Technology has given us many wonderful things: the internet, phones that are basically tiny computers, a way to play solitaire at any time and place, without a card to be found. But technology takes as well as gives: if conference calling didn’t exist, we’d only have to have those regularly scheduled meetings in the actual office. Someone owes us big time for all those boring hours spent half-listening to the boss drone on and on.
But here’s where tech gives back to us once again: The invention of hand-held office toys means that we don’t have to while away those conference calls with only our imaginations to keep us amused. These toys are a few of our favorites.
Make log cabins, geodesic domes, or a bunch of other desk-top sculptures with this awesome toy. Only $25, Buckybars are for sale at tchotchke shop Pylones in New York.
100 million Etch-a-Sketches have been sold since their invention in 1960. You’ve probably owned two or three over the course of your life, but you might not have thought of it as the perfect fidget toy for those long, boring meetings. Which it is, as long as you can keep from cursing on an open line when sketches go wrong. $15.95 from Fat Brain Toys.
The only thing better than the toys on ThinkGeek are the descriptions that go along with them. For example: “Get a bunch! They love to play together and they’ll stay happier longer. You want your Acrobots to be happy don’t you? Oh, and never forget that no matter what happens — YOU are always their King.” It sounds bananas, until you realize that half the reason you need something to play with is that you’re not exactly in control of your time. So, yay, Acrobots! $7.99 on ThinkGeek.
Tired of the usual doodling? Try this pen from Fat Brain Toys. At $10.95, it’s a cheap, portable version of that old favorite game Spirograph. And it’s always nice to make something pretty while you’re passing the time.
Basically Silly Putty for grownups, Thinking Putty ($9.99 from ThinkGeek) is everything you’d expect. You can make it into a rubber ball, use it to lift comics, or just pummel it quietly while you watch the minutes tick by. It’s pretty much the perfect stress reduction toy. Just don’t drop the tin while you’re talking on the phone.