The story of Thumball's beginnings and the road The Pembletons followed to success are described in detail. Quotes through out the book help guide new entrepreneurs, inventors and business owners in safe practices and effective strategies. A great new publication for current information and inspiring stories.
We at Answers In Motion make a point of donating all year long to needy organizations that can utilize our star product Thumball in a meaningful way. We go further in December and give larger donations to special places where children, the aging and the ill reside. A feeling grows inside of us and a Santa like fullness is our experience. Christmas would be meaningless to us without generosity and it can fill you up better than cookies and milk but the holidays would not be the same without those either.
Whenever I get together with my friends from my teaching days the conversation leads to children and what they know and don't know. Often we speak of the classic nursery rhymes, Aesop's fables and fairy tales and how few students seem to know them. We are always amazed at their ability to comprehend technology from a tender age but comprehension of even The Three Little Pigs, Bears or Billy Goats can be surprisingly absent.
I was in the public schools for many years and educational trends can be a blessing and a curse. In our attempt to build literacy skills from a young age, the issue of writing became a major focus. The idea that the earlier we start children in the writing processes the better. So for even with our youngest learners in Pre-K, K and First grade we have established story writing centers for students to put into words their life experiences and ideas. But what if we have not established the story base from which to build. Are their own "stories" relevant before they have the ability to recite a nursery rhyme, sequence a story and act out a fairy tale?
As a speech pathologist I have held a theory that if a child can't express in words what they are learning and why they are not getting the full benefit. My teaching friends tell story upon story of fourth and Fifth grade children that cannot summarize a simple childhood story like Jack and The Beanstalk or The Boy Who Cried Wolf. This can be due to underdeveloped expressive language skills or unfamiliarity with the story but either way it needs to be remedied. Students do better with Fairy Tales due to Disney's proliferation of films but they are relating visual images not recall of the spoken or written word and there is a profound difference.
Classic stories teach values and rhythm of speech and help children build a foundation of general knowledge. Only then can they transfer their own ideas into a story. The curriculum is bulging in schools and truth be told there is no conceivable way for teachers to cover all of it. Old time activities are falling off the list and it is adding to the culture of technology first and verbal communication skills second.
Story exposure is not the sole responsibility of teachers and parents could do tremendous good in their child's development by consistently having reading time from a young age and covering the classics. Some teachers and parents are indeed managing to do this and do see the benefits. As a society we might do well to worry less about early writing and more about the love of reading for pleasure and the spark of imagination a classic story brings.
One heartfelt Thumball™ testimonial can make our whole day here at Answers In Motion!
"I wanted to let you know how much fun we have with your Thumballs! I can’t tell you how many hours of laughter these little balls have brought to our house. We have a blended family with seven children and a revolving door of friends and family members. It’s not uncommon that when we are gathered in the family room after dinner, someone will pick up a nearby Thumball and start the game rolling. We love the ice breaker questions and the simple ABC ball has sparked many types of games such as categories. Some of the categories that people can come up with are real side splitters! It really sparks the imagination. These simple little inexpensive toys are great for people of all ages. We were discussing the balls last night and my sister, who is a teacher, is now going to add one to her classroom!" Thanks for all the fun! Jo Green, Owner The Green Clean Team, NJ
TDmonthly magazine associate has some fun with Move Your Body Thumball. http://www.toydirectory.com/monthly/video/video.asp?clip=20007
It never gets old seeing how people respond to Thumball products. One thing always stays the same the smiles, the enthusiasm and the surprise at what a simple ball can do!
Thumball is catching on and every new account is still exciting for us. Today we found out we are in the SCHOLASTIC Book Club Classroom Rewards Catalog. Only 425 bonus points needed. A Choice of 2 designs, Move Your Body Thumball or Parts of A Story Thumball.
See Scholastic Book Clubs are my fondest school memories. Place order, wait weeks but oh so worth the wait. New books! For our product to be available as an incentive for Teacher's to receive makes me proud.
I feel connected to the Educational market. Thumball is meaningful in every setting whether family game, training tool or custom marketing approach but education is where Thumball started and will always be where my heart is.
Those paper thin, crinkly 4 page Scholastic book club order forms were like the Sears catalog to me. I would read every selection and making my final choice was always difficult. I hope today's teachers will make Thumball one of their reward choices and will lead them to all 19 Thumball designs.
I love books, I love rewards, I love Scholastic and as big a corporation as they are they can still reach little girl's and boy's hearts and minds and maybe a big girl's heart too.
The Pineapple Souffle, Stuffing, Side Dish Everyone Wants
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a square baking dish(glass 9x9 is best) but smaller or metal can work.
Ingredients: 20 oz can CRUSHED Pineapple
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter cut in 8 pats
4 eggs, beaten lightly
6 slices white bread cut in 1-inch squares
Toss all ingredients together in large bowl. Pour into baking dish. Check that butter pats are evenly distributed. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.
Variations: Use any whole wheat or any bread you like. Slightly stale is best.
Use less sugar, top with brown sugar.
Decorate top with a few maraschino cherries or pineapple slices
Perfect with Ham, pork, turkey, chicken.
You can cream the butter and sugar but it is not required.
The Business 2 Business global web site Alibaba.com has been one of our company's most important relationships. Nearly 4 years ago we located the primary suppliers we still use today through Alibaba.com . We have gladly shared our positive experience using their services. It has resulted in Answers In Motion being featured as part of a 4 page adve-torial in INC and Fast Company magazines (June09 issues).
We were interviewed for a new book about Alibaba, their origins and how to best use their services. We even video taped a happy 10th Birthday message to celebrate their anniversary date. Our biggest surprise came last week when they invited us to be apart of their annual ALiFest a Business Summit and trade show.
Alibaba.com offered us this opportunity at no cost to us and then we discovered the event is in China!! So in a month's time we will be flying around the world to participate in AliFest, experience a culture unknown to us and get to meet our suppliers personally. These wonderful people email weekly and call when needed and make top quality Thumball products for us. They are kind and cooperative and it will be a real pleasure to thank them in person.
The world of an entrepreneur is risky, tumultuous, rewarding and at times full of surprises. This is a wonderful surprise and an exciting opportunity and we give thanks to Alibaba and the universe for this experience.
- Meet & Greet Thumball for Family Reunions & Home Product Parties: provides thoughtful questions that stimulate interesting and fun conversations.
- Ice Breaker Thumball for More Memorable Meetings: fun, easy way to increase employee participation & attention at trainings.
- Virtues & Values Thumball for Building Self Esteem: encourages self-reflection on personal characteristics. How do you see yourself and how do others see you?
- Category Mania Thumball helps "It's on the Tip of My Tongue" disorder: practice word finding with ease. Kids build vocabularies and older adults keep their brains sharp.
- Emotion Mania Thumball for all including those with Asperger's: practice understanding and using facial expressions. Expands emotional intelligence.
- Who Are You Thumball for all particularly those with Autism: fun way to socialize, turn take & make casual eye contact.
- Move Your Body Thumball for Getting Active: teaches verbs, adverbs, body language & fitness. Act out each direction in reps of 3 to 5 for an entertaining work out.
- Answer Mania Thumball for Making Silly or Serious Decisions: ask it any yes/no question and it helps you know what to do or not to do!
- Thumball Literacy Set for Better Reading Comprehension: reinforces story elements (plot, conflict) and provides practice in retelling classic tales.
- My ABCs or Letter Mania Thumballs for Learning Letter Sounds: enhances phonological skills essential to reading development.
- Numbers Thumball for developing Math skills: count, learn 1 to 1 correspondence, practice math equations. Throw it twice and add, subtract or multiply!
- Shapes Thumball for Early Cognitive Learning: develops visual perception, language skills and introduces prefixes.
- Animals Thumball for Early Language Learning: develops naming skills, expands animal descriptions, perfect for Old McDonald sing along.
- Catch Peace Thumball for Promoting Peace Around The World: increases cultural awareness and discussion of current events.
- Soccer Mania Thumball for teaching skills & coaching: makes drills more fun, stimulates discussions about the match and reinforces rules & terms.
- Love Always Thumball for showing you care: learn to say, “I love you.” in 10 languages and reflect on 20 quotes about love. Great for anniversary, wedding, showers, Valentine’s Day.
Baseball Thumball, Full Deck Thumball and Football Thumball soon to follow!
Answers In Motion and Talicor/Aristoplay are pleased to announce Three Thumball Designs Now Available online at Target.com. Shapes, Animals and Ice Breaker Thumballs are the first offerings of major retailer Target. They have a great, easy to use website making it simple to purchase Thumballs.
Shapes and Animals are the ideal toddler gift, teacher gift or baby shower present. Ice Breaker is the most popular Thumball design and is perfect to bring to work, parties, family reunions, senior centers and trainings. Everyone will be talking and interacting in seconds.
Thumball has increased exposure, brand recognition and easier availability which means greater growth and new products to come. Our perfect aim has hit the bull's eye.
Literacy Thumball Set- Tell The Tale Thumball™
2009 SEAL OF EXCELLENCE AWARD
(Educational Toys category)
Literacy Thumball™Set- Parts of a Story Thumball™,
2009 SEAL OF EXCELLENCE AWARD
(Educational Toys category)
Over 100 moms and educators evaluated Parts of A Story and Tell The Tale known as The Literacy Thumball Set and has awarded them the prestigious Seal of Excellence.
Enhance reading comprehension and stimulate interesting discussions about fables, fairy tales and books of every kind. Reinforce key story elements like plot, setting and conflict in a fun attention getting game. The Literacy Thumball Set is easy to play, sends a positive educational message, and is high in value while low in price.
Literacy skills are the foundation of effective life long learning! Congratulations to Answers In Motion, exclusive designer and manufacturer of Thumball products.
Conflict Resolution & Debriefing http://bit.ly/tvLXv
It is exciting to see Thumball's reach expand and grow as we create custom products for forward thinking companies. Training Wheels is a known leader in the team building industry and prides itself in creating quality, affordable activities, books, and trainings for those seeking experiential resources. Owner Michelle Cummings has created a wide variety of facilitation, debriefing and team building activities that have collectively changed the way experiential educators and trainers work.
Michelle has designed two very useful tools: Conflict Resolution Thumball and Debriefing Thumball which make trainings and team building experiences even more effective and memorable. Those special designs are now available on her website and we encourage you to check them out.
There are many creative people out there in every field developing their own Thumball designs tailored specifically for their goals. We at Answers In Motion are here to turn those ideas into reality. As the exclusive manufacturers of Thumball products we are ready to serve the needs of businesses, celebrities, charities and families that want an attention getting way to convey their message. Thumballs are really catching on!
You just never know where Thumball will take us and who we may meet. Mrs. California, Lisa McCumber Gandara was an unexpected surprise for us and she delighted us with her energy and enthusiasm. We introduced Thumball products to her and after the 6 second learning curve she really got the big idea.
With 3 children she was enthusiastic about the Who Are You and Category Mania Thumballs. For gatherings with friends, families or in the workplace she loved the Ice Breaker design. Lisa is committed to family and her platform is to bring back family dinners. Thumball can start the meal time conversation with ease. Mrs. California reported her family "had so much fun playing Thumball together".
I had never met a pageant queen before and don't really know what I expected but Lisa was a wonderful surprise in her sash and crown and we wish her all the best. She may win the Mrs United States pageant this year but it seems clear she is already a winner to her family and friends.
What fun for Thumball to be included in the gift bags at Debby Ryan's (Suite Life On Deck) Sweet Sixteen and at Brittany Curran's (Legally Blondes) 19th Pool Party. These young actresses were so gracious and lovely. They expressed real appreciation for Thumball and are still well grounded despite the demands of living and working in Hollywood. They are doing a great job on Disney and Nickelodeon TV shows and have lots of new projects in the works. We wish them a wonderful year with some Thumball fun in it too.
Sunny California a bit cloudy and gray but that didn't dampen our enjoyment of LA. The Hollywood hills make for a beautiful drive, Santa Monica Pier makes every age feel like a kid again and the art museums and galleries left us speechless with the stunning work by painters, photographers and sculptors.
Our primary reason for visiting So Cal was to participate in a Gift Suite and provide free product to celebrities for feedback, photos and autographs. The show was in tribute to the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. The incredible Slash of Guns and Roses came as did Kellan Lutz(so nice!) of Twilight and lots of others familiar faces.
Thumball made a big impression on the stars and we got phenomenal feedback from actors young and old. It was remarkable to realize that the celebs were truly impressed with US and not just the other way around. They loved that our business is a family affair and meeting our oldest children Sammy and Matt really made them smile.
I lost count of the number of "Congratulations" and good wishes we received. Spending time chatting with the stars made them real as anyone else with the same demands of life we all share (picking up kids from daycare, trying to make a movie on time, feeling tired in the morning).
The fact that we had a dream and achieved it and found a way to make a great product that truly helps people just blew everyone away. What an unexpected twist and a wonderful feeling to have a world class actor like Hector Elizondo(Monk, Cane, Chicago Hope, The Princess Diaries, Runaway Bride, Pretty Woman) giving us praise and telling us to be proud of OUR accomplishments. Celebs are focused on children, education and successful promotions so there was no end to our conversations with them.
We will share many of the special moments and fun photos from California in upcoming posts, on our website and on Thumball's Face Book page. I will remember to take a few moments to enjoy our success and thank everyone, Hollywood stars and all for being fans of Thumball!
Thumball came to be while I was working as a speech pathologist. I had a challenging class of 14 students with a variety of learning challenges. I found ways to effectively combine games with language development activities but I noticed that when it was not their own turn the student’s didn’t pay attention to the activity or their classmates.
Writing vocabulary words on a small stuffed ball and allowing the students to play ball in class got their undivided attention! First passing the ball, then rolling it then gentle tosses. Finally a student asked, “Why are there words all over the ball?”. I explained the concept that when I say STOP the person holding the ball must lift their thumb and talk about the word. This worked well and best of all the students began learning from each other because they never took their eye off the ball!
After several months of making my own designs and using Thumball effectively I had a dream, a literal dream that woke me from my sleep with the instructions to “Make this product and market it because no one has time to make their own games anymore!” The dream occurred on my deceased father’s birthday and felt to me like he was communicating this idea to me almost like a gift. When I shared my dream with my partner (now husband) Gregg he immediately “got” the concept and saw the limitless potential.The concept for this game has been used by many educators often utilizing beach balls but it had inherent flaws. I knew the ball had to be safe, easy to control, provide pleasing sensory input and use relevant content for improving communication skills. The real invention was our decision to go forth and actually find a way to get Thumball manufactured and marketed. My husband’s optimism, life experience and tenacity made my dream into a reality. (This will be the subject of another post one day).
Our life has never been the same since. It is rewarding to see therapists, teachers, parents, friends and employees get together and watch how Thumball can enhance the interactions. The only way to really know Thumball is to play it often and new ideas develop and grow. We now create custom Thumballs for companies that want a special way to market their products, supply useful learning tools to schools and effectively convey a message about their business. We look back at our beginnings and smile and encourage all to follow their dreams.
Learning a new skill such as website design feels great. Engaging new parts of the brain really does make a person feel more alive. The service we are using made the process very easy. Most importantly sincere thanks to our friend Scott who helped us every step of the way in our Thumball website journey. He has been there from the start and his expertise and friendship made the process easier and more joyful. We will show just how grateful we are for him at The Dead concert tomorrow night. What a wonderful day it was, is and will be. Peace.
Today Gregg and I celebrate our wedding date. We exchanged vows in a ceremony filled with symbolism and meaning. Our children stood with us as we became a family of five. Then all enjoyed a rockin' reception with my brother John's band THE TOONZ playing with enthusiasm and positive energy. We provided some unique wedding favors like rocks and our custom made Love Always Thumball.
Our relationship has many unique features but the most significant is how Thumball has grown as we have; together with loyalty, patience, excitement, passion, challenges and a tremendous amount of love and faith.
My husband is a kind, thoughtful hard working man. His life has had a purpose, a journey to freedom. Our love and yes Thumball has made the adventure more fulfilling and more fun and made our lives more free.
Freedom is more than a word for us it is a feeling filled with trust and confidence and an inner peace that affirms "All is Well". I learn from my husband constantly and I have become a better person for knowing him and loving him and marrying him and creating this life adventure.
Our children learn from us many life lessons and in our relationship they see what it means to have respect for your partner and how to encourage them every day to be their best. My life is blessed and my marriage a gift I treasure more and more each day, each month and each beautiful year.
Amy Smith from Maine who writes Kids Love Learning shared her experience with Move Your Body Thumball. She found it to be a great way to get kids moving and fulfill P.E. requirements.
See her review here.
Thumball continues to find new and interesting camps of individuals that utilize the 18 Thumball designs creatively and effectively from home schooled students to athletic clubs to corporate trainers looking for a fun way to provide an appealing break during a presentation. Enjoy reading the blogs of your choice and you just may find, Thumball is there.
The nature of business is a roller coaster ride of terror and joy. I swear I had no idea what I was getting into. I finally understand the drive and determination and obsession of entrepreneurs and business people. It's an excitement I have never felt before and sometimes I break into a sweat and lose my voice.
The way our company Answers In Motion and our product Thumball integrates running business with products for education and learning is a motivating mix for me.
Giving up being a full time speech pathologist for 22 years to become a business partner with my husband Gregg was no easy task. The educational system while gravely flawed(and often frustrating) is full of our country's most precious commodity, our children. Their honesty, curiosity and humor made every work day a great surprise. I miss seeing them each day very much.
The fact that designing, marketing and selling Thumball allows me to still see joy on the faces of children and adults as they share in a game of catch is priceless. That I get to do it with the man and children I love nearby is stunning.
I give thanks many times a day. I thank my friends and family for their support, then I give the booth attendant my ticket and get back on this rollicking ride I have chosen. They call this ride a scream machine for good reason!
Hands up, this is gonna be fun.
"The Thumball, has given me extraordinary results in breaking the ice.Gayla
The students just love it. I usually joke, that at no other time they would be allowed to throw a ball inside of a building unless they were in the gym so I encourage them to just have fun,while getting them to loosen up, while secretly preparing them to listen to me...I love it,it works...
So Thanks again...I could not perform my job successfully without it."
Collegeville Station, TX
An essential aspect of managing the challenges of a child having Special Needs is recognizing that the norm is not enough. We must get creative and behave like scientists trying different theories and putting them to the test. That is how Thumball™ developed into an effective tool for teachers and parents to use.
As a speech pathologist working with students having multiple disabilities including Autism and other communication disorders I needed to get attention, keep focus and maintain motivation so we could reach our individual goals. Thumball had a positive impact on all areas.
The challenges of daily life and learning are compounded when a children feels overwhelmed, unmotivated and isolated. Thumball engages players in a natural flow of toss and catch which promotes eye contact and social skills.
When a player lifts their thumb they get to respond to the panel under their thumb. It might be to name words in categories, answer questions about things they like or act out an emotion (18 designs available). What matters is that focus and attention are activated so the learning can take hold.
Students report feeling "smarter"' when they play Thumball and having "more fun in school". They show interest in others and build interpersonal skills. They expand their vocabularies and they learn to offer or ask for help with less reticence.
Schools are choosing Thumball as an innovative fund raising event. Parent Associations are motivated to offer a quality made product that is educational, fun and gets students moving. With the rate of childhood obesity steadily rising, cooke dough and candy bar drives are not the message they want to send to students.
There are so many soccer (football or futbol in most countries) clubs worldwide that the popularity and joy of the game can not be overstated. Once the first series of Thumball designs hit the market people noticed it is based on a 32 panel soccer style design. Requests soon came in for a Soccer Thumball and Soccer Mania was born.
Covered in all the key terms a player would need to know to play soccer, Soccer Mania is a favorite among coaches especially of the younger clubs. It gives children a chance to hear the position, plays and terms explained multiple times and to practice some of the moves.
Older students use it to talk about a time when they made a specific play, got a red card or scored a goal. It is also the perfect vehicle for older players to teach younger players how to play the game.
Some parents buy Soccer Mania Thumball so their child can learn the words at home and play with siblings.
Ten Thumball designs have crossed the pond and are now available in the UK and private futbol leaugues are interested in Soccer Mania Thumball. There are requests to make a custom Soccer Thumball with their team name, colors and player's numbers.
We hope to hop the pond some day soon and see our invention on European soil. Play really is the international language of all and everyone knows what to do with a ball. Soon they will all know what to do with a Thumball...Toss, catch, respond to the panel under your thumb.
Millions have come together on the mall in Washington DC to share in the exuberance of this day. Inauguration Day may have never captivated hearts and minds in this powerful a way before. Give credit to great TV coverage but the spirit shining today is compelling and it is the man, our President Barack Obama who deserves the real credit.
A true coming together of humanity is happening and laying a foundation for more progress in relationships of every kind. Obama Thumball shares this excitement and is available at
www.obamathumball.com. Inspired by our new President and the perfect tool for teaching the tenets of democracy and the civics curriculum.
The task is huge and after the confetti is swept up the significant issues will be there needing attention. Today however should be a grand celebration because a new level of freedom and opportunity has been achieved. The pride of our country is beginning to be restored. Political fighting can be put to rest and we can all participate in our communities under President Obama and keep this enthusiasm rolling.
For today the word at AIM is "The Obama Thumballs are in Alaska on route to Colorado!"
Only one week to Inauguartion Day! Hope, Progress and Change. This feels exciting and inspiring making me remember the elation of election evening.
The newest design, President Barack Obama Thumball is a way to keep the hope and vision of the campaign alive. A chance to discuss and integrate the plans for our nation under a remarkable new leader. Visit obamathumball.com
Share a piece of history with the toss of a ball, the lift of a thumb and the confidence that better days are to come.