Toy Industry Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America Treat Military Families to Day of Play

tif_logoThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and national partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America Military Services treated 1,100 kids of military personnel stationed at Naval Station Mayport in Florida to brand-new toys and games this past Saturday. The “Day of Play” also included family games and activities, food, and entertainment. Every child in attendance was able to take home a toy. Barnes and Noble, Big Red Dog Patch, Imperial Toy, Lego, Lulu Jr., Mattel, and Yamie Chess donated the toys to TIF.

The event was held as part of the joint TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program, the first national toy distribution initiative to serve every branch of the U.S. military. Through Play Comforts, toys and games donated are delivered annually to families on U.S. military installations at home and abroad. Since the program’s launch in 2010, more then 1.7 million toys have been delivered to military families on over 152 U.S. military bases worldwide.

Nintendo Unveils New Features for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

SuperSmashBrosNintendo has unleashed over 50 new features and details for its upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Wii U  game, including an eight-player mode, Nintendo 3DS features, the ability to build and share custom stages, and a soundtrack offer.

For the first time, eight players can play the game in a special mode in local multiplayer. This option is only available in the Wii U version, and lets players compete in larger stages to accommodate the amount of characters. In addition, players can also use amiibo figures to play, which can gain levels to become stronger and add equipment as they gain experience through battling. Also, fans can now build their own stages and hare them with friends and other players around the world using the touch screen of the Wii U gamepad. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: As Play Gets Smarter, More Toys Come to Life Digitally

It’s official: Smart toys are taking over the toy space.

Gone are the days in which kids are content with traditional methods of play. Books, activities, and games are all available for kids on mobile devices, and they expect their toys to be no different. But although the mediums that kids are interacting with daily are changing, the one thing that won’t ever change is that kids love play.

Angry Birds Stella Telepods

Angry Birds Stella Telepods

Smart toys integrate physical toys and technology—essentially giving digital life to toys. Manufacturers are starting to realize the added value in these products and how wildly popular they can be. More than 72 million kids say they want smart toys, according to market research firm Interpret in a GameByte study.

In addition, kids are using mobile devices more than ever before. Seventy-one percent of households with a child age 4 to 14 reported owning a smartphone in 2014, already up from 55 percent in 2012, according to The NPD Group. Also, kids who own tablets doubled from 2012 to 2014, growing from 21 percent to 43 percent, respectively. [Read more...]

Buyer, Trade Guest Registration Open for North American International Toy Fair

Oct22.ToyFairBuyer and trade guest registration has opened for the 112th North American International Toy Fair, according to the Toy Industry Association. Toy Fair 2014 is scheduled to take place February 14 to 17 in New York City.

The event, formerly the American International Toy Fair, was recently re-named the North American International Toy Fair, as part of a new affiliation agreement between TIA and the Canadian Toy Association. CTA and TIA will have a single toy fair, rather than single marketplace events in the U.S. and Canada.

Last year’s Toy Fair had a record-breaking 414,060 net square feet of exhibition space and welcomed an 11 percent increase in international buyers, an 8 percent rise in exhibitors, and a 5 percent spike in attendees.

Ohio Art Announces Winner of Nanoblock Award: Build It Your Way Competition

Edited.OhioArtSean Smith has won the nanoblock Award: Build It Your Way Competition from The Ohio Art Company. Using only nanoblock bricks, Smith created an original piece of the Great Djenne Mosque, a landmark in Africa, and won with its intricate and fine attention to detail.

A panel of judges consisting of toy industry opinion leaders and Ohio Art representatives reviewed all submissions for the competition. As the grand prize winner, Smith will receive a family vacation package, an iPod nano, and a year-long supply of nanoblock bricks.

New App, Campaign Set For Target’s Holiday Season

Target LogoTarget has unveiled its plans for the holiday season, including a new Wish List app for kids and daily deals for toys.

Beginning October 31, a new Wish List app will be available for download. The app is a modern and digital take on the classic tradition of creating holiday wish lists. Kids can add items to their list and participate in an augmented reality feature that works with Target Kids’ Gifting Catalog, while parents can share the list with friends and family and receive special savings.

In addition, through the Cartwheel app, customers will receive deals throughout the holiday season, including 50 percent off a different toy every day from November 2 to December 24. All Target guests will receive free shipping on all target.com orders through December 20.

For the third year, Target will extend the time frame of its Price Match Policy for the holiday season beyond the typical seven-day window. It will be available between November 1 and December 24. Target’s holiday marketing campaign–which will embrace red, white, and Bullseye and encourage people to get into the spirit of the holiday season–will begin on November 2. The campaign will include broadcast radio, out-of-home, and catalogs.

VTech to Add STEAM Curriculum to Learning Lodge Content for InnoTab

VTech-LogoVTech will continue to grow its Learning Lodge app store with the addition of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM)-based content for its InnoTab children’s learning tablets. VTech will be adding these subjects later this year.

The Learning Lodge features a language arts and reading, math, science, social studies, problem solving, and creativity titles to download. VTech’s Expert Panel, made up of top educators from key knowledge areas, has reviewed the apps. Content on the Learning Lodge is available for the whole VTech InnoTab range.

Charmazing Collection Available Exclusively at Toys “R” Us

toysrusThe new Charmazing by Style Me Up collection from Wooky Entertainment is now available exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and online at toysrus.com. Charmazing offers young designers a chance to create custom charm bracelets, which they can wear, share, and gift. Additionally, kids can scan their Charmazing charms into a virtual world where they can trade with friends and connect with other designers via a new app. The app is free and available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play to coincide with the product launch.

Charmazing kits provide tweens with more than 100 different charms in 11 themed collections categorized in two worlds: Karma and Nature. The collection includes Charmazing Let’s Get Started, Charmazing Charmastation, Charmazing Color Me Up!, and the Charmazing Deluxe Kit.

Disney Consumer Products Halloween Trends and Fun Facts

i-qdtZwdd-MDisney Consumer Products has unveiled trends and fun facts about Halloween:

  • The first Halloween costume appeared in 1911.
  • The first Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse costumes were introduced in 1932.
  • More than 2.1 million kids will be super heroes this Halloween.
  • Spider-Man has been a top-five costume for the last 10 years.
  • Fifty percent of families will carve a pumpkin.
  • In years with theatrical releases, up to 10 million lightsabers have been sold in a single year.
  • $350 million will be spent on costumes for pets.
  • Cinderella has been the most popular costume in Disney Store history.
  • Disney’s Frozen was ranked number one most searched Halloween costumes.
  • Sofia the First was the top selling costume at Disney Store last year.

Disguise Celebrates Halloween with Popular Licenses

DisguiselogoDisguise Inc.’s Halloween costume line-up for this year includes popular characters for the entire family based on theatrical blockbusters, popular television shows, pop culture, and more.

This year’s line-up includes toddler and children’s costumes for Elsa, Anna, and Olaf from Disney’s Frozen, as well as an adult Elsa costume. From Disney’s Maleficent, Maleficent and Aurora costumes are available in sizes for children and adults. Disney Junior properties such as Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins have costumes in baby, toddler, and child sizes.

The classic Minnie Mouse costume is available in sizes ranging from baby to adult. Super Mario Bros fans can dress up as their favorite characters including Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. Costumes for Bumblebee and Optimus Prime from Hasbro’s Transformers are available in baby to adult sizes.

Children and adult fans of Hasbro’s My Little Pony can dress up as their favorite characters, including Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie. Accessories and costumes for Saban’s Power Rangers span from baby, to child, to adult.

The costumes are available at mass market, specialty, and online retail outlets including Target, Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, Spirit, Buy Seasons, and more.