China Toy Fair


Lego Bionicle Fights New Evil in Latest Line of Figures

The Lego Group unveiled its newest line in the Lego Bionicle franchise at New York Comic Con. The new product information, principle graphic design, and video short released at the event are based on a new storyline launching next year.

The new plot takes place on the mythical island of Okoto, where the evil Makuta is overcome by the desire for the island’s three mythic masks that will cast the world into darkness. Six heroes called the Toa must embark on a quest to unlock their elemental powers and battle the forces of evil, defeat Makuta, and save Okoto.

Beginning next January, six new protector sets and six Toa sets will be available at major retailers.

Modarri, a Different Kind of Toy Car, Arrives at Retail

ModarriModarri, from Thoughtfull Toys, launched at American International Toy Fair in February, and now the car line is hitting retail stores.

Modarri is a kind of miniature car that’s driven with the fingers using realistic steering and suspension. Recommended for ages 8 and up (though not for ages 0 to 3 due to small parts), users can design their own unique cars by swapping parts from one vehicle to another using the included Hex Tool.

Each modular car includes a chassis, hood/windshield, seat pan, seat, fenders and frame, hex tool, four wheels, front suspension, and rear suspension. The line is launching with a Street Car S1, Dirt Car X1, and Track Car T1. In addition, the DIY model allows users to make custom vehicles with their own paint jobs.

Thoughtfull Toys had created a Kickstarter project for Modarri, which finished at more than $69,000, or more than 300 percent of its funding goal. The group successfully raised a second round of financing from accredited investors, with a focus on website development to make the car line interactive and digital as well as physical.

Laser Pegs Announces New Peg Head Line of Building Kits, Animated Short Stories

LaserPegs.PegHeadsLaser Pegs will be featured in a new line of Peg Head-themed building kits accompanied by animated short stories.

Peg Heads building kits include customizable Mini Figures with interchangeable horn, eye, mouth, body with moveable arm, and leg blocks. The three Peg Head characters—Zippy, Peg, and Spinner—have 144 different face combinations between them.

Laser Pegs will also release three light-up Big Figures that work with other Peg Heads building pieces. Both the mini-figures and Big Figures can be integrated into any existing Laser Pegs set.

Jeffery Scott, who has written more than 700 scripts for various animated series, wrote the animated short stories.

The Peg Head kits are non-gendered, and the pieces are compatible with other major construction kits on the market today. Intended for kids ages 3 and up, Peg Heads will be available next year.

American Girl’s BeForever Line Connects to Stories and Characters from Times Past

AmericanGirl.BeForeverToday, American Girl introduces BeForever, a new line of historical dolls, books, and related accessories that connects girls ages 8 and up with characters and timeless stories from America’s past. First introduced in 1986, and now with a new look, BeForever provides opportunities to explore the past, present, and future.

The BeForever line will debut with eight characters; all-new, historically accurate outfits and accessories for dolls; new and refreshed fiction books; and an original line of historically inspired clothing for girls. The characters include a Nez Perce girl who does her best to be a friend to the earth in 1764, to an optimistic girl who stands up for what’s right in the mid-1970s.

To celebrate the launch of BeForever, American Girl is welcoming back Samantha Parkington to its lineup of historical characters. One of the company’s original characters introduced in 1986, Samantha will be reintroduced with new products, including an ice cream parlor, a bike, a bedroom set, and several new outfits and accessories. [Read more...]

Cwist Adds ThinkFun Games and Fat Brain Toys to Digital Library

CWIST LOGOcwist, Inc., a free, crowd-sourced, digital library of interactive learning challenges for kids, has entered partnerships with educational game manufacturer ThinkFun, Inc. and online retailer Fat Brain Toys.

cwist features a “wish engine” that helps kids ages 5 to 11 make the connection between the things they want and the effort it takes to get them, as they earn parent-approved rewards upon successful completion of a cwist challenge.

cwist will develop challenge content for its platform that enhances the learning experience with ThinkFun’s products and programs. cwist will also cross promote, support and create challenge content for ThinkFun’s events and programs such as Big Games and community game nights. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Making the Most of the Fourth of July

Time is flying, and it’s hard to believe that next weekend is already the Fourth of July. For many families, this means barbecues, friends and family, music, and to top it all off, a spectacular fireworks display. Many Fourth of Julys from my childhood were spent at the beach or someone’s pool, and the days always seemed to last forever—in a good way. While the grown-ups mingled, we kids would embark on a day of adventure—exploring, playing, competing, and forging relationships. Here are some toys to give kids everything they need for a fantastic Fourth of July:

butterflynet

Toysmith’s Fish-Butterfly Net is a classic way to keep kids entertained for hours in the great outdoors. This multi-purpose net lets kids catch insects on land, minnows in the water, or fireflies once the sun goes down. I remember spending hours with my friends and cousins outside at the docks, waiting to plunge the net in at just the right time to catch the tiny fish that flickered in the sun beams. Bonus points if there’s a pond nearby for catching frogs. [Read more...]

BREAKING NEWS: Lego Combines Digital and Physical Play with Lego Fusion

Lego Fusion Town MasterLego Systems Inc. has unveiled Lego Fusion, a play experience that combines traditional Lego brick play with app-based mobile games for kids ages 7 and up. The Fusion collection will include four: Lego Fusion Town Master, Lego Fusion Battle Towers, Lego Fusion Create & Race, and Lego Fusion Resort Designer, featuring Lego Friends characters and themes.

Each Lego Fusion kit consists of a distinct set of Lego bricks, a corresponding free downloadable app, and a unique Fusion capture plate, which is a small brick-building plate featuring a printed design that enables a smartphone or tablet’s camera to identify the size, colors, and layout of the Lego bricks built onto the plate. The apps will prompt kids to build a 2-D façade of a building onto the capture plate any way they like. Then, kids can import the façade into the app and transform the creation into a full 3-D building on screen. Once a Lego brick creation has been imported into the game, a series of challenges and interactions will require kids to turn away from the screen and build another façade with their Lego bricks to progress in the game. Each game encourages this back-and-forth between physical and virtual worlds.

[Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Summer Is Here!

Yes, yes, I know that summer actually starts next month. But for all intents and purposes, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and for the next three months, we’ll be cramming in as many cookouts, camping trips, beach days, and family get-togethers as we can. Kids have already started the countdown to the end of the school year, and after the long, harsh winter we had here in the northeast this year, they’re ready to get out and make the most of their summer vacation. Here are some great outdoor toys that will make it a summer to remember:

slipnslide

The Slip ‘n Slide Wave Rider, from Wham-O, is an obvious go-to for a hot summer day. This 16-foot slide is a classic way for kids ages 5 to 12 to cool off and have hours of fun. Hydro-glide technology creates water beads on the surface, giving kids a fast ride, and the included boogie board gives an even smoother time as kids slide alongside the water bumper and into the splash pool. The bumper also continuously sprays water, guaranteeing a cool, wet ride. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Teen Titans Go! Has Licensed Toys Ready to Go

Phil.TeenTitans1.RobinFunkoIt’s been a good year for superhero comics on TV, what with the success of DC Comics’ Arrow and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., not to mention the planned fall arrivals of The Flash and Gotham. But let’s not forget the animated side of small screen super-heroics, as the second season of Teen Titans Go! premieres next month. The series resurrects Teen Titans, which aired during the mid-to-late 2000s, as something wackier and anarchic. Both shows are based on the long-running comic book of the same name, which is centered on some of the best-known teenage characters in DC’s pantheon.

Along with everyone’s favorite young sidekick, Robin, the cast includes Starfire, Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy. While adept at defeating evil-doers, Teen Titans Go! more often depicts them hanging out unsupervised at their team headquarters, at which point trouble worse than any super-villain tends to break out. The series is a fun romp, not to mention a good antidote to the spate of more serious, live-action superhero adaptations of late. Teen Titans Go! is currently licensed by a number of toy companies, with items for collectors, young kids, and everyone in between. But in all cases, the property’s lighthearted attitude shines through. [Read more...]

Adora’s Designed by Kids for Kids Contest Has Its Winner

Adora.ByKidsforKidsLast year, Adora launched its Designed by Kids for Kids program, which gave kids a chance to work with the company’s California design team to create an outfit for one of the company’s 18-inch Friends dolls. The contest closed on March 31, and Adora recently announced its Young Designer for 2015: Isabella C., of Orlando.

Eight-year-old Isabella designed a Cowgirl outfit, and will start collaborating with Adora’s design team to bring it to life for next year. She also gets to choose a favorite charity for donation.