Thursday, August 31, 2006

Office Toys

The recent discussion of my Einstein Action Figure, and subsequent exciting information that there's a Shakespeare Action Figure (there are two! one "poseable" and one not? Which should I order?) got me thinking about office toys.

I have a few, most are gifts from others. First, there's the way cool "pin art" toy. My Mom got me that, and told me she thought students would like it. They do. But my colleagues tend to be way more fascinated, and much more likely to want to leave their own impression. I favor faces.

The second most attractive toys are juggling bean bag thingies. I use them to destress sometimes. Again, while students express interest, other colleagues are much more likely to actually pick them up and start juggling. I used to be surprised at how many people know the basics of juggling.

I have some Tower of London finger puppets stuck onto my pinboard, still in their wrappers. I sometimes think I should take them out; maybe I will for a drama class one of these days. My favorite puppet is the Tower Raven. Yes, I just love stupid, obscure superstitions.

Those are the toys. I also have some display items. An empty box of chocolate bandaids, the chocolate LONG gone. A framed hammer head with my great, great grandfather's initials (the initials are in small indentations smacked into the side of the hammer head). A piece of the safety netting from the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, along with a souvenir letter opener made from flattening one end of a 6" piece of the wire used to make up the HUGE suspension cables.

My grad school mentor had a cross-dressed Ken doll in his office.

A couple of men here at NWU have little Homie Doll collections. But I don't think they either play with them or let their students play with them. Maybe they do and I just haven't been in the right place at the right time?

Most people, though, don't keep nearly enough office toys around. Do you?


  1. I loooove office toys! I used to have part of a table set aside as toy space (complete with Legos), though my current office doesn't have room. I have some of those little bent-nail puzzles, a propeller-on-a-stick that you spin between your palms, a yo-yo, and a Slinky. I've also seen ads for the best toy ever - a little foam rocket launcher that plugs into a USB port. I need one of those.

  2. I have a pair of metal spheres about an inch & a half in diameter, enameled, with the yin/yang symbol on them. When you hold them--they are surprisingly heavy--& move them around in your hand they emit quiet chime-like tones. I bought them from a vendo on a streein in Hanoi several years ago.

    I want one of those little USB rocket launchers!

  3. That made me go look them up again... they come from Marks & Spencer, of all places, but they're not available in the US. (booooo.)

  4. Anonymous6:48 PM

    Quick question... would you find it disrespectful if a student picked up one of your toys and started playing?

  5. Oh, the little missile thing looks FUN!

    Anonymous: nope! The toys are within easy reach of the "visitor" chairs in my office on a table away from my main desk. Usually what happens is that a student notices one, and then I encourage them to pick it up. I especially encourage them to try the pin thing, because it's so cool.

    I haven't put Einstein on display yet; so far he's sitting on the windowsill behind my desk, so not really accessible. But he's got GREAT hair!

    And the finger puppets are still in their packaging. I should take them out so we can enact Shakespeare scenes!

  6. I have a stuffed animal dressed up as Gawain and the Green Knight (I'm not sure which one); a Kung-Fu Hamster (dances to "Kung-Fu Fighting" and twirls numchuck thingys) and a huge Boba Fett poster on the wall behind the door to scare the students.

  7. I have a Wheel-O and I used to have a Jacob's Ladder. They are in my office for both my use and the use of visitors as de-stress, fun items. Although, students have the habit of getting so hyp-no-tized by the Wheel-O that they forget what they came to talk to me about, for a few minutes, anyway.
    I also have an empty box of a chocolate bar called "Shakespeare" and an empty container for chocolates individually wrapped as Henry VIII and all six wives.