Summer Civics Lesson

School's out, but there are always opportunities for learning. This summer, the tragic case of the murder of Caylee Anthony gives us a chance to talk with kids about our court system and how it works, reality—and the media. If...

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Free Speech and Common Sense—What The Video Game Ruling Means

The Supreme Court has ruled that barring the sale of violent video games to minors violates the First Amendment. This ruling should be applauded, and I agree with the Court that the nature of content does not override the...

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Make It a Classic Summer

So much is written about how kids are consuming electronic media, lulled into a stupor by electronic games and generally disengaged. That may play well in the media, but is it reality? I'm starting to think not so much. I’ve...

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Why Can’t Boys Play with Dolls

How many times have you heard a father tell a son, "No you can't have a doll, boys don't play with dolls!" In my house, I used to hear that a lot. My oldest is turning twelve next month...

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Age Recommendations on Toys, Do you pay attention?

There are many times when a toy will specifically say for ages 8 & up and a younger child will ask for it. I'm guilty of letting my kids play with things geared for older kids, I also let...

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Gender-Appropriate Play

There's been some controversy around a recent J.Crew ad that has generated a lot of chatter about gender-appropriate play for kids, and what role parents should have in defining those boundaries. The ad featured their style director painting her...

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Debunking “The War on Childhood”

Children's worlds—and the toy and products industries—always reflect the adult world. I've long said that if one really wants to understand adult perceptions and values, one need only look at what is being reflected in toys, entertainment and lifestyles...

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A Monstrous Good Time: Why Monster High Matters

They're gorgeous; they're funny and just a bit gruesome. They've developed a fan base that would impress any star—and they're dolls. Mattel's Monster High dolls to be exact. They're the teenage children of the classic monsters of literature and movies,...

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Of Tragedies and Teddy Bears

I'm in Hong Kong this week at the annual Toy Fair, and in addition to talking toys my friends and colleagues from around the world, like everyone back home, is talking about the tragic shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords...

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Why Parents Should Heed The “Restore Play” Movement

I laughed out loud when I read the piece in the New York Times about the movement to “restore play.” Let’s set aside for the moment the need for everything in our culture to be a media-sanctioned “movement.” (There’s a...

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