First Loomy Awards Loom Large This Month

“Loomers” from far and wide are invited to submit their creations for the first-ever award for loom bracelet fanatics: the First Annual Loomy Awards. Sponsored by The Original Loom Boom, winners will be chosen from four categories: Best Bracelet, Coolest Charm, Wackiest Wearable, and Best Loom Boom. Three winners will each receive a $250 gift card, and one grand prize winner will receive a $500 gift card. In addition, all winners will receive a special edition of The Original Loom Boom.

Entries are already being accepted at The Original Loom Boom’s Facebook page, and winners will be announced on a live web award show on April 30.

PlayCon 2014 Agenda Includes Speakers from The NPD Group, Google/YouTube, and More

A number of educational topics related to the toy industry will be explored at PlayCon, the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) International Conference of Play Professionals, scheduled to take place May 7 to 9 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The May 8 program includes a keynote address delivered by Doug Van Andel, executive creative director at global ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi; a case study presented by Michael Moynihan, vice president of marketing at Lego Systems Inc.; a two-part session by The NPD Group focused on the latest sales data; a presentation entitled “The Broader World of Play,” from Katie Rottier, head of U.S. industry, sports & toys, at Google/YouTube; and more. [Read more...]

U.S. CPSC Now Accepting Comments on Third-Party Testing Costs

Last Thursday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) hosted a day-long public workshop to gather technical information and evidence that could help to reduce third party testing costs for manufacturers of toys and children’s products sold in the U.S.

Held at the CPSC’s National Product Testing and Evaluation Center in Rockville, Md., the workshop featured presentations of technical data by representatives of industry, consumer groups, and academic institutions. Alan Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs for the Toy Industry Association (TIA), and Rebecca Mond, TIA director of federal government affairs, were both on-hand on behalf of the toy industry.

The technical data will assist the CPSC in determining which material types do not contain any of the six banned phthalates, lead, and/or heavy metals listed in the ASTM F963 Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, and therefore do not need to be routinely tested. [Read more...]

Messe Frankfurt and GDTA to Organize Guangzhou Trade Shows

Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd and the Guangdong Toy Association (GDTA) have signed a letter of intent to join forces in organizing the Guangzhou International Toy and Hobby Fair and the Guangzhou International Stroller and Baby Product Fair starting next year.

The GDTA acts as an industry voice to communicate with the Chinese government and coordinate with the government for industry research and survey projects. It also organizes the Guangzhou International Toy and Hobby Fair.

Trade show organizer Messe Frankfurt is responsible for Ambiente, Christmasworld, Paperworld, and Tendence. It has exhibition and collaboration experience with different industry associations and government bodies in greater China.

Geocache Becomes First-Ever Fan-Voted Scrabble Word

The word “geocache” beat out 15 other nominees in last month’s Scrabble Word Showdown, and as a result, will be included in the fifth edition of Merriam-Webster’s Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, scheduled for release this August. This marks the dictionary’s first major update in nearly a decade, and the first time it has ever included a word voted on by fans.

Nominated by fans following a national call-for-entries on the Hasbro Game Night Facebook page in March, “geocache” is a verb meaning to seek items by means of a GPS device as part of a game. It faced 15 other popular choices in an online showdown from April 2 to 10, besting such fan favorites as “bitcoin,” “cosplay,” and “ew.”

Geocache will be an eligible word right in time for National Scrabble Day on April 13. It will also be playable in the upcoming National School Scrabble Championship on April 26 to 27 and the National Scrabble Tournament in August.

TinkerBots Launches New Robot-Building Construction Line

TinkerBotsTinkerBots is a building set that enables kids ages 5 and up to create an endless number of toy robots without wiring or programming. The set includes “Power Brain” and kinetic modules, which easily twist and snap together along with other TinkerBots pieces, adding movement and interest to whatever robot is built.

TinkerBots is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com to offer parents the opportunity to pre-order a TinkerBots robot building set, and to support the production of a toy that introduces robotics and STEM concepts to kids in the form of play. The toys are expected to ship in the fourth quarter of this year. [Read more...]

Super Smash Bros. Returns with Familiar Faces, New Powers and Game Play Modes

SuperSmashBrosNintendo has released new details about its upcoming Super Smash Bros. video games for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U systems. The 3DS version of the fighting game is planned for this summer, while the Wii U version is planned for winter.

Along with stereoscopic 3D that runs at 60 frames per second, the 3DS version will have an exclusive mode, “Smash Run,” in which four players have five minutes to enter a dungeon and explore the surroundings, fight enemies, and obtain power-ups. Once time is up, all four fighters enter a battle arena with their newly equipped items and power-ups. [Read more...]

April Is a Marvel-Filled Month for Diamond Select Toys

SpiderManStatueThis month’s offerings from Diamond Select Toys include figures and statues that tie into Marvel’s upcoming movies, as well as one zombified version of a classic Marvel super-villain.

The Marvel Minimates Series 57 Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Assortment captures the film’s characters as 2-inch mini-figures. Featuring nine different characters, the assortment includes four different two-packs: Star-Lord with Ronan, Drax with Groot—and a Rocket Raccoon micro-figure—Gamora with Nova Corps Centurion, and Nebula with Sakaar Soldier. The Gamora and Nebula sets will only be available in comic shops and specialty stores.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Movie Resin Statue depicts Marvel’s wall-crawler in a dynamic battle pose atop a New York City rooftop. It measures approximately seven inches tall with its base. [Read more...]

Child’s Play Communications Creates CPC Tech

Child’s Play Communications has launched CPC Tech, a new division devoted exclusively to creating awareness of and demand for family-friendly technology products. CPC Tech will be responsible for promoting products ranging from apps to tablets to technology-driven toys.

Recent clients have included multiple Peppa Pig apps, and littleBits, a system of electronic modules that snap together with magnets to create circuits. “We’ve been handling so many child- and parent-focused tech products recently, we’ve decided to launch a group entirely devoted to that category,” said company president Stephanie Azzarone.

Nintendo’s Tomodachi Life Looks to Breathe New Life into Social Media Gaming

82977A 3DS package_NOA_mOn June 6, Nintendo will release Tomodachi Life on its 3DS system. The game, which is set in an apartment building on an island, lets players create Mii avatars that represent themselves, as well as their closest friends and relatives, and to watch those characters behave and interact with each other.

Players check in on the Tomodachi Life characters on a regular basis, solving problems as they arise, which range from being hungry to sadness, to issues stemming from their love life. While players cannot control the decisions of the Miis, they can influence them.

Whenever the player makes a Mii character happy—for example, through purchasing them a gift from the in-game store—the player’s on-screen happiness level increases. They also receive in-game money that can be used to purchase more items for the Miis, and these items rotate on a daily basis. [Read more...]