Old-fashioned toys have learned a few new tricks

Believe it or not, there was a time when toys didn't need batteries or require hours to assemble or program. You just ripped open the package and got down to business.

Two of these classic playthings &

a kite and a Raggedy Andy doll &

were recently inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, N.Y. Your parents and grandparents probably flew kites, and maybe even had a Raggedy Ann or Andy.

KidsPost talked with two people for whom old-fashioned toys have never gone out of style.

The Pogo Stick

The patent for a pogo stick was issued in 1919, and the toys became wildly popular in the 1920s. Today's young jumpers, though, have gone w-a-a-a-y beyond simply bouncing up and down.

Cody Bluett, 15, started jumping with the Pogo Squad in York, Pa., three years ago after watching his brother perform tricks on a pogo stick. The hardest part, he says, was getting started: "Just learning to balance ... it was kind of hard getting used to it."

Cody practiced hour after hour until, about a month later, he could do difficult tricks with ease. Once the group officially accepted him as a member, he started performing around town &

doing pogo tricks in parades and at shopping centers.

"It's great to be in that kind of group where ... bystanders look and say, 'Wow, that's cool. I have never seen that before,' " Cody says.

Advanced jumpers can even do backflips on their sticks.

Cody says that no matter what trick he is trying, he always wears a helmet.

If you would like to see a video of him in action, go to , click on "Video Vault" and then "Individual Videos." Cody goes by the nickname Oops.

The site also has tips on how to do some great tricks.

The Yo-Yo

Think you are good enough to make a living doing yo-yo tricks?

Dick Stohr does. He quit his job as an engineering consultant about 10 years ago. Now he travels around the region calling himself That Yo-Yo Guy and teaching kids "a really fun science lesson."

Stohr, 68, has been playing with the toys since he was a kid (setting six world records along the way). Now he enjoys teaching a new generation what makes a yo-yo go.

"The more energy you put into the throw, the more stable the yo-yo becomes, and the spin will last longer, so you can do more tricks," he explains. The yo-yo starts to slow down when there is friction between it and its string.

Stohr loves the work that's required to master a tough trick. "The more you practice, the better you get," he says. "The more confident you become, the more fun it is."

When he's not traveling, Stohr is at home in Springfield, Va. &

practicing. His basement is filled with yo-yos. "I quit counting at 1,400," he says with a laugh.

You can watch videos of his tricks at /video/watch/1079.

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