China Toy Fair


Collins to Publish The Little Book of Bananagrams with Foreword by Dame Judi Dench

Bananagrams LondonThis fall will see the release of The Collins Little Book of Bananagrams, which contains hints, winning strategies, and insider secrets for fans of the word game. Deej Johnson, the Bananagrams brand’s creative consultant, and word-game champion Mark Nyman wrote the book. It includes two ways to turn titles that save vital seconds when someone shouts, “Peel!”; things that a player must do in their first move; and more. Dame Judi Dench, a Bananagrams fan, provides a foreword.

The book, which will be available globally in October from Collins, also offers general word game advice, such as 135 proper nouns that can be played in any word game.

Jenga Goes Big with New Jenga Giant

Jenga GiantJengaGiant, a new giant counterpart to Jenga, will debut on Amazon and with other retailers this month. Manufactured and distributed by Art’s Ideas, it will weigh a total of 17 lbs. and can stack up to three feet and higher. Jenga Giant uses the same rules as Classic Jenga and comes with 54 precision-cut, polished hardwood blocks, as well as a box designed to be both a game platform and for storage and transport. [Read more...]

Sean Hynes Joins VTech as Vice President of Sales

New-VTech-LogoVTech has appointed Sean Hynes as vice president of sales. A marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience in sales leadership and brand management, including 15 years in the toy industry, Hynes will oversee VTech’s sales operations from its U.S. headquarters in Chicago, Ill.

In his new role, Hynes will aim to increase sales of VTech’s newest products, including the Kidizoom Smartwatch and the InnoTab MAX. He will also oversee sales of additions to VTech’s extensive infant/preschool range, Switch & Go Dinos Turbo, Go! Go! Smart Wheels, and brand expansion, Go! Go! Smart Animals. [Read more...]

Skylanders Trap Team Will Be Unleashed on Tablets

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoActivision Publishing Inc. will bring the complete Skylanders Trap Team video game to tablets at launch, marking the first time a full Skylanders game will be available on iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets day-and-date with the console version. The tablet version of the game delivers the same experience with console-quality graphics and comes with its own high-performance controller.

The Skylanders Trap Team Tablet Starter Pack will include a Bluetooth Traptanium Portal, an embedded Bluetooth controller, a built-in tablet stand, two Skylanders characters, two Traps, and a display tray that lets Portal Masters keep track of the Traps they’ve collected and which villains they have trapped. [Read more...]

Rubik’s Speedcubing Comes to Denmark

Rubik's CubeThe bi-annual Rubik’s Cube European Speedcubing Championship is being held in Roskilde, Denmark, this weekend. More than 250 contestants will be competing during this long weekend of cubing.

The competition will bring together Europe’s elite Rubik’s Cube solvers for several elimination rounds, followed by finals. The overall winner expected to solve a Cube in under 10 seconds.

Favorites to win this year are UK, Dutch, and German champions.

Rubie’s to Expand Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Costume Collection

Rubies.TMNTRubie’s Costume Co. Inc., under license with Nickelodeon, has launched officially licensed costumes, masks, and accessories based on the soon-to-be-released film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, by Nickelodeon Movies and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Available in child and adult sizes, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Costume Collection includes: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello. The new product line reflects a modern day interpretation of the popular franchise.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arrives in theaters on August 8, and the costume collection by Rubie’s is available now for Halloween.

BeginAgain to Distribute Artterro Eco Art Kits

BeginAgain_logoBeginAgain is expanding its offering of earth-friendly playthings, as the three-year-old company has inked an agreement to distribute Artterro’s popular line of art and craft kits.

Artterro is known for unplugged art projects made of sustainable materials, and the company’s line is assembled by hand in Madison, Wis. It includes eleven titles featuring needle felting, mixed-media collage, art journaling, and more.

SwimWays Uses Its Noodle with Aqua Rider Acquisition

SwimWays.AquaRiderSwimWays Corp. recently acquired Aqua Rider, a patent pending pool noodle float that features the head and tail of colorful animal characters, as well as a built-in seat for riding. SwimWays will be able to consolidate production efforts using the same base noodle, and the product will be made in both China and the U.S., and assembled and shipped from the U.S.

Aqua Riders, which were introduced to market last year, will be available in many styles, including Orca, Shark, Gator, and Sea Horse. SwimWays will begin distributing Aqua Riders, which are made for swimmers of all ages, under the SwimWays brand next January.

The item is currently sold at Wal-Mart, BJ’s, and Leslie’s Pool Supply, among other retailers, and the acquisition is not expected to affect the Aqua Rider’s distribution.

ToyFest West Returns to Las Vegas for Third Year

The annual ToyFest West trade show will take place for the third year in Las Vegas. It will be held at the South Point Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, and the Western Toy and Hobby Representatives Association (WTHRA) will once again offer the popular promotion of a free Monday night when attendees book Saturday and Sunday night at the host hotel.  The offer is limited to the first 300 rooms booked.

At ToyFest, more than 700 established and new vendors alike unveil their products for the upcoming year. Products include traditional toys, hobby, dress-up, craft, infant and toddler, museum, science, and more.

Information on the show, manufacturers and representatives that will be present, the special room rate, and the program can be found at ToyFest West’s homepage, or by calling (909) 899-3753.

LeapFrog Acquires Kid-Safe Internet Browser KidZui

LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES LOGOLeapFrog Enterprises Inc. has acquired KidZui, a leading kid-friendly internet browser. KidZui currently powers LeapSearch, a browsing tool that allows kids—including those who are not yet reading—to explore web content in a safe way by categorizing content based on age and topic.

KidZuiLeapSearch provides browsing experiences on all LeapFrog children’s tablets, including the new LeapPad3 and LeapPad Ultra XDi.