Mamas & Papas Introduces the armadillo Stroller

2241h5400_xlMamas & Papas introduces its newest stroller, the armadillo. A Mamas & Papas survey found that one in every two parents with kids under the age of five are not satisfied with their current strollers. Additionally, more than two in three parents (68 percent) feel that it is better to have a secondary stroller than to have a single stroller for all of their activities. In fact, more than 21 percent have purchased three or more strollers for just one child.

Mamas & Papas have commissioned this research to determine what American parents are looking for from the products they use at each key stage of their parental journey.

The armadillo meets the needs that parents expressed in the survey, including ease of open and fold. Fifty-eight percent of parents believe that their current stroller is not as easy to open and fold as they would like it to be, while 48 percent cite ease of open and fold as their top desired feature. The armadillo quickly and easily opens, and folds in seconds with just one hand. Its inward fold also protects the fabric, while its seat for baby lies flat for use from birth and is well padded for long naps.

Available in stores nationwide and online the armadillo retails and is available in Lemon Drop, Black Licorice, Blue Fizz, Coral Pink, and Stripe with matching liner.

 

COMMENTARY: Why I Love Elmo

by Laurie Schacht, Toy Insider Mom

bighugsI’ve loved Elmo for as long as I can remember … and I’m not alone! He spans generations of boys, girls, kids, and adults. And while one might be able to argue that Mickey Mouse has the same appeal (and in many ways he does), every year there’s a brand new Elmo for a brand new group of kids to bring home and to love. But be warned, not all Elmo’s are alike.

When my kids were toddlers Elmo came in the form of a simple stuffed animal. He was cherished by all my girls, but especially my oldest, now 23. Today, she still adores him. I’ve actually had my ups and downs with Elmo (though my true love for him never really falters) as he has engaged in the world of technology.

Every holiday season I’m asked, “What’s the new Tickle Me Elmo this year?” and I think to myself, “I hope there isn’t one.”  Yes, Tickle Me Elmo, from Fisher-Price, was a retailer’s and a manufacturer’s dream toy—a toy retailers couldn’t keep in stock because demand was so high, and at the time, no one had ever seen such innovation in plush. Add the Elmo factor and it was a solid hit (followed by a few more, such as the extreme version). But while it was sold out everywhere, sold for huge markups by individuals, and fought over in stores—and as cool as the innovation was—this was not my favorite Elmo. I could never watch Elmo laugh or roll over on the floor, pounding the floor and laughing, without full out laughing myself. The problem was that I was just watching. [Read more...]

VTech Launches Online Milestones Guide for Parents’ Reference

VTech has launched their educator-approved Milestones guide. Milestones is a resource to help parents select toys based on the individual needs of kids ages 0 to 9. Parents are able to determine which toys and games are appropriate at each age and developmental stage, so they can make better toy selections.

The Milestones online guide focuses on three key areas of development:

  • Language & Cognitive Development: Encourages language immersion as a key to kids’ cognitive and emotional growth
  • Physical & Motor Development: Highlights how kids exercise their gross and fine motor skills, honing the brain pathways for smooth, purposeful physical movements
  • Social & Emotional Development: Explores how kids develop relationships, learn to read other people’s emotions, and how to control their own

The milestones in these key areas help identify a kid’s particular stage of development and can help parents make informed decisions about which toys are appropriate.

 

Genius Partners with Pacific Digital to Launch Baby Genius Streaming Service

geniusGenius Brands International Inc., developer and marketer of entertainment products including the Baby Genius line of music and edutainment products and characters, has formed a strategic partnership with Pacific Media Technologies’ Pacific Digital Distribution (PDD) division to bring the entire catalog of Baby Genius video, music, and digital content to a global audience.

PDD, a digital video services company dedicated to the distribution of content to broadcast, cable, Internet, and mobile video platforms, will connect consumers to Baby Genius content through its proprietary Cloud Video On Demand WAVE platform. WAVE is an enabled content management system that includes an e-commerce model for online payment gateways and manages digital distribution to any end-points including all mobile and connected devices, and content models including VOD and subscription rentals.

The new Baby Genius streaming service will be available to consumers beginning in October at a monthly subscription rate for immediate access to 125 Baby Genius videos and 500 Baby Genius songs. Additional digital content including Baby Genius ebooks and Baby Genius apps will be added to the service next year.

Reeves International Inc. Partners with Wow Toys

Reeves International Inc. has partnered with Wow Toys to become the exclusive distributor of the preschool toymaker’s line throughout the U.S. The brand features multi-piece play sets with ‘hero’ vehicle characters, such as Ernie Fire Engine, Dudley Dump Truck, and Pippa Princess Carriage with motorized mechanisms and functions that are battery free.

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Carried in more than 50 countries, Wow Toys’ designs are extra safe as they use child-safe paint, contain no small parts, and are PVC-, cadmium-, phthalate-, and PAH-free. Children can play along with their favorite characters and moms can be assured their child is playing with a high-quality toy that’s not only safe, but also durable.

Little Tikes Big Holiday Offering

Little Tikes is introducing new products for the holidays. These products range from ages as early as 6 months up to 5 years. These toys allow kids to interact with art, funny characters, and animals. They all support early development, including learning to crawl. These products include:
  • Lil’ Blabberz: Oolie is a funny, crazy character in the shape of a soft, fuzzy ball for kids ages 3 and up.
  • Activity Garden: The garden incorporates a variety of baby toys and activities to develop motor skills and cognitive ability. This activity gym can be configured in different ways to keep play exciting from kids ages 6 months to 3 years.
  • GiddyUp ‘N Go Pony: A toy pony named Thunder that allows kids ages 3 to 5 to develop coordination and balance.
  • I’m an Artist Station: This product allows toddlers ages 3 and up to be creative in art. The paper spins, kids add paint, and make creations.
  • Wiggimals: This toy sheep can assist babies in learning to crawl with its movement. Wiggimals is suitable for babies ages 6 months and up.

Tickety Toc Announces Three New U.S. Partners

Studio.TicketyTocThree new licensees have signed on to the Tickety Toc brand to create new products this fall. BirthdayExpress.com has signed for branded products including plates, napkins, cups, invitations, thank you notes, table covers, placemats, centerpieces, and sticker sheets. Bakery Crafts has signed for branded cake and cupcake decorations, including cupcake rings and picks, and edible images for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, candles, and candle holders. Lastly, InCharacter Costumes has signed for branded costumes for toddlers and preschoolers. The deals were brokered by Established Brands on behalf of Zodiak Kids.

    

Safari Ltd. Breaks into the Baby Market

Safari Ltd.18Safari Ltd., a family-owned manufacturer and worldwide distributor of museum-quality educational toys, has lowered the suggested age for more than 60 figures in its Incredible Creatures collection. Select figures previously suggested for ages 3 and older are now suitable for ages 18 months and up, including the bearded dragon, flying fish, panda baby, 2014 piglet, and more.

The new, lower age recommendation breaks Safari Ltd. into the baby market for the first time in the company’s history. Safari Ltd is a third-generation, educational toy company whose mission is to teach children the importance of nature and conservation through the joy of play.

Toys “R” Us Expands Education Product Selection, Introduces Imaginarium Brand

Toys R Us EducationalToys “R” Us will expand its year-round education product selection in stores nationwide and online at toysrus.com. Filled with a broad collection of items, kids from preschool to fifth grade, parents, and teachers can now find the essentials they need to make learning easy and fun throughout the entire year.

Toys “R” Us is also debuting a new line of exclusive education products under its Imaginarium brand, the company’s largest range of specialty and learning toys. Imaginarium Learning offers shoppers dozens of back-to-basics, as well as inventive products, which promote early learning skills in little ones ages 18 months and up.

Under Imaginarium Learning, kids can discover the universe with the Lift a Flap Solar System and Lift a Flap World Puzzle, or learn their ABCs and 123s with the assistance of Touch & Learn Alphabet Fish and ABC & 123 Monkey. Additionally, magnetic tablets, like Magnetab Numbers and Magnetab ABCs Lower Case, teach small hands to trace and write, while double-sided write and erase cards and take-along boards provide activities that reinforce writing skills. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Billy’s Got the Toddler Beat

As a 24 year-old, one would hope that it would take a fairly fascinating toy to really pique my interest. While it does take probably less than you would imagine (I am admittedly a kid at heart), there is one toddler plaything that I simply can’t get enough of—Billy Beats Dancing Piano. This musical DJ, from Mega Bloks, does it all. Billy is a too-cute-to-handle, dancing piano that is the culmination of all things enjoyed by toddlers. I know that if Billy had been around in my toddler hay-day, his batteries would have needed very frequent changing. My short attention span made it difficult to entertain me, and Billy Beats is four sources of entertainment in one—singing, music playing, dancing, and block building. Win, win, win, and win!

billybeatsHe has eight classic preschool songs in his repertoire, and he knows them all in three styles—with standard piano sounds, barnyard animal sounds, and a funky DJ-style. Kids can mix-and-match the sounds in the “Discover Music” mode. The “Dance Along” option makes Billy dance along as the song plays. The keys light up and Billy shakes his little piano booty. I think my favorite is the “Teach Me” setting. Billy Beats’ keys will light up in the order of the notes in the song. Toddler musicians can follow along, playing the song. If they make a mistake, Billy Beats lets out an adorable little giggle; if they get it right, he plays the song back for them—and of course adds a little jig.

Staying true to the Mega Bloks First Builders brand, Billy Beats is a construction toy that is fully compatible with all Mega Bloks First Builders blocks. They can be stored in the space under his red cap, and built up over his keys and on top of his head. Along with the included blocks, Billy Beats comes with stickers of sheet music that kids can play on his light-up keyboard.

For more commentary from Kara, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!