Office Playground Blog

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History of the Smiley Face

clock February 10, 2012 14:42 by author Office Toy Guy

We've all seen, and most likely used, the Smiley Face in our lives. It's on everything from Emoticons to T-shirts to balloons to stress relievers. According to Wikipedia, "a Smiley, Smiley Face, or Happy Face, is a stylized representation of a smiling human face, commonly occurring in popular culture." The Smiley is so familiar and common, that we simply accept that it exists. But, have you ever wondered about the history of the Smiley Face?

The most iconic version of the Smiley was created by Harvey Ball in 1963. At the time, Ball’s job assignment was to create a happy face for use on buttons. And so, the Smiley Face with a yellow background, black oval eyes and a mouth with creases was created. Interestingly, the Smiley Face was not trademarked in the United States early on in its inception. Through the years, attempts were made to trademark this well-known symbol. As recently as 2009, the courts ruled that the Smiley Face is in the public domain. (source: Wikipedia)

At, the Smiley Face is considered an awesome and uplifting icon that helps remind us to be optimistic and happy. A Smiley is a huge part of staying positive and relieving stress at work. That is why has such a huge variety of Happy Face stress relievers and toys. Look at some of the Smiley office toys available at

Bean Ball - Smile Face
Bendable Smile Man - 3 inch
Bendable Smile Men, Multicolored - 12 Pack
Captain Smiley - Hot Pink

Captain Smiley - Yellow
Flashing Smile Sunshine Ball
Funny Face Ball - Smile
Goofy Pen - Smile, Blue

Gumball Machine - Plastic 9 inch - Smile Face
Happy Face Keychain
Happy Face Stress Ball
Happy Face Stress Ball With Feet

Hi Bounce Ball - Plush Smile Face
IsoFlex Smiley Stress Ball
Mini Smile Squeeze Balls - 12 Pack
Porcupine Ball Smile Face - 2 Inch, 12 Pack

Pumpkin Stress Ball - Smile
Smile Face Heart Stress Toy
Smile Face Memo Holder
Smile Face Molecule Ball

Smile Face Popping Pen
Smiley Dude Stress Toy
Smiley Spring Keychain
Splat Ball - Smile Face

Squishy Smile Face Pen
Stress Ball Pen - Smile Face, Silver
Stress Jumper - Smiley
Stretch and Bounce Ball - Smile Face

Stretchy Happy Face - 12 Pack
Super Smiley Stress Toy
Water Wigglies - 4 inch, Smile Face
Wind Up Hopping Smile Man

And we are thrilled that one of our all-time favorite Happy Face stress balls is back! The Smile Face Molecule Ball is a super happy stress toy. When you squeeze this stress ball, all the little smile faces move around inside. This Smiley stress ball is a cheerful reminder to get going on that grin and to keep those positive thoughts flowing.

So go on, get happy and have a nice day! :-)


Bill Ross
The Office Toy Guy
We make work fun!

Bring the Star Wars Experience to Your Desk

clock February 8, 2012 10:23 by author Office Toy Guy

On February 10, 2012, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 3D opens in theaters.

I remember watching the original three Star Wars films in the movie theater as a kid and I love that this generation gets to experience all the Star Wars movies on the big screen. The 2012 Star Wars: Episode I has been updated with all the bells and whistles you expect with today’s big blockbusters. Some folks don’t like it when they mess with the original movie, but Jackass 3 was in 3D after all, so of course Star Wars should make its own splash in 3D as well.

Get your Star Wars movie tickets at and enjoy the show. When you get back to work after the big on screen adventure, relive the Star Wars experience with your very own Yoda Computer Monitor Sitter from

Yoda, a renowned Jedi master, first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back. Followed up by Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith.

The Yoda Computer Sitter makes his home on top of your computer monitor while keeping an eye on your desk. This Yoda is a fun bobble head desk toy that will help make your workspace more enjoyable.

If Yoda isn’t your favorite Star Wars character, visit and check out the Darth Vader Computer Sitter and the Boba Fett Computer Sitter.

Don’t worry if attending the next Comic-Con wearing a Stormtrooper or Chewbacca costume is out of your comfort zone. The Yoda, Darth Vader and Boba Fett monitor bobble heads are a fun way to show your love for all things Star Wars.

Computer Sitters - Yoda
Computer Sitters - Darth Vader
Computer Sitters - Boba Fett


Bill Ross
The Office Toy Guy
We make work fun!

Emergency Meow Button

clock February 1, 2012 15:16 by author Office Toy Guy

Meow Button

When we add new products to, our web team sends out an all company email announcing the latest and greatest office toys to our staff. We recently added a super funny noisemaker to our collection of office buttons called the Emergency Meow Button. The folks here at get a kick out of new desktop toys.

Here is some candid feedback from our staff about the Emergency Meow Button:

"That thing is awesome!"

"That would be hysterical during a conference call!"

"Much easier to take care of than a real cat!"

The Emergency Meow Button is perfect for cat lovers who miss their favorite pet while at work. It’s easy to operate, just press the big white paw to hear the kitty. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Emergency Meow Button, do it now at And be sure to sample the cat's meow!


Bill Ross
The Office Toy Guy
We make work fun!

Love Silly Putty? Hate the Mess? Tips for Removing Silly Putty

clock January 30, 2012 09:31 by author Office Toy Guy

Silly Putty and red egg Silly Putty is a classic office stress reliever and we love playing with it at It can stretch, bounce and roll and is fun to play with at your desk.

We get a lot of inquiries about Silly Putty here at What colors does it come in? Can I get a volume discount? What styles do you have? But, perhaps the most common question we get from folks is how to get Silly Putty out of ___________ (fill in the blank). Since we know that it can be a bit of a pain when Silly Putty ends up in the wrong places, we decided to provide you with some tips on how to remove Silly Putty.

The top three questions we get at for removing Silly Putty are:

- How do I get Silly Putty out of hair?
- How do I get Silly Putty off of clothing (fabric)?
- How do I get Silly Putty off of carpet?

We visited for their Stain Removal Tips to get the answers.

  1. Remove Silly Putty from Hair:
    What you need: Warm Water, Baby Oil, and Conditioner
    What to do: Try using baby oil or a generous amount of hair conditioner along with warm water. Massage the baby oil or conditioner around the scalp and area containing Silly Putty.

  2. Remove Silly Putty from Clothing (fabric):
    What you need: Dull knife or metal spoon, WD-40® (car part lubricant), Cotton balls, Liquid dish soap, Rubbing alcohol, Soft cloth or sponge
    What to do: Scrape off excess Silly Putty with a dull-edge knife or metal spoon. Spray with WD-40 and let stand a few minutes. Scrape excess Silly Putty with dull-edge knife or metal spoon. Re-spray with WD-40 and wipe off stain with cotton balls. If any stain remains, saturate a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol, blot the stain and rinse. Wipe any remaining residue or remaining stain with a damp sponge or cloth moistened with liquid dish soap. Wash garment per the manufacturer’s direction.

  3. Remove Silly Putty from Carpet:
    What you need: Dull knife or metal spoon, Soft cloth or sponge, Upholstery/rug shampoo, Bristle brush, Liquid dish soap, WD-40® (car part lubricant)
    What to do: Scrape off excess Silly Putty with a dull-edge knife or metal spoon. Spray with WD-40 and let stand a few minutes. Scrape excess Silly Putty with dull-edge knife or metal spoon. Re-spray with WD-40® and wipe off stain with cotton balls. If any stain remains, saturate a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol, blot the stain and rinse. Wipe any remaining residue or remaining stain with a damp sponge or cloth moistened with liquid dish soap.

*These stain removal tips are suggestions only and success cannot be guaranteed. Always test surface before attempting to clean.

You can find more stain removal tips at


Bill Ross
The Office Toy Guy
We make work fun!

What's Up with Desktop Zen Gardening?

clock January 25, 2012 10:17 by author Office Toy Guy

Zen Garden Deluxe Many people enjoy Zen Gardening in their desktop environment, but few may know the history of this classic desktop stress relief tool. Zen Gardens are also commonly referred to as Zen Rock Gardens or Japanese Rock Gardens. Wikipedia describes a Japanese Rock Garden as:

"Japanese rock gardens or 'dry landscape' gardens, often called 'Zen gardens', are a type of garden that features extensive use of rocks or stones, along with plants native to rocky or alpine environments that were influenced mainly by Zen Buddhism and can be found at Zen temples of meditation."

Mini desktop Zen gardens, popular among office workers, contain sand, rakes, rocks, birds, statues, and/or small buildings. Zen gardens are both pleasing to the eye and soothing to create or design. The raking of the sand and arranging of the various items offers a welcome reprieve from a stressful workday. You may be surprised to learn that making a perfectly groomed Zen garden is not easy:

"The act of raking the gravel into a pattern recalling waves or rippling water has an aesthetic function. Zen priests practice this raking also to help their concentration. Achieving perfection of lines is not easy. Rakes are according to the patterns of ridges as desired and limited to some of the stone objects situated within the gravel area. Nonetheless often the patterns are not static. Developing variations in patterns is a creative and inspiring challenge." -- (source: Wikipedia)

Whether you groom your personal desktop Zen garden to perfection is up to you. An individual's Zen garden will reflect their creativity, attention to detail, and concentration. Spending time arranging a Zen garden can help you relax and add some peace to your workday.

See all of our Desktop Zen Gardens Here


Bill Ross
The Office Toy Guy
We make work fun!

Tangle is King!

clock January 20, 2012 08:05 by author Office Toy Guy

Office Playground has been offering Tangles since the very beginning of our 13 year history. Tangle is the best fidget toy of all time. Period. Case closed. If you think you may need some stress relief at work, you need a Tangle. Over the years, the folks at Tangle, Inc. have created numerous different styles from fuzzy, to textured, to metallic. Whether you are new to fidget stress relief toys or you're an avid user, you need several Tangles in your portfolio.

Richard Zawitz is the creator of Tangle and as you might guess, he is a fascinating man. I remember meeting Richard at his house in the early days of Office Playground. He was so enthusiastic about Tangle and its ability to change the world. According to him, "A Tangle Toy is more than just a toy—it is twistable energy that enables a free flow of creativity from your mind". His inspiration for Tangle is from the Tibetan Infinite Knot, "Zawitz's very dreams were filled with the shape and form of the Tibetan Infinite Knot. But in his dreams the knot was always twisting, moving and transforming, changing into cool new infinite knot shapes and even colors".

Not only is he a genius sculptor, but he's one heck of a businessman too! He has sold over 100 million Tangles and even got them into McDonald's Happy Meals. Read the entire Tangle story here.

I'm proud to say we have been successful in spreading the amazing powers of Tangle to people all over the world. We have sold tons of Tangles over the years and I mean literally "tons". If you have never tried playing with a Tangle Toy, it's time to get involved. See all of our Tangles Here.


Bill Ross
The Office Toy Guy
We make work fun!

Be the Best Secret Santa Ever!

clock November 11, 2011 08:00 by author Office Toy Guy
Don't Be a Lame Secret Santa!  

What is the most embarrassing thing that can happen to you at work during the holidays? Sure, getting too drunk at the company holiday party, telling the CEO he looks like Screech and photocopying your behind are all pretty bad. But, we're talking about never being able to live down being a lame Secret Santa.

Maybe you didn't even want to participate in the first place. Some people don't believe in Santa anymore. Yet, we all still stand in line to pick one of our co-worker's names out of a hat.

You don't have to dread the workplace Secret Santa. The Office Toy Guy wants you to embrace it! This year, your co-workers will refer to you as the most amazing Secret Santa gift giver in company history. Or, at least they will think you are really cool and thoughtful for getting them such an awesome gift. is ready to help you be the best Secret Santa gift giver you can be. Check out these unique gift ideas for your next Secret Santa exchange and really nail it this year!

Image Credit: Michael Wade    
Dependable and Classy
Need to play it a little safe while making a good impression? Give a Zen Garden, Newton's Cradle, Kinetic Motion or Liquid Motion.
Zen Gardens Newton's Cradles Kinetic Motion Sculptures Liquid Motion
Zen Gardens Newton's Cradles Kinetic Motion Sculptures Liquid Motion
Vulgar and Irreverent
Do your co-workers appreciate low brow humor? Are your company's policies a little loose? Share a chuckle over our these Gag Gifts and other Vulgar Stuff.
Terry Turtle BS Button
Terry Turtle BS Button
Cute and Cuddly
A desktop plant or an animal toy will win you the cutest gift award. There are many adorable items in Desktop Gardening and Office Pets.
Desktop Gardening Office Pets
Desktop Gardening Office Pets
Stress Relieving
If everyone is stressed out in your office, you can't go wrong with a Stress Ball, Stress Reliever or Foam Stress Toy.
Stress Balls Stress Relievers Foam Stress Toys
Stress Balls Stress Relievers Foam Stress Toys
Silly Yet Practical
Sometimes goofy can be useful. Give a Funny Office Supply or Gumball Machine for a fun twist on the regular.
Funny Office Supplies Gumball Machines
Funny Office Supplies Gumball Machines

You don't have to be a lame Secret Santa this year. Just make your picks, place your order and we'll get that awesome Secret Santa gift to you really fast.

We wish you the best at your holiday office party and may you be remembered for your non-lame Secret Santa gift and not for dancing with a lampshade on your head.


Bill Ross
The Office Toy Guy
We make work fun!

Gift Ideas Under $50 - Magnetic Fish Bowl

clock November 7, 2011 15:52 by author Office Toy Guy

Magic FishBowl The Magnetic Fish Bowl, one of our playful and unique liquid motion desk toys, is featured in Entrepreneur's "Holiday Gift Ideas Under $50." It makes a great employee or corporate gift because it "features two magically swimming fish that require no care." The relaxing motion is great for stress relief and it adds life to any desk. We think it will look great in your lobby, reception area, or on your front desk; and any busy employee or co-worker who works in a small cubicle will appreciate the lively movement without the hassle of an aquarium. The Magnetic Fish Bowl, as well as our other Liquid Motion Toys, make excellent gifts.

Magnetic Fish Bowl @ Office Playground

Holiday Gift Ideas Under $50 -

Ten Reasons Why Office Toys Make Great Gifts

clock November 2, 2011 12:01 by author Office Toy Guy
Office Toys Make Great Gifts
  1. Affordable – Many of our office toys are reasonably priced under $10.
  2. Enjoyable – Playing with office toys is a fun lighthearted distraction from the daily grind.
  3. Impressive – A memorable office toy will remind the recipient how terrific you are for giving it to them.
  4. Humorous – Office toys provide much needed comic relief around the workplace and at home.
  5. Stress Relieving – It is very soothing to release tension with a tactile office toy.
  6. Practical – Many office toys are quite handy to have on your desk and serve a useful purpose.
  7. Colorful – You can brighten up any workspace at home or the office with cheerful and lively office toys.
  8. Cute – Lots of people love appealing things and we have many adorable and charming office toys.
  9. Informal – The casual nature of office toys makes them simple and easy gifts for business associates.
  10. PopularOffice toys are well-liked and folks love to spruce up their desks with these hip and cool items.

Office toys are the ideal gifts for all kinds of people and you'll find a large selection of office toys at Office Playground. Since 1999, Office Playground has been committed to providing you with the best office toys available. We are trustworthy, competent, friendly and passionate.

If you're interested in getting some really awesome gifts at extremely affordable prices and receiving them quickly, please explore our web site or contact us for suggestions or with any questions. We're standing by to help.

The How and Why of Newton's Cradles

clock October 25, 2011 12:19 by author Office Toy Guy

1458 Newton's Cradle 7 inch Black WoodThe Newtonian Demonstrator, known today as the Newton's Cradle, is a device that demonstrates the laws of conservation of momentum and energy. The concept was demonstrated centuries ago in France and used by Sir Isaac Newton when he developed the laws of physics.

How the Newton's Cradle works
When the first ball strikes the row of balls, the impact produces a shock wave that travels through the metal balls at the speed of sound. The speed of sound through steel is much faster (4699 m/s) than through air (300 m/s). The time for the shock wave to travel the short distance through the balls is too small for human perception. Neither the momentum nor energy is perfect in efficiency. Energy is lost in the suspending wires, friction of the surrounding air, and sound (the clicking of balls). The momentum degrades with each swing until near the end of oscillation the intermediate balls are swaying.

We have had customers ask why the balls don't clack back and forth forever in perpetual motion. It's because of the energy loss with each impact. Since energy cannot be created or destroyed, there can never be a "net gain" of energy and therefore there cannot ever be a true "perpetual motion" device (note to self, make a perpetual motion device, sell it to the highest bidder, retire).

Geek Group - World's Largest Newton's CradleThe largest Newton's Cradle is over 20 feet tall. It was designed by Chris Boden and is located at The Geek Group home base in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The monster Newtonian demonstrator is made up of 7 bowling balls weighting 15 pounds each. The bowling balls are attached to metal cables and hung from trusses in the ceiling of a warehouse. The suspension cables are 20 feet long and the bowling balls hang 3 feet from the floor.

Why a Newton's Cradle?
Because they're fascinating to watch, make a cool sound, and provide kinetic entertainment without batteries! As it turns out, this little device has become among the most classic Desk Toys of all time. We sell tons of these (literally) and take them very seriously. If you want your own steel balls transferring energy at 4699 m/s, see our Newton's Cradles here.

About Office Playground

phone: 800-458-1948

The Office Toy Guy is passionate about office toys and spending a little time playing at work. He also enjoys imaginary pinky wrestling (it’s similar to thumb wrestling but you use your pinky and you conduct matches in your mind against imaginary opponents), cooking, underwater speed-reading, massages, and an occasional lighthearted office prank. (He’s really the CEO of Office Playground!)

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