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“Happy Toys” Teach Kids As They Play
Jerry Sims had no intention of going into business when he built his sons a toy corral big enough to climb into. Nearly 25 years later he and his wife, Patrice, sell the toy corrals, trucks, accessories and animals through their business The Happy Toy Maker out of Happy, Texas.
Not only do they keep kids playing for hours, but the toys also teach, Sims says. His first corral was based on Temple Grandin’s less stressful and efficient livestock handling system with curved alleys, a tub and a processing chute.
“The boys were used to the little one so they could understand what we were doing outside. If parents or grandparents play with their kids, they can explain things, so they understand and prevent them from getting hurt on the real thing,” Sim says.
He built the corral to the scale of toy animals that he had at the time, about 1/12 scale. But when those animals were no longer available, Patrice started making them out of resin. She focuses on the animals, while Sims oversees the equipment and corral side.
“We have 73 toys on the website and about 40 are metal,” he says. Other than rubber for tires and mud flaps and wood to make round bales, everything is metal.
Everything works like the real thing. Gates open and close. Jacks go up and down. Trucks include semi-trailers, belly dumps, tankers and pickups that have options such as welding rigs or veterinarian beds. A new tub grinder is due out this year.
Sims adds new items every year with the help of more than a dozen full and part-time employees. Many of them are high school students who pick up a range of skills - bending metal, welding, running a lathe, AutoCAD drawing, painting and shipping.
With a computerized plasma torch, The Happy Toy Maker can personalize toys with names and brands.
The U.S.-made toys are more expensive than other toys, Sims notes, but they will last for generations.
“We’ve had things go through a fire that we sandblast and redo for customers,” Sims says. “Kids need things that develop their minds, and with less than 2 percent of people feeding 98 percent of the population, we have to keep them interested in farming and ranching.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, The Happy Toy Maker, 43600 S Georgia St., Happy, Texas 79042 (ph 806-433-2123; info@thehappytoymaker.com; www.thehappytoymaker.com).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #1