HearthSong® Commemorates 25th Anniversary by Giving Away $25K in Scholarships and Commissioning New Survey

HearthSong, a subsidiary of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc., has been providing innovative, learning-oriented children’s toys, games and crafts for a quarter century. To celebrate the inherent connection between play and learning, and in commemoration of the company’s 25th anniversary, HearthSong is sponsoring the “HearthSong 25th Anniversary $25,000 Scholarship Sweepstakes.” The event, which runs through December 31, 2008, will award three college scholarships, including a $15,000 grand prize scholarship, as well as 25 other prizes. Winners will be selected at random from among eligible entries. Further details about the sweepstakes are available at http://www.hearthsong.com.

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Laughter and engagement in active play is essential to the well being of your child

CARLE PLACE, N.Y. (PRWEB) September 3, 2008

Also in observance of HearthSong's 25th anniversary as one of America's most trusted children's toy brands, the company commissioned a new survey conducted by IPSOS Public Affairs, a leading global research company. The survey was initiated by HearthSong in response to recent findings indicating that despite near universal acknowledgment that playtime is a vital component of a child's development, 62 percent of parents engage in "active play" with their children for less than an hour a day on average. Furthermore, 16 percent of parents admit that their playtime interaction with their kids averages less than one hour each week.

According to the new IPSOS Public Affairs survey, 99 percent of Americans believe that children's play is important for a variety of reasons. However, in a world in which the demands on parents' time are considerable, only 38 percent of parents say they spend at least six hours per week in active play with their kids. One in six parents doesn't even spend that much time, averaging fewer than 10 minutes per day in playtime with their sons and daughters.

"Everyone recognizes that for children to be children, they need time to play," said Beverly Fries, Director of Educational Play at HearthSong, one of the nation's leading catalog-based toy companies. "Play at any stage of a child's development helps instill a sense of accomplishment, delight and both intellectual and social growth. What is equally important to understand is the opportunities that play provides parents to engage with their children, to praise and encourage them in ways that instill strong and enduring bonds. We at HearthSong have always believed that play is a critical component of a child's learning and development."

In other survey results, of those parents who do play with their kids, about one third (30%) say they play games, another quarter (27%) participate in unstructured play and a like number (27%) play outside in a structured activity such as sports. Parents were fairly evenly split on the value of structured play. Forty-four percent of respondents said that structured play such as play groups, school and sports leagues satisfy their child's play requirements, while 56 percent disagreed. When asked what they believed was the most important aspect of play in contributing to their child's development, more than one in four parents (27%) said "learning to interact with others," followed by developing "motor skills" (18%), "problem solving" (17%), "creative thinking" (17%), "imagination" (12%) and increasing a "sense of accomplishment" (9%). Lastly, despite the growing popularity of electronic toys such as computer and video games, only 38 percent of respondents indicated that their child spends more time with electronic toys than with other types of play.

"Laughter and engagement in active play is essential to the well being of your child," said Fries. "From newborns to pre-teens, active play enhances a child's mental, physical, emotional and social development throughout their life."

About HearthSong

HearthSong has been helping parents provide their children with age-appropriate, wholesome playthings for the past 25 years. Based in Madison, Virginia, the company, a division of Madison Brands, is a nationally known and respected source for quality children's toys, games and crafts. With the motto of "toys you'll feel good about giving,"® HearthSong guarantees that each item in its catalogs has been carefully selected for quality, safety and appropriateness to a child's development. Madison Brands is owned by New York-based 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. For more information, visit HearthSong on the Web at http://www.hearthsong.com.

About 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.

1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. is the world's leading florist and a provider of specialty gifts for all occasions. For more than 30 years, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. has been providing customers with fresh flowers and the finest selection of plants, gift baskets, gourmet foods, confections, balloons and plush stuffed animals perfect for every occasion. 1-800-FLOWERS.COM® (1-800-356-9377 or http://www.1800flowers.com), is one of the top 50 online retailers by Internet Retailer, as well as 2008 Laureate Honoree by the Computerworld Honors Program and the recipient of ICMI's 2006 Global Call Center of the Year Award, offers the best of both worlds: exquisite arrangements created by some of the nation's top floral artists and hand-delivered the same day, and spectacular flowers shipped overnight "Fresh From Our Growerssm." As always, 100% satisfaction and freshness are guaranteed. The Company's BloomNet® (http://www.mybloomnet.net) international floral wire service provides a broad range of quality products and value-added services designed to help professional florists grow their businesses profitably. The 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. "Gift Shop" also includes gourmet gifts such as popcorn and specialty treats from The Popcorn Factory® (1-800-541-2676 or http://www.thepopcornfactory.com); exceptional cookies and baked gifts from Cheryl&Co.® (1-800-443-8124 or http://www.cherylandco.com); premium chocolates and confections from Fannie May Confections Brands® (http://www.fanniemay.com and http://www.harrylondon.com); gourmet foods from Greatfood.com® (http://www.greatfood.com); wine gifts from Ambrosia® (http://www.ambrosia.com); gift baskets from 1-800-BASKETS.COM® (http://www.1800baskets.com) and DesignPac® as well as Home Decor and Children's Gifts from Plow & Hearth® (1-800-627-1712 or http://www.plowandhearth.com), Wind & Weather® (http://www.windandweather.com), HearthSong® (http://www.hearthsong.com) and Magic Cabin® (http://www.magiccabin.com).

1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. is involved in a broad range of corporate social responsibility initiatives including continuous expansion and enhancement of its environmentally-friendly "green" programs, various philanthropic and charitable efforts and special private-sector skills training programs for military veterans. 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under ticker symbol FLWS.


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