China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Celebrating Canada Day—Toy Style!

In case you didn’t know, this past Tuesday was the national day of Canada! Here at The Toy Book, we’re lucky enough to work with tons of awesome Canadian toy companies, and to show both our support and Canada pride, here are some of our favorite toys from great Canadian toy manufacturers:

WowWee.MipWowWee

From WowWee, we always know to expect something innovative and hi-tech, such as last year’s 32-inch-long Roboraptor. In keeping up with the robo-trend, WowWee recently rolled out MiP, a unique, dual-wheel balancing interactive robot that utilizes GestureSense technology. With MiP, kids can control the robot through a Bluetooth link to any smart device using a free app. There are fun games to play with MiP, and kids can even make it dance to songs from their iTunes library. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Discover the World of Dora and Friends

dora-and-friends-about-the-show-mainImageKids’ favorite explorer Dora will introduce a whole new group of friends in this summer’s new Nickelodeon series Dora and Friends: Into the City. Friends Alana, Emma, Naiya, Kate, and Pablo will all be available in a product line developed by Fisher-Price. The line goes beyond traditional characters such as Boots, Perrito, and even that mischievous Swiper the Fox and brings kids a fresh range of all-new friends that Dora meets in the show’s beautiful pan-Latino metropolis, Playa Verde.

These new, friendly faces will be an instant hit among kids who can choose to collect all of the friends, or obsess over their favorites. I’m naturally drawn to red-headed characters, so I already know that Kate is definitely going to be my favorite—but I’ll give the others a chance to be my favorite, too. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: A Fresh Take on Traditional Outdoor Toys and Games

These days, it’s pretty crucial for toy companies to be as innovative as possible. But sometimes, providing kids with a new take on an old-school toy or game is just as effective. Sure, kids are ridiculously interested in tablets, iPhones, and computers, but when it comes to play the rules haven’t changed all that much. Although kids are now growing up in the “digital age,” they are always going to love running, jumping, laughing, and exerting energy in a physical way.

Toys such as pogo sticks, Skip-Its (my favorite), and sidewalk chalk were staples throughout my childhood, and contrary to those who believe kids are actually digital robots, they remain favorites for children growing up now, too.

Kidoozie Pogo JumperI never got around to mastering the pogo stick, but this bouncing device still remains a popular activity for kids of all ages. The Kidoozie Pogo Jumper from International Playthings offers kids a lot of hop, but enhances the fun by adding a built-in speaker that squeaks with every bounce. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Pool Time Is the Best Time

Some of my fondest childhood memories were conceived on sunny days spent splashing around in the pool. Back in the day, it was tradition for my family to fight over the one noodle that wasn’t chewed up by my dog, or to constantly cheat during a riveting round of Marco Polo (The thing was, we were kind of bored and thoroughly enjoyed torturing each other). Today, lazily floating around on the water is my most anticipated summer activity, but the pool is still a prime spot for play.

As companies gear up for swimming season, here are some of the latest toys that keep kids engaged at the pool and earning those pruned fingers:

TMNT Water WeaponsLicensed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Sewer Spewer Water Weapons, by Playmates, combine classic ninja moves with an impressive soaking effect. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Kids Can Safely Get Behind the Wheel with New Ride-Ons

It’s difficult to recall when I first began dreaming about getting my driver’s license. Sure, there was that one time I accidentally shifted my parents’ car into neutral and rolled it out of the driveway (sorry again, Mom), but even at a young age, I had a desire to drive.Barbie Jeep

The first ride-on I instantly became obsessed with was my friend’s Power Wheels Barbie Jeep, circa 1990-something. It was love at first sight and I just had to have it. It was battery-operated, so I could just push down the pedal and go. It even had a roomy passenger seat, which was perfect for driving around my younger brothers and sister–and I probably tried to get my cat in it with me, too. [Read more...]

New C-Preme Helmet Line Features World’s Greatest Super Heroes

Marvel LogoMarvel Entertainment LLC and C-Preme Ltd. partnered for an innovative helmet line that combines 3-D designs with Marvel Super Heroes. Each helmet will represent one character’s core iconography, which means kids can have a replica of Thor’s winged helmet or one with Captain America’s indestructible shield embossed on it. All designs are made using stylized imagery, making protective gear look and feel cool.

The Avengers and Spider-Man will also take new protective form in February, leading to the release of Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier in April and Columbia Pictures’ The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in May.

Animal Alphabet Singers Teaches Children Letters A to Z

Think Smart GamesThink Smart Games has launched Animal Alphabet Singers, an app for kids ages 2 to 6 for iOS. The fully interactive app teaches children the alphabet using animal association, visual and audio hints, and world-class animation.

The developmental team behind Animal Alphabet Singers includes experts such as Grammy and Emmy-award winner Christopher Cerf, best known for his work on Sesame Street and Between the Lions. The educational team was lead by educational professionals, and experts including Marilyn Jager Adams, Ph. D. and Jane Aaron. Performers from children’s shows such as Sesame Street, The Muppets, and more also have entertaining voice performances in the app.

COMMENTARY: So Long Spice Girls–Introducing The Beatrix Girls

There were the Dixie Chicks, the Spice Girls, and even The Pussy Cat Dolls. But now, there’s an all-new girls’ band with its sight set on taking over the world—The Beatrix Girls. If you haven’t heard of this 12-inch fashion doll phenomenon (similar to the likes of Monster High dolls and Barbie), it’s a line of collectable pop star dolls that create, sing, and play their own original music.

The Beatrix Girls BandLark, the fiery redhead and bassist of the band, loves extreme sports like surfing and snowboarding, but most of all she loves making music with her best friends, The Beatrix Girls. As all of the girls flaunt their own style, Lark loves to be dressed up in ripped jeans, combat boots, and pretty much anything that’s not pink. She is, for many reasons, my favorite, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that she was my inspiration in dying my hair red—or would I? [Read more...]

Starpath Dolls Are Kids’ New BFFs

starpathStarpath Dolls, created by Starpath founder and CEO Anita Winsor and her daughter, mix playtime and fun with books. With Starpath Dolls, kids ages 5 to 9 can escape into an imaginary work through personalized chapter books that star their dolls and themselves.

Each book is written by a renowned author and is centered around two girl companions, or BFFs. The books are so customizable that details from the child’s world can be placed inside the text of the book.

Kids can choose between four 18-inch dolls, including Morning Star, Shining Star, Wishing Star, and Wandering Star. The child can then visit the Starpath Dolls website to create their own personalized book using the code they received after purchasing the doll. Families can also choose to enter their child’s doll’s name or make up a new one of their own to be placed in the story.

Each original book arrives in the mail within 1 to 2 weeks, and dolls and books can be found on Starpathdolls.com and at specialty retail stores across the U.S. Additional outfits for your doll can also be purchased separately.

Popar Toys Conjures Up the Magic of Augmented Reality

PoparPopar Toys has utilized the latest augmented reality (AR) technology to develop a new way for kids to learn anatomy, chemistry, and astronomy. With the 3-D Interactive Human Anatomy, Interactive Periodic Table, and Interactive Solar System charts, anyone can “play” with this learning technology that comes alive right off the wall.

Each AR wall chart works with any Android or Apple smart device once the free app is downloaded.

  • Interactive Human Anatomy Chart: Here the human body comes to life. Kids and students zoom in on their mobile device to see organs and even the digestive system.
  • Interactive Periodic Chart: Budding scientists can learn about atomic mass, boiling point, density, and structure. Use the app to tap elements and make compounds as well as learn more about their basic functions.
  • Interactive Solar System Chart: Planets leap off the wall and into the palm of kids’ hands with this app, which they can also use to watch videos and play games. Kids can learn the distance of these planets from one another and how many moons each planet has.

[Read more...]