Kids + Toys (Educational + Fun) = Future Innovators

Tag Archives: American made toys

Turner Toys & Hobbies Retail StoreTurner Toys & Hobbies has a new retail store!

We took a big step from being an online store to opening a retail store at the Essex Outlets in Essex, Vermont.  Turner Toys & Hobbies started as an e-commerce store way back in 1998 – practically before the internet was invented!

Educational Toys

We’ve always carried quality, educational toys such as:

  • Science kits from Thames & Kosmos
  • Estes Model Rockets
  • Brain Teaser Puzzles
  • Made in America toys

New Toys

We’ve expanded our offerings to include:

  • Dolls
    • Groovy Girls, Lottie Dolls, Adora Baby Dolls and Haba Dolls.
  • Stuffed animals
  • Baby & Toddler Toys
    • teethers, bath toys, pegging toys, building blocks, musical instruments and more
  • Arts & Crafts
    • Kits from Klutz and kits such as “Paint Your Own Bowls” and “String Art” along with coloring books and art supplies
  • Outdoor Toys
    • Stomp Rockets, Frisbees, Boomerangs and Planes
  • Games for the whole family
    • Everything from “first games” for toddlers to strategy games like Codenames, Pandemic and Settlers of Catan.

Event SpaceRubber Band Racer event at Turner Toys & Hobbies

We also have an event space.  We have Magic the Gathering, Pokemon and Vacation events. We just had a Rubber Band Racer event in the store.  Check out our event calendar to see what’s going on.

Contact Us

Turner Toys & Hobbies is your source for quality toys.  Now, we’re your local specialty toy shop!  Come to our Essex Outlet store for the perfect toy or gift.

Turner Toys & Hobbies , 21 Essex Way, Essex VT 05452  802-233-6102






boomerangLike most of you, I’ve been fascinated by boomerangs and always wanted to know how to throw a boomerang.  So, continuing on from earlier posts about flying toys –Flying Toys for Kids – Paper Airplanes & Electric-Powered Paper Airplanes and Aeronautics & Flying Toys for Younger Kids – we bring you one on boomerangs.

Boomerang History 

Made in USA Free Spirit Magic Boomerang

Free Spirit Boomerangs from Channel Craft

Most of us associate boomerangs with the Aborigines of Australia. This is the best known connection, but anthropologists have discovered that throwsticks were also used in other cultures such as ancient Egypt, eastern Europe and Southwest US.  Throwsticks used for hunting were non-returning. From the US Boomerang Association:

At some point (perhaps by accident) the stick became more curved and refined (and much lighter) so that, when thrown vertically, it would return to the thrower. These true boomerangs were probably only used for fun and games, not as weapons.

How to throw a boomerang  

Here’s a video from Dean Helfer at Channel Craft showing how to throw boomerangs from the Spirit series.

 Throwing Basics

  • Always throw overhand  (like a baseball) and never sidearm.
  • There are two kinds of grips:  pinch and cradle.
  • The pinch is what is sounds like: hold the boomerang between your thumb and forefinger, allowing friction to keep the boomerang in your hand during the throw. Snap your wrist at the end of the throw to create spin.
  • The cradle grip is similar to the pinch grip, the difference being that you wrap your forefinger around the front of the boomerang. At the end of your throw, snap your wrist and “pull the trigger” to create spin.
  • Factors that will affect your boomerang flight:  amount of spin, wind (too much, too little), weather

Different boomerangs for different skill levels

Boomerangs are precision flying toys.  There are plenty of mass-produced toy boomerangs that most likely won’t return.  Turner Toys carries boomerangs from Channel Craft that are birch plywood and hand finished. 

There are different skill levels for different abilities and, like all good things, throwing a boomerang takes skill and practice. All are rated for ages: 9+.  Left- and right-handed boomerangs available.  Our boomerangs are made in the USA.

Turner Toys & Hobbies Boomerangs

Calico Jack Jolly Roger – Flies up to 25 yards.  

Calico Jack boomerang

Calico Jack Jolly Roger

Free Spirit Magic – Flies up to 40 yards even in high winds.

Graffiti Fire – Flies up to 35 yards.

Graffiti Earth – Flies up to 50 yards.

Graffiti Wind – Flies up to 25 yards, even in high winds.

Spirit of the Wind – Flies up to 25 yards.

Have you ever thrown a boomerang (successfully!)?  How were you successful?

Photo credit: sidstamm / / CC BY-NC-ND

Made in USA Toy SaleTo honor American workers this Labor Day, we’re offering one of our best sales ever:

20% off Made in USA toys

I noticed that some big toy makers and toy stores are having sales this weekend but I noticed that they didn’t mention anything about American-made products.  Then it dawned on me – it’s because they don’t sell anything that’s made in USA!

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According to the US Department of Labor:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

So let’s celebrate the wonderful craftsmanship of US toymakers!   Use code LABORDAY at checkout. Choose from among:


Sale through September 3rd. We carry other fine made in USA toys and furniture but are unable to include them in this sale.  Sale excludes Vermont Dory, Mountain Boy Sleds, Little Colorado Furniture.

Remember that when you buy American made toys you are supporting your neighbors and contributing to a strong US economy!

Please check out these groups support Made in USA:

Made in USA Challenge

Buy Direct USA

For more information on the value of buying made in USA, please read my earlier posts:  Toys Made in USA, Made in America Toys – At What Price? and Made in USA Still Matters according to Businessweek.

Photo credit: Old Shoe Woman / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

toys made in USABe patriotic this 4th of July and play with toys that are made in the USA!

What do toys have to do with the 4th of July? Being patriotic means many things to many people.  I didn’t want to tie Turner Toys & Hobbies to the 4th of July celebration – it smacks of consumerism.  But then I read Independent We Stand’s post about the importance of supporting small & local businesses.

Small businesses are the backbone of the US economy and play a large role in our communities.  Don’t we want to support our neighbors?  What’s more American than that?

Let’s support our USA toymakers. I’ve written about all the wonderful toys that are still made in the USA.

Toy made in the USA Roy Toy Log Cabin Toy Set

Roy Toy Log Cabin set made in USA

Toys  such as:

Please check out our Made in USA toy page for more toys.

So, in honor of Independence Day, please consider supporting local businesses and our USA toymakers.  Go to your local farmer’s market, enjoy a burger at your local cafe and an ice cream at a local scoop shop.  You can be sure that we’ll be playing with some of our toys that have been made in the USA!

Enjoy the 4th with your family and your community.  We’ll be at our village’s July 4th celebration and enjoying the fireworks.

What made in the USA toys does your family play with?

Roy Toy Log Cabin Toy Set

Following on from yesterday’s blog,  Made in America Toys – At What Price?, about the pro’s and con’s of spending more on made in USA toys vs. spending less on made in China toys, here’s a recent post by Harold L. Sirken at Businessweek’s The Management Blog: Made in the USA’ Still Matters.

In it, he relays research that shows that:

80 percent of Americans………will pay more for products labeled Made in the USA.

He goes on to say:

60 percent of Chinese consumers also are willing to pay more for products labeled Made in the USA—as much as 80 percent more, in some cases….

To most of the world, “Made in the USA” still means something special: quality, dependability, safety, reliability—products that feature the most advanced technologies and the hippest styles. Buy these products, and you too can share in the American dream.

So, that doesn’t answer my question about buying American made toys, but it’s an interesting twist to learn that the Chinese and others value the made in America label.

What premium would you pay for made in America toys?

As some of you may know, Turner Toys exhibited at the Vermont Rails Model Railroad Show yesterday.  While we had a great response for our classic toys and educational toys, we were not as successful with our wooden trains and wooden track for children.

Wooden Train Set

If you can’t sell wooden trains at a train show, you know something is wrong.

What we found out from some folks is that they can buy inexpensive wooden track that works with Brio and Thomas the Tank Engine from outlet stores and toy companies on the internet. Where are those wooden trains & tracks made?  Not surprisingly, they are made in China. Our wooden trains and track are made by Maple Landmark in Middlebury, Vermont.

Turns out that you can buy kids’ trains and track from these stores for less than we purchase them from Maple Landmark.

Not all made in China toys are bad.  We carry the award-winning toy, Woodkins Dressup Doll, that is made in China.  We know that there is strict oversight and product safety testing.

In a positive light, cheaper products are an economic benefit to consumers.  On the other hand, we know the value of buying made in USA toys.  Several sites such as Made in USA Challenge highlight the economic, environmental and cultural value of buying local.

What do you think?  Spend more money for high quality, American-made toys that support your neighbors or save money by spending less on products that may or may not be high quality and benefit other economic markets?

What matters most to you?

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