China Toy Fair


Toy Insider Experts Name Top Holiday Toys in Their Hot 20 and Top Tech 12 Lists

The Toy Insider logoThe Toy Insider has announced its Hot 20 and Top Tech 12 holiday toy lists, giving gift-givers a sneak peek at the must-have traditional and high-tech toys this holiday season. From Doc McStuffins to Elmo, Lego Fusion to LeapTV, each list includes top picks for kids of all ages. Covering a variety of play patterns, including classic toys and high-tech options, the Toy Insider gives parents and gift-givers a head start on finding toys for the holidays.

The Hot 20 and the Top Tech 12 are the kick-off sections of the Toy Insider holiday gift guide, which will appear in the November issue of Woman’s Day magazine, as well as www.toyinsider.com. The guide is broken down by age group (0-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9+) with in-depth descriptions and a unique skill key of developmental needs and interests for each toy.

Legoland Florida Theme Park Adds Duplo Valley Expansion

LegoLandThe Legoland Florida theme park has officially opened its latest expansion, Duplo Valley. The new extension brings the Lego Duplo line of preschool building toys to live with new farm-themed attractions, an air-conditioned indoor play area, and a water play area for toddlers ages 2 to 5.

Duplo Valley was designed to be an environment where parents can play and relax with their toddlers.  New outdoor attractions include Duplo Train, Duplo Tractor, and a Duplo Splash & Play area. The barn-themed play area includes private nursing and changing stations, rocking chairs, microwaves, bottle warmers, high chairs and cell phone charging stations.

Guests can also purchase the all-new Preschool Pass, which includes weekday admission to Legoland Florida and standard parking for one child under five and one adult for a full year.

Delta Children Expands Line of Baby Walkers

deltaDelta Children has added to its collection of baby walkers, which help stimulate a baby’s early development and boost walking confidence, and are outfitted with toy trays.

The Lil’ Drive Walker features realistic car details, removable toy tray topped with a shifter and movable steering wheel, lights, and sounds. It is available at Walmart.com. Another product, the Lil’ Fun Time Walker, lets parents transform playtime into snack time in seconds with the quick release tray topped with a steering wheel, lights, and sound. It is available at BabiesRUs.com. Finally, the Lil’ Frog 2-in-1 Walker includes engaging sounds, lights, and toys to stimulate early mental development and balancing skills. Available soon, it also converts from a walker into a stationary activity center.

Tubby Table Toys Launches New Toy Line

Picture 1Tubby Table Toys Inc. has created the Tubby Table Tubby Buddies toy line with two collections. The Vroom-Vroom Vehicles set includes a racecar, helicopter, and tug boat, while the Zoo-Born Animals set includes a butterfly, ladybug, baby seal, and a clown fish. Each toy is a bright, vibrant, and floatable squirt toy designed for a bathtub.

COMMENTARY: Kids Can Safely Get Behind the Wheel with New Ride-Ons

It’s difficult to recall when I first began dreaming about getting my driver’s license. Sure, there was that one time I accidentally shifted my parents’ car into neutral and rolled it out of the driveway (sorry again, Mom), but even at a young age, I had a desire to drive.Barbie Jeep

The first ride-on I instantly became obsessed with was my friend’s Power Wheels Barbie Jeep, circa 1990-something. It was love at first sight and I just had to have it. It was battery-operated, so I could just push down the pedal and go. It even had a roomy passenger seat, which was perfect for driving around my younger brothers and sister–and I probably tried to get my cat in it with me, too. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Bath Time Is Play Time in My House

I’m a lucky mom (for many reasons), but in the context of this post I’m lucky because my kids love taking baths. It’s one less thing to fight about. However, the reason they don’t mind cleaning up is that it’s fun. It’s not the getting clean part they enjoy (Lena has tried to make me forget about that portion of the experience many times), but the playing. Entertaining a 4-year-old in the tub is very different from distracting an 8-month-old, but bath toys have come a long way since I was a kid (plastic cup and Dawn dish soap, anyone?), and I’ve got a whole array of toys to get the job done. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Learning Healthy Habits Has Never Been This Much Fun!

As adults, we’re always obsessing over chasing that elusive 10 pounds that we gained so easily after college, but still haven’t figured out how to lose. Going to the gym and eating organic foods are second nature to those who have adapted healthier lifestyles in an effort to be at their best. It’s difficult to make those changes—switching french fries for brussels sprouts and being active instead of sitting on the couch all day. Why, then, don’t we give our kids a head start in this crusade? We should be teaching these healthy habits as early as possible.

eggplantAt Toy Fair 2014, there was one booth that stuck out to me, mostly because there was a dancing carrot in superhero gear in front of the ss-logotable. Hey, whatever you have to do! But the premise of this company is just that—to put a fun, positive light on vegetables and to get the attention of kids. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Not a Barbie Girl!

Barbie just celebrated her 55th birthday, and to commemorate the occasion, made a splash on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Wearing a skimpy, and quite-controversial, neutral-toned swimsuit, Barbie caused quite a stir. Many argue that it may be time for Barbie to finally step down as the queen of the children’s doll world. Nickolay Lamm, creator of the new Lammily doll, would certainly agree that there is a new girl in town: the “average is beautiful”-promoting Lammily doll.

Lamm claims that Lammily is the world’s first normal-sized doll. Last year, Lamm designed images of what he dubbed, “normal Barbie,” in an attempt to make the doll reflect the proportions of real female bodies. He used the measurements of the average 19-year-old woman from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and molded them into a 3-D model of Barbie.

lammilyBarbie’s unrealistic proportions have long been criticized by feminist campaigns. Although her waist was expanded and her bust made smaller in 1998, her figure remains significantly out of proportion and unrealistic for the average teenager. Studies show that if transformed into a real woman, Barbie’s 16-inch waist would be four inches thinner than her head. She would be required to walk on her hands and feet, as her 6-inch ankles and vast, missing areas of body would not be able to hold her upright. Studies also show that body image issues in young girls may be related, in part, to Barbie and dolls of the like, and that more than 50 percent of girls ages 9 to 10 claim to be, “on a diet.” This is deeply unsettling, and it seems that while no one thing can be blamed for this warped sense of body image in young girls, Barbie’s unrealistic figure can’t be helping.

Lammily represents something new. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Plush With a Purpose

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...]

Pebble Handmade Toys Now Available in the U.S.

Feb3.PebblePebbles’ 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.