COMMENTARY: Why Every Toy Company Needs to Follow MakieLab’s Lead

MakiesMakieLab has just made the first step in what I hope will be a great leap for the entire toy industry.

The London-based indie toy developer is the first company to respond directly to a viral social media campaign, #ToysLikeMe. The company has created a selection of Makie doll-size impairment aids and accessories, including hearing aids and walking sticks. It—hands down—has got to be one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard of, and all toy companies should follow suit.

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Sesame Workshop Launches Sesame Street Go on Roku

SesameStreetSesame Workshop is bringing Sesame Street Go, its on-demand video service, to the Roku platform as a streaming channel. The channel can be found in the Roku Channel Store within the Kids & Family category.

Sesame Street Go is an ad-free subscription service that provides families with a child-friendly platform to watch full-length Sesame Street TV episodes and short-form minisodes, plus full-length episodes from prior seasons and Sesame Classics, volumes 1 and 2. In addition, users can filter content through eight core learning areas, including math, science, literacy, and the arts. On Roku, kids will have access to the Sesame Street educational programming with segments such as “Elmo’s World,” “Elmo the Musical,” “Super Grover 2.0,” “Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures,” “Cookie’s Crumbly Pictures,” and “Abby’s Flying Fairy School.”

American Girl’s 2015 Girl of the Year Stars in New Movie

AmericanGirlGraceDVDAn American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, will premiere on Blu-Ray combo pack on June 9, starring American Girl’s 2015 Girl of the Year, Grace Thomas. The discs come with exclusive content, such as a behind the scenes look and playing dress up.

In the movie, Grace has a passion for baking, but her skills are put to the test when she visits her uncle’s Parisian pastry shop and competes to save her grandparents’ troubled bakery. The Blu-ray Combo Pack includes a Blu-ray disc, DVD, and Digital HD with Ultlraviolet.

Moose Toys Awarded Toys “R” Us Partner of the Year

MooseToysToys “R” Us has named Moose Toys as Partner of the Year, awarded to the toy partner whose outstanding commitment, dedication, and loyalty have helped make the company a destination for kids, families, and fun. In February, Toys “R” Us also awarded Moose Toys as Vendor of the Year.

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Disney Consumer Products Sets Date for Force Friday, Reveals Packaging Featuring New Star Wars Villain

May4.StarWarsBoxArtForce Friday, a global event for fans of all ages to celebrate the launch of merchandise inspired by the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will take place on September 4. Toys, collectibles, and more will hit store shelves worldwide that day.

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Spin Master Teams with Autism Speaks to Benefit the Autism Community

April20.KineticSandSpin Master Ltd. has partnered with Autism Speaks in the U.S. and Canada to raise funds for the organization through the sale of Kinetic Sand. The company will also explore the positive benefits that play skills and social experiences may have for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

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Toy Backer Successfully Funds Its First Campaign

ToyBacker.com LOGOToy Backer has successfully funded its first campaign, Within Me Now, beyond the project’s original goal. Within Me Now, a line of books and plush, received $12,623 with a $10,000 goal. There were 128 pledgers that backed 127 percent of the campaign.


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Wonder Crew Successfully Funded on Kickstarter

Wonder Crew SuperheroThe creators of Wonder Crew are trying to bring new elements to the mainstream blue aisle with its new line of dolls for boys. Wonder Crew was funded more than $40,000 during its successful 30-day Kickstarter campaign, resulting in approximately 500 pre-orders from 35 states and five continents.

Backers voted on the first adventure to go into production, selecting a superhero character as the first Crewmate.

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Douglas Company Expands Douglas Baby Line

April15.Douglas copyDouglas Company has added to its Douglas Baby line with four new Sshlumpies, four new Lil’ Snugglers, and a new PlayTivity Blankee. The new additions are available now at specialty gift and toy stores in the U.S. and Canada.

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TIA Creates Social Media How-To Guide for Sharing the Genius of Play

April15.GeniusofPlay As part of The Genius of Play campaign, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) has kicked off an industry-wide social media initiative to open a dialogue with parents and raise awareness about the developmental benefits of play. TIA suggests that the social media posts range from encouraging kids and parents to engage in imaginative play, such as arts and crafts and dress up, to asking parents to share how toys and play helped their children reach important developmental milestones.

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