Gemmy Introduces Airblown Inflatable Easter Bunny

Gemmy introduces the seven foot tall Airblown Inflatable Easter Bunny with Bow Tie and Vest. It self-inflates in seconds, and is weather resistant. It even lights up at night. It comes with ground stakes and tethers, and is available exclusively at Walmart.com .

Alex to Premiere First App, Moody Monster Manor, on Friday

On March 25, Alex Toys will premiere its first app, Moody Monster Manor, targeted to kids ages 3 to 6. The free app for the iPhone, iPad, and iTouch features four monster-themed games and is a way for children to learn about emotions. Kids can create their own monsters, win monster merit badges, and learn about matching, colors, and animals, among other things. Activities include zapping Scared Sam’s bad dreams with a magical monster flashlight and whipping up a pot of Stinky Sneaker Stew for Hungry Hank.

The app will be available for download at www.alextoys.com and worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store. On launch day, Alex’s website will also feature printable monster illustrations to color and a contest to win Alex monster-themed toys, including Diving Monster, Tub Target Screaming Monsters, Monster Bingo, Monster Clompers, and Monster Mitts.

The Juno Company Kicks Off National Reading Month with Do It Yourself ABC (Face)Book Contest

March is National Reading Month and The Juno Company wants you to celebrate. The Juno Company, a children’s digital new media company specializing in the creation of innovative music education products including movies, apps and games, toys, and books, launched the “Do It Yourself ABC (Face)Book Contest” where you can practice your rhymes and win daily prizes.

Getting involved in the contest is easy. Visit The Juno Company’s Facebook page, become a fan, and each day Juno will let you know that day’s designated letter of the alphabet. Once the letter is announced that’s your cue to post a music-related rhyme dedicated to someone special using the letter in as many creative ways as possible. Juno will pick a winner every day and prizes include Juno products, gift cards, and more.

The Juno Company, founded by mom and composer, Belinda Takahashi, Ph.D., is best known for its Emmy Award-winning Juno Baby line and its newly launched Juno Jr. line of products, which both feature original music composed and performed by live orchestral musicians and a cast of puppets that interact with children through creative and educational storylines. The characters play in the musical world of Harmonia Springs where trees are made of cellos, cars are shaped like bass clefs, and lamp posts like French horns, and the train that takes them on their journey is made up entirely of musical instruments. Through their journeys, the characters learn new musical concepts as they sing to the original, orchestral music.

Check out Juno’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/JunoBaby) and enter to win a new prize every day. The contest ends April 6, 2011.

For more information on The Juno Company, visit www.thejunocompany.com.

Harry Potter Makes a Pit Stop in NYC

Harry Potter fans in New York City can soon experience the magic of Hogwartz with a new exhibition at Discovery Times Square, set to open April 5. Harry Potter: The Exhibition is a 14,000-square-foot event where visitors can view the craftsmanship behind the authentic costumes and props, including artifacts inspired by those in sets such as the Great Hall, Hagrids Hut, and the Gryffindor common room.

The exhibition, which was developed in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Global Experience Specialists, Inc. (GES), made its world premiere in Chicago in April 2009 before traveling to other cities. New York City is serving as the final North American destination before going international.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at DiscoveryTS.com, at the Discovery Times Square box office (226 West 44th Street), or by calling (866) 987-9692.

Report: Kids Socialize Differently As They Grow Older, No Effect on Toy Playing

According to a new report by The NPD Group, Kids Leisure Time IV, as kids get older they socialize with others in different ways, replacing person-to-person communication with other forms of socialization, such as social networks, cell phones, and video chats, which may be considered another form of entertainment. According to the report, kids ages 2 to 4 spent 17.5 hours per week spending actual face time with friends or siblings, with the average hours per week dropping off as they aged (10.8 hours for ages 9 to 12).

While kids have the same number of hours to spend on leisure time (68 leisure hours in a typical week), they have more activities that they are engaging in, requiring them to reprioritize how they spend their time, reported NPD.

Although kids may be engaging in more activities, and have new forms of entertainment, NPD says this has minimal impact on kids’ interaction with toys; unlike movies, kids are still as actively engaged with toys as they were in the past few years. NPD reports that kids may even be spending slightly more hours per week with toys than they did in 2009.

Universal Pictures and Walmart Unveil Exclusive Hop Merchandise

Universal Pictures and Walmart have announced a retail program tied to the upcoming live action/CG-animated comedy Hop, the second film from Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me) that hits movie theaters across the country on April 1. Walmart customers can build their Hop-themed Easter baskets, and visit the movie-inspired “Candy Factory,” with 100 exclusive licensed products, including candy, toys, activities, and apparel.
“This is the first time we’ve worked with a licensed property to brand an important seasonal event in Walmart stores,” said Gary Severson, senior vice president, Home Entertainment, Walmart U.S.
The program, which rolled out March 17 in more than 3,000 Walmart stores, includes a dedicated aisle rolling out sweet Easter treats, and a Build-a-Basket Factory. Toys include character plush toys from Funrise, coloring and activity books from Dalmation Press, bubbles, pinwheels, paddle board, memory card games, etc. from Funrise, and Hop-themed video games for the Nintendo DS, DSi, and 3DS.
Blending animation with live action, Hop is a comedy about E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), the teenage son of the Easter Bunny. On the eve of taking over the family business, E.B. leaves for Hollywood in pursuit of his dream of becoming a drummer. He encounters Fred (James Marsden), an out-of-work slacker with his own lofty goals, who accidentally hits E.B. with his car. Feigning injury, E.B. manipulates Fred into providing him shelter, and Fred finds himself with the world’s worst house guest.

The Not-Its! Head to Jiggle Jam

Seattle’s local kindie rock band The Not-Its! are headed to Kansas City to play the mid-west’s largest family music festival—Jiggle Jam. It was announced by festival producers—Hiccup Productions, Inc.— that The Not-Its! were the winners of a two week long Facebook competition that has awarded them a travel stipend, room and board, and the opportunity to play for thousands at the annual Jiggle Jam music festival.
For three years now, the five-member rock band The Not-Its! have been making waves around the Northwest with their rock ‘n roll style music for kids and families. Their debut album, We Are The Not-Its!, was released in 2009. In 2010, the band released their second record Time Out To Rock.
Before their appearance at the Kansas City Jiggle Jam on May 28, the band will appear at Kindiefest—a family music conference—on April 29 in Brooklyn, New York. They are currently preparing their third record, due for an early summer release. Fans of The Not-Its! can keep an eye out for their next music video for the song “First Kind in Outer Space” as well, set to debut in April. The Not-Its! next Seattle appearance is April 2 at the Mt. Baker Community Club. More details: http://ow.ly/4ekU3

For more information about The Not-Its!, visit: wearethenot-its.com

Captain Action to Make a Comeback This Fall

Round 2 has announced that for the first time in more than 40 years, Captain Action will once again be associated with Marvel Comics characters. This fall, 1/6-scaled Captain Action costume sets of Spider-Man and Captain America will debut at Toys “R” Us and other specialty retailers. Next year, additional Marvel character costumes sets will be released, including Iron Man and Thor.

Captain Action debuted in the mid-1960s. The action figure is equipped with costumes that allows it be disguised as a number of different super heroes and comic book characters.

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Donate to Japan Via K.I.D.S.

Kids In Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) is coordinating immediate relief efforts following the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and 23-foot tsunami that hit the northern part of Japan. K.I.D.S. is asking retailers and manufacturers to provide donations of desperately needed new products—including blankets, undergarments, and apparel—and for the public to provide monetary support to the long-term relief effort by visiting www.KIDSdonations.org or calling 212-279-5493.
Additionally, through the K.I.D.S. 10-to-1 system of matching donations, the organization will donate $10 worth of new product for every $1 raised. Donations of $5 may be made by texting the word ALLKIDS to 85944.

Rocksmith Lets Players Use Real Guitars

Ubisoft has just announced the development of Rocksmith, a new video game franchise. Rocksmith is the first and only game where players can plug any real guitar with a standard quarter-inch input jack into an Xbox 360, a PlayStation 3, or a PC, and play through an in-depth library of music including everything from the latest hits to classic rock songs.
Featuring gameplay that automatically adjusts to the player’s skill level and  game design that makes reading music visually fun and intuitive, Rocksmith engages experienced musicians and those who are picking up a guitar for the first time. The game includes a  library of music from classic rock bands to current artists, such as The Animals, The Black Keys, David Bowie, Interpol, Nirvana, and The Rolling Stones.
Developed by Ubisoft, Rocksmith is slated to be released in the second half of calendar year 2011. For more information on Rocksmith, follow the game on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rocksmithgame, or visit www.rocksmith.com.