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So it’s almost Valentines Day! Hooray for those little cinnamon heart candies!

I couldn’t remember much about what exactly Valentine’s Day is beyond the admittedly fun exchange of cards when I was in Grade 2… so I went to Wikipedia, of course.

It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“). The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So be it romantic love, or a simple expressions of friendship, Citizen Kid is happy be stocked up on some pretty darn cute Valentine’s Day products… including the aforementioned offerings of greeting cards (known as valentines“).

Check it out!

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In the next couple of weeks be sure to check out the great promotion the Locke Street Merchant’s have put together to help celebrate Valentine’s Day! There are LOADS of prizes to be won — including a beautiful gold locket. Locke-it. Yeah!!

Check out the details here and here!

Obviously Citizen Kid isn’t much of a destination for those that crave the intense lights and sounds of video games but visiting the “eGameRevolution” exhibit was lots of fun. For me the highlight was checking out the old gear that I remembered from my childhood and also reviewing how fast this kind of play has evolved.

Playing Missile Command on the old Atari was a blast from the past. I also made this ghosty on a wall-sized LiteBrite.

When I was a kid, my absolute favourite Christmas gift that completely blew me away (I can’t believe my Mom got me THIS) was a miniature table top Frogger game. I still have it somewhere but it was neat to see it get the respect it deserves in a museum. It also made me feel old. Everything I learned about anticipation and eye-hand coordination I learned from Frogger. 🙂

Next up: “Reading Adventureland!” When they call this a life sized pop-up book they aren’t kidding! Check out the virtual tour – and that’s only part of the exhibit! There were spaces devoted to literature of every style and age group here – from Dr. Seuss to Harry Potter to Huck Finn.

We spent a lot of time in this section and one thing that became very apparent was the museum’s commitment to learning and playing through READING. There are books everywhere you look in this place – not just in the Reading Adventureland. We soon figured out why — the entire place is a library! See an interesting book that relates to an exhibit your interested in? Just pick it up and check it out at the front desk! We thought that was an awesome concept.

We saw and did so much more but in order to prevent this from becoming on of those overly long vacation slide shows… Here are the remaining highlights…

Here’s the “American Super Heroes” exhibit where our kids were given SUPER STRENGTH thanks to a big dose of green gamma rays!

The kids made some magic wand crafts while I stretched my legs…

We fulfilled my dream of dining at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. I didn’t order the chicken livers but I did get grilled catfish. And yes, the hotel reservations were messed up but that was TOTALLY their fault…

Oh yeah… we also rode the carousel, the train, and visited an amazing butterfly conservatory…

In the end we had SO much fun that we bought a family membership and will be sure to return as soon as we can. And THAT’s what we did on our Christmas Vacation. Thank you.

(ps – I’m not posting the video of Rebecca playing Dance Dance Revolution…)

Some people do 10 day all-inclusive sunny resort style vacations… We go to Rochester, NY and visit the Museum of Play and Toy Hall of Fame instead!

Bright and early on a cold and blustery January day we hit the road (joined by another family of friends) and aimed for the border. After a cheerful verbal exchange (!) with the border guard we flew down the Interstate in excited anticipation of what lay ahead.

We arrived!

And we jumped right in… finding ourselves on Sesame Street… brought to you by the letters F, U, and N!

One of the hi-lites for us was the child sized replica of a grocery store. You (or your kids, I suppose) could shop for groceries, pretend to be the cashier, the customer, or even the produce manager. Clean up aisle 5! After scanning in your groceries you got to print out a receipt with your choices. I was having too much fun to snap more pictures… but click here to see a virtual tour. It’s amazing how much fun it is pretending to shop for groceries compared to the real thing!

Next was the area dedicated to rotating exhibits. When we were there it was a space dedicated to the game of football. Right now there is a Wizard of Oz theme!

Next it was into the National Toy Hall of Fame. This was fun and informative. Here’s a few hi-lites I snapped. To see a summary of the inductees click here.

Watch for What We Did On Our Christmas Vacation (part deux) coming soon. We’ll visit the “eGameRevolution”, the “Reading Adventureland” and we’ll have dinner at Cracker Barrel! Will I order fried chicken livers? Will the hotel reservation work out? Will I dare post the video of Rebecca playing “Dance Dance Revolution?”

Costs…

I recently came across a great little blog entry on the Yummy Mummy Club website entitled “That Toy Costs How Much?”

The general idea of the article can be summed up in the following quote.

The most affordable toy is the one your child plays with the longest. Yes, it may cost you a little more up front but if it means they are going to play with it longer, you will have spent less money in the long run.

(read the whole thing here)

 

I really like the idea of assigning a value to toys based on their level of quality, creativity, and open ended-ness. And so I think this article does us all a service in providing this reminder.

But… what about the environmental and societal impact of our purchase of toys and any other thing we buy? I try to avoid being “that preachy toy guy” but here was a perfect opportunity for a well read blog to point out that the COST of what we buy has many different definitions.

PJ’s in The Spectator…

Hey check out this little article featuring some great photos of toys from Citizen Kid in action!

City Kidz is a downtown Hamilton based organization that seeks to make a positive difference in the lives of needy and at risk children in our city.

The City Kidz Gift of Christmas program was launched in 1995, and was designed to assist our children and families by alleviating some of the personal pressures often experienced and associated with the Christmas season.

This year, Citizen Kid is happy to be a drop off location for toy donations. We have a big barrel in-store and we hope to see it full in time to make a difference for some deserving local children. If you buy a toy donation at Citizen Kid we will take 15% off the price.

Check out this link for all the information you need. There are drop off points throughout the city.

And for more inspiration check out this video from last year!