Please note that the Mastermind Toys Blog has now been MOVED!

Click Here to go to the NEW and IMPROVED Mastermind Toys Blog!

Confessions of a Shrinky Dinkaholic

Yes, it's true, I've become a Shrinky Dinkaholic -- if there is such a thing. It all started a few months ago when I pulled out my daughter's book of Shrinky Dinks. We'd had it for awhile, but my daughter's not the craftiest of kids and can't seem to sit still for longer than five minutes at a time. But it was a dreary Friday night with nothing to do. I suggested she make a decoration for the present we'd bought for a birthday party she was going to the next day.

Since then we haven't looked back. Shrinky Dinks are so much fun! Whether you're an accomplished artist, or just want to copy the designs that the book provides, Shrinky Dinks can keep you and your kids occupied for hours. The Shrinky Dink book provides six sheets of plastic paper (with a papery side for drawing and colouring on), that, when heated in the oven, shrinks to 44% of its original size. The book also provides lots of traceable figures for you use in case you're not a Picasso or van Gogh. In fact, that first night we made new figures for about two hours. What makes it so much fun is that the end result is so nice and you don't have to be a brilliant artist to see great results.

Being the drawing-challenged that I am, I chose to copy designs from the book and use the suggested colour scheme for my drawings. For colouring you can use markers or coloured pencils, just not crayons because according to the instructions, wax could catch fire in the oven. (Pencils, paints and markers are not included with the book.)

Yes, you need to use an oven, so you need an adult to do the actual shrinking part. We cut out our masterpieces, put them on foil on a cookie sheet and placed in a preheated oven (300 degrees). It took us a few times to get the shrinking part right and in the end, the best "shrinking" place in our oven was the bottom rack. It only takes a minute or two to shrink your works of art and you have to watch them carefully so you'll know when they're done, but watching them shrink and curl is one of the funnest parts! When they have cooled they're rock hard and the book cautions not to cut square or pointy edges as they will be sharp with shrunken.

One of things I really like about the Shrinky Dinks is the intense colour and impressive looking detail once your piece has shrunken down. The Shrinky Dinks book gives you all kinds of ideas of things to make as well: pendants for necklaces, earring dangly pieces (hooks not included), alphabet letters for making cards and signs, "paper" dolls with outfits, etc.

We have had a lot of fun with Shrinky Dinks since our first discovery, and I now find I'm asking my daughter if she has any birthday parties coming up so we can make some decorations for the gifts!

Great rainy day/indoor day fun!

Colour a Comic Backpack!

As a toy buyer/blogger for Mastermind Toys, I get to test out lots of great toys. My favorite toys to test however, are anything Arts and Crafts! As a kid I liked anything to do with colouring, gluing, painting, glittering – you name it! Better yet, I liked to show everyone my masterpieces! So when I was asked to try out this Colour a Comic Backpack I was super excited!

This backpack kit comes with 6 VIBRANT permanent markers which means no ironing required to make it stay on! Then, when you actually colour on the backpack, the colours are even MORE vibrant (check out my pink rabbit)! The fun thing about this backpack is that kids can colour in ANY way that they want and use whatever colours they wish! Want to make a purple tree? Go ahead! An orange cloud? Why not! The kit also comes with a carrying case for the markers that you can colour as well!

Then when all is said in done (or if you colour a section and want to take a break) you can pack it up with all your favorite stuff and head out on an adventure (or family trip)! It has an outer pocket where you can put the markers or a water bottle, and two compartments with a TON of space on the inside to put in whatever you want and everyone can see your great work!

This makes a great birthday gift and is also perfect for car trips because it acts as a bag, but also an activity for the drive!

Have Fun! - Lisa the Toy Whiz

I've had my eye on Kapla building blocks since I first saw them in our 2009 Holiday Gift Catalogue. Building toys in general are a personal favourite, but building toys that are focused on creating buildings probably rank highest on my list of favourite toys. Yes, there is an inner architect and general contractor in me dying to get out. Despite my changing majors in university from civil engineering to biology, I don't think I've ever gotten rid of the building bug.

So, when I saw Kapla and all it had to offer, it was a toy I had to have....and now I do. Here's the thing: until you've actually seen the design possibilities and felt the product in your hands you might wonder what the big deal is. I mean really, the product consists of identical rectangular building blocks. It's not until you see the photos and sketches of Kapla creations that you have a sense of just what you can do with these bricks. But unlike other toys where step by step instructions are provided, the pamphlets just show photos or sketches of the end product. Your challenge is to figure out how to build them.

What's unique about Kapla is that the blocks are actually cut by computer out of pine from managed forests in France. Each block is identical in size and weight which promotes the balancing ability unique to these blocks.

The results are pretty cool. So far I've made a pagoda, a bridge complete with boats, (pictured left), and a couple of connected towers. There are lots of other two dimensional designs that also look fun to make, but since I like to build up, I've stuck to creating tall structures. Eventually, once I get a handle on all the different ways to construct buildings and towers, I'll start creating my own buildings, but until then, I'm happy just trying to figure out how to build the structures in the photos.

Toy Buyin' Ryan talks about all the great features of Kapla in this video:

One other thing -- the blocks themselves are produced with a very slight roughness to them which promotes their sticking together better. The blocks aren't rough enough to cause slivers, if that's what you're thinking, it's just enough to "catch" another block so that it won't slip out of place.

Finally, like most creative toys, after feeling like you've accomplished something pretty cool after you've completed a building, the next most fun thing? Knocking it down of course! In this great Youtube video, a group of students from Kettering University, built a 31 foot tower to raise money for St Jude Children's Research Hospital. The video is about its deconstruction.

There are plenty more videos about Kapla on Youtube. Some of the creations are pretty spectacular -- like the recreation of the Empire State Building.

Have fun!

--Cathy the Toy Mom

When I was younger, one of my favorite things to do in the summer was sit outside in the sun with my mom and my sister, and work on some sort of craft together. One summer, it was water colour painting, the next beading and another, learning how to sculpt. However, I often found with these types of crafts we had to buy a "How To" book PLUS the beads PLUS the needles PLUS the cord PLUS...well you know what I mean.

Well, no more! Introducing Spice Box Craft Kits! The great thing about these kits is that they come with very detailed instructions and everything you need to make the crafts! Ranging from Beading to Friendship Bracelets to Gel Pens there is something for everyone and all priced under $25 they make a great birthday gift or rainy day activity! EVEN BETTER this July, these kits are 20% off! Here are a couple of my favorites:

My favorite would have to be Friendship Bracelets ($24.99)! Comes with all the floss you need including beads! The neat thing about this kit is that it teaches you how to make friendship bracelets traditionally, but also how to make them using Friendship Bracelet Wheels!

Fun with Beading ($18.99) - while this kit does come with a great instruction booklet it also includes tips on patterns, designs and colour co-ordination which encourages young beaders to come up with their own designs.

Glitter it up! ($24.99) - this kit takes the classic craft of Glitter Gluing but also provides ideas on what else you can Glitter up! Comes with 12 glitter pens PLUS Pom Poms, craft sticks and so much more!

Happy crafting :) - Lisa the Toy Whiz

The Litehawk is an awesomely fun remote control toy, and you may find yourself "pulling the parent card" with you child to take over the remote control. This RC toy is designed for kids. The controller is easy to use and gives the "pilot" the ability to move the helicopter, backwards, forwards, hovering ability, and up and down capabilities. It charges through a small cord that's kept in the controller and takes about 3 minutes to fully charge, then, it will fly for about 20 minutes.

It's incredibly durable as the body is made out of metal. Litehawk includes spare rotors and stabilizer pins just in case you need them, but it will stand up to some pretty big drops from the sky.

One of the coolest features of the helicopter is its flashing lights. Use it in the dark to see the flashing lights, just like a real helicopter.

For more information, and to see a demonstration of the Litehawk in action, watch Lisa the Toy Whiz in the video below.

--Cathy the Toy Mom

Since I started here at Head Office back in January, I've been able to test some PRETTY cool toys (all in a hard day's work I suppose). THEN at the end of May when we were preparing for Canada AM and I got the task of putting together a working Ant Farm...Now, I'm not the squimish type, but I have to say, I was a little unnerved by this task. However, I mailed away for the Ants and they arrived to me in a little vial all squirming about inside. So, as quickly as I could I dumped the ants into the Colours of Life Ant Farm ($49.95) plopped on the lid and left it alone.

The next morning, I came into the office, and I have to say, I was utterly intrigued. The little ants had started burrowing their way through the gel and creating their own little universe! It was actually quite stunning (as you can see below):

Now, the really cool thing about this kit is that the Gel acts not only as a substance for the ants to tunnel through BUT also as nutrients - this means once the ants are in the habitat, all you have to do is watch them go, no feeding necessary! The other cool feature of this set is the LED base that, when plugged in, changes all sorts of beautiful colours that really make the tunnels pop!

This makes a perfect first go at having a pet because maintenance is VERY minimal, but still has a LOT of cool factor! Not only that, but it can also double as a night light for the bedroom, thanks to the different coloured LED lights!

Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

--Lisa the Toy Whiz


As many of you know, every month we have a certain item on special for the ENTIRE month. However, this month we are doing a little something different to honour the FIFA WORLD CUP! That's right Soccer fans (and even non-soccer fans), we're doing a little something special for you ! Introducing (drum roll please) KICK-OFF Month!!

What is Kick-Off month you might ask? EVERY WEEK in the month of June we are going to "Kick-Off" a NEW Special that will last up to a few weeks. To keep you on your toes, we're going to keep the weekly specials a SURPRISE!

So stay tuned HERE, our JUNE KICK-OFF LAUNCH CENTER, where you can be the FIRST to know what the specials are! Also stay tuned to our eUpdates, Facebook and Twitter where we will also be posting up-to-the-minute information!

Now, to KICK-OFF our Specials!



WEEK 3: Starting June 15 until July 6 ALL (and yes, I said ALL) K'Nex Kits are 30% off! K'Nex are GREAT building toys for kids of all ages and skill levels! From Soccer Playing Elmo to Loopin Lightning Roller Coaster, there is something for everyone! Click here to watch our video and learn all about K'Nex!

WEEK 4: Starting June 22 until July 6th Save $20(!!!!!) on the Jump Smart Trampoline! Jump along to fun games and silly songs! Great for just bouncing around but with all its great games, it makes learning FUN! Even better it is great for inside AND outside! So get out there and Jump the day away! Click here to see it in action!

SO be sure to stay tuned here on our BLOG, sign up for our eUpdates, "Like" us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter to be the FIRST to learn about each weekly special!

--Lisa the Toy Whiz

Father's Day is JUST around the corner and if you're anything like me, riiiight around now is when I start to scratch my head and think "Oh yeaaa!" Never fear! This Father's Day we have a GREAT line of Building Kits that are PERFECT for Dads and their kids to work on together while getting to spend some quality time with each other. Entry level carpenters get to work on the following skills: assembly, gluing, hammering, filing, fully guided bolting, and decorating and painting. In case you're worried, Dad doesn't have to be an expert level carpenter to work on these kits :)

There are SIX different kits to choose from and each kit is made from exceptional quality wood that can be left all natural or painted after it has been built!! The Red Toolbox kits are VERY affordable, starting at just $14.95, so you can get a couple giving Dad and the kids something to keep them busy, and you some time to relax!

Lets take a look at some of the kits:

Picture Frame Pack ($19.95) - Store pictures of the Family in this multi-faceted picture frame!

Mini Golf Practice Kit ($14.95) - My personal favorite (and I'm pretty sure Dad will love it too!) Comes with a Flag AND Putter in addition to the Golf hole!

Mini Case Kit ($24.95) - A place to store all your special belongings complete with drawers for smaller objects!

Birdhouse Kit ($14.95)- Perfect for the little bird lover!

Happy building and Happy Father's Day!

-- Lisa the Toy Whiz

I know it's late in the year for planning summer camps and holidays, but if you're like me, you leave things to the last minute because you're in complete denial that school's about to end and they're all yours for the next 9 weeks. I was doing some internet trolling for summer possibilities and found these interesting opportunities I thought I'd pass along.

Out of Country:

Lego Fantasy Camp: If you're a Lego fan (and we know that many of you out there are), you might be interested in following up with this one. Atlantis, the monster hotel on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, is hosting a Lego Fantasy Camp for three sessions in July, 2010. Kids will spend time learning how to build a variety of sculptures with a Lego Master. There are only 40 Lego Masters in the world and they have a job that many of us would covet: they design and build Lego sculptures all day and every day. Yes, there is a job for that! For more information on Lego camp at Atlantis, see their website.

Star Wars Celebration: There will be a Star Wars celebration in Orlando, Florida, commemorating the 30th anniversary of "The Empire Strikes Back" August 12-15th, 2010. There are lots of events and activities planned, and a whole section on the website dedicated to families and activities. You might even feel like you're visiting a faraway land or planet with all the alien-clad fans and celebrities.

Secret Agent Camp: Oh come on. Where was this when I was a kid? I told my own children about this camp and their eyes popped out of their heads. "Paintball, laser tag, rockwall climbing, high ropes, zip lining and the largest game of "capture the flag" you've even been involved in. This camp also develops team-building skills. If you're a two week camper, the first week is dedicated to training, the second to operations. Sounds like fun!

Location: Pali, California.

Local Day camps:

Back to reality. Here in Toronto we have some pretty unique and fun summer camps too; day camps that are not your traditional make-a-campfire kind of thing.

1. Zoo Camp. The Toronto Zoo offers day camps for your animal lover. Camps are developed to encourage children to appreciate the wilderness, nature and the importance of maintaining (restoring) a healthy natural world.

2. Science Centre Camp. The science centre counsellors help you understand the laws of science, and get you perform all kinds of experiments. There are three different themed camps available:

Science Magic (only one week still available, the rest are sold out). Learn the science of magic.

Body Basics: Discover how the human body functions including how food breaks down, how our muscles work, and how we use our energy.

Inside the Brain (for 13 and 14 year olds): Learn how the brain functions, and how to design an exhibit!

3. Circus Camp at Harbourfront. Harbourfront offers many unique camps, but circus camp is always one of the most popular. If you don't live downtown have no fear, there are school buses that pick up at different school stops across the city. Circus camp teaches kids all kinds of circus activities: stilt-walking, juggling, acrobatics, trapeze use, trampolining and clowning. Talk about a fun, activity-packed day!

Enjoy your summer!

-- Cathy the Toy Mom


If you have a six month old to 2 year old, you'll know that one of their favourite games is "watch mummy/daddy play fetch!" Basically it involves your little darling throwing or dropping his/her sippy cup/teething rings/toy and watching you pick it up and bring it back. Really, this little game can keep your little tyke amused for hours! It usually only takes us parents a little less time to figure out we don't like this game as much as they do....particularly when they've dropped or thrown a toy or bottle of which we're unaware.

Simply on Board (a Canadian Company) makes great toy straps that may prevent your little ones from playing this game but save both your back and your sippy cups, Sophie the Giraffes, and teething rings from being left stranded on the sidewalk (if you've ever had to retrace your steps to find a beloved toy, you'll really appreciate these straps).

The toy straps are completely machine washable and has Velcro on both ends so it is very easy to use (and can attach to pretty much anything); attach one end to your stroller, car seat or baby carrier and the other end to the toy. The Velcro is sturdy enough so that babies won't be able to detach it from their toy but soft enough making them completely safe. There are two straps in a package one is a solid colour (Black, Green, Blue and Pink) and the other polka-dotted. We sell them both in our stores and online.

Simply on Board Giveaway!!!!

The kind people at Simply on Board would like to give TWELVE (12) of our Mastermind Fans and customers one package of toy straps each. To enter just follow the steps below. If you already follow us on Twitter, are a fan on Facebook and/or subscribe to our eUpdates, just let us know in the comment section of this blog (each action counts as a separate entry, so make sure you tell us in Six (6) different comments).

How to enter this GREAT Contest:

Leave a SEPARATE comment for each action taken at the end of this blog post telling us one of the following (PLEASE NOTE: EACH action counts as an entry for a total of 6 DIFFERENT comments)! When you leave a comment make sure that you enter your email address so that we can contact you if you win! (Your email will not be displayed publicly, nor will it be used for anything other than this contest!)

  • "Like" (Fan) us on our Facebook Page (and comment here telling us you are a fan)
  • "Like" (Fan) Simply on Board on their Facebook Page
  • Follow us on Twitter (and comment here telling us you Follow us on Twitter)
  • Subscribe to our eUpdates(and comment here telling us you are a subscriber)
  • Subscribe to the Mastermind Toys YouTube Channel (and comment here telling us you are a subscriber)
  • Leave a comment telling us why you would like to win a package of these straps and what colour you would choose (Black, Green, Periwinkle Blue or Pink)!


  1. Entrants MUST be 18 or older
  2. Contest entrants must live within Canada or the Contiguous United States of America
  3. Delivery of prize is limited to shipping within Canada and the Contiguous United States of America by regular parcel post
  4. The winners will be chosen using Random.org, a random number generating website
  5. Upon determining the winners, we will notify the winners by email. The winners will have 72 hours to respond. If we do not hear from the winner at that time, a new winner's name will be drawn.
Entries may be posted between June 9, 2010 and June 16, 2010 at 4pm. A random number will be drawn on June 16, 2010 at 4:30 pm, the number will correspond to the comment entry and the winner will be notified VIA email!

Thanks for Entering and GOOD LUCK! :)

--Cathy the Toy Mom

Lego Maniacs of the world, unite! The Minifigures are arriving!

Now I myself, Toy Buyin' Ryan, am a self-professed Lego Maniac; my childhood was largely devoted to obsessions with Lego, waiting for new Lego sets, building Lego cities, destroying said Lego cities ("Oh no! The dragons have invaded Lego Town! Send in the Lego fire department to contain the fires, and drive them off with the Spyrius space-robots!" ...the Spyrius reference is really dating me...), and then building them again.

Now I happen to have grown-up (I mean, sort of...) and landed one of the greatest jobs on the planet, namely Lego Buyer for Mastermind Toys. In my day I have seen some cool Lego come and go (Star Wars + Lego... greatest combo since PB and J??? I think so), but we have something arriving at Mastermind Toys this week that has got to be one of the COOLEST Lego things I have EVER SEEN!

Here's the scoop: they're called "Lego Minifigures," and they are a collection of crazy-cool, totally unique, and totally brand-new minifigures that you cant get in any set! Each one comes in its own little mystery bag, and they have cool gear and pieces that come with them... all for just $2.95 each. The first series (there will be more releases later this year!) has 16 different unique minifigures that will totally blow your mind!

We're not talking minifigs like "the police officer" or "the knight"... no no no, my friends, those would be boring and not nearly special enough. How about I tease you with some of my favourites from series 1:

- The Lego Caveman! Complete with caveman club!
- The Lego Wrestler! Nacho Libre!
- The Lego Crash Test Dummy! Perfect for my crash-filled Lego cities!

...and Toy Buyin' Ryan's absolute favourite...

- The Lego Zombie!!!
A zombie?!? made of Lego?!?! Be still my beating heart!!!

Like I said, each one comes in its own mystery pack, so you never know which cool figure you're going to get (but trust me, there are no "duds"... they are all very cool!) There are 16 to collect from Series 1, and these would make FANTASTIC loot bag additions, special little treats, or just fun gifts!

Take it from a Bona-Fide Lego Maniac: this is the coolest thing in Legoland since the birth of the brick!

-- Toy Buyin' Ryan

BRAND NEW Lego Contest!


Every year, around late summer, Lego comes out with amazing, NEW cool sets that make awesome models, are tons of fun and are great for ages 2 (Duplo) to 100 (not that I know of a 100 year old who plays with Lego, but you never know!) There are kits for boys and girls alike ranging anywhere from STAR WARS to ATLANTIS to TOY STORY to POWER MINERS, and everyone has their favorite.

NOW, as you may have read in Toy Buyin' Ryan's post, this summer Mastermind Toys is among only THREE retailers in Canada who are getting the NEWEST Lego sets almost 4 months before anyone else!!! And as you might have also seen in TBR's blog, the new Lego Sets are SO COOL and include a whole new series: World Racers!!!

To celebrate this event, we want one of our devoted fans to win one of the NEWEST Lego Sets! The winner of this exciting contest will get to pick ONE from the THREE new Lego sets listed below!:

SPACE POLICE LUNAR LIMO - A really cool addition (and the newest nemesis) to the notorious SPACE POLICE

WORLD RACER JUNGLE BOATS - Part of the awesome NEWEST series from Lego!

POWER MINERS CLAW CATCHER - Use the Claw Catcher to pick up the Pesky Lava Monsters!



Leave a SEPARATE comment for each action taken at the end of this blog post telling us one of the following (PLEASE NOTE: EACH action counts as an entry for a total of 5 DIFFERENT comments)! When you leave a comment make sure that you enter your email address so that we can contact you if you win! (Your email will not be displayed publicly, nor will it be used for anything other than this contest!)

  • "Like" (Fan) us on our Facebook Page (and comment here telling us you are a fan)
  • Follow us on Twitter (and comment here telling us you Follow us on Twitter)
  • Subscribe to our eUpdates(and comment here telling us you are a subscriber)
  • Subscribe to the Mastermind Toys YouTube Channel (and comment here telling us you are a subscriber)
  • Leave a comment telling us which Lego set you would choose and why!


  1. Entrants MUST be 18 or older
  2. Contest entrants must live within Canada or the Contiguous United States of America
  3. Delivery of prize is limited to shipping within Canada and the Contiguous United States of America by regular parcel post
  4. The winner will be chosen using Random.org, a random number generating website
  5. Upon determining the winner, we will notify the winner by email. The winner will have 72 hours to respond. If we do not hear from the winner at that time, a new winner's name will be drawn.
Entries may be posted between May 21, 2010 and June 7, 2010 at 4pm. A random number will be drawn on June 7, 2010 at 4:30 pm, the number will correspond to the comment entry and the winner will be notified VIA email!

Thanks for Entering and GOOD LUCK! :)

--Lisa the Toy Whiz

Attention fans of Mastermind Toys! Want to see our favourite toy picks of the summer season in action? Well then we have just the thing for you!

Mastermind Toys co-founder and head toy buyer Jon Levy is going to be on Canada AM every morning from Tuesday May 25 until Friday May 28 demonstrating the COOLEST toys of the summer!

This is very exciting for all of us here at Mastermind and it's a great way to connect everyone out there to the people who actually pick the great toys that end up in our Mastermind toys stores and on MastermindToys.com. Jon leads the team of buyers here, and you'll see that we're really just a bunch of kids. We've been rehearsing all week for these appearances already... and by "rehearsing" I mean "playing with toys." True story: just the other day we were out front practicing with our flying toys for day 1 (see below!) and a couple of police officers on bike patrol rode by as we were launching our glider... they ended up stopping by for half an hour to check out the toys, and they agreed that we have cool jobs!

OK, now here's the scoop on the appearances next week: each day Jon will be talking about a different summer toy theme.

Tuesday May 25: Flying Toys!
We're kicking the week off with some GREAT toys for flying, chasing, flinging, gliding, and all the other great things that go along with toys that go up in the air! The highlight will be the Air Hogs Titan Glider, a huge plane thaat loops the loop!

Wednesday May 26: Water Toys!
This segment will be shot live on location from a pool! See splashing, diving, boats and subs and more with these great toys!

Thursday May 27: "Too Cool for School" (or Rainy Day) Toys!
These toys are the toys that you'll whip out on a rainy day this summer, or when you just want to play indoors. Be sure to watch to see our cool colour-changing ant farm!

Friday May 28: Backyard and Outdoor Toys!
Quintessential summer play: hit the backyard, run around like crazy, and have fun! The Blossom Bright Sprinkler is one of our favourites!

So there you have it! 4 days, 4 great groupings of summer toys! Be sure to tune in to see them in action!

-- Toy Buyin' Ryan

As we've mentioned before, we understand that our famous Warehouse sale can get a wee bit crowded at times, and while we've done a few things to help make it better, we thought a few tips might be appropriate to help you navigate your way through the sale.

On our part we've done a few things to make it easier for you to shop:

  • plenty of parking and parking attendants to help you find a spot

  • wide aisles that are very stroller friendly!

  • 16 cashiers and 16 baggers to help move you through the checkout line faster

  • convenient hours: Wednesday-Friday (May 26-28) 9am-8pm, Saturday (9-6pm) and Sunday (11-5pm), 10-6pm, and Monday-Wednesday (May 31-June 2), 10-5pm

  • Wednesday June 2nd is DEAL DAY! Even BIGGER discounts on the last day of the sale!

Best times to go:

Let's face it, the first two days of the sale are by far the busiest, and if you have particular items you are searching for, it is better to come these days as your chance of success for getting them will be greater. However, generally speaking, from about 11am onwards, each day (including the first two days), the lines dwindle to very little wait time if any. And with 90,000 square feet of space, there's sure to be enough room for you, your stroller and your shopping cart. So, if you can afford to wait even until Friday, the crowds are much more manageable.

Take our customers' advice: If you've taken a look at our Facebook page recently, you'll notice Fans giving lots of tips and advice as to how to prepare for the sale. For example:

Sandra: "I have been planning (what to buy), plotting (how to hide the bill from my husband), and packing (the old toys to make room for the new ones)."

Nora: "My friends and I make a "girls" day out of it...It's my turn this year to bring the coffee and snacks. We have a great track record for being the first group in line 6 years and counting. We have made friends along the way...we meet up with the same ladies each year."

Allison: "What time should I bring my lawn chair and coffee? I need Rokenbok..."

Prepare a list: knowing who you need to buy for and ages will really help you narrow down your shopping time. Hosting some birthday parties in the near future? There are lots of small things that are great for loot bags too!

Eat and hydrate: The last thing you want to have happen, is your energy wane halfway through the sale. Make sure you've had a solid meal and pack a bottle of water. It will help you maintain your concentration levels. And speaking of concentration levels:

"Focus, focus, focus": A phrase my friend's frustrated husband used on the two of us during one particular shopping marathon. Don't get sidetracked, stick to your list and you'll be happy with what you've got.

Bring a calculator: A calculator will help you stay on budget -- well, at least it will help you tally your purchases ahead of time so you won't get a shock at the checkout.

Am I missing anything? If you have a great warehouse tip you'd like to share, add it to our Facebook page or comment in this blog in the comment section.

For complete details on our warehouse sale, click here.

Happy Shopping!

--Cathy the Toy Mom.

OK Lego maniacs, it is a VERY special time for you!

If you are a true blue Lego maniac (you know who you are; entire shelving units devoted to Lego creations, broken vacuums from Lego pieces, a Lego metropolis pitting brave knights against space invaders monitored by an ever-vigilant city police squad....), then you know that Lego always releases a whole line of new sets in the late summer every year. Now what you may not know is that a select few retailers get EARLY access to some of these new sets... and this year Mastermind Toys is one of them!

So we are very excited to announce that we have brand new Lego sets, about 30 in total, arriving RIGHT NOW to our stores and to MastermindToys.com!

Here's a rundown of the new sets!

Power Miners, Atlantis and Space Police Sets
These themes are all getting brand new sets, all of which are very cool. The highlight for me is the Lunar Limo Space Police Set... it's like a bad guy's big black car... IN SPACE. Awesome.

New Kingdoms Knights Theme
Castles! Good knights! Black knights! Horses! Catapults! Some of you Lego maniacs have probably been ITCHING for a return to classic Lego knights sets... itch no more!!

New World
Racers Theme
You're going to love this... this is a brand new theme from Lego that pits all sorts of crazy racing/battling contraptions against one another for wild world-wide races! Each set comes with two different vehicles filled with crazy characters that race one another. Boats, cars, motor-bikes and more race accross desert, snow, swamps... you name it! A very cool new line.

New Lego Airport Theme
The Lego Airport has arrived! Planes, tanker trucks and more... awesome awesome awesome!

And new Duplo and Creator Sets
The selection is rounded-out with some classic new additions to these themes, including a giant crocodile Creator set!

So check out all of these cool new sets in-store and online, and remeber that Mastermind Toys has them first!!

--Toy Buyin' Ryan