My Stuff Bags Handed Out at Haven Academy

Last week, two incoming classes of kindergarteners at Mott Haven Academy Charter School, in the Bronx, N.Y., received 50 duffel bags filled with toys and toiletries, courtesy of the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and strategic partner My Stuff Bags Foundation.

The “My Stuff” bags—which contained school supplies, a stuffed animal and blanket, arts and crafts, and toiletries—were handed out to the children who are among the 300,000 kids that enter foster care across the U.S. each year.

Along with school officials, the media, and representatives from TIF, New York City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito and Assembly Member Carmen E. Arroyo were on hand to watch the excited kids open their bags.

Haven Academy, now in its fourth year, is the only public charter school in the nation for at-risk children. Sponsored by The New York Foundling, the school aims to empower kids by integrating family support services into a rigorous academic program so children can reach their full potential.

Build-A-Bear Enters Kinectimals World

Build-A-Bear Workshop is working with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 to introduce a new interactive entertainment experience for store visitors. Starting October 11, select stuffed animals sold in all Build-A-Bear Workshop stores and at www.buildabear.com can be imported into the new Kinect for Xbox 360 game, Kinectimals Now with Bears.

Each of the four bears will include a special Kinectimals hangtag that features a Microsoft Tag. When the tag is scanned with the Kinect for Xbox 360, the bears are imported right into the game. Kids can then engage in activities, including training, caring for, and playing with their cubs, as well as embark on challenges across two mysterious islands.

Select North American and United Kingdom Build-A-Bear Workshop stores will have Kinect for Xbox 360 stations set up to showcase Kinectimals Now with Bears, along with Kinect-enabled Build-A-Bear Workshop bears.

The Magic School Bus Celebrates 25 Years

The Magic School Bus is celebrating its 25th anniversary with new products, a live tour, and promotions. The Scholastic brand will kick off the celebration next month with the release of The Magic School Bus: Oceans game for Nintendo DS and The Magic School Bus: Dinosaurs app for Apple’s iPad. Both releases are based on the Scholastic books written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen.

Joining the celebration, Identity Games will release its new GameChanger (an electronic board that works with the iPad) featuring The Magic School Bus game skins. The Young Scientists Club will launch “The Magic School Bus Science Club,” and release five new Magic School Bus activity kits this year. Scholastic Audio has three new Magic School Bus audio books scheduled for release next year.

Additionally, Maximum Entertainment Productions and The Brad Simon Organization will tour the new “The Magic School Bus – Live! The Climate Challenge” live show throughout the U.S., hitting 60 cities. An anniversary field trip event and a book signing in New York City, as well as an online game, are also planned.

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch to Return

Archie Comics is partnering with animation studio Moonscoop for a new animated series based on the adventures of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. The new partnership will give the long-running character, popular since the 1970s, a new look that is more modern and teen-centric. Sabrina will face the trials and tribulations all teens come across, along with monsters and the supernatural.

The series will be produced in Moonscoop’s Los Angeles studio. The companies are looking to launch the animated series with a network or cable partner in the coming year.

New Product: Appmates Toys for the iPad

Cars 2 Appmates for the iPad

Disney and Spin Master have introduced its Appmates Mobile Application Toys, a new toy line that comes to life digitally when used with an Apple iPad, turning the tablet’s screen into a virtual play mat.

Developed in collaboration between Disney Consumer Products (DCP) and Disney Mobile, and featuring patent-pending technology, the Appmates toy line features miniature Disney·Pixar Cars 2 vehicles with sensors on the base of each toy. Users download the free Cars 2 Appmates app from the iTunes app store (available in mid-October), place the Appmates toy character on the screen, and play. By guiding the Appmates vehicle on the screen, kids can experience the world of Radiator Springs via the iPad, and also race against World Grand Prix opponents.

Each toy unlocks different features and content within the app, specific to the character. Fans can download and test the app using their fingers, but the play experience is optimized with the Appmates toy vehicles.

The Disney Appmates toys, by Spin Master, will launch October 1 at retailers nationwide. Available will be Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater, Finn McMissile, and Holley Shiftwell, with Francesco Bernoulli and Shu Todoroki launching in November (exclusively through Apple stores).

Little Tikes Workshop and Tool Sets Recall Extended to 1.7 Million

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with MGA’s Little Tikes, has expanded the voluntary recall it issued in August 2009 of Little Tikes Workshop and Tool Sets. Approximately 1.6 million of the sets were recalled in 2009, and the recall has now been extended to 1.7 million.

The recalled workshop and tool sets have oversized, plastic toy nails that can pose a choking hazard to young children. Little Tikes reported two additional incidents, occurring prior to the August 2009 recall, of children who choked when the toy nail became lodged in their throat. Both children were treated in a hospital and made a full recovery. The recalled products were sold nationwide from 1990 to 2004 for $25 to $100.

For model numbers, which may be found on some of the products, click here. Owners of the products should take the toy nails away from young children immediately and contact Little Tikes. For more information, visit at www.littletikes.com

Techno Source to Distribute Character Options Toys in the U.S.

Techno Source, a division of LF Products, has signed a deal to distribute selected lines of toy company Character Options’ best-selling products, in the U.S. The partnership deepens the companies’ existing relationship, under which Character Options has distributed many of Techno Source’s products in the UK for nearly a decade.

Techno Source will bring to market a number of Character Options’ original and licensed toys under its Techno Source and Toy Island brands. The first products to launch under this partnership will be a Scooby-Doo toy line, as part of a licensing agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

Character Options holds the master toy license for Scooby-Doo in the UK and U.S. The Scooby-Doo products, which include figures, play sets, vehicles, plush, and goo, will be available at mass and specialty retailers beginning in the spring.

Limited-Edition Uglydoll: Cookie Chef Babo

Cookie Chef Babo

Love Uglydolls?

Pretty Ugly, LLC has just launched an exclusive promotion: spend $25 in store on Uglydoll products and you can be eligible to redeem the limited-edition Chef Babo Uglydoll in the classic size. The plush comes complete with an apron, chef hat, and, of course, a cookie.

After stopping by any authorized Uglydoll retailer to shop for Uglydolls, save your store receipt, fill out the redemption form, and await the arrival of your very own Uglydoll Cookie Chef Babo (shipping and handling not included).

The Toy Insider’s Hot 20 Toys for the Holidays

Have you seen The Toy Insider‘s Hot 20 toy picks for this holiday season? You can get a quick rundown by watching the video above, which shows some of the Hot 20 toys that are sure to be on kids’ wish lists this year.

For a full list of the Hot 20, click here.

The Toy Insider will also release an extended list of 110 toy recommendations for the holiday season in the November 17th issue of Woman’s Day, on newsstands November 1. Plus, even more recommendations will be posted on www.thetoyinsider.com.

For more information, visit www.thetoyinsider.com, follow @thetoyinsider on Twitter, or become a Fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/toyinsider. The holidays are approaching!

A Little “Magic Dust” Goes a Long Way

The Magical Tale of Santa Dust – A Christmas Tradition, written by Patricia Cardello, tells a tale of two small children who, on Christmas Eve, sit by their window eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa, only to be bypassed on his yearly journey.

The book is based on a tradition Cardello started with her children, then told to children in her neighborhood, and explains the common question of “How will Santa know where I live?” Each book is packaged with one pouch of “Santa Dust,” a magical potion used by children worldwide to help guide Santa and his reindeer to their door. Children sprinkle their Santa Dust, leave milk and cookies for Kris Kringle, and hope to awake to presents the next day.

The Magical Tale of Santa Dust is the first in a series of books written by Cardello, and is available for purchase at www.magicdusts.com.