Jonny Girson Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Astra

It’s been an “Award Winning” summer at The Learning Tree!

Jonny Girson Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Astra

We’re privileged and proud to announce that last June, Jonny was honored with The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA) Lifetime Achievement Award!

Believe it or not, we’ve been in the toy business for nearly twenty years. When Jonny and Jane Girson opened The Learning Tree in Leawood, Kansas in the mid-1990s they knew they wanted to fill their store with specialty toys, which are designed with a focus on what the child can do, rather that what the toy can do.

Jonny quickly got involved as an ASTRA volunteer leader, serving on its board of directors and as its chair. Being involved with a national, non-profit organization like ASTRA that pulls together people in the industry who are committed to providing children with healthy, quality play materials that have high play value, was very important to the mission of The Learning Tree.  As he received the award, Jonny laughed, “People usually receive Lifetime Achievement awards at the end of their careers. I hope to be around for a long time!”




Toy & Game News

Who really invented Monopoly?

Strong Museum acquires rare early Monopoly Game

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A rare and unique early version of Monopoly, used as evidence in a controversial, 10-year legal copyright battle over the iconic American game’s true inventor, has been acquired by Strong National Museum of Play – home of the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Playthings Staff — Playthings, 7/1/2010 2:54:58 PM

Cooking Toys are all the rave

I just got back from the Housewares Show in Chicago. You may wonder what does that trade show have to do with toys?

Marianne M Szymanski — Playthings, March 16, 2010

If only Al Capone had played outdoor games

If only Al Capone had played outdoor games

Outdoor games prevent crime. Yes, you heard me right. Outdoor games are a crime buster. At least that is what an article in The Record tells us.

Richard Gottlieb — Playthings, 7/5/2010

Toy News

Bananagrams co-creator dies |

Abraham Nathanson, a Rhode Island graphic designer, photographer, children’s book author and illustrator who invented the popular word game Bananagrams, has died. He was 80.,

Publish Date: 06/09/2010 8:32

Eco-Friendly Toys — How to Go Green

The world we live in is going through dramatic ecological and environmental changes. The toy industry is growing more aware of the issues and is becoming more responsive to the changes in a wide variety of ways.

Publish Date: 6/15/2010 1:10:48 PM

Library Of Special Needs Toys, Equipment Offers Families Flexibility

Toys and equipment for kids with special needs can carry a high cost and incur quick turnover, oftentimes making such devices prohibitive for families. Now, a St. Louis group is offering specialized items on loan for no charge.

Publish Date: March 18, 2010

Educational Toy News

Kids Riding Toys for Outdoors | Travel Guide

It can be tough to find good educational toys nowadays, and it’s actually tougher to find educational toys that aren’t hooked to a computer screen. We have selected three toys below that will encourage your child’s creativity, …

Publish Date: 05/25/2010 7:08

Hobbies, Toys and Games article – Tips for choosing a Toy for a child

II usually like to purchase educational toys when buying toys for children. Kids like to pretend to be adults so I find telephones, computers and other electronic equipment that look much like the items that parents use are more …

Publish Date: 05/24/2010 11:59

Smart inventor sets sights on business success – University of

iFactor Award winner Roman Latypov is looking forward to a bright future as a successful inventor and entrepreneur after winning top prize in the contest organised by the University’s Knowledge Hub. … Roman, who is a third-year Business Studies student at the University, said the award has offered an outstanding platform to develop his idea for a range of educational toys and products called Smart Wares. It has also given him the chance to meet potential investors who …

Publish Date: 05/13/2010 6:59

Top-10 Most-Wanted Infant and Toddler Toys

Items like the Fill & Spill Mailbox from Melissa & Doug represent classic play patterns for young children, according to a nationwide survey of 39 specialty retailers discussing best-selling playthings for babies. For simple infant essentials, storeowners turn to brands trusted for safety…

Publish Date: 05/2010

Thames & Kosmos kits scheduled to arrive in stores in September

— Playthings, 5/21/2010

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Thames & Kosmos has introduced its 2010 Construction Series, a new line of seven science and building kits designed to cultivate a challenging and participatory learning experience in and out of the classroom. Developed to engage young scientists through both individual study and creative collaboration, this new collection is currently available for pre-order and is scheduled to arrive in stores this September….

The New Fall Toy Catalog is Here!

If you’re on our mailing list, you’ve received our Fall 2009 catalog! There is a lot of great stuff in it, including a $5 off coupon and a great deal on the Melissa & Doug floor puzzles!

If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check it out! Click here for the interactive version of our catalog….

Buying Safe Toys

Ensuring toy safety and encouraging safe play are top priorities at The Learning Tree and parents and toy givers play important roles as well. Along with industry and government, parents have an important role in toy safety. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Buy Smart

-Check age grading and all toy packaging labels to make sure the toy is appropriate for your child
-Avoid toys with small parts for children under age 3 or children who mouth toys
-Look for toys with sturdy parts and tightly secured joints
-Shop at a reputable retailer, one you know and trust
-Inspect the condition of second-hand toys and make sure you have the original packaging and instructions
-Batteries in toys should be firmly attached and not accessible to children
-Listen to toys with noises before purchase to make sure it’s appropriate for your child

Read the Label

-Labels and instructions on packaging can give excellent guidance for safe purchasing decisions

Organize and Supervise

-Follow instructions for toy assembly and use
-Supervise children as they play
-Be a good role model and set an example for safe play
-Keep toys with small parts away from children under three and from children who tend to mouth objects
-Avoid all toys with sharp points or rough edges
-Keep toys in an easily accessible storage bin with a removable lid
-Repair or discard broken toys
-Teach older children to keep their toys away from younger siblings.
-Keep a separate toy chest for older children whose toys may contain small parts not suitable for their younger siblings.

Sign up for CPSC e-mail recall alerts so you can be aware of any unsafe items you may have purchased.