The Toy Industry Foundation collected thousands of dollars worth of brand-new toys and games for children in need at the close of ToyFest West on March 11, according to the Toy Industry Association. This year marked the Foundation’s first time as the official partner for the Western Toy and Hobby Representatives Association’s annual Las Vegas show.
KidStuff Public Relations has hired Matt Sweeny as a full-time employee in its Wisconsin office. He will manage shipments of samples from the company’s office as well as coordinate shipments sent by clients, manage the image library, help respond to reporter inquiries, manage clients’ media coverage, and update the company’s website, among other duties.
A Lego Friends suite was unveiled as the last of the four highly themed room designs for the new Legoland Hotel at Legoland Florida Resort. The life-size replica of the children’s sleeping area of the room includes a bunk bed with a trundle bed, TV, Lego models, and a treasure chest. SGA Production Services created the replica, closely following the plans for the actual hotel rooms.
The average person celebrating Easter this year will spend $140.62, an slight increase from last year’s $137.46, according to the National Retail Foundation’s (NRF) Easter Spending Survey conducted by Proper Insights & Analytics. Total spending is expected to reach $16.4 billion, including purchases of apparel, decorations, gifts, candy, food, and flowers.
Within Me Now is a line of board books and companion plush that represents a group of quirky and cuddly friends, who remind kids that qualities like love, strength, courage, joy, and peace are already inside of them. The stories are inspired by the daily challenges of kids’ lives and lessons learned when using what’s already within.
A new technology information system is allowing regulators in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the nations of Central and South America to quickly and reliably exchange information about consumer product recalls, according to the Toy Industry Association. The Inter-American Rapid Alert System, launched by the Organization of American States‘ Consumer Safety and Health Network, will enable regulators to coordinate efforts to prevent recalled products from entering the marketplace.
Professional education specialist Greg Choyke has joined the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) as its director of education. In the newly created position, Choyke will lead ASTRA’s effort to increase access to and participation in innovative professional educational programs that will help ASTRA members strengthen their business.
ASTRA will be introducing a new education initiative for independent toy retailers at its annual Marketplace & Academy, to be held June 7 to 10.
Arad Animation and 41 Entertainment have granted the exclusive worldwide master toy license to MGA Entertainment for their Kong property. The product line will include action figures, electronic and action plush, playsets, vehicles, games, and learning aid toys for kids ages 5 to 10. Kong—King of the Apes is a Netflix original series, slated to debut next year.
“We were attracted to this great brand because of its iconic nature, Avi’s great story-telling and designs, and the power of Netflix as a platform. We are excited to design and produce a strong product line for 2016,” said Isaac Larian, president and CEO of MGAE.
Specialty retailers and select Target and Barnes & Noble stores have begun stocking their shelves with YOXO, a construction brand known for encouraging creativity in kids. The construction kits incorporate durable, recyclable, and interchangeable chipboard connectors in Y, O, and X shapes for kids to construct infinite creations powered by their brains and not batteries.