Saturday, 14 July 2012

Why Not Have A Gumball Machine At Home?

The History of Gumballs

There was always something fascinating when I was a child about being given a coin to put into a vending machine, and gumball machines were my favourites.  I would put my money in the gumball machine and pray that my favourite colour gumball would arrive in the tray.  So why are we so attracted to gumball machines? Is it the gumballs themselves or the bright colours or is it because we associate gumball machines with sweet shops, ice cream parlours, amusement arcades, malls and seaside resorts?  So what is a gumball?  A gumball is a sphere of gum that is coated in brightly coloured hard candy, and the different colours of gumball may also have different flavours.  Here in Britain, gumballs are sometimes called Screwballs because there is a gumball to be found at the bottom of each Screwball ice cream. People have been chewing on forms of gum since ancient times, mainly as a method of cleaning their teeth and to help keep their breath fresh.  Neolithic man was chewing birch bark tar around 5000 years ago, and the Ancient Greeks chewed a gum made from the resin of the mastic tree. Native Americans chewed resin from the sap of the spruce tree, and this practice was adopted by the early European settlers.  This led to the development, in 1848, of the very first commercially produced chewing gum in the US, when John B Curtis started selling The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum. Chewing gum as we know it came about in the 1860s when chicle, a form of latex, started to be imported into the US from Mexico and was found to be a good base for chewing gum. These days most chewing gum and gumball manufacturers use synthetic latex to make their gum, as it is cheaper and easier to get hold of.

Gumball Machines - Wikimedia Commons Public Domain
Gumball Machines

What is a Gumball Machine?

So what exactly is a gumball machine? A gumball machine is a vending machine that dispenses candy gumballs when a coin is put into a slot.  Gumball machines range in size from mini gumball machines through to full size gumball vending machines, and can be used as toys, novelty gifts or as part of a vending machine business. Gumball machines were first introduced into the United States in around 1907, and in 1923 the Norris Manufacturing Company patented their ‘Master’ range of chrome gumball machines that were so popular during the 1930s.  Another company who manufactured gumball machines in the 1930s was the Ford Gum and Machine Company, who made the distinctive coloured chrome gumball machines where the money from the gumball sales went to local charitable organisations. In 1994 the Wizard Spiral Gumball Machine was introduced, and these soon gained popularity as toys and novelty gifts, as you can spend hours pushing down the top of the gumball machine and watching the gumball rolling down the spiral inside the machine.

Where To Find Great Toy Gumball Machines

One of the best places to buy gumball machines is online, and Amazon offers a huge selection for you to browse through.  Kids love playing with them, so a toy gumball machine makes a perfect Christmas or birthday gift.  They are also a great attraction at kid’s parties; just ensure that they are well supervised and that there is no chance of the younger children choking on the gumballs. There is a huge selection of different styles and colours to choose from.  You can get mini gumball machine that can sit on a shelf or you can get gumball machines on stands.  The thing you must look out for when you are buying them is whether the gumballs are included with the gumball dispenser.  It would be very disappointing to open your gumball machine up at Christmas or on the night of that special party only to find that you had no candy!  There are also lots of novelty ones to choose from.  There are Hello Kitty gumball machines, gumball machines in the shape of retro petrol pumps, antique style gumball machines and spiral gumball machine toys. They are made in a variety of bright colours to appeal to your little ones, with bright red and vivid blue being the most popular, although you can also get pink ones for your little princess.  There is no need to despair when the last piece of candy is dispensed from your machine, as you can also get a good selection of gumball refill packs online.

Coin Operated Gumball Machines

Of course you may want to invest in a coin operated gumball machine online for your business.  Again, there is a great selection available on Amazon and you can choose from models that sit on the shelf or gumball machines on stands. These tend to be more expensive than the toy ones as they are more robust and designed to take some potentially rough handling.  You can also buy bulk candy vending machines, with containers for gumballs, different types of candy and nuts. You may well decide to have a coin operated gumball machine at home, so that the kids have to use their pocket money for their candy or you could give your kids coins to put in the machine as a reward for good behaviour or completion of their chores.
So have a look online today for a great gumball machine!  They make great novelty presents for adults as well as great toys for children, and there is a gumball machine to suit every budget.  Stuck for ideas for Secret Santa this year? Well if the person that you have been given to get a gift for loves candy and gum, why not get them a gumball machine? They are great fun to have, so go online and choose a great gumball machine today.

Why Choose Baby Walker Toys and Push Toys for Babies and Toddlers

Different Types of Baby Walkers and Push Toys

The first year of a baby’s life is the most important one when it comes to developing the many skills that they will need in life and learning new things. One of the most important things that an infant learns in that all important first year is how to crawl and then walk.  Most parents are keen to do all they can to encourage their baby’s mobility and an infant’s first steps are a time for celebration and joy. Some of the most popular toys that parents buy to help their little ones improve their walking skills and balance are baby walkers and push toys.  There is a wide variety of baby walkers and push toys available, so it is important that you take the time to choose the right walker for your child.  Do you want a baby walker that your infant sits in and, if so, do you want the walker to be a moveable one or stationary and do you want your baby walker to have an activity centre incorporated in it? Or do you want a baby walker that your young child can push around, but not sit in, like the traditional wooden wagons or push along activity centres?  There are also lots of simple push toys in fun shapes like animals or insects that you can buy for your child.

Using a Baby Walker - Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Are There Any Benefits from Sit In Baby Walkers?

The kinds of baby walkers that a baby sits in and which allows them to move around the room are very popular with parents, but are they good for your child?  This type of baby walker has been subject to a lot of debate, and before purchasing one you need to check that it meets all of the current safety standards and that it is always used under strict supervision. There have been a lot of babies that have been injured using sit in baby walkers, as they can move with astonishing speed, reach objects that they could not get at before and potentially fall down steps or bump themselves on door frames and furniture. You can now buy baby walkers that have special brakes or gripping mechanisms that activate if part of the walker goes off the ground, and that also have safety friction strips fitted that stops the baby walker from skidding.  Most baby walkers are also now made with bases that are too wide to fit through an average doorframe, so that your infant is confined to one room, but also check how stable the base is as you do not want the baby walker to topple over and injure your precious baby. With small babies learning to walk you cannot be too careful, so if you are putting your baby in a walker make sure that you are watching them all of the time, that there are no fragile or sharp objects that can be knocked over or grabbed by small fingers, and that there is adequate protection from the walker toppling your infant into a fire, against a hot oven or into a pond, filled bath or tub of hot water. It is also helpful if the baby walker folds down flat, so that it is easier for you to store away.

It has also been questioned as to whether baby walkers do actually help your infant when they are learning to walk.  Baby walkers should never be used before the age of six months or before a baby can sit up independently, as putting your baby in a walker before this could potentially lead to posture problems when they are older. There has also been research that shows that using a baby walker for long periods of time can cause problems with the development of a child’s leg muscles and hip joints, so it is wise to restrict the time your baby is in a walker to around 15-20 minutes a session. To address these concerns, toy manufacturers are now producing stationary baby walkers which do not move across the floor, but allow your infant to rock, bounce or spin in the walker. Most of these stationary baby walkers also come with activity centres to keep your little one well entertained.  The activity centre should comprise of toys and activities that help your baby to develop their motor skills and hand to eye co-ordination, start them off learning their colours, letters and numbers and if there are components that make lots of noise or plays tunes then that just adds to the fun.  Again check that the stationary walker has a wide and stable base and has a height adjustment feature that allows for your baby to grow.

Push Along Baby Walkers

You can also get a wide range of push along baby walkers.  These are toys that have a handle that lets your child push it around the room.  These push along walker toys encourage your baby to walk more and also they help them with their balance and their confidence in walking.  You can choose from traditional wooden push along toddler wagons that can come with blocks or other toys, and can be used by your infant to push their teddies or dolls around the room. Or there is a great range of baby walkers that have activity centres with entertaining toys, lights and sound effects.  These are most often made from plastic and are in bright and cheerful colours that are very attractive to young children.  They are easy to wipe clean and provide hours of fun for your little one.

Push Toys

Much simpler than baby walkers, but just as much fun for your baby is a push toy. These are toys that have wheels and a handle to push them along. They also help your toddler with their balance and encourage mobility, and can be in the shape of animals, birds, caterpillars, trucks or can have a roller containing musical chimes that turns and plays music when it is pushed.

Where to Find Baby Walkers and Push Toys

One of the best places to find a huge selection of baby walkers and push toys is online.  Amazon has a great range, including the big brand names like Vtech, Fisher Price and Melissa & Doug, so go and have a look today.  Baby walker toys make great gifts at Christmas or for early years birthdays, and you will find that there is a baby walker or push toy available in every price range.