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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

 

 

 

 

 


A Beginner's Guide to Model RocketsEver wanted to launch model rockets but didn’t have a clue where to start? Rockets can be a fun parent-child or family activity but it can be overwhelming when you walk into Turner Toys & Hobbies and see a huge array of rockets and accessories.  Follow these easy tips so you can be a hero in your child’s eyes when you introduce them to rocketry.

Rocket “Toys”

Have kids under 10?  Start off with rocket “toys” that are propelled by baking soda and vinegar.  The  Meteor Rocket Kit or Rocket Car Kit  both by Scientific Explorer are great choices.  If you have a group of kids, go for Science Wiz’s  Bottle Rocket Party pack.  It has the basic tools but you’ll need to supply the baking soda & vinegar.  Note:  all of these rocket toys require adult supervision.

Ready For “Real” Model Rockets?

Estes Rockets are the granddaddy of rockets.  Turner Toys & Hobbies also carries FlisKit rockets.  They’re  quirky, inventive (the Nantucket Sound Lighthouse Rocket, anyone?) and are made in the USA (in New Hampshire) but they require more skill than the beginning rockets I’m listing below. 

All of these model rockets are designed for kids 10+.  Adult supervision is still recommended for kids under 12.

Rockets are graded so you know what you’re getting in to.  For beginners, look for rockets that say “RTF” or “Ready To Fly”.  These don’t require any cutting, gluing or painting.  The next level is “E2X” (Easy to Assemble). Then they are graded 1-5 depending on the complexity of assembly.

What do I need to get started?

You need:

·         Rocket with included parachute

·         Recovery Wadding

·         Engines

·         Launch pad

·         Launch Controller

·         Batteries for the controller 

The nice thing is the rocket, parachute, launch pad and controller are reusable.  All you need to replace is the wadding and the engines. 

You can buy all these items separately, but if you don’t already have a launch pad and controller, it’s cheaper to buy a set that includes the rocket, pad and controller.  In any case, you’ll still need to buy the “consumables”:  engines and recovering wadding.

Engines

You can’t launch your rocket without the right engines.  Each rocket comes with a recommended assortment of engine sizes.  The last ones on the list are the largest recommended engine size for that model.  If you are a novice you should try the engine marked “First Flight.”  This will give you a sense of how the rocket will fly and descend.   The engines are marked with letters and double in power as you go up.  For example, a “B” engine is twice as powerful as an “A.”  You will need a new engine for each flight.

How High Will it Fly And Where Will It Land?

This depends on your rocket and the size of the engine you use (see above).  RTF rockets can go anywhere from 675-1200 feet depending on the engine size.  As I mentioned above, I recommend starting with the smallest engine (marked “First Flight.”)  

Landings will depend on wind and drift.   It’s unlikely that your rocket will shoot straight up and land in the same place.  Tracking and finding your rocket is half the fun!!  I’ve got some more tips below on how to handle drift.

Best Rocket Kits for Beginners

The Riptide Model Rocket Launch Set RTF is a good choice for beginners.  All you do is add engines, recovery wadding, batteries for the launch controller and you are ready to go!  This rocket can fly up to 675 feet depending on the engine you use.  

The Rascal & Hi Jinks Launch Set RTF  includes two rockets, along with the launch pad and controller.  This way you can prepare the second rocket while the first is flying and descending.  No need to wait to recover the first rocket. These can fly up to 1200 ft with the largest recommended engine (C6-7).

The Flash Model Rocket Launch Set E2X  requires more assembly and tools.  This is great for the kid who has already flown RTF model rockets and wants to try a little more hands-on construction. You’ll need to assemble the motor mount, attach the fins, assemble the nose cone, tie on the reusable parachute, apply the decals and head out to the launch pad!  The Flash Rocket can fly up to 925 feet with largest allowable engine (C6-7) and can be used over and over again. In addition to the recovery wadding, engines and batteries, you’ll need to have glue and a hobby knife and paints on hand.

Don’t have a lot of space?  A lot of folks like the Moon Mutt Model Rocket Launch Set because it’s small and inexpensive and you can launch it in a small space.  It’ll fly up to 200 feet.  The only thing is that it uses mini engines and has a small launch pad that you can’t use with the other rocket models.  It can be assembled in less than an hour and has a plastic nose cone and fins and self-stick decals.

There are loads more RTF and E2X model rocket sets.  Once you have the launch pad and controller you can experiment with other model rockets.  Check Turner Toys & Hobbies for more models.

Flying & Weather-Related Tips

This is kind of a no-brainer but make sure that you have the space to launch a rocket – make sure that there aren’t trees or overhead wires.  Remember that the rockets will drift as they float down to earth. It might end up on a neighbor’s property. The wind will affect drift so think about launching on days without much wind. 

How quickly a rocket descends will help cut down on how far it drifts.  Each rocket comes with a parachute.  You might want to cut a circle in the parachute’s peak or slit the parachute.  This will vent the parachute so it will descends more quickly.   If it comes down too quickly, you risk damaging it on impact.  You can also angle the launch pad SLIGHTLY (just a few degrees) so it points into the wind.  This way, it will drift back to you. 

For more tips, read our earlier post about flying model rockets.  What are your best tips and model rocket stories?

Ready to Launch?

Now you know what you need to launch your first rocket: 

1)      RTF or E2X model rocket kit

2)      Make sure you have a launch pad and controller and batteries

3)      Recovery wadding

4)      Engines – look at the packaging to decide which engines your model can use. 

Remember:  Model rockets are not toys and are not recommended for kids under 10.  Kids under 12 really need adult supervision.  But why would you let your kids have all the fun?  Of course, you’ll be launching with them!

Photo credit: Foter / Public domain


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 / Foter.com / 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


To coincide with today’s blog on Image Aeronautics & Flying Toys for Younger Children

Turner Toys is offering 15% off all Ready-to-Fly Toys.

Just use the code FLYING at checkout on our website www.turnertoys.com.  Sale runs through Sunday, March 3rd.

Happy Flying!


Flying Toys for Beginners from Turner Toys

In an earlier blog, we talked about Great Science Toys for Children.  Right now, we’ll showcase flying toys for children as young as age 7 (or younger, depending on how hands on you want to be with your child.)  In upcoming blogs, we’ll highlight intermediate and advanced level flying toys and kits, as well as other science toys.

Playing with science toys is a great way for both boys and girls to explore the world around them and develop a love of science.  Turner Toys is proud to carry science toys that are classic and appeal to both genders. For thoughts on gender-neutral toys, see our earlier blog “Gender-Neutral Toys.”

Flying toys are a great way for children to learn about aeronautics, engineering and science – plus, they’re fun!   We have great memories of launching balsa gliders in our backyard and, to our moms’ dismay, in the house!

Basic Flying Toys

Wright Bat        The Wright brothers for children come alive with the Wright Bat Helicopter Toy.   Wilbur and Orville Wright played with a wooden version of this toy in 1878. Wind the 9 1/2″ rotor and let go – it flies straight up 20 or more feet!
Flying Stick Toy
Our Flying Stick (the manufacturer calls it the “Easy Spin”) is an aerodynamically sophisticated version of the old folk-toy stick helicopter. The pitch of the rotor can be be changed by wetting and bending. It takes a little practice to get a good flight.  Great for group activities. For kids 7+

Guillows Design Studio 

GuillowsDesignStudio

Design your own balsa model airplanes, biplanes, gliders. Contains all the components needed to build 4 motorplanes and 4 gliders.  For kids 7+

Ready-to-Fly Planes (Balsa & Plastic)

Even if your child isn’t ready for a science competition, here are two recent press mentions of regional Science Olympiad competitions.  They give you a sense of what students do in these competitions and how valuable they are for budding scientists.


At Turner Toys, we’re developing our Pinterest site  and would love to let to let you know what we’re thinking about these days and to get your thoughts on what you’d like to see.  Actually, my wife is creating it.

Right now, we have Autumn and Halloween on the brain.  My wife and daughter are really into everything Halloween.  Me, not so much though I’m a sucker for Fall colors.  Maybe not raking.  So – how does this relate to Turner Toys’ Pinterest site?  We’ve added two boards – “Fall” and “Halloween” and we’re pinning some of the best fall colors shots and great Halloween DIY projects.

We’ve also created boards for things we like and great products we carry:

  • Nature pictures – amazing pictures from around the world
  • Science Play – we like science at Turner Toys and we want to share science activities that your kids will like
  • Reading – when we find great book and reading links, we’ll share them here
  • Snow! – ok, we’re in fall right now, but snow is around the corner.
  • Parenting –  we parents can all use some words of advice
  • Learning Play – well, we know that children learn through play
  • Classroom activities – great activities for groups of children
  • Made in the USA – fun memorabilia and Turner Toys products that are made in the USA
  • Flying Toys – Turner Toys is known for its collection of  flying toys (now including rockets) and its support of Science Olympiad flying competitions.  We have “how-to’s” on building helicopters for Science Olympiad on the Turner Toys website and will post these to Pinterest, too.
  • Birthday Party Ideas – again, great activities for groups of kids
  • Dinosaurs & Fairies – two popular themes for kids    
  • Christmas – many craft ideas for the Christmas season
  • Classic (pedal) cars – Turner Toys has some great classic pedal cars.  We’re fans of great classic cars, too.
  • Vermont/New England – We’re based in Vermont, after all.

We plan to share articles and information about children, play and learning. What would like to see on Turner Toys’ Pinterest site – or our website turnertoys.com?



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