Last week at Toy Fair, I was incredibly moved and encouraged to see so many toy companies giving from their compassionate hearts. When I was younger, I wanted to write about cancer research or world hunger. This week, Toy Fair reminded me that the toy business is an incredible outlet to make a huge difference, and these toy makers are using the toy industry to teach kids the importance of giving, love, and compassion. I’ve fallen in love with a handful of toy makers who are using their platform to make a real difference. Toys may seem trivial, but aren’t kids the ones in whom we delegate our future? [Read more...]
Pebbles’ line of plush toys is available for purchase in the U.S. for the first time since the brand launched. The line of handmade products are knitted and crocheted toys made for a safe and tactile experience for babies and young children. The products are now available in specialty and gift toy stores nationwide.
The line includes a variety of soft toys and organic rattles. The Organic Bear Rattles, which are new for this year, are crocheted and feature a looped handle for easy grasping, a soft rattle sound, and designed for teething and fine motor development. The Organic Giraffe Rattles, also new for this year, are larger toys that have a gentle rattle sound. The Rainbow Bunny Rattle and Large Donkey are large plush animals recommended for young children.
After struggling with self-image for many, many years, I feel that relaying the importance of confidence to a younger generation of girls is of the utmost importance. Young girls see and hear older women discussing hatred toward their bodies and the latest on fad diets; it’s such an unhealthy message to send. In a world where most “girl” action figures and dolls are stick-thin, and every famous tween girl looks ill-fed, a break in this trend is always quite refreshing. Go! Go! Sports Girl products offer girls products with a positive image to encourage healthy minds and bodies. The line was created after Jodi Norgaard had a disappointing shopping experience with her 9-year-old daughter, unable to find anything “stylish” that didn’t bare a stomach or involve high heels. Norgaard’s company, Dream Big Toy Co., aims to empower young girls with its motto “Dream Big and Go for It.” It seems that similar specialty toy companies have started to take notice, creating lines with a related approach.
Dream Big Toy Co. created Go! Go! Sports Girls as a fun and educational way to promote self-appreciation and the benefits of daily exercise, healthy eating and sleeping habits, self-esteem, and overall healthy life skills among girls ages 3 to 12, regardless of race and socioeconomic class. The Sports Girls are age and size appropriate, and most importantly, they do not encourage an older or overly mature image. The image is innocent with a strong message to girls about appreciating and being true to yourself. [Read more...]
2 blue ducks will introduce two new lines of environmentally friendly products that will launch later this month at the Toronto Gift Fair. The first is a line of plush toys, from Greenpoint Brands, that are chemical-free, made of organic cotton, and packaged in reusable gift boxes. Greenpoint Brands followed increased safety and health standards to create the new toys, as well as reducing the environmental impact in production.
Milestone Baby Cards will also be featured at the gift fair, which are designed to celebrate major moments throughout a child’s first year. The development cards will feature creative photographs. The cards, box, and displays are printed on FSC-certified paper with 70 percent vegetable oil ink.
Giving kids their very first ride of their own, Buildex Riding Toys offer innovation in children’s toys. With cool suspension and steering, these easy-to-build, no-tools-required wooden toys, Buildex Riding Toys, from Kids Preferred, introduces many new wooden construction toys in a new product category.
Developed in conjunction with toy designers at Chelona Wooden World, Buildex toys are ideal for your little explorers looking to take their first independent ride. This new generation of real-wood toys with water based stains was designed for kids (and kids at heart) with an appreciation for movement and design. The collection utilizes Grid-Lock and Safe-Lock, unique construction systems that allow strong and safe assembly without the need for glue and tools. [Read more...]
Bunnies By The Bay is launching a new spring Hareytales collection, entitled Who’s A Bunny?, featuring artwork of storybook characters Bud, Tadbit, Skipit, and Emmie. The collection is aimed at new learners ages 6 to 18 months, and includes apparel, soft toys, baby dish sets, soft books, and blankets.
The Who’s a Bunny? collection includes:
- Four board books with soft printed velour covers that offer bright colors and insight for small hands. The titles include, Are You a Bunny?, How Many Bugs?, Where’s Puppy?, and What Color Am I?.
- A Who’s a Bunny? soft book, featuring super soft velour and bright illustrations.
- Four Who’s a Bunny? soft blocks, featuring a series of delightful and familiar Bunnies By The Bay characters, warm colors, and bright images, including a mirror and a carrying case.
- Soft, lovable 12-inch toys, Busy Pup Pup and Busy Bun Bun, each with interactive features to keep babies entertained and stimulated.
- Rattle Me’s featuring three colorful favorite characters, easy-to-hold-onto shapes, and a sound that babies and parents alike will love.
- Two teethers made of all-natural rubber give babies something safe and satisfying to chew on. These are available in Baby Bud and Peanut (pink and gray).
- The soft, squishy, and colorful Who’s a Bunny? ball.
- The Who’s a Bunny? blanket, which is full of carrots and color, and measures 30” by 30”. The blanket asks, “Who’s a bunny?” and answers, “This is a bunny… Let’s hop!”
- Shaky Friends featuring colorful characters, soft rings, and a strap for easy attaching, playing in the crib, or taking on the go.
- Who’s a Bunny? melamine dish sets, offering a fun message such as, “Don’t Quack with Your Mouth Full!,” “Lick it Up!,” “Nibbling is Delightful!,” and “Bugs are Vegetables Too!”
- Bibs with favorite characters and messages that include “Lick it up!,” “Bugs are vegetables too,” “Peas Pass the Carrots,” and “More Quackers Please.”
- Finally, the collection includes one-piece bodysuits, or “bunsies,” available in sizes 3 to 6 months, 6 to 9 months, and 9 to 12 months. They feature the fun phrases, “No Sniffing,” “Ribbit Ribbit,” “Hip Hop,” and “Daisy Fresh” in various colors and styles.
This spring, Kids Preferred will debut two new collections of toys from The World of Eric Carle. The Little Artist Collection features artistic toys and accessories that offer young artists the chance to paint the world as they see it, while the Little Musician Collection helps budding little musicians create notes, rhythms, and tunes all their own.
The World of Eric Carle line has The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Carle’s best-selling children’s book, as its centerpiece. Both the Little Artist and Little Musician Collections will debut at the American International Toy Fair in February.
The Little Artist Collection includes a wooden easel with a paper roll, paint cups, and magnets, including a chalkboard and a dry erase board; an art smock /apron with vinyl pockets; and a splat mat/floor cover with a colorful design that absorbs paints and spills. [Read more...]
Demdaco has entered into a licensing agreement with kathy ireland Worldwide, one of the country’s most powerful brands founded by CEO and Chief Designer, Kathy Ireland. The new line of products, kathy ireland Baby by Demdaco, features luxurious baby blankets and plush toys designed as a result of a collaboration between Demdaco’s Nat & Jules development team and kathy ireland Worldwide.
The kathy ireland Baby collection is a natural extension to the Nat & Jules brand of children’s toys and keepsakes. The collection will be available to preview in Demdaco showrooms this winter in Atlanta, Dallas, and Las Vegas. Kathy Ireland will make a special guest appearance in the Atlanta Demdaco showroom on January 9 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Google has released its annual Zeitgeist—a “spirit of the times”—which gives us a chance to remember the people, places and topics that got us talking, and ultimately searching, before a new year begins. The list of top toy searches features new toys such as Minions and Palace Pets, but also old favorites, such as Play-Doh. Here are the top 10 trending toy searches this year:
- Digimon Fusion
- Minecraft Toys
- Palace Pets
- Paw Patrol
- Pacific Rim Toys
- My Little Pony
- Disney Planes
The 2013 Zeitgeist site provides more than 1000 top-10 lists of popular and trending searches from 72 countries, making it the most comprehensive and global list to date.
1996. It was the year of the New York Yankees, the Chicago Bulls, the Dallas Cowboys. It was the year of Jerry Maguire and the Macarena. It was the year of Bill Clinton’s reelection. But most importantly, 1996 marked the best Christmas ever, with toy companies cranking out some of kids’ favorite toys of all time.
Who could forget the Cabbage Patch Snacktime Kids dolls, from Mattel? Those pudgy-faced, yarn-haired little cuties each had a motorized mouth, and kids could feed their doll a french fry, a pretzel stick, a banana, and other yummy snacks. This was one of the toys my mom admits to pushing other moms out of the way for at Toys “R” Us on Black Friday morning. The food, which the dolls realistically chewed when kids inserted it into their mouths, fell into a backpack on the doll’s back, so kids could feed them over and over again. Of course, this beacon of glory was shortly recalled after the holiday season, as kids were getting their hair, skin, and fingers stuck in the doll’s mouth (as you can imagine, this resulted in many unhappy parents and kids with bald spots). While I made sure my hair was secured tightly in a ponytail while playing, my Snacktime Kid remained one of my favorite toys through ’97.