The Toy Book’s NY Toy Fair Editorial Coverage – Request for Submissions!

It’s that time of year again! We are now collecting editorial submissions for The Toy Book‘s February New York Toy Fair issue! The deadline is December 20.

The Toy Book‘s February Toy Fair issue will feature coverage of what retail buyers should check out at the show. Please submit product info and high-res 300 dpi images for products that are NEW FOR 2014 ONLY. Due to the large number of submissions we receive, our requirements have changed. Please click “Read more…” to carefully review all of our submission rules and find out where to submit. Thanks! [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: It’s Alive! Cool Tech Brings Animal Toys to Life

Kids are always begging for pets, especially around the holidays. “Can I have a puppy?” “I want a pony!” I’m sure you’re hearing it all. But if you’re not ready to make that huge commitment to a pet and a messy house (and perhaps all of the dog-walking responsibilities), new technology that’s available is truly bringing animal toys to life.

Hexbug Nano V2 Black Hole

Hexbug Nano V2 Black Hole

The Hexbug line, from Innovation First, has used new tech to make robotic Hexbug critters that crawl on battery power. Two of the company’s newest lines expand upon this technology to make it even better. The Hexbug Nano V2 critters are gravity-defying bugs that can climb vertically through tubes. The Hexbug Nano V2 Black Hole play set, the Nano V2 bugs can climb vertically, horizontally, and around corners. Kids can unleash their creativity by customizing the design and layout of the three-story set. The play set also comes with special accessories including a spiral tube and a black funnel.

The Hexbugs Aquabot line features robotic fish that really swim in water. The micro-robotic creatures have Smart Fish technology that allows it to swim, dive, and change directions. You don’t have to worry about feeding it or cleaning its tank. Aqua bots are available in five translucent colors and designed for kids ages 3 and up. [Read more...]

Q&A with Michael Lillioja, President of Creata

CrocPot for PRCreata recently launched its new brand, Monster 500, exclusively at Toys “R” Us . The line features 10 characters that race for one of five teams in the Monster 500 speed competition. Each character will be sold as a small, 3-inch die-cast vehicle, but customers can also collect select large character feature vehicles standing 4 inches high and 5 inches long. Two play sets are also available.

The Toy Book had the opportunity to speak with Michael Lillioja, president of Creata, about thew new brand, and what launching its own brand meant for the future of Creata.

The Toy Book: Monster 500 is the first line that is produced by Creata as its own brand. What made you decide to launch your own brand after manufacturing for other companies for more than 30 years?

Michael Lillioja: Creata’s passion is toys. And we’re serious about fun. So it just seemed like a natural extension to use all of our expertise to create a line of toys that has the functions and features that kids expect today. We did a lot of research to make sure that Monster 500 provides the best experience possible.  

TBCan you describe the Monster 500 brand? What age groups is it for? Who is the target audience?

ML: Our target age-grading is kids ages 4 and up, with a sweet spot of 6- to10-year-old boys. Our secondary audience is the collectors or “fanboys.”

TB: Why did you decide on a Toys “R” Us exclusive?

ML: Toys “R” Us is the No. 1 specialty toy retailer that focuses exclusively on toys, and they are a great partner when it comes to launching a new product. We were fortunate to work with Toys “R” Us in the past, so it made perfect sense to continue that relationship with Monster 500. Our company history is rich with long-term partnerships. We see that the work we are doing on Monster 500 with Toys “R” Us is beneficial to both companies and has the potential to be a very long-term relationship.

Monster500screenshotTB: How does Monster 500 integrate classic physical play and new digital play? What sets it apart from other toys on the market that do this as well? 

ML: Every toy comes with a Monster Code that unlocks a virtual monster car in the free racing game app. It’s a best-in-class racing game experience, offered for free. And, with our “virtual blind box” unlock experience, you don’t know which Monster 500 character will be unleashed. It’s a surprise every time!

TB: What does the launch of Monster 500 mean for the future of your company? How has it changed the overall goals of the company? 

ML: Play patterns are changing. The Monster 500 launch is our recognition that the future of play will focus on the intersection of physical and digital. The creation of the Monster 500 line is an extension of Creata’s umbrella goal of adding play and fun to people’s lives.

Michael Lillioja is president of Creata, an insights-driven company working to bring brands and consumers together through play. Creata’s global brand activation capabilities include insights on how customers want to play; product design, development, and manufacturing; digital playground creation; and consumer promotion. Creata has 14 offices in 10 countries. www.creata.com.  

Nuremberg Toy Fair Editorial Submissions for the Toy Book

The Toy Book, the leading U.S. trade publication for the toy industry, is currently working on its Nuremberg International Toy Fair issue, which will be distributed at Spielwarenmesse 2014, and we want YOU to be a part of it. Are you exhibiting in Nuremberg in 2014? If so, please submit a description of any items you will be showing that are new for 2014, along with high-res 300 dpi product images, to submissions.toybook@gmail.com. The deadline is November 22.

**There is no fee for this editorial.**

BE SURE TO INCLUDE: 

  • YOUR HALL AND STAND NUMBER IN THIS FORMAT “Hall 1, Stand B-05-1″
  • Where and when product will be available for distribution (e.g. Available in North American in spring 2014 and globally beginning in fall 2014.)
  • A description of each new item/line you’d like us to cover
  • A high-res 300 dpi image for AT LEAST ONE ITEM you are submitting

[Read more...]

Tiggly Introduces New Tiggly Shapes and Apps

tigglyshapesTiggly Shapes, the first physical product from Tiggly, is a set of four geometric shapes (a square, a circle, a triangle, and a star) that are designed to interact with learning apps on tablets. Tiggly Shakes come with three free apps and a felt carrying pouch for easy transportation. The three included apps are Tiggly Safari, where kids use Tiggly Shapes to construct animals from the jungle, farm, and sea; Tiggly Stamp, where kids use Tiggly Shapes to build seasonally themed scenes and use voice record and camera options to tell stories and save their work; and Tiggly Draw, where kids use the tablet as a canvas and Tiggly Shapes as their tools. 

Tiggly is a learning company that is pioneering a new way to educate kids in the digital age. By combining educational benefits of physical play with the learning potential of digital tools, Tiggly Shapes believes they can create an ideal environment for early childhood learning.

Tiggly Shapes and apps are designed for kids ages 18 months to 4 years.

COMMENTARY: Toys to Brave the Chilly Weather

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but it can also start to get very chilly. I know that in New York City, I’m layering my clothes and bundling up, preparing for (an always windy) winter. Fall for kids means back to school and less outdoor play, which can lead to a bummed out little one. Outdoor play is fun because it’s physical—you run faster, the toys fly higher, and of course there’s always the option of shooting water out of most of those toys. But just because the play is moving inside and becoming a little less physical, doesn’t mean it has to be less fun.

The holidays mean gift-giving, and while guides like our Toy Insider 2013 Holiday Gift Guide are packed with a ton of options, including scooters and flying toys, I’ve also got some suggestions of toys to give that kids can enjoy right away—without having to play in the cold weather.

drawsomethingThe Draw Something Party game, from Hasbro, is a great game for the whole family. Based on the popular app, Draw Something Party allows players to draw on the double-sided, glowing drawing screen with their finger or the stylus included. The person drawing selects one of the three words on the card, holds the glowing screen between him or herself and the guesser, and places the card with the scrambled letter facing the guesser. As the screen glows and the drawer draws, the guesser tries to figure out what is being drawn using the scrambled letters as a guide. And just like in the app, the difficulty of the word yields a different amount of coins when guessed correctly. [Read more...]

Spin Master Launches Tenkai Knights by Ionix Toy Line

Tenkai WorldSpin Master Ltd. has launched the Tenkai Knights toy line. Tenkai Knights is the first franchise to launch under the Ionix construction brand, a revolutionary new construction system featuring shape-shifting building bricks. Ionix bricks are fully compatible with other construction sets, which allows kids to build whatever their imagination can create. Tenkai Knights by Ionix is available at Toys “R” Us and Target, and will be available at Walmart on December 1.

Kids of all ages will be able to bring the Tenkai Knight’s world to life by unleashing the Tenkai power inside each unique construction brick. The building bricks are packed with surprises and infused with a special kind of shape-shifting Ionix magic that will allow kids worldwide to experience classic construction play in a brand new way. The toys bring the characters and the world of the Tenkai Knights animated TV series to life.

The Tenkai Knights TV Show, which airs Saturday mornings on Cartoon Network, is a U.S. and Japanese co-production.  The Spin Master entertainment team worked with production company, Shogakukan-Shueisha (ShoPro), to create the series.  Tenkai Knights has a unique style, mixing traditional 2-D animation with CGI, creating a distinct look that separates Tenkai Knights from other series.

Safari Ltd. Swaps Facebook Likes for Toys in New Promotion

safariSafari Ltd. is donating five toys for every new Facebook like it receives during the month of November to the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF), the philanthropic arm of the Toy Industry Association. Dubbed “You Like, We Give,” the promotion specifically supports TIF’s signature program, The Toy Bank, benefitting children in need this holiday season. Safari Ltd. has committed to donating up to 2,500 toys.

Over the past 10 years, The Toy Bank has delivered $85 million worth of toys to children who are sick, impoverished, rescued from abusive homes, living through natural disasters, enduring life on a military base or otherwise in need. Safari Ltd. is a third-generation, educational toy company whose mission is to teach children the importance of nature and its conservation through the joy of play.

COMMENTARY: Tech Toys That Extend Beyond the Screen

TT12This year, for the first time ever, the Toy Insider released a list of top tech toys for the holiday season in its gift guide called the Top Tech 12. This list promotes the belief that we have here about a “well-balanced toy box.” In a world that has new technology each day—and tons of digital, innovative toys for kids—it’s easy to get caught up in buying the newest, most glamorous toys out there without really knowing if it’s the right toy for your kid. The Toy Insider’s goal with this list is to help shoppers sift through all of the options out there for forward-thinking and impressive tech-based toys that incorporate the latest in digital play, creativity, and innovation.

Shameless self-promotion aside, tech toys are becoming harder and harder to sift through, so finding the perfect one for every kid can be difficult.  Of course, many in the industry, wandering the shopping aisles, and generally existing around toys know about Skylanders Swap Force and Disney Infinity, two new innovative video game platforms that mix digital and physical play, but they aren’t the only toys out there with exciting new technology. All of the toys on our Top Tech 12 list are great, but I picked a few favorites that are not only great technology innovations, but they also give kids other options of physical play—so they aren’t glued to a screen all day.

robodog_dalmatian_p9_go_pee_copy (1)Zoomer, from Spin Master, is a trainable robotic dog that is the perfect option for kids that want a pet and parents that want a clean house. Zoomer can be trained to respond to a bunch of different commands and tricks in three different languages (English, Spanish, and French). Zoomer learns kids’ voices and how to respond to these commands. He is adorably cute and lifelike. Left to his own devices, he’ll wander around the room, just like a real puppy. Zoomer’s LED lights blink and react making him seem more alive than your typical robots. [Read more...]

Disney Infinity Release Toy Story in Space Play Set

disneyinfinityDisney Interactive has released additional details and assets for the Toy Story in Space Play Set for Disney Infinity. This is the first Play Set to be released since the game launch in August, and invites gamers to take on the role of space rangers Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, or Woody as they try to help relocate the Pizza Planet Aliens to a new world.

The Play Set will be widely available on October 22 at all participating retailers. The new asset release includes character images, action screenshots, and a gameplay trailer featuring both Play Set and Toy Box modes of Toy Story in Space.

 Check out the gameplay trailer below:

[Read more...]