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Our History

In the living room of their small apartment in 1953, Elvin and Frances Klein founded what is today US Toy Company. Their entire family, including their two small children, pitched in to help the company grow by packaging small toys into plastic sleeves. These novelty toys were sold along with circular racks for drugstores and merchants. For many years, this toy rack was a permanent fixture in the Klein’s living room.

In addition to the growth in the novelty toy business, Frances developed her own innovative “niche” business. She helped pioneer the emerging educational toy business geared towards preschools, daycares, and early childhood education. Frances, a former nursery school teacher, had the necessary knowledge to fill the seeming void of “good” educational resources available to educators. Shortly after establishing the Constructive Playthings brand to sell educational products, the Head Start governmental program was launched. As a result, Constructive Playthings found itself thriving in the educational toy market as a prime source of quality early childhood materials for Head Start classrooms.

Over the ensuing decades, US Toy/Constructive Playthings has evolved by opening a nationwide chain of retail stores and launching websites to supplement the various catalogs. In 1996, Frances received national recognition by earning the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for lifetime achievement.

From its inception, the company has been family owned and operated. Three generations of family members and hundreds of “extended family” work together to further the founders vision of success.