane kits with his dad when he was young.  What a great way for him to reconnect with his childhood and pass along a love of the hobby to your kids now.  We carry a variety of kits – from historical planes such as the Balsa Spitfire model, the most recognizable WWII British fighter plane to the Avion de Penaud  inspired by Alphonse Penaud’s “Planophore”, the first rubber band powered miniature aircraft.  Penaud was an aviation pioneer whose work was years ahead of its time. Among his other inventions is the Wright Bat, a toy helicopter that taught Orville and Wilbur Wright basic aerodynamic principles.

Great Gifts for Dad #5: Power-Up and Paper Airplane Templates   Power Up Airplane conversion kit

Who doesn’t love paper airplanes?  Maybe Dad can fly these at work and astound his co-workers.  The Power-Up is a great invention – clip on the power-module and your plane will fly for up to 30 seconds.  Of course, you need to make a good paper airplane first.  Get fancy with our Whitewings Hotshots Paper Plane templates.  For more information about these, check out my post on Flying Toys for Kids – Paper Airplanes.

Wait – I know I said “Five Great Gifts for Dad” but here’s another:

Great Gifts for Dad #6: Hobby Supplies!

Turner Toys also carries a complete line of hobby tools and supplies for any of Dad’s projects. We have a variety of glues including hard to find Ambroid Cement, hobby tools and paints from Floquil, Polly S and Testors Model Masters.

 What are you planning to get for the Dad in your life?

We just got in a great new product:  the Firefly Rocket Toy for kids (and adults – I love launching it, too!)   Firefly Rocket Toy for Kids

My whole family has been enjoying this flying toy the past few nights and it’s great to have a flying toy for younger kids (5+) 

How does the Firefly work?

You launch the rocket toy (or helicopter, if you prefer) with a rubber band and watch it twirl down.   The extra neat thing is that it has an LED light so you can use it at night and watch it fly in the sky (firefly, get it?).

Here is a very silly video we made just to give you a sense of what it looks like.

Tips on using the Firefly Rocket Toylaunching firefly rocket toy for kids

For $3.99, it’s amazingly sturdy and we’ve had lots of fun with it. My husband launched it repeatedly in the parking lot.  Not a great idea for it to land on asphalt but it has held up nicely.  Here are some tips:

  • It’s best to launch it over grass. 
  • Make sure that you launch it away from trees – ours got stuck in the tree but managed to shake loose.  
  • Launch it straight up in the air.
  • The rubber band is very sturdy – do NOT aim it at people or pets!!!
  • The battery isn’t replaceable so it’s best to switch off the LED during the day.   You can still enjoy it during the day.
  • When our light got a bit loose from too much asphalt impact, my son just put a bit of tape around it and it still works!

Our son loves to try catching it before it lands.  One of our dogs wanted to attack it.  I’m a sucker for colored lights at night so it was fun for me.  Plus, I was able to launch it well which was very satisfying.

I’m adding this to my earlier blog list of Flying Toys for Kids.  Please let me know if you’ve tried the firefly and please share any tips.


how to teach kids to ride a bikeWhose job is it to teach a child to ride a bike?  Parents!

Parents dream of the day they’ll teach their kid to ride a bike.  Riding a bike is a major childhood milestone and it’s your responsibility as a parent to make sure it happens.  I remember zipping around our neighborhood on my banana seat bike with streamers.  Before that, I have memories of wobbly training wheels, maybe a scraped knee or two when I tipped over, and anxious parents wondering if I’d EVER learn to ride.  Eventually I did. 

What’s involved in learning to ride a bike?

Kettler TricycleYour child should be able to:

  • Stand and move with some security using push or scoot toys
  • Pedal with alternating feet – tricycles are the perfect learning tool and come in different styles.  Some have pushbars so that you can push your child when/if he gets tired. 

Road hog tricycle

Turner Toys has great tricycles from Kettler and some cool retro tricycles from Airflow Collectibles.

How do you go from riding a tricycle to riding a 2-wheeler? 

The easiest way? Balance Bikes! Kettler Balance Bike

Balance bikes make learning to ride a bicycle as natural as crawling, walking, and running. Balance bikes are small bikes for toddlers, without pedals or gears.

When our kids were young, balance bikes didn’t even exist.  We taught our children how to ride the old-fashioned way – with training wheels.  I always worried that they were going to tip over on the uneven sidewalk.  Our son asked us to take them off, we did but then he’d struggle so we’d put them back on.  Eventually, our son mastered the bike but my husband missed this precious moment as he put away the tools one last time!  Balance bikes are bikes without pedals.  Simple as that.

Balance, Then Pedal  Kazam balance bike

Children learn to balance and pedal naturally – just not at the same time! Riding a balance bike helps kids develop balance, reflexes, and coordination that will make the transition to a pedal bicycle easy.   With a pedal-equipped bicycle fitted with training wheels, the rider learns to pedal first, balance last.  

Most kids first walk the balance bike while standing over the saddle, then while sitting in the saddle. Eventually, the rider feels comfortable enough to run and “scoot” while riding the bicycle, then to lift both feet off the ground and cruise while balancing on the two wheels.  I’ve heard some parents say that this can happen in just a few days!  Don’t worry if it takes your toddler a little longer – every child is just where they need to be and will eventually get it.

When is your child ready for a balance bike?

It all depends on your child’s size and physical development.  Generally, a child is ready as soon as he or she is walking and running confidently with good balance and coordination. This is usually between 2 and 3 years but every child is different.

What to look for in a balance bike

Balance bikes must be small enough so that the rider can walk the bicycle while sitting comfortably in the saddle, putting both feet flat on the ground with knees slightly flexed.   We wrote up a comparison of features to consider in an earlier blog, Selecting A Balance Bike.  The biggest factor is size and the balance bikes we carry–KaZam, Kettler and Kinderbike–vary in size from 12″ to 15″.

Happy Riding!  Oh – don’t forget your helmet!!

What’s your experience teaching your child to ride a bike?

May the 4th be with you.Star Wars TIE Fighter Kit

Happy Star Wars Day!

I’m not a Star Wars geek, but I still enjoy Star Wars now and then.  Old stuff, mostly.

I remember standing in line to see the first movie in 1977. I love the original movies but Jar Jar Binks might have pushed me over the edge.

Nevertheless, fans around the world celebrate Star Wars Day.  Here are some ideas:

Family Star Wars Fun

Star Wars Toys

Turner Toys is happy to introduce two Star Wars model kits for kids 8+:  The Star Wars TIE Fighter Kit and the Star Wars Imperial Shuttle Kit

Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter Plastic Model Kit is modeled in color and snaps together so beginning modelers can build an accurate replica without using paints or glue. Includes Darth Vader figure, opening cockpit cover and display stand. Completed kit measures 6-1/2″ long. 

The TIE (Twin Ion Engine) Fighter appeared in Episodes IV, V & VI and was part of the Imperial Fleet.  These were the terrifying single-pilot vehicles that you saw fighting the rebels.  Equipped with a a hull made of duralloy steel, an extended after deck, unique solar cell wings, deflector shield generator and a simple hyperdrive system.  

Revell’s Star Wars Imperial Shuttle Plastic Model Kit is also modeled in color and snaps together so beginning modelers can build an accurate replica Star Wars Imperial Shuttle Kitwithout using paints or glue. Features movable wings, laser cannons and cockpit cover to show 2 figures. Completed kit measures 6-1/2″ long with a 12″ wingspan.  Ages 8 and up.


The Imperial Shuttles were a

versatile heavily armored transport and passenger with three wings and seating for up to 20 soldiers. Their firepower and hyper drive systems made them the favored transport not only of imperial officers but of Hans Solo and his troops who used an Imperial Shuttle to sneak past the Imperial forces blockading the forest moon Endor.

Star Wars Activities  Star Wars fans dress-up

The official Star Wars site has loads of activities:  party ideas, e-cards, video games.

Parents Magazine has great crafts including tutorials on how to make a Chewbacca sock puppet and a Yoda finger puppet.

Toddler-Approved blog has a very cute Yoda shape paper craft for toddlers.

Pretty Providence blog has fun Star Wars activities including  light saber ice pops.

How will you celebrate Star Wars Day?





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