Author: Ali Mierzejewski

FunTime Inflation Station Pumps Up the Classic Bouncy Ball

MegaFun USA introduces the FunTime Inflation Station, a new way to display play balls to customers. This machine brings a 21st century update to a classic bouncy ball toy by adding a bit of interactive fun to the process of buying one.  You can watch the entire process in action here: The FunTime Inflation Station is already at retailers including  Hy-Vee Stores, Do Best Stores, CVS, Party City, Toys “R” US Canada, HEB, Orscheln’s, Atwoods, Kroger/Fred Meyer, Great Wolf Lodge, Six Flags Great America, and Cedar Fair, as well as independent toy, gift, candy, book, and souvenir stores and zoos. Internationally, the FunTime Inflation Station will be carried in Germany, Russia, England, Ireland, France, Spain, Switzerland, Greece, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Uruguay, Honduras, Columbia, and Panama throughout this year and next. Holding up to 288 balls, the Inflation Station offers no shortage of choice when it comes to colors and patterns.B alls are sold in 36-count packs for easy restocking and marketing for new seasons. In store, kids can place one of the Inflate-a-Balls on the Inflation Station’s patented inflation device with a safety shield for the inflation needle, grab the station’s easy grip handles, and pedal away until the ball is completely inflated and ready for playtime. MegaFun’s patented Inflate-a-Balls are pop-proof and worry-free.  The Inflation Station comes with a one-year warranty, is 24 inches in diameter, and...

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COMMENTARY: It’s All About the Robots

Earlier this week, Senior Editor Marissa DiBartolo wrote about how the floor of the American International Toy Fair 2014 was lacking in the realm of appcessories, and that many companies were heading back to the classic play patterns, especially in the activities category. I also noticed an emerging trend that does not heavily rely on app technology, but does not veer from the idea of incorporating tech into playtime: robots. As I walked the floor, I saw a bunch of different robotic products that really displayed where the category is heading—and a lot of that was not app-reliant. Of course, most of these robots can be controlled with or used with smart devices, but gone are the days where “and it has an app!” was a suitable enough novelty to convince consumers to purchase the toy. First, let me introduce you to MiP. MiP, which is short for Mobile Inverted Pendulum, is WowWee’s latest innovation in association with the University of California at San Diego’s Coordinated Robots Lab. MiP has unique dual wheel balancing (thanks to that inverted pendulum science!) and is a fully interactive robot. MiP is able to navigate his surroundings while being controlled by hand gestures or through a Bluetooth link to a smart device. MiP also has a personality that is communicated through motion, sounds, and his LED eyes. MiP’s pendulum allows him to become...

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Laser Pegs’ Pegasaur Greets Guests at the Toy Fair Entrance

Laser Pegs will construct a 15-foot-tall, 10-foot-long dinosaur, the Pegasaur, to greet guests at the entrance of the 2014 Toy Fair convention this weekend. A team of four people spent more than a month building the mammoth creature that is illuminated in shades of purple, yellow, green, and red by the thousands of LED lights that are encased inside each tiny Laser Pegs piece used to build it. Here is a video showing the time-lapse construction...

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A Letter to the Industry from Björn Jeffery, Co-Founder & CEO, Toca Boca

Dear Toy Industry, Hope all is well! I’m writing to you from the App Store, where Toca Boca just had the biggest holiday season ever—we even landed in the Top 10! While the App Store is a space for digital products, so much of what you know about toys can be applied here—and there’s room for you to excel in this space. Toca Boca started researching your products a little more than three years ago. We looked at play patterns and blockbuster toys—searching for themes that could work for us. Since you were such a key influence, I thought...

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