The Beatrix Girls Makes Its Retail Debut at Toys “R” Us Stores Nationwide

TheBeatrixGirlsThe Beatrix Girls, a new line of collectible pop-star dolls driven by original music, is set to empower and inspire young girls nationwide with its retail debut this month at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and online at Toysrus.com. Kids can collect their music, join their fan club, and vicariously live the fantasy of being a pop star through play.

The Beatrix Girls have already generated a huge amount of momentum securing early strategic deals with licensing partners such as Peavey Instruments, along with nine other licensing partners covering every major category, including apparel, accessories, back-to-school stationary, footwear, and more.

The Beatrix Girls collection of dolls is recommended for ages 5 and up.

GoldieBlox Introduces GoldieBlox and the Parade Float

GoldieBlox.ParadeFloatThere’s a new addition to the GoldieBlox toy collection: GoldieBlox and the Parade Float, available now for pre-order at GoldieBlox.com for delivery by December 1, and rolling into Toys “R” Us stores nationwide this holiday season. Encouraging the growth of a female presence in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, founder Debbie Sterling and GoldieBlox aim to introduce girls to the fun of building combined with the age-old pastime of storytelling, by offering an engineering role model who is smart, curious, and accessible.

The new main set, GoldieBlox and the Parade Float, features nine design ideas as well as a do-it-yourself project, and is compatible with all other Goldie Blox toys. Meanwhile, the new Blox + Bits Expansion Pack includes rods, blocks, and other extra pieces that fit both the original GoldieBlox and The Spinning Machine and GoldieBlox and The Parade Float sets, and allow kids to create even larger projects.

In addition, GoldieBlox has launched an online play gallery with stop-motion how-to videos starring little girl inventors. Fans can submit their own videos to be featured on GoldieBlox.com and the GoldieBlox YouTube channel.

COMMENTARY: Memory Games: I Can’t Remember When I’ve Had This Much Fun!

I’ll admit that my memory isn’t quite what it used to be. Part of that might just be the hectic nature of modern life: With so much going on around us and so many things to keep track of, forgetting becomes all too easy. It’s also a totally natural consequence of aging, says that article that I read, in, uh… some web site or other. The point is, nowadays I write a lot of stuff down on a pad, or I email myself reminders. I’ve also started playing memory games, which even if they don’t re-forge my brain into a sharp instrument of information-retention, are at least a whole lot of fun.

This brings us to the board game Memory, which we’ve all played in one form or another. There’s a set of tiles placed face-down, and one or more players take turns flipping them, two at a time. If a player turns up a pair with of same face, they get a point and go again. The overall premise is simple, yet versatile enough that the game’s been tweaked in all sorts of ways. Meanwhile, the images requiring matching can be anything, which might explain why various intellectual properties have utilized Memory as part of a larger licensing plan. Below you’ll find some interesting versions of the classic game currently on the market, though it’s by no means an exhaustive list:

MonstersUniversityMonsters University Look-A-Likes Matching Game, from Spin Master: This licensed game, intended for kids ages 3 and up, definitely benefits from the distinct visual designs of Mike, Sulley, and the rest of the gang from this past summer’s Monsters University (on DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack October 29). The illustrations are clean and brightly colored, and thanks to how they’re juxtaposed against white backgrounds, they make a better impression on your memory during game play. Meanwhile, each half of a matching pair of tiles features a different colored border, making it possible to split the deck systematically to play a simpler version of the game. [Read more...]

Bunnies By the Bay Introduces the Red Thread Collection

wobblyBunnies By The Bay, from Kids Preferred, has introduced The Red Thread Collection. This new division of the Bunnies By The Bay brand has introduced items for all ages.

Red Thread is bringing more hearts and minds together through a new collection of soft, sweet toys for both little ones and adults who are truly kids at heart. They recognize that everyone longs to be connected to someone who loves them and believes that every heart is connected by an invisible red thread, which sparked the inspiration for this new collection. Products introduced by the collection are The Wobbly Friends, Little Big Friends, Wee Friends, Scraggly Friends, Welcome to the Jungle, and Be Elfish, Not Selfish.

In support and celebration of this new collection, Bunnies By The Bay is also bringing together several organizations that support orphans and abandoned children in the U.S and worldwide, and giving a percentage of proceeds to global charities and nonprofits. Half the Sky is an organization that offers the love and concern of family for thousands of orphaned children in China who have lost theirs. Worldwide Orphans works to transform the lives of orphaned children to help them become healthy, independent, productive members of their communities and the world.

COMMENTARY: Skylanders Swap Force Takes Over Times Square

Fans get in on the video game action.

Fans get in on the video game action.

On October 10, Skylanders fanatics united in New York City for the Skylanders SWAPtoberfest! A life-size world of Skylands was created right in the middle of Times Square. I joined hundreds of kids as they checked out all-things-new at Skylanders and prepared for the highly anticipated release of the new Skylanders Swap Force video game. Kiosks were set up, alongside a Skylands ship, for fans to play the new game in advance of its official launch. Skylanders Swap Force game footage was also featured on the Times Square jumbotron, so fans and passersby were able to watch the action! Kids, parents, and bloggers participated in Swaptober-themed events: Eating candy corn and cupcakes; greeting the costumed characters of the SWAP Force; and learning to play the new video games, which released in North America on October 13. I don’t want to brag, but after about 40 minutes of hogging the video game kiosk (stealing the time from actual children with no shame), I am pretty much a Skylanders boss!

I love that the Skylanders brand is so extensive, offering something for kids of all ages and interests.

SWAP Force takes over Times Square

SWAP Force takes over Times Square

Even better is the fact that all you really need to get started in the Skylanders realm is a Swap Force Starter Pack. This set includes a video game, a portal of power, a collector’s poster, three trading cards, three character sticker sheets with secret codes, and three Skylanders figures. There is also a starter pack available in the Dark edition; it includes a video game, a portal of power, a mega character collector poster, five sticker sheets with secret codes, five trading cards, and five Skylanders figures.  These starter packs also come in Giants and Syro’s Adventures editions. The technology and inspiration behind the new Skylanders video game make it an absolutely unstoppable force. I was able to speak with several of the video game designers who shared with me that the evolution of the game is only beginning—Skylanders is just getting started! All of the designers that I spoke with are parents, and one mommy/designer shared with me that this is the first game that she’s been a part of that she is happy to share with her children. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Big Rewards for a Little Bit of Cash

Sometimes kids deserve a special little treat—whether they refrain from crying at the dentist, got an extra star on their homework assignment, or behaved well on a long shopping trip, it’s nice to reward them for good behavior. Candy is a cheap, instant, and enjoyable treat, but we all know kids can do with a little less sugar (and, in turn, fewer painful dentist visits!).  There are some great inexpensive toys with lots of play value that will help reward kids for good behavior without breaking the bank or causing cavities.

ABSW Telepods Jedi vs Sith Multi-PacksAngry Birds Star Wars Telepods, from Hasbro, are sold in two-figure packs for less than $10. Kids can teleport the collectible figures right into the Angry Birds Star Wars II app, from Rovio Entertainment, on iOS and Android devices. Each figure has a unique QR code on the bottom, so kids can distinguish their characters from their friends’, even if they have the same ones. With more than 30 figures to collect, Hasbro also has compatible play sets at higher price points. With both virtual and physical play, Telepods is a great choice for a quick treat that will keep kids engaged for a long time. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Power Rangers Toys Power Up for 20th Anniversary

When I was a kid, I was in love with the Power Rangers, from Saban Brands. I was a huge fan of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series in the ’90s and I was even The Red Ranger one year for Halloween (They were all out of The Pink Ranger costumes and Kimberly was my favorite, so I had to compromise). I recently re-watched some episodes of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers when the series was on Netflix, and you know what? I still thought it was great in all of its ’90s glory.

However, the lucky kids of today get to obsess over two Power Rangers series of their own—Power Rangers Super Samurai and Power Rangers Megaforce. Power Rangers Super Samurai, which began airing in 2011, is about a new generation of Power Rangers that must master the mystical and ancient Samurai Symbols of Power, which allow them to control the elements of Fire, Water, Sky, Forest, and Earth. Aided by their devoted animal Zords and guided by an all-knowing mentor, these Power Rangers battle the dark forces of the Netherworld and a mysterious Warrior out to destroy.

Power Rangers Megaforce is the 20th season of Power Rangers, coinciding with the series’ 20th anniversary. This season features Gosei, a supernatural being who has protected the earth for centuries with his robotic assistant Tensou. When evil Warstar aliens begin a massive invasion, the Gosei calls upon the Power Rangers Megaforce to form the ultimate team. When morphed into the Power Rangers, the five teenagers gain superhuman strength and mastery over martial arts.

In light of the recent news of Saban extending its agreements with both Nickelodeon and Bandai America to keep the Power Rangers franchise alive, here are some great licensed toys from Bandai America that celebrates this new season of the Power Rangers series, as well as the brand’s 20th anniversary: [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.

 

Amav Introduces Sweet Art

image002Kids can now make their art, and eat it too, with Amav’s Sweet Art. The soft dough modeling kits allow children to make and decorate their own unique creations using rolling utensils and other crafting tools designed for small hands. The sugar dough is safe to eat (FDA-approved) and comes in several colors and flavors like strawberry, lemon, and chocolate.

The Ice Cream Maker allows kids to create their own Sweet Art ice cream shop complete with a serving station, and the Party Pack comes with an array of shaping utensils ideal for birthdays and family get-togethers. Other smaller kits feature themes such as animals, popsicles, and other treats. Intended for kids ages 6 an up, this new edible toy can be purchased at Toys “R” Us, amazon.com, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Kmart.

PomTree Launches No Mess Craft Kits

PomTreeplayhouse

PomTree has designed a line of constructive play kits that require no glue or scissors. Ideal for children ages 3 and up, PomTree launches the PomTree Stuck On Fun product line that features high-quality materials like foam, felt, and mixed media stickers. When play is done, all of the pieces can be put back into the PomTree resealable totes, tubs, and canisters. These sets include:

Lily and her best friends, Charlotte, and Ella, spend a day on the town. Pages of stickers can be added to each scene as the girls go shopping, paint pictures, fly a kite and end the day with a pajama party. Play a matching and sorting activity by placing stickers on the correct story pages.

3-D toy tree house allows kids to imagine a treehouse. A tire swing, ladder in the back, secret door, and lift off roof are included.

Kids can decorate the house with enclosed pets, shrubs, and   accessories.

Look for  other PomTree make-and-play activities such as the Swing-A-Long Pet Playhoouse, Sunnyside Up Market, Over the Moon Creamery Playset Kit, Feathered Friends Post Office Playset Kit, and the Sweet Sundaes Treat Truck Playset Kit in stores. They will be sold in stores such as Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, Meijer, and Barnes & Noble.

Follow and share creations on social media sites Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. Click on the website, www.PomTreeKids.com and look for the “Fun” button. Here kids can click then download-for-free coloring pages featuring Lily, Charlotte, and Ella.