What’s your favourite children’s toy?

Everyone loves toys – yes even adults love them. I bet a lot of mums and dads out there have a special toy from their childhood tucked away in the cupboard somewhere.

If you had to pick a favourite toy, what would it be? Do you love lego, or Star Wars toys. Maybe you are a Barbie or a My Little Pony fan. Perhaps you have a drone that you fly around or do you prefer to ride on your bike or scooter.

Whatever it is you might like to learn some funny and interesting facts about toys.

Did you know that:

  • The word “toy” comes from an Old English word meaning “tool”.
  • Dolls are considered to be the oldest toys in history.
  • The Yo-yo is believed to be the second-oldest toy in the world. It was used in 500BC in Ancient Greece.
  • Barbie was introduced in 1959 and cost $3. Every second, two Barbie dolls are sold in the world.
  • The first toy advertised on television was Mr. Potato Head.
  • Play-Doh was originally used to clean wallpaper.
  • Kermit the Frog is left-handed.

And last but not least did you know that LEGO is the world’s No. 1 tyre manufacturer. It produces 318 million tyres every year. That is 870,000 tiny tyres in a day. Wow that’s amazing!

There are heaps of cool books in the library about the history of toys as well as books that teach how to build and construct them.

So have some toy fun!






Guinness World Records day

Today is the 10th anniversary of Guinness World Records day – one of our most popular library books!

Around the world people will be trying to break and create records to celebrate the day. For a special event the world’s tallest and shortest men met and shook hands in London. The tallest man is Sultan Kosen from Turkey (who’s 2.51m tall), and the shortest is Chandra Bahadur Dangi from Nepal (at just 55cm tall). There’s a difference of almost 2m between them – wow!

Did you know that the Guinness World Records was created by the Guinness beer company to help drinkers solve disputes and arguments over facts? The first book of records was published in 1955 and has been going ever since.

You can search our catalogue for the latest Guinness World Records and have fun examining all the amazing records that people have created (you can borrow the 2013 edition as an ebook).



Watch the International Space Station live

Above us the International Space Station (ISS), with 6 crew on board, obits the earth every 90 minutes. Recently they fitted a camera to the space station so you can watch live what’s going on. It’s really addictive to watch… we warned you!

When the crew are on duty the camera shows what’s going on inside the space station and you can listen to the audio of conversations between the crew and mission control. When the crew are off duty, the camera is pointing towards earth showing the view the crew have from their windows. Often the ISS goes into a black spot where there’s no transmission and it’s out of contact with Earth. So, if the screen shows nothing, just wait a bit and the video feed will return when the ISS is out of the black spot.

Because the ISS orbits Earth once every 90 minutes the crew experience a sunrise and sunset every 45 minutes – they have 45 minutes of night time and 45minutes of daytime. So if the screen looks dark it may be because it’s night time on the ISS. Look closely and you may see the lights of cities on Earth below.

Have fun watching! Here’s the link to the feed


Odd Stuff: deepest NZ cave found

Near Nelson a bunch of cavers have been busy – they’ve discovered the deepest cave in New Zealand and in the Southern Hemisphere.

The passage is about 10kms long and drops around 1200m down below the earth’s surface. Th discovery was made when a link between two previously known cave systems, called Stormy Pot and Nettlebed, was found. There was a problem however – the link had previously been used as a toilet for cavers exploring the area – yuk! The link was full of rubble, which took the cavers 2 days to remove.

They plan to return to the cave systems soon and explore the area completely. More information here.

New Zealand is full of caves, there are many places underground to explore. Find out more about caving in these books:


World’s toughest tongue twister

Forget ‘she sells sea shells on the sea shore’, a new tongue twister has been named as the worlds toughest.

Here it is (try to say is 10 times without making a mistake):

‘pad kid poured curd pulled cold’

A tongue-twister is a phrase that is purposefully designed to be difficult to say properly. Did you know that there is a sign-language equivalent of a tongue-twister? It’s called a finger-fumbler and is a series of signs that are difficult for hands to manage in sequence.  The phrase ‘good blood, bad blood’ is an example of a finger-fumbler and a tongue twister.

This new tough tongue twister was designed as a research experiment by psychologists who were trying to find out about the brain’s speech-planning process. Most participants in the study couldn’t say it 10 times, some even clammed up and stopped speaking altogether, and others just lost control of their mouths.

Looking for some more phrases to twist your tongue around? Try these:

Odd Stuff: Volcano creates a new island

A volcanic eruption has created a new island in the sea South of Tokoyo, Japan.

The island hasn’t been named yet (the Japanese Government is waiting to see if it sticks around or sinks back into the sea), but it’s 200m wide and is just off the coast of Nishinoshima, a small, uninhabited island in the Ogasawara chain, which is also known as the Bonin Islands.

The Japanese Coast Guard managed to grab some incredible footage of the island:


Volcanoes are cool, and we have heaps of them in and around NZ, so it pays to know a bit about them…


Odd Stuff: NASA will pay you to stay in bed

Hate getting out of bed and just want to stay under the duvet? Then NASA could have the perfect job for you!

The American space agency- NASA- has put out an ad looking for people to stay in bed continuously for 10 weeks. You’ll have to do everything while staying in bed – reading, watching TV, eating, washing and even going to the toilet! They’ll even pay you to do it!

The space scientists’ aim was to study the effects of weightlessness on the human body, and the easiest way to do this was to get people to stay in bed for a long time. Volunteers will have to lie in bed with their feet raised slightly, and at the end of the 10 weeks the scientists will ask them to do a series of exercises to see how lying down for so long as affected them. The scientists reckon that lying down for so long will cause you to lose bone strength.

What do you think? Would you do it?

Odd Stuff: What’s the dirtiest item in your house?

I bet you think it’s the toilet, right? Wrong!

A recent study done by UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) that aims to draw attention to sanitation around the world has revealed some shocking facts – about a third of people reckon the toilet is the dirtest place in their home, but it’s actually more likely to be the arms of your sofas and your gaming controllers. Ew!

But it’s not just the inside of the house that you have to be worried about. Things found in the garden are super dirty too! Trampolines, bikes and footballs were shown to have high levels of bacteria on them.

So now that you know, would you rather lick the toilet seat or your games controller…?

Odd Stuff: Hot chip vending machine

Belgium has long claimed their fries (which they call frites) are the best in the world and now they can prove it with the first ever vending machine that cooks you yummy hot fries.

We’ve all seen the usual vending machines that have drinks, chocolate and junk food in them, but imagine being able to get hot chips!

The machine fries the chips for you in 90 seconds in either vegetable oil or beef fat (the belgium standard), and you can even get a fork, and tomato sauce or mayonnaise on your chips.

One 135 gram pot of hot chips will cost your €2.50 ($4.20 NZ Dollars).

Hungry yet?