Sweet Suite 2016

COMMENTARY: Be a Rock Star—Through Play!

From the ages of 9 to about—oh I don’t know—now, few things got me more excited than hearing a Spice Girls song. I remember the days of standing in front of my mirror with a hair brush belting out all of Britney Spears‘ greatest hits. Everyone—whether you have an extreme case of stage fright or, like myself, were a diva-beyond-compare since the age of 5—loves the fantasy of being a rock star. It takes a lot of guts and gall—and boy does it seem glamorous.

We all know from reading the news that not all roads to rock stardom are as shiny, bright, and full of great shoes as we all hope for them to be. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still love the fantasy. With the upgrade of technology being incorporated into toys, kids’ fantasies of being a rock star are becoming truly, well, spectacular. Here are some great toys that will get kids—and kids at heart—up in front of that mirror belting into a hairbrush.

superstarThe Barbie Build ‘n Play Super Star Stage, from Mega Bloks, allows girls ages 5 and up to build their own two-story stage that features real lights and sounds that move to the music. The set comes with approximately 290 pieces, including sparkling blocks for a touch of extra glimmer. The Super Star Stage has three songs that will get kids up and dancing. Super Star Barbie, Raquelle, and Teresa figures are included with tons of fabulous accessories to make their rock show glam, including microphones, guitars, a DJ booth, a keyboard, and an elevator with a spinning feature. [Read more...]

Arklu Introduces New Lottie Dolls

lottie.nautical

Lighthouse Keeper

Lottie, from Arklu, is a new, innovative fashion doll for girls ages 3 to 9. The key point of difference from other fashion dolls is that Lottie’s body is childlike. Her dimensions (with the exception of her head) are based upon those devised by leading British scientific academics to reflect the average proportions on a 9-year-old girl.

Lottie has lots of dressable fun, is flexible and poseable, and can stand on her own two feet. Her hair is saran nylon, which is less likely to knot and is silky to the touch. Lottie’s motto is Be Bold Be Brave Be You.

The six new Lottie dolls feature Lottie dressed in detailed outfits specific to the theme. These dolls include Pandora’s Box, Lighthouse Keeper, Pirate Queen, Robot Girl, Kawaii Karate, and Butterfly Protector. Other dolls include Spring Celebration Ballet, English Country Garden, Branksea Festival, Pony Flag Race, Autumn Leaves, and Snow Queen. [Read more...]

Schylling Named Exclusive Distributor of Turbospoke Classic

Schylling will be the exclusive distributor for the launch of the Turbospoke Classic this month in the U.S. and Canada. Turbospoke Classic, is the new pocket-money-priced bicycle noise maker, from Turbospoke. Developed on their original “card in the spokes” design, Turbospoke Classic has a universal fitment and uses durable sound cards to make any bike go zoom. Kids can fit a Turbospoke Classic to their bikes and slide in one of the two sound cards, and they’re ready to ride. As soon as the wheel turns, the noise begins, and the harder that kids pedal, the louder it gets.

The compact design allows more than one Turbospoke Classic to fit on a bike, providing big volume and tunable sounds. Small adjustments to the location and angle of the Turbospoke Classic make a big difference. Turbospoke Classic has blended a retro look with a clean design. It is a standalone product and can also be used in conjunction with Turbospoke products.

Toys “R” Us Announces New tabeo e2

849623 Tabeo 2 Blue FrontToys “R” Us has announced that next month it will debut tabeo e2, the next generation of its Wi-Fi Android tablet for kids that launched during the last holiday season. Designed by the kids authority, the upgraded, 8-inch, multi-touch screen tablet is bigger and faster than the original tabeo and still provides content that kids love and safety features parents desire. tabeo e2 offers access to thousands of free apps in the tabeo App store and comes preloaded with dozens of premium apps carefully selected to entertain and educate kids ages 6 to 11. Featuring enhanced technology, such as the Android Jelly Bean 4.2 operating system, Bluetooth, and a dual-core 1.0 GHz processor for faster performance, tabeo e2 also includes improved parental controls and high-impact screen protection. tabeo e2 will be available in three colors exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and online at tabeo.com beginning in October.

Designed to provide users with an even more compelling tablet experience, tabeo e2 has been engineered specifically for kids of the digital generation. The larger 8-inch multi-touch screen displays more than 16 million colors with an advanced screen resolution. That, combined with a faster dual-core 1.0 GHz processor and quad-core graphics processing unit (GPU), lets users switch between browsing the Internet, watching movies, and playing games quickly and easily. tabeo e2 is also Bluetooth-enabled, allowing it to work with all Bluetooth wireless speakers and accessories.

tabeo e2 will be available in a blue, pink, or clear custom-made protective case. Every tabeo e2 also comes complete with one micro USB cable and one specially designed charging pin to ensure easy connection to a computer or wall outlet for charging. [Read more...]

Fingerprint Unearths New Get Rocky App

getrockyFingerprint has released an immersive science and adventure app for kids ages 6 to 12, Get Rocky. This tilt-and-slide trek follows Digger as he glides, spins, and battles his way to the center of the Earth to find his son, Rocky, a young mole with a knack for trouble. As the journey heats up, players uncover scientific facts about geology.

Get Rocky is a geology-packed quest that plunges players into an underground world gleaming with rocks, minerals and scientific facts they can really dig. Get Rocky has 30 animated game leves and six layers of geologic learning in the race to find Rocky. The app also includes 18 Get Rocky comic book movies with real science facts about the journey, 12 key rocks and minerals to collect for the Get Rocky Collection with more coming soon, 20 subterranean enemies to defeat, including centipedes, goblins, and magma men; 15 power-ups, boosts, and ugrades to earn or purchase, including the laser, jackhammer, and dino suit. The app is available exclusively on the Fingerprint network for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

COMMENTARY: Kids Getting Older Younger—Or Younger Older?

Everyone always talks about how kids are getting older younger. Kids as young as 8 years old are swapping their Barbie dolls and Transformers for iPods and tablets—but this isn’t the case for everyone. There are big kids everywhere, and toys have a funny little habit of bringing an adult’s inner-child giggling wildly to the surface.

Nostalgia is a huge trend in toys today—classic properties such as The Smurfs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Pac-Man have resurfaced and are engaging a whole new generation. Traditional toys, such as Hasbro’s Easy Bake Oven, Kahootz’s Spirograph, and POOF-Slinky’s Slinky, all still appeal to young kids the same way they did decades ago. However, adults and older kids will find just as much fun in new products primarily targeted toward youngsters, too.

RainbowLoom.Butterfly Blossom braceletThis weekend, I was loomed. A family friend’s daughter, Karli, had her wrist covered in the colorful rubber bracelets that are a product of Rainbow Loom, from Choon’s Designs. A huge craze among kids, I was enamored by the bracelets and begged her to teach me how to make one. She did, and of course, hers came out better. I’ve been staring at it on my wrist every day since she made it for me, and I was extremely tempted to purchase my own loom when I went into a Michael’s craft store and saw the enormous display (but I thought to myself: “You’re 23 years old, Marissa! Taking home product samples is one thing, but you cannot justify BUYING a toy!”).

[Read more...]

Hexbug Launches #theycanclimb Coloring Contest

theycanclimbHexbug has launched the Hexbug Nano V2 #theycanclimb coloring contest, giving Hexbug fans a chance to flex their creative muscles.

Hexbug hired an eccentric, internationally-renowned artist (and Hexbug enthusiast) to create eight colorful drawings crawling with the gravity-defying Nano V2 bugs. The artist received a last-minute, once in a lifetime opportunity to climb Mount Everest’s Khumbu Icefall that left him unable to color in his original black and white outlines. Now Hexbug is asking for the fans help to color in these drawings.

To enter the contest, fans can choose an outline, color it, and send it in to the Hexbug review team. The contest will run through through 11:59:59 p.m. CST on September 22.

Every entrant will receive a $5 promo code for their next purchase on Hexbug.com, and every week, some of the best submissions will be featured at Nanov2.com. Entrants will be judged in two separate categories: ages 6 and under, and ages 7 to 12. At the end of the contest, first, second, and third place winners in each category will be announced and awarded prizes.

Toys “R” Us Releases Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids

toysToys “R” Us, Inc. has released the 2013 Toys “R” Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, a toy selection resource for children with special needs. This annual shopping guide is available in Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores nationwide and online, in English and Spanish, at Toysrus.com/DifferentlyAbled. This year’s edition features 2012 all-around gymnastics gold medalist Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas on the cover, alongside Special Olympics Young Athletes Isabella Caesar and Samuel Lopez.

This year’s Guide introduces Toys “R” Us’ first Toys “R” Us App Guide for Differently-Abled Kids. The app guide currently features a selection of 25 apps identified to help children with special needs further develop key skills. Apps featured within the 2013 app guide include Swapsies–Occupations, PicSay–Photo Editor, Learning Letters for Kids, Bubble Buster, and Cookie Dunk Jump. All apps featured within this resource can be found in the Google Play Store for Android or the App Store for iOS.

Gabby Douglas is also helping to cheer on aspiring Special Olympics athletes. The Special Olympics Young Athletes program introduces kids to the world of sports and offers children ages 2 to 7 with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to play, compete, and grow while developing early cognitive, social, and motor skills. The Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund provides ongoing grants to Special Olympics to support the national expansion of Special Olympics’ Young Athletes program. Most recently, it pledged $1 million to become a founding partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and presenting sponsor of the first Young Athletes Festival, which will provide children and their families with the opportunity to take part in the Young Athletes program, free health screenings, family seminars, and more.

The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will be in New Jersey from June 14 to 21. This year, Toys “R” Us has partnered with Wynsum Arts, a social enterprise that makes app discovery and mobile technology accessible to children of all abilities.

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band Release Lishy Lou and Lucky Too

lishylouLucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band will release a new album of songs that create a world of adventurous listening for all ages. Lishy Lou and Lucky Too  is the new album and  features musical and theatrical guests, and will be available on October 1 on www.luckydiazmusic.com.

Lishy Lou and Lucky Too is a color-splashed, enhanced-reality, family-friendly variety show à la Peewee’s Playhouse, with a dash of The Lucy Show and the Marx Brothers comedy. Lishy Lou (Alisha Gaddis) and Lucky (a real-life husband-wife team) live together in a magical treehouse, and each episode presents a problem that Lishy, Lucky, and their friends and guests solve together. They’re a bilingual household (English and Spanish) that is filled with music and dance, encouraging movement and learning through song.

The album begins with the peppy theme song and a doo-woppy tune called “Thingamajig,”. Other songs spotlight people in history like Amelia Earhart (“8,000 Feet”) and Jackie Robinson (“Jackie”). The Beatles’ classic “Till There Was You” takes on new meaning when Lucky and Lishy sing it, and the song “When I Grow Up” will inspire kids to live their dreams.

The idea for Lishy Lou and Lucky Too came during a road trip, when together with daughter Ella, Lucky and Alisha shared music and stories. Lishy Lou and Lucky Too follows two family music albums from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band: A Potluck (2012), and the 2013 Spanish language release ¡Fantastico!. The band is also planning several family concerts this fall to celebrate the release, including a concert on September 14 at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.

Barbie Partners with Girl Scouts for First Barbie Patch

barbie-logogirlscoutsBarbie and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) partnered to create the first-ever Barbie “Be Anything, Do Everything” patch. The participation patch is designed to inspire the next generation of female leaders by encouraging girls to explore career possibilities through new program activities. The Barbie doll has been featured with more than 135 careers for more than five decades, and GSUSA has been dedicated to building girls of courage, confidence, and character for more than 100 years. In the spirit of Barbie doll’s career path and GSUSA’s heritage, the “Be Anything, Do Everything” participation patch allows Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies (girls in kindergarten through third grade) to explore career choices through the “I Can Be…” activity booklet.

The partnership is founded on the development of activities that encourage and inspire girls around the country to explore a variety of careers. With the core theme “Be Anything, Do Everything,” this partnership reaches girls online and offline, and includes an activity booklet, special patch, and a digital game and poll.