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Great American Toys and Toy Stories

July 6, 2018 by Adam York

The Great Toy Exodus

The big news in the Toy industry was Toys-R-Us and their official closing on June 25 2018. A brief CNN article here about it: Toys R Us Closing

This is an unfortunate demise of a big-box retailer and it doesn’t seem right! Don’ t worry you can still get American toys made in U.S.A.

Channel Craft

Old-School and Modern

One old-school yet modern toy maker is Channel Craft. Channel Craft is old-school for their super fun classics like balsa planes ,marbles, tops and bull roarers. Yet, Channel Craft is a modern toy maker with modern facilities located in the United States and also produces edu-tainment products.


Channel Craft “Edu-Tainment” products include books about colonial times, civil war, and the great gold rush. Other book topics include the old west, pioneer life, bill of rights, and the U.S. constitution. In addition to the Field & Forest Handy Books for boys and girls you also have books about birds, fishes, and historical classroom games for every teacher and home-educator to share.

They even have a Boy Scouts book written by the founder Dan Beard, circa 1900, named "The book of Camp-Lore & Wood Craft”. As a quick note “Edu-Tainment” means products designed for both educational and entertainment purposes A.K.A. learning fun.

Toy Stories

True Fun Classic Toys and Games

True fun classic toys and games are fun regardless of the decade. Classic toys endure the test of time well beyond any super-hero recyclable plastic toys or faddish girly-dolls left in a closet bucket unused.

Marbles, tiddly winks, and dominoes all provided hours of fun and used regularly when I was growing up. My absolute favorites were balsa flyers which consisted of gliders and rubber-band driven propeller models.

Flaming Imaginations

A balsa design studio, if I was lucky enough to get one, was my first exposure to model building which lead to my childhood fascination with model boat building.

Unfortunately my model boats never lasted to long because my brother would light my balsa planes on fire to dive-bomb the boats which quickly reached the bottom of the pond in a smoky descent.

Tiddly Winks Tournaments

As a kid, and the oldest, I always challenged my younger siblings to tiddly winks tournaments where the winner received the prize of chore-assignments. Or alternatively the “make-your-brother-a-servant” for the day, week, or month depending on the wager. I didn’t always win so I knew my brother had to be cheating some how.

Jack Battles and Foot Spikes

I couldn’t afford battle-tops as a kid so jack battles it was. We spent hours spinning jacks in a yarn circle to see who would win. Foot spikes is what happened when we forgot to put-away our toys and would ultimately stomp jacks in a dimly-light hallway on a speedy run to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Boomerangs & Noggin Knocks

Any parent who has given any child a boomerang immediately recognizes what I mean by noggin knocks! Don’t panic! Boomerangs are not dangerous if used properly. At my house the band-of-brothers and the old split-the-apple on the head trick lead to many knocked noggins. The up-side was increased accuracy, agility, hand-eye-coordination and at times chunky apple. Hey, who needs fancy digital fruit-ninja games anyway right?

Bulls & Bull Roarers

Bull roarers where great fun for annoying anyone reading books or accidentally knocking over their neatly stacked dominoes while whirling-up-to-speed. Additionally, we were fortunate to live part of our childhood in farm country where bull roarers were a great tool. How you ask?

The pasture; a mere five feet away, from the back of the house, always had an old bull. The adults warned us with scary stories about that mean old-bull. So, we used our bull roarers to test for the presence of the bull before madly dashing across the pasture to a pond on the other side.

When the bull was near he would always come our way, so we knew it was safe, if the bull could not hear the bull roarer. However the bull roarer never saved us from the occasional messy panic stumbles when we couldn’t navigate around large piles of manure. That was called the bulls-revenge and always happened if we got spotted half-way through the pasture.

Pickup Sticks, Pork and Kindling

Pick-up-sticks my all time favorite dexterity strategy game that came out before Jenga, was the source of long hours of fun and challenge. Often we played well into the evening and regularly left the sticks laying on the kitchen table. Mother would threaten to use our sticks for pork stickers, fondue spikes, or pork kebab skewers if we refused to pick up our pickup-sticks when done playing. HaHa see what I did there!

Our beloved pickup-sticks were often on a path to assured demise as kindling wood when mother was angry about our failure to bring in wood for the old pot-belly-stove in winter. She never did, but then it was a motivating reminder to complete wood chores as expected.

Quality, Nostalgia, and Today

Channel Craft has kept these old toys alive. These nostalgic toys are still good today and well worth considering for you and your children’s fun. Today, Channel Craft continues to innovate quality, fun, and new toys. I’m glad they do it all in Pennsylvania!

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