China Toy Fair


Maxfield and Oberton Launch “Save Our Balls” Campaign

Maxfield and Oberton, creator of BuckyBalls and BuckyCubes, has announced a video campaign to educate their consumers about its ongoing and increasing safety efforts in protest to the Consumer Products Safety Commision’s recent actions.

The CPSC filed an administrative complaint against the company to compel it to stop sales. In May 2010, CPSC and Maxfield and  Oberton announced a cooperative recall of approximately 175,000  high-powered magnets labeled “Ages 13+” because they did not meet a mandatory federal toy standard stating that such products should not be sold to anyone under age 14.

The CPSC has said that BuckyBalls and BuckyCubes contain a defect in the design, packaging, warnings, and instructions, which pose a substantial risk of injury to the public. The Commission voted 3-1 to order that the firm cease sales of BuckyBalls and BuckyCubes, notify the public of the defect, and offer consumers refunds.

This post was originally written by Gigi Rubin and published by ToyBook.com For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Tenth Annual International Festival of Street Games to Occur in September

Tocati, the 10th International Festival of Street Games, organized by the Associzione Giochi Antichi in collaboration with the Cultural Department of Verona Muncipality, is set to take place this September in Verona’s Historical Center.

The traditional games include activities such as the Salto del Pastor (Spain), Kispetia (Greece), Kegeln (Switzerland) Ba ‘game (Scotland-UK), Skakanje na Mješinu (Croatia), and Pandolo (Slovenia). Traditional Italian games include Alli Pitrudde (Puglia), Barandello (Emilia Romagna), Corsa con le botti (Campania), Corsa con la Cannata (Lazio), Fionde (Friuli), Punta e cul (Marche), Tir de Cidulis(Friuli), Totara (Toscana), Trucco da Terra  (Liguria), Tsan (Valle d’Aosta), and Saoutoula (Piemonte). The games will be practiced every day for eight hours; those who want to participate are welcome to join.

This year, each country will be assigned an area of the city center in which they can host cultural events and showcase the traditions of their regions, with the collaboration of embassies, tourist offices, and cultural institutes. A large area will be devoted to the associations and institutions that deal with gaming (playrooms, Playbus, leaders, experts in museum education, etc.), and in this area children will find a special welcome and workshops tailored to them.

In the Auditorium of the Forum of Culture Ludica (Cortile Mercato Vecchio), game enthusiasts will find speakers who are not only players from all over Europe, but who are also academic experts in the history of traditional sports.

This post was originally written by Gigi Rubin and published by ToyBook.com For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

White Paper, Checklist for Children’s Online Privacy & Mobile Apps Now Available

The Toy Industry Association’s Responsible Marketing to Children (M2C) Committee has developed a White Paper, The Changing Privacy and Data Security Landscape: From Mobile Apps to OBA, and a corresponding Checklist for Mobile Apps and Promotions, to assist members of the industry in understanding an array of laws and regulations, policy initiatives, self-regulatory standards, and reports addressing various aspects of privacy and data security.

Members of the TIA M2C Committee have been working with outside counsel to monitor developing “hot button” issues in Europe, Washington, District of Columbia, and California related to privacy protections and non-privacy-related consumer deception and fairness issues linked to mobile app use. The committee also created a subcommittee on privacy, which seeks to develop a better understanding of current practices in these areas by reviewing existing regulations and self-regulatory guidelines to identify gaps.

The TIA members-only white paper, The Changing Privacy and Data Security Landscape: From Mobile Apps to OBA, provides background on the issues and a status report on significant U.S. and international laws and policy developments.  A Checklist for Mobile Apps and Promotions, which provides a framework that all toy companies can use to examine and evaluate the risks and opportunities related to their app initiatives, will also be available to TIA members only.

This post was originally written by Gigi Rubin and published by ToyBook.com For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Lego Introduces Team Great Britain Minifigures

By Carlo Pandian

Normally Olympic heroes wait a lifetime to be immortalized in bronze or stone. Not in this Olympic-mad year. Lego has immortalized Team Great Britain in plastic with its new full range of minifigure competitors—from boxing champions to swimming superstars.

Although not modeled after specific athletes, the full set of nine figures includes a boxer, swimmer, judo fighter, relay runner, tennis player, gymnast, weightlifter, equestrian, and an archer. All of the figures proudly display their medals (gold, of course), and each comes with a handy accessory to identify them.

Previous Olympics have spawned a host of DIY Lego models by enthusiasts, including a model of the Olympic park from the Beijing games four years ago. For enthusiasts ready to recreate the London Olympic Village, the minifigures of Team GB will be a welcome addition.

This year’s Olympics are unique because this is the first time in modern history that they are being hosted by a city for a third time. London hosted the Olympics previously in 1908 and 1947. Lego has developed the line exclusively for the UK market.

Carlo Pandian is a freelance writer and blogs about Lego, art and design covering everything from Legoland Discovery Centre kids activities in Manchester to cool Duplo gadgets. When he’s not online, he likes building models and volunteering at his local community center.

This post was originally written by Carlo Pandian and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Makedo Makes U.S. Debut

Makedo, reusable creative play that transforms everyday and recycled materials into play objects, has landed in the U.S. Makedo is now being carried by specialty retailers, including Fat Brain Toys and MindWare, through Toysmith, Makedo’s exclusive U.S. distributor.

Makedo encourages kids to get on the floor and make stuff with their hands, while facilitating unstructured play. With every person having slightly different packaging materials at their fingertips, each Makedo creation is an individual, one-of-a-kind creative expression. As they transform the stuff around them—primarily found or reclaimed materials, such as cardboard boxes and plastic containers—into play objects, kids let their imaginations and creativity run free.

Each Makedo kit includes a safe-saw for cutting and punching through materials safely, re-clips, and lock-hinges for connecting. Makedo features Find & Make, Freeplay, and Cup Critter ranges.  Find & Make is guided, project-based creativity, with creations such as a make a robot, plane, or car. The Find & Make kits also include themed decorative stickers, illustrated step-by-step instructions and an inspiration poster.  Freeplay is open-ended and leaves the imagination in total control. Makedo’s Cup Critter range is a complete activity for young kids, allowing them to easily transform coffee cup packaging into a cute creature.

This post was originally written by Gigi Rubin and published by ToyBook.com For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Teachers and Parents Store Offers Summer Learning Tips

Courtesy of The Teachers and Parents Store

With the arrival of summer, Teachers & Parents Store has announced a number of tips for parents to help children to reduce the learning loss and bridge the gap of summer vacation.

“Studies show that children can lose up to 2.6 months of grade level equivalency skills during the summertime,” said Megan Wright of TAPS. “This is an important time for parents to encourage their children to continue learning. Making it fun helps them to retain more information.”

Wright suggested that parents choose a summer learning workbook appropriate to their child’s age and grade level and do activities regularly. Workbooks focus on a variety of school subjects, including reading, language arts, science social studies, math, writing and physical education.

One way to keep a child’s learning skills fresh is to schedule summer workbook activities for about 20 minutes every day so that it becomes a part of the child’s routine. This helps to close the summertime learning gap.

Wright also recommends reviewing the previous year’s subjects, as well as those topics planned for the upcoming year. Additional summer fun learning activities can take place in the car or on the plane while traveling.

This post was originally written by The Teachers and Parents Store and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

TIA to Host Toy Safety Training Sessions for Chinese Manufacturers

The Toy Industry Association will be hosting two toy safety information sessions Chinese manufacturers who manufacture toys and children’s products sold in the U.S. The first session will take place on August 1 in Dongguan and the second on August 3 in Shenzhen.

To emphasize the TIA’s commitment to safety awareness and education, several of the key topics will include U.S. toy safety standards and regulations, recent legislative changes and their impact on Chinese manufacturers and suppliers, the role of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, new toy safety testing and certification requirements, import surveillance initiatives, necessary elements of a factory quality program, emerging issues and hazards, and ways to ensure material safety.

TIA’s senior vice president of technical affairs, Al Kaufman, and Rebecca Mond, the director of federal government affairs, will present alongside a panel of U.S. and Chinese experts. Additional speakers will include Marty Chill, vice president of quality assurance and compliance for Hasbro; and Wonder Wong, quality assurance engineering director for Hasbro.

The training sessions are being organized by TIA with support from the State Administration for Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine of PRC (AQSIQ) and the China Toy Industrial Association (CTJPA), and in cooperation with the U.S. CPSC, Guangdong Dongguan and Shenzhen Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau of PRC, the Shenzhen Toys Industry Association (SZTIA), and the Shenzhen Import-Export Quarantine Association (SZIQA).

Interested participants may request additional registration details by contacting safety [at ]toyassociation.org. There is no fee for participation.

This post was originally written by Gigi Rubin and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Toy Industry Compensation, Benefits Report Results Now Available

In partnership with Industry Insights, the Toy Industry Association has released the final results of the 2012 Toy Industry Compensation and Benefits Survey. Results are free for TIA members, and must be purchased by non-members.

The survey is the first toy industry survey on compensation levels and company-wide benefits packages to be conducted since 2002-2003. Participants included more than 50 TIA member companies, public and private as well as small, mid-size, and large organizations, directly engaged in the manufacturing, and importing and distribution of toys.

In addition to the results package which includes, a final industry-wide report – comparative compensation and benefits information on all respondents, gross revenue, gross domestic revenue, and more; an online searchable results tool, with 24-7 access to a web-based resource that allows users to custom tailor results to match company-specific circumstances.

TIA member organizations that participated in the study will receive complimentary access to a Company Compensation Report (CCR) that positions a company’s individual reported figures alongside the appropriate industry comparatives. Access requests can be submitted to SalBenSurvey[at]toyassociation[dot]org.

This post was originally written by Gigi Rubin and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Only One Month Left to Nominate a Local Charity for Play Connects Grant

Member companies of the Toy Industry Association have been asked to nominate a community-based charity for one of three Play Connects grants-up to $10,000 each-to be awarded by the Toy Industry Foundation later this year. Submissions for the grant application must be completed by the nominated charity by August 15.

Play Connects, launched by TIF last year, aims to help fund childrens charities that the toy industry cares about, connect TIA members with the world of philanthropy, and make a difference in the lives of children in need.

Last year’s winners were the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford, Conn.; Friends of the Children in Portland, Ore.; The Magic House at the St. Louis Children’s Museum; and 826 Valencia in San Francisco.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee of members from the TIF Board of Trustees.  Up to three grant recipients will be chosen, and the selected charities will be announced in December.

This post was originally written by Gigi Rubin and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Meijer to Hold First Next Great Toy Maker Contest

Meijer will host the first Next Great Toymaker contest, an opportunity for two small U.S. toymakers to have their creations selected and sold on Meijer.com this holiday season.

Finalists will be selected by a panel of Meijer judges and chosen based on criteria including uniqueness, educational relevance, creativity, and quality. All toys eligible must be designed for children ages 1 through 3 or 4 through eight.

The contest is open to all small U.S. toy companies and entrepreneurs, with an employee base of 50 or fewer people.

More information about the contest, including how to enter, is available at www.meijer.com/toycontest.

This post was originally written by Gigi Rubin and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.