Panel Finds Parents Need to Improve Play for Children

GeniusOfPlaylogoA panel of parenting experts and educators convened by The Genius of Play at The Children’s Museum of Manhattan found parents don’t truly understand the value that comes with play, according to the Toy Association. The panel’s findings are included in the report “The State of Play in America,” A Special Report by The Genius of Play.

The report includes guidance on the issues of concern to today’s parents and educators, including the role of technology in kids’ lives, safety concerns that could limit their independence, and the importance of recess or play breaks in aiding learning. The panel concluded that parents forget to carve out time for play and may wrongly dismiss it as “empty time.” [Read more...]

Deadline Set for Spielwarenmesse’s World of Toys Pavilion in Hong Kong

Logo Spielwarenmesse 2016Registration for the World of Toys Pavilion at Spielwarenmesse eG’s Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair ends on Sept. 30. The next edition of the show will take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, is scheduled to run from January 8 to 11.

At last year’s Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, 31 companies (up from 27 in 2016) from 14 countries (13 in the year prior) appeared at the World of Toys Pavilion. [Read more...]

Mike Bettiga Joins Fun2Play Toys

Fun2Play Toys-Mike Bettiga Joins Fun2Play Toys as COO - CFOMike Bettiga joins Fun2Play Toys as the company’s COO/CFO to help build the brand and boost sales. He will provide the company guidance as it works to cultivate its branding and position within the consumer market. Bettiga will also help ensure that sales meet and exceed current goals.

Bettiga joins the company with 38 years of corporate retail experience, most recently as former CEO/COO at national retail chain Shopko. During his previous work with Shopko, Bettiga pioneered several businesses within the company.

IBM Watson, Sesame Workshop Team Up for Learning Platform

Sesame Street's Grover with a young childGeorgia’s Gwinnett County Public Schools completed IBM and Sesame Workshop’s initial pilot of the companies’ first cognitive vocabulary learning app, built on the IBM and Sesame intelligent play and learning platform.

The new platform, powered by IBM Cloud, enables an ecosystem of software developers, researchers, educational toy companies, and educators to tap IBM Watson cognitive capabilities and Sesame Workshop’s early childhood expertise to build engaging experiences to help advance kid’s education and learning. The cognitive vocabulary app is one of the first of additional planned cognitive apps, games, and educational toys that will be built over time on this new platform, as a result of the two companies’ collaboration that began last year. [Read more...]

Build-A-Bear Workshop Adds Pop-Up Shop Experiences at Select Movie Theaters, Family Resorts

buildabear_carnivalcruiseThis summer, Build-A-Bear Workshop will offer new experiences for fans at select AMC Theatres, Carnival Cruise Line ships, Gaylord Hotels, and Beaches Resorts.

Build-A-Bear Workshop seasonal pop-up shops opened in March at select AMC Theatres locations in Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and 10 additional shops opened this month in Texas, Kansas, and Missouri. Kids can make movie-inspired plush and customize it with an assortment of clothing, accessories, scents, and sounds. Pre-stuffed plush are also available. [Read more...]

Shopkins Pop-Up Café to Open in New York City

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Moose Toys will open a limited-time Shopkins Macaron Café. Reservations for the café opened at 8 p.m. on June 1, and were completely booked in one minute. The waiting list includes more than 4,000 families.

The café is set to open in Tribeca from June 17 to 19 and is meant to celebrate the launch of Shopkins Season 8: World Vacation. The first wave of Shopkins: World Vacation will introduce Shopkins and Shoppies characters from France, Italy, Germany, and the UK. [Read more...]

Odyssey Toys Partners with Petra for Product Distribution

odysseytoys copyOdyssey Toys signed a deal with Petra this month to distribute its complete line of consumer electronics toys, such as drones and educational augmented reality games. Petra will work to increase distribution at online retailers and independent brick and mortar stores around the U.S. [Read more...]

Brain Miller to Receive ASTRA Top Honor

logoBrian Miller of the Geppetto’s A Child’s Fantasy toy stores in San Diego, California, will be honored at Marketplace & Academy with ASTRA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Miller is a 25-year veteran in the toy industry and owns nine Geppetto’s locations. He started his toy career about the same time ASTRA was founded, and served as a board member and volunteer leader during the beginning of ASTRA. He also helped shape many ASTRA programs still in place today.

Miller will receive the award from ASTRA during its annual Awards Breakfast and Business meeting from 8 to 9:30 a.m. on June 26 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

Surprizamals Launches Design Contest to Celebrate Series 4 Release

Surprizamals LogoBeverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. launched a Design Your Own Surprizamal contest to celebrate the release of Surprizamals Series 4.

Participants can now design the next character in the plush series. The grand prize winner will have his or her design become part of the Surprizamal family, and the top three submissions will win the entire Series 6 collection. The winning design will be incorporated into the upcoming series launching at the beginning of next year as the limited edition Surprizamal.  [Read more...]

ChiTAG Announces Keynote Speakers

CHITAGGrouplogoThe Chicago Toy & Game Group (ChiTAG) announced its first keynote speakers for its Inventor and Innovation Conferences. Speakers so far include Richard Barry, EVP, global chief merchandising officer at Toys “R” Us; Rich Mazel, senior director global product acquisition at Hasbro; and Gary Swisher, SVP of inventor relations and head of gaming at Mattel.