Orange Parenting: Toys - Beyond the Plush Otto

We have four of these Otto plush dolls at home, but we really don't have many other Syracuse toys.

Admit it. Your kids have one. If you don't have kids, you probably have one anyhow. If not, the first gift you will receive from your fellow Orange loving friends will be one: A Plush Otto doll.

He may dance. He may play music. He may be the size of your fist or the size of your child. But there he'll be, sitting on a shelf announcing to the world that you are raising a Little Orange correctly.

This is all well and good in my eyes. My girls have loved our collection of plush Ottos from day one. However, they've matured (ahem, they're 4 and almost 3-years-old now) and are ready for some more Syracuse toys. So I've been searching and thinking and I've found another untapped market here. (Did anyone take me up on my suggestion to open a Syracuse-themed bakery yet?) There is a need for Syracuse-themed entertainment for the age two through ten-year-old crowd. The kids who aren't quite coordinated enough to actually play the sports we want them to play, but are old enough to do stuff with toys.

First, I'll show you something I did find in my search for Syracuse toys, just to emphasize the need here. After my success with the dresses last week, I went back to Target again to do my research for this column. (Okay, okay. You got me. I'm a suburban Mom. I do not ever need excuses to go to Target, and would have been there anyhow.) The only thing I found that wasn't wearable was this Pillow Pet, and the price is not referring to some vacuum cleaner hidden behind the display. Yes, it's an almost $30 glorified plush Otto. (Sort of.)

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So I'm taking my creative talents to a new level here. I'm going to present a wish list of Syracuse toys that I would buy in a heartbeat for my Little Oranges.

The Lego Figurine / Action Figure - My girls are endlessly entertained by Legos, so think of what fun it would be to have Syracuse characters to use in their landscapes, ziggurats, and spacecrafts. They might even be inspired to build a football field or basketball court on which to stage sporting events. I would willingly get down on the floor with them if I could snap a tiny lacrosse stick into a number 22 figure's hand. When I mentioned this idea to Paul, he expanded it to the action figure arena as well. Why do these not exist?

The Trading Card - This is not an original idea. Back when I was a Little Orange, there was a promotion at Burger King (I'm pretty sure) where we collected player trading cards. I remember using the rosters in the Syracuse paper (pre-internet) to check off which cards I still needed. I'll bet they'd do some pretty cool holographic cards now. I'm not sure what the licensing would be. I guess they'd have to be free, so that nobody would profit, right NCAA? But it would be fun, nonetheless.

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Coloring Books - I don't know if a coloring book is a toy, but I have to list it here because it's something my Maggie uses every single day. Though she's satisfied coloring princesses, Dora the Explor-ah, and the occasional Star Wars book that her Daddy sneaks in, we could make a Syracuse coloring book into an educational experience. Again, because of the licensing, I think we'd have to us pictures of past heros, but a child can learn a lot while coloring an Ernie Davis, Gary Gait, or even Jim Boeheim picture. (Aside, did you know that these days, coloring books seem to include their own crayons, paint, or stickers? We could make sure to include only orange, blue, white, and platinum.)

Board Games - Syracuse-opoly doesn't count because it's not really geared towards kids. We need a Chutes and Ladders type game where a little orange character can work its way up the stairs of the Carrier Dome and have to run back down for nachos.

Train Set - Riding on the popularity of the Thomas the Train madness, we need an orange set of trains that are Thomas compatible. We could have freight cars to carry the balls, uniforms, and equipment to distant home games around the Ottoman Empire. And there could be passenger cars filled with Orange Fans who may be leaving the Island of Sodor for the first time all year. The only problem here is that the trains might argue about who gets to be car number 44.

Play Cell Phone Set - A must-have for all of the DOC Grosses in training. (Credit to Paul for that final idea.)

I'm sure I've missed a few things, but I think our Little Oranges will benefit from any of these toys over this Syracuse sock monkey the currently exists.

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Any other ideas?

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