Visit Santa & his Reindeer!

Santa and Vixen outside of LagoonaMagoo Toys, Fairview Heights.
Photo credit: Derik Holtmann/BND

If you haven't had a chance to visit Santa yet, come see him in one of our Illinois stores' parking lots.  Not only do you get a chance to talk to him, but you can meet his reindeer and sit in his sleigh, too!  Way too cool.  Definitely makes me want to stay off the Naughty List!

Friday, December 10, 2010
 - 3pm - 8pm
LagoonaMagoo Toys, Fairview Heights
6308 N. Illinois (aka Hwy 159)
Fairview Heights, IL  62208
(618) 628-9270

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
 - 3pm - 8pm
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
 - 3pm - 8pm
Once Upon a Toy
2460 Troy Rd
Edwardsville, IL  62025
(618) 656-9596


Shawnta' On TV!

If you missed it, you can see Shawnta' on KMOV's Great Day St. Louis!  She's showing some of the cool toys and gifts for the holiday season:


Love Your Local - Shop Small on Nov. 27

Everyone knows all about Black Friday--  Or they think they do.  News reports every year announce the traffic jams at malls. People line up hours or days in advance at Big Box stores for insane sale prices.  You hear over and over about how it’s the day retailers will start to show a profit.

It’s a little different for small businesses.  That’s not really the picture of what’s going on for many of the mom & pop shops around our nation.  For many of them, the day after Thanksgiving is a finish line (whew!  Made it to the Holiday shopping season) and the start of a marathon (egads!  It’s the Holiday shopping season!).  Black Friday represents the moment when all the work and effort and striving of the past year starts to pay off.  You see that new customer come back.  You get to chat with your favorite customers--  the ones who bought baby toys a few years ago and now need something for a teen.  You “rescue” someone by having the absolutely perfect thing for that hard-to-pick-for person on their list.  The Holiday shopping season is the pay-off for those slow as molasses, dog-days of summer.

Of course, none of this means anything if you, the consumer, doesn’t show up.

Do we want you to stop shopping with the Big Box stores?  No, although we wouldn’t mind if you did it a little less.
Do we want you to stop ordering things online?  Not at all.  We want you buying from our website, too!

Do we want you to consciously consider what makes your community unique, what makes it special, what makes it your home?  Yes.

We’re betting some part of what makes your town, city, or neighborhood a dear, treasured place to you is a small business.  Maybe it’s a coffee shop.  Maybe it’s a (ahem) toy store like  us.  Maybe its a gift shop or bakery or bookstore.  Whatever that little store is, you know they’ll always come through for you--  you’ll be greeted with a smile and you know you matter.  With this in mind, consider how you want to spend your Holiday budget.  

Now that you’ve thought about where and how you want to spend your money, think about when you’ll spend it.  American Express, as part of their “Open” Small Business Network, is encouraging communities around the country to declare the Saturday after Thanksgiving “Small Business Saturday.”  As part of this declaration, they’re asking consumers to make a point of spending some money at a small business on Nov. 27.  You can read more about Small Business Saturday on their website and facebook page.

Shop Small.  And watch what big things can happen.


Black Friday & Extended Holiday Hours

The holiday shopping season is starting to get rolling--  Our stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.  We'll be opening early on Black Friday, with one-day only sale prices on selected items!

LagoonaMagoo Toys
at the St. Louis Mills - Hazelwood, MO:

Opening Early on Black Friday (11/26)! 7am - 9pm
Sat., Nov. 27: 9am - 10pm
Sun., Nov. 28: 11am - 7pm

Don't forget to visit Santa while you're here!
For additional holiday hours, please visit the St. Louis Mills website.

Once Upon a Toy,
Edwardsville, IL:

Opening Early on Black Friday (11/26)! 8am - 8pm
Extended Holiday Hours: 
Mon. - Sat.: 9am - 8pm

Reindeer Schedule coming soon!

LagoonaMagoo Toys,
Fairview Heights, IL:

Opening Early on Black Friday (11/26)! 7am - 9pm
Extended Holiday Hours: 
Mon. - Sat.: 9am - 8pm
Open Sundays! 10am - 6pm

Reindeer will be here, too--  We'll let you know when!

Hmmm?  Wazzat?  You're wondering what sort of specials will be happening on Black Friday?  This is just a sampling!

As always, our helpful crew of toy experts will be standing by to help you find something for everyone on your gift list!


Once Upon a Toy & LagoonaMagoo Toys Neighborhood Toy Store Day Plans!

Plotting...  Planning...  All we need is you to make it a party!  Here are the events we've cooked up for Neighborhood Toy Store Day on Nov. 13, 2010

LagoonaMagoo Toys at the St. Louis Mills:
10% of sales on Saturday, November 13, will be donated in toys to Toys for Tots.  Start your Holiday shopping early and pay some joy forward.  And Cody Cassiday, a seriously talented Yo-Yo Dude, will be by to amaze and thrill us with his yo-yo tricks from 2pm - 6pm.  We’ll also have free face painting throughout the day (call the St. Louis Mills LagoonaMagoo Toys at (314) 227-5335 for exact times)

Once Upon a Toy in Edwardsville, IL:
It’s a Giant Rubber Chicken!  In our Parking Lot!  Come get a picture taken with our infamous Giant Chicky from 10am - noon.  Rope n’ Ride, from Granite City, IL, will bring Ponies to the party from 1pm - 3pm.  Cody Cassiday, our favorite Yo-Yo Dude, will also be appearing at Once Upon a Toy from 10am - 1pm.  And can’t forget the face painting--  that will be happening from 11am - 4pm.

LagoonaMagoo Toys in Fairview Heights, IL:
Ponies!  We’re going to have ponies (thanks to Rope n’ Ride!) for your kiddos to meet from 11am - 3pm.  The Giant Rubber Chicken will migrate from Edwardsville to Fairview Heights for photos with your favorite goofballs starting around 1pm - 4pm.  Face painting will also be happening from 11am - 4pm.

We're looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday for Neighborhood Toy Store Day!

Join us in celebrating Neighborhood Toy Store Day!

What, you may be wondering, is Neighborhood Toy Store Day? Good question. I knew our readers were smart people!

Neighborhood Toy Store Day is a nation-wide event dreamed up by the member stores of ASTRA, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. The idea is to celebrate independently owned and locally operated toy stores as well as bring attention to the contributions these businesses make to our local communities.

When you choose to shop at locally owned businesses, a higher percentage of your money stays in the community. According to the 3/50 project (read about that in an earlier blog post here: The 3/50 Project) for every $100 spent in a locally owned business, $68 of it remains in the community. This money stays in the form of paid taxes, wages for workers, purchases of supplies and services, as well as charitable donations. This is one of the reasons Mom & Pop businesses are considered the key and lifeblood of our economy. When small businesses thrive, our communities do, too.

So that’s an awful lot of grown-up seriousness happening in that paragraph. What about the infamous Happy Up silliness? Where does that factor in? Glad you asked that! Like all other ASTRA member stores, LagoonaMagoo Toys and Once Upon a Toy are completely committed to seeing children thrive. By offering unique, amazing, imaginative, and creative toys to our customers, we help children grow into unique, amazing, imaginative, and creative grown-ups. By encouraging and supporting the idea of play for people of all ages, we create laughter and lighter spirits. And who doesn’t want more of that in the world?

So Celebrate individuality, silliness, playfulness, and what makes your world unique with your favorite toy store on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 and be a part of the first ever Neighborhood Toy Store Day!

You can read more about the event here:  http://neighborhoodtoystoreday.com/

PS--  watch this space for the schedule of events for Toy Store Day at both LagoonaMagoo Toys and Once Upon a Toy!


Happy Birthday LagoonaMagoo Toys in Fairview Heights!

It's been how long?  A year?  Really?  Wow!

To celebrate being in our Fairview Heights location for a year, we're having a tent sale on Saturday, Oct. 23!

And to catch y'all up on the other things going on in Happy Up Land:
-- Our open playdates at Once Upon a Toy in Edwardsville and LagoonaMagoo in Fairview Heights are taking a break for November & December.  So watch this space for the schedule in 2011!
--  LagoonaMagoo Toys at the St. Louis Mills is looking forward to the annual Halloween walk and costume contest on Oct. 30.  More info on the Mills website (scroll through their events listings)  St. Louis Mills Website
--  The Happy Up Crew will  be marching in Edwardsville's Halloween Parade.  See you there!
-- We're cooking up all sorts of things for our stores to celebrate Neighborhood Toy Store Day on Nov. 13.  We'll keep you updated as we finalize our plans!

Alrighty...  think that's it--  Off to finish up an email newsletter!  (you are subscribed, aren't you?  Use the box in the sidebar if you aren't!)


“Cobi Blocks are Cool!” Declares local Lego Expert

We recently announced through our email newsletter that Once Upon a Toy and both locations of LagoonaMagoo Toys are now stocking Cobi Blocks, a brick building system similar to Legos.   Cobi Blocks are manufactured in Poland and are a beloved toy in Eastern Europe.  Shawnta’, our fearless leader, discovered Cobi brick building sets at Toy Fair earlier in the year and is very excited to introduce them to our little part of the world.

Manufactured to the same exacting standards as Lego blocks, Cobi building sets are focused on real-world machines and scenarios.  Their most popular building sets have a military theme--  Cobi’s Small Army.  There are also military themed sets that feature Jeeps, civilian Boeing airplanes, and free-style building sets.  We were curious to see how well Cobi bricks would compare to Lego bricks, so we drafted a youngster to road test one of their Small Army sets.

Our Lego Expert, 12 years old, ripped into the 150 piece Small Army Vulcan Helicopter set.  Getting him to slow down long enough for me to change the batteries in the camera was a bit of a challenge.  With the skill and speed of a long-time Lego brick builder, he quickly assembled the Cobi helicopter.

Overall, he enjoyed the building process.  The pieces snapped together securely and the illustrated instructions were easy to follow.  The specialized shapes for the helicopter set intrigued him.  And the high level of detail in the accessories (the mini figures have noses!) won big approval from him.  One thing he noticed is that hinges and the rotor for the helicopter were stiffer than comparable Lego parts would be.  While that meant the chopper’s blades didn’t spin as freely as he would have liked, it also meant the pilot didn’t fall out the doors during a steep dive.  

He also tested Cobi blocks compatability with Lego bricks.  Some pieces clicked together in a satisfying way.  Others, like putting a Cobi mini fig head on a Lego body, were almost too tight of a fit.  For the most part, our expert thought the Cobi blocks would work perfectly well with his Lego collection, as long as he wasn’t trying to combine specialized pieces.  These would be special pieces like hinges, heads, or propeller blades.  When asked if he would spend his own money on a larger set, he quickly said “Yes.  ‘Cause these Cobi blocks are cool...”  

If you can’t make it in to either of our LagoonaMagoo locations or up to Once Upon a Toy, we are now offering Cobi sets through our website, happyupinc.com.  To see the sets currently available, click here:  Cobi Building Sets.


ICAA's Night Out

International Coalition
for Autism and All Abilities Logo
Autism Spectrum Disorders-- the phrase alone is enough to make any parent break into a cold sweat. The CDC estimates that 1 in 110 children are somewhere on the spectrum. That means it’s likely a person you know is touched by this. You may know a parent or grandparent of someone with an ASD. Or maybe you know a child or adult identified as being on the spectrum.
And it is an incredibly wide spectrum of behaviors, cognitive difficulties, and physical difficulties that fall under the heading of ASD. Maybe the person affected is very high functioning, just a shade off of “normal.” Or maybe the person is severely affected, unable to communicate and isolated by the difficulties of understanding human social interactions.

Early diagnosis is key, and you can read more about that here:

and here:

But after identifying that a child and family is dealing with an ASD, what next? There are therapies, and teaching tools, and doctor visits and the list goes on and on and on. It can be incredibly daunting for the parents to find the resources they need. In response to that need, there are many local, national, and international groups working to serve the families and communities impacted by autism. One of these is the International Coalition for Autism and All Abilities. Their mission is “To advocate for, encourage acceptance of, and support people on the Autism spectrum and with other disabilities and their families throughout our global society. “

A worthwhile goal, wouldn’t you say? So if you’re looking for something to do Saturday, Sept. 11th, come out to a fundraising event they’re hosting at Fenton’s Stratford Bar & Grill in the Gazebo Room. The fun starts at 7pm, rain or shine.

A few of the members of the Happy Up Crew will be attending, too. They’ll have a table set up with toys and therapeutic items helpful to children and adults with special needs and different abilities. So stop by and say hello!
For more information about the International Coalition for Autism and All Abilities or Saturday’s event, visit their website:


Find the Fun in Game Night for your Group!

Set Game - a favorite for Game Nights
Playing games, at any age, is important. Studies have shown that challenging your brain to think in different ways is hugely beneficial to everyone, especially older adults and senior citizens. Other studies show that game play can boost the confidence of slow learners. And yet more studies show that through play, children can grasp concepts, ideas, and skills more readily than in classroom/structured learning situations. Not to mention the social skills, communication skills, and connectedness playing games can create between opponents. With all those studies floating around out there, you’d think we’d all be leaping at every opportunity to play games.

Here at the Happy Up stores we are devoted to the idea of play, for people of all ages. We want to encourage people to get off their couches, out of their houses, and to community events that support play and interaction between children and grownups, students and teachers, parents and children. Many groups, clubs, and organizations are looking for new ways to bring their members together. We have a suggestion: Let us help you find the fun in a Game Night!

Here’s the idea:
  • Your group sponsors the event. This means you arrange the location and find volunteers to work the event. You handle the publicity and rsvp’s so we know how many people to expect.
  • Our Staff comes to your event with up to 15 games for your guests to play at different stations. The games we bring are all fast-playing and good for a wide range of ages.
  • We train your volunteers to work the stations. But never fear! Our staff will stay to help keep the fun going.

Our game nights are designed to be free, family-friendly events. All ages are welcome. Please note that we do expect parents/grown ups to stay and play with their children.

Many groups like to have snacks, pizza, and other refreshments available and use these as a fund-raising opportunity.

Tuesday, Aug. 31st, 2010 we’ll be providing the games at Alton Middle Schools’ Game Night and Open House. And on Wed., Sept. 1st, we will be supplying the games for UrbanFuture at L’Ouverture Middle School in St. Louis, MO.

If you have any questions or would like to get your group on the calendar, call Shawnta’ at (618) 656-9596.


Family Game Nights @ St. Louis Mills LagoonaMagoo Toys on Hiatus

Dear Play-Friends--
Our family game nights are taking a break. Subscribe to our Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/HappyUpToys) or follow us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/HappyUpInc) to find out when we start them up again!

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to play with us!


Cody & his YoYo are coming back!

Loookeeeee! Cody Cassiday is visiting all three of our stores again! He'll be demonstrating tricks and chatting about yo-yoing with us every weekend through the end of July.

Hope you'll be able to stop by and visit:

July 16 - LagoonaMagoo Toys - Fairview Heights: 4pm - 7pm
July 17 - Once Upon a Toy - Edwardsville: 10am - 2pm
July 23 - LagoonaMagoo Toys - St. Louis Mills Mall: 5pm - 9pm
July 24 - LagoonaMagoo Toys - St. Louis Mills Mall: 10am - 2pm
July 30 - Once Upon a Toy - Edwardsville: 4pm - 7:30 pm
July 31 - LagoonaMagoo Toys - Fairview Heights: 11am - 2pm


Schedule for July's Game Night @ the St. Louis Mills Mall LagoonaMagoo Toys

You're invited to come play with us at the St. Louis Mills Mall location of LagoonaMagoo Toys!  Our family game nights are a great chance to get out and play your favorite games.  Or maybe discover a new favorite.  Or rediscover one you haven't played in eons.  If you have any questions, feel free to give the playful folks at the store a call:  (314) 227-5335

We play every Friday from 6:30pm - 8:30pm.
  • July 9 - Dweebies - Round up Dweebies by matching cards on both ends of any row. Seems simple at first... but Dweebies can be tricky, and some will disappear before they've met their match! Collect the most cards and consider yourself the Dweebie-in-Chief! Ages 8 & up
  • July 16 - Golden Gate - Golden Gate is an exciting card game combining a bit of luck with strategy to start piling up your points. Cards are played in sequence, progressing up or down. Gold cards help you collect chips, but the red cards may cost you! Ages 7 & up
  • July 23 - Spot It! - There is always one, and only one, matching symbol between any 2 cards in this game. Spot it and you win! With only 8 symbols on each card, small details (like the size of the symbol) matter. The challenge increases as new cards are revealed in this fast-paced game. Ages 6 & up
  • July 30 - Pigsup - How quick and precise are your fingers? Find out as you build piggy piles in this lively stacking game. And there is more than one silly way to stack up your piggies. Be the first player to get rid of all your cards to win! Ages 4 & up


More Chances to See the Yo-Yo Dude!

Cody Cassiday, local Yo-Yo Trickster, will be coming back to visit our stores.  Stop by and say hello!

Friday, July 2:
Once Upon a Toy in Edwardsville, IL
4pm - 9pm

Saturday, July 3rd:
LagoonaMagoo Toys in Fairview Heights, IL
11am - 2pm

Friday, July 9th:
LagoonaMagoo Toys at the St. Louis Mills Mall
4pm - 9pm

Here's another video of Cody, after working on his yo-yo skills for 6 months:


Reminder! Two more parties to go!

We had a great time with the kids (and their grown-ups) who came to our first Japanese Eraser & Shaped Band trading party at Once Upon a Toy in Edwardsville. Thanks to everyone who came and made it a fun evening!

Pirate Chicken Says:  Silly Bands Rock!

Japanese Erasers as far as the eye can see!


Tough to choose!

Come be a star with your Shaped/Silly Bands collection!

Our next party is at 6:30 on Thursday, June 24 at LagoonaMagoo Toys in Fairview Heights-- RSVP by calling the store: (618)628-9270

The last trading party will be at LagoonaMagoo Toys at the St. Louis Mills Mall on Thursday, July 1st. It's never to early to RSVP! (314) 227-5335


Hey Yo Yo Yo! We've got a Yo-Yo Guy coming to visit!

Check out Cody & his amazing yo-yo tricks!

Jaw-drop awesome, eh? And he's only been doing this for 2 years!
Here's the info on when he'll be performing, chatting, and being an all-around nice guy with an uncanny ability with a Yo-yo:

Once Upon a Toy in Edwardsville, IL
Saturday June 19, from 11am - 2pm

LagoonaMagoo Toys at St. Louis Mills Mall
Saturday June 26, from 11am - 2pm

See you there!


Come to the Party!

If you haven't heard yet, the dates for our trading parties are set!  All parties start at 6:30pm and last until 8pm. For more information or to RSVP (appreciated, but not required), just call your favorite Happy Up store!

June 17:
Once Upon a Toy in Edwardsville, IL
(618) 656-9596

June 24:
LagoonaMagoo Toys in Fairview Heights, IL
(618) 628-9270

July 1:
LagoonaMagoo Toys at the St. Louis Mills Mall, MO
(314) 227-5335

Email invites went out on Friday. Did you get yours? What? You aren't on our email list? It's easy to subscribe using the box in the sidebar. hint hint. If you're interested to see the email, you can find it here: It's a Party at Once Upon a Toy and LagoonaMagoo Toys!

Jaelyn Jamik, the St. Louis Children's Recreation Examiner gave Silly Bandz & Japanese Erasers (and our parties!) a nice little write up. You can read her article here: Silly Bandz and Iwako Japanese Erasers are all the rage: Kids, wanna trade?

So we'll see you at one of the parties, right?


Gettin' Silly with the Silly Bandz!

Also called Shaped Bands, Shaped Bracelet Bands, and Silly Bands (note:  no "Z"), these colorful bits of silicone are soft, durable, and retain their shapes.  This is a collecting trend just starting to sweep the country.  Popular on the east coast and in the southern states for more than a year, Silly Bandz are just now catching the interest of midwest trendsetters.  And once they get started, kids are taking their collections very seriously.  So what are they exactly?  Think rubber bands--  only not as stretchy.  Think plastic jelly bracelets, only not boringly round!  Add bright colors and shapes that appeal to youngsters, and suddenly you have instant coolness on kid-wrists all across the country.  Because they're inexpensive and sold in packs of 12 or more, they're an easy collection to start.  And to store.  The bands encompass a wide variety of shapes from wild animals to vehicles to sheriff badges to sports figures.  Some kids are collecting based on their interests.  Others are staying focused on "rare" or unusual shapes.  And some are just going for quantity--  the more the merrier!

Some school districts are being forced to take them seriously, too--  turns out the shaped bands are so distracting they've been banned in some school districts.  Thankfully, we're all on summer break so no worries about getting teachers and principals all in a twist about these.  However, there are concerns about kids wearing bands that are too tight for their wrists and cutting off circulation.  While this isn't a serious concern if the kiddo is only wearing them for a short period of time,  we do hear of kids who refuse to take them off--  which could create a problem.  So grown-ups?  Check to make sure the bands aren't restricting blood flow.

And just for giggles?  Check out this ultra-silly gangsta rap about Silly Bandz!

Collecting the bands already? Have gobs to show off? Duplicates to trade? Watch this space for our announcement of our Silly Bandz & Japanese Eraser Trading Parties! We'll also be sending out an email invite, so make sure you're on our email list!


Japanese Erasers: Collectible? Yep. Inexpensive? Yep. Crazy Cool? You Betcha!

What is adorable, collectible, and incredibly small?  Japanese Erasers!  These amazingly detailed miniatures are the latest collectible craze.  From food items that look good enough to eat (please don't!) to animals so cute you can hardly resist cuddling them, these erasers are capturing the attention of children and adults around the globe.  Many of the erasers can be customized by taking them apart and swapping pieces with others of the same style.  This is one case where a picture is worth a thousand words--

In fact, instead of reading my babble, spend some time feasting your eyes on these fabulous little gems:

Cakes - Fast Food Meal - Bowling

Basketballs - Cherries - Horses

Made in Japan, these erasers are non-toxic--  they're lead-free, pvc-free, latex-free, and phthalate-free.  They're also packaged using recyled materials.  Yep, that's your recycled post-consumer paper-products at work!  And unlike many of the collectible trends out there, japanese erasers are also incredibly easy on the wallet.

To see a poster of all the styles available, Click Here.

If you want to see and learn more about the erasers, visit the manufacturer's website at  www.iwakousa.com

Watch your email boxes for an invitation to our first ever Eraser and Shaped Rubber Band Trading Parties!  If you're not on our email list yet, now is a great time to subscribe.  Just use the handy box in the sidebar. 

ps:  watch your favorite Happy Up store for stickers designed to match the erasers!  Hamster cuteness overload! 

pps:  Blog post about Shaped Rubber Bands coming soon!


June Game Night Schedule for LagoonaMagoo Toys at the St. Louis Mills Mall

You're invited to come play with us at the St. Louis Mills Mall location of LagoonaMagoo Toys!  Our family game nights are a great chance to get out and play your favorite games.  Or maybe discover a new favorite.  Or rediscover one you haven't played in eons.  If you have any questions, feel free to give the playful folks at the store a call:  (314) 227-5335

We play every Friday from 6:30 - 8:30pm

Hope to see you there!

Our Games for June are:
  • June 4 - Blokus - A strategy favorite for the whole family--  place your colored tiles corner to corner and hope your opponents don't trap you in your corner!  Difficulty increases with the players' skill.  Ages 5 and up
  • June 11 - Great States - Quick!  Mount Rushmore is in what state?  Learn trivia & test your knowledge of our country with this fab board game.  Don't think too long--  you're being timed!  Ages 7 and up
  • June 18 - You've Been Sentenced - With a hand of five-sided cards, you need to build a sentence longer than your opponents'.  So what's the challenge?  It needs to be grammatically correct and make sense!  Ages 8 and up
  • June 25 - Yamslam - A quick-playing dice game, Yamslam rewards players for thinking in terms of strategy, risk, and considering the odds of rolling certain combinations.  Could be luck, might be skill--  Either way, it's fun!  Ages 8 and up


Playday at LagoonaMagoo Fairview Heights!

Ever want to have an entire toy store to play in?  LagoonaMagoo Toys in Fairview Heights will be hosting a playday on Monday, May 17 from 10:30 to noon.  Space is limited, so you'll need to call to reserve space for your youngsters! 

We'll have lots of toys and games open and ready for little ones to explore.  We'll also have plenty of folks on hand to demonstrate & explain how the toys work.  And like always, our helpful playfolks will be ready to help the grownups find toys and games that will further a child's development. 

A fun time will be had by all!

To reserve space or to get more information, call the playful folks at the Fairview Heights LagoonaMagoo:  (618) 628-9270..

Update 10/21/2010--  Playdates are taking a break for November & December.  Please check back to see our schedule of open playdates in January, 2011!


May Game Night Schedule for LagoonaMagoo Toys at the St. Louis Mills Mall

You're invited to come play with us at the St. Louis Mills Mall location of LagoonaMagoo Toys!  Our family game nights are a great chance to get out and play your favorite games.  Or maybe discover a new favorite.  Or rediscover one you haven't played in eons.  If you have any questions, feel free to give the playful folks at the store a call:  (314) 227-5335

We play every Friday from 6:30 - 8:30pm

Hope to see you there!

Our Games for May are:

  • May 7 - Gobblet x 4 - It’s almost tic-tac-toe, but add in sneak attacks, strategy, and speedy play for a new twist to this family favorite. Ages 7 & up
  • May 14 - Slap Wacky - Using cards, put together the most wacky shape patterns possible. Just remember to slap ‘em to score! Ages 7 & up
  • May 21 - Smart Mouth - Be the first to shout out a word beginning & ending with your letter tiles. Vocabulary goofiness galore! Ages 8 & up
  • May 28 - I Spy Eagle Eye - Somewhere on the gameboard is the object on your card-- find it quick! Ages 5 & up


Earth Friendly Playthings!

Happy Earth Day, Everyone! Today is a day where we're encouraged to think about how we're treating our planet. And what decisions we can make to change our environments for the better. Most toddlers can chant "Reduce Reuse Recycle" at their grownups. And most of these small folks have a pretty good idea how to make this phrase part of their lives. As their grownups, we struggle to follow their example. Maybe we make a bigger effort to sort recyclables and get them in the bin. Maybe we're taking that extra step and feeding our gardens with compost. Many of us remember (ok, maybe not all the time, but most of the time!) to bring reusable bags with us to the store. And these are all great ways to walk a little softer on the earth. And of course we're passing on those phrases our parents bellowed at us: turn off that light if you're done in that room! Don't leave the refrigerator door open! Don't let water just run in the sink! All key phrases to ensure another generation grows up annoyed and aware of how they consume resources. So if this is all sounding familiar, pat yourself on the back.

While there are lots of ways the toy industry could improve their global footprint, there are several toy companies that are taking steps and using a business model that is focused on being good environmental stewards. First up is:

Green Toys - From tea sets to dump trucks, Green Toys offers toys made from recycled materials and packaged in an easy-opening, easily recycled manner. My particular favorite is their Recycling Truck. Not only is the cheerful green color and gentle curves very appealing from a design standpoint, it also is created without any metal parts. How many times have you discovered a beloved dump truck has a rusted axle? The Recycling Truck solves that issue for you. A great addition to kitchen role-playing, the Tea Set will serve up pretend beverages for years. Made in California from recycled milk jugs, the entire Green Toys product line takes traditional toys that next step to being good for our planet.

Kidsonroof - So we're all familiar with the traditional plastic building and construction systems, right? The folks at Kidsonroof have created a building system that uses recycled cardboard: Meet Totem. Open ended, encouraging imagination and exploration, the Totem building system was listed in the 2009 TIME Magazine GREEN DESIGN 100. The Totem Nature set has panels printed with pretty florals, woodsy textures, and bright patterns. The Totem City set has a more industrial and mechanical feel to the printed panels. Coming across the ocean from Holland, the Kidsonroof products are standouts and unique compared to other building toys offered in the US. Each set includes instructions on building a few things, but the real fun is when the child (and the twiddly-fingered grownups!) starts exploring how to create their own structures.

Dreaming Lion LLC - So these are the folks who have created the super-cute Aminals. Aminals are stuffed ... er ... animals that look like children's drawings. Their design is very simple, with a heavy dose of whimsy. What makes these interesting is that they are made from 100% organic materials. Everything, from the stuffing, to the cloth, to the dyes, each stage of production is certified as organic. Manufactured in India, the Aminals are also certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard, which helps to ensure fair labor practices and livable wages are paid to employees. So here's a stuffed toy you can feel good about. Interesting tidbit: They're completely biodegradable! I must admit I'm not thrilled with the cutesy misspellings in the names-- But that's a whole other blog post/rant!


April's Games for the LagoonaMagoo Toys at the St. Louis Mills Mall Family Game Night

You're invited to come play with us at the St. Louis Mills Mall location of LagoonaMagoo Toys!  Our family game nights are an great chance to get out and play your favorite games.  Or maybe discover a new favorite.  Or rediscover one you haven't played in eons.  If you have any questions, feel free to give the playful folks at the store a call:  (314) 227-5335

We play every Friday from 6:30 - 8:30pm
Hope to see you there!

Our Games for April are:
  • April 2 - SET  (ages 6 and up)  Challenge your ideas of what cards can create a set in this game of visual perception! Match shape, number, color or shading. Or match none. Easy for youngsters, SET can be a challenge for the grownup brain.
  • April 9 - Dicecapades  (ages 10 and up)  By combining several dice games, physical and artistic challenges, and trivia questions, Dicecapades has something for everyone. It’s not just your luck, it’s your mind that counts in this game!
  • April 16 - MiQube (ages 7 and up)  It's a puzzle & four board games in one!  MiQube encourages spatial thinging through it's seemingly simple puzzle cube.  Then the board games challenge everyone to think strategically, too!
  • April 23 - Five Crowns (ages 8 and up)  It's not like any card game you've played before--  Instead of four suits, you've got five!  Played in rounds, this Rummy-like game is quick moving and a ton of fun!
  • April 30 - Zombie Fluxx (ages 8 and up)  Just when you think you've got the rules down, Fluxx changes them all!  Add in a Zombie invasion, and there's more crazy play in store for you and your family!  Fun, funny, and totally unpredictable, Zombie Fluxx is sure to become a favorite!


What We Couldn't Resist from Toy Fair Part 3

These are just way too cool! The Hexbug Nanos have arrived!

These were one of the top toys for this year's toy fair. Grownups and kids can't resist them. So how do they work? From the Hexbug website: "The motor inside the Nano rotates a counterweight that causes forces up and down. The down force causes the legs to bend and the Nano moves forward. The up force causes the creature to hop lifting the front legs off the ground and allowing the legs to unbend. This up and down movement repeats several hundred times per second causing the Nano to move forward. The Nano creature's ability to flip over by itself is due to the rotating forces caused by the motor and the unique internal and external chassis design (and a little magic)." Didja follow that? Watch the video-- You can see how their rapid bouncing creates a forward movement.

So what do you do with them? You can create mazes and habitats for your Nano to navigate-- to get started, there is a set that comes with a few pieces and a Hexbug Nano. And you can easily expand beyond the starter set by using items in your home already. They happily bounce and skitter around obstacles. Get more than one and race. Create entire swarms!

When you're considering itty bitty bots, don't forget the Original Hexbug-- it responds to sound as well as touch. It's realistic walking motion is fascinating. The kind of fascinating that stops grown men in their tracks and reduces them to 10yr old boys.

And the Hexbug Ant is just as cool, too-- and super fast! With 6 gear-driven legs, this little guy is the speed-demon of the bunch.

I predict we will be overtaken by the bots very soon! Resistance is futile!

ps-- check it out: the links go to our new website. Isn't it just tooooo coooool?  And so y'all know, we are no longer taking orders through our old website, onceuponatoyinc.com.  So please change your bookmarks to http://www.happyupinc.com/.  What hasn't changed is our commitment to customer service & supporting all the playful folk in our communities!  So pass the word!


LagoonaMagoo @ the St. Louis Mills Mall Family Game Night!

Wondering what to do with the family on a Friday night?  Wonder no longer!  LagoonaMagoo Toys at the St. Louis Mills Mall is now hosting a family game night.  Come and play your favorite game or learn a new one.  For more information, give the playful people at the store a phone call at (314) 227-5335

Games start at 6:30 and run until 8:30, every Friday.
Here is the schedule for March and the beginning of April:

  • March 19:  Quiddler (ages 8 - Adult) - Played in rounds, Quiddler is a card game that asks you to think about how to spell short words while racking up the most points with the letters in your hands.  Addictively fun and quick to play, Quiddler is sure to become a favorite!

  • March 26:  Qwirkle (ages 6 - Adult) - Qwirkle is a board game that combines strategy & matching skills.  Match based on color or shape (or both for big points!) to score and win.  The difficulty level of Qwirkle is influenced by the skills of the players. 

  • April 2:  SET (ages 6 - Adult) - SET is a game that relies on your visual perceptions (shape, color, etc.) to create patterns & score.  Easy enough for youngsters, Set can be a challenge for the grown-ups who are used to looking at the world in one way, and one way only!


PHD's Flying Disk of Fabulousness!

Before we move on to talk about more of the new things that are wandering into LagoonaMagoo & Once Upon a Toy, we want to give some attention to a great little toy with a kid-can back-story.

A few years ago, 3rd grader (and child of one of PHD's founders) Savanna Groft was assigned a craft project at school--  crochet a round tablemat.  It didn't come out quite the way her teacher had intended.  By not adding enough stitches, her tablemat developed a small curled lip on it's outer edge.  One day, on a lark, Chris Larsen, one of Savanna's friend's father and another of the founders, tossed it across a room.  It sailed.  Beautifully.  Wonderfully.  Amazingly.  And the rest is history.

What might have looked like an error in Savanna's project was the beginning of a company that involves two families and several villages in Guatemala.  Dedicated to fair trade practices, PHD is one of those companies the Happy Up stores are delighted to support and promote.  You can read more about their philosophy and commitment to the Mayan women of Guatemala on their website.

So what does PHD stand for?  er... ummmm...  didja know they run a contest about that? 

Toy Fair Finds pt. 3 on it's way soon!


What We Couldn't Resist From Toy Fair 2010 pt 2

Next up on the "Too Fun! Gotta Have That!" list is the Zyclone Ring Blaster.

Spring will be here soon, and with it will come that "gotta get outside" feeling.  Make sure you bring the Zyclone Ring Blaster along with you!
Designed to launch lightweight foam rings, the Zyclone is easily loaded and fired by a wide range of ages and abilities (they suggest 6yrs and up--  I suspect you may be able to go a bit younger if you're willing to help the child launch the first few times). 

The projectiles are round rings, so no poky/sharp edges to hurt your companions (although, just to be clear, aiming at someone's face is still a bad idea).  Made from a tough, rigid, & lightweight foam, the rings can take a serious amount of playtime.  Two come with the launcher, and they'll be available separately, too.  Which is a very good thing when you consider it is possible to launch one over 100 feet!

Using a twisting action, the rings spin off of the launcher and sail through the air amazingly far!  Don't just take my word for it, watch the mildly cheesy commercial from Zing toys:

Too cool, eh? 

While this isn't exactly new (it was a favorite of ours for Christmas), we've got  Djubi (pronounced joo-bee) back in stock!  If you haven't seen it yet, it's like a slingshot you play catch with.  The racket looking thingies are both launcher and catcher for the special ball, the djubi.  What makes the ball special?  It's on a slingy elastic band!  Aimed at kiddos 8 and up, this is a great new twist on playing catch.  And perfect to go in Easter Baskets.  That's a hint, Mr. Easter Bunny!

Stay tuned--  Part 3 of our Toy Fair Finds will be posted soon!