Newark Children Receive Hundreds of Toys in Holiday Giveaway

Photo Credit: TIF

On December 17, children in need from the West Ward neighborhood of Newark, N.J. received hundreds of toys from the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) as part of a special holiday giveaway hosted by Franciscan Charities. In attendance were representatives from TIF and Franciscan Charities, as well as elves (local volunteers) and a special appearance by Santa.

More than 700 toys were distributed to more than 600 children. The gifts were among the 500,000 toys donated throughout the year by toy industry manufacturers to The Toy Bank. Gifts were also donated via TIF’s annual Holiday Toy Drive, which is held each year from November 1 to December 31. To date, more than 175,000 toys, valued at more than $2.5 million, have been donated for this year’s Holiday Toy Drive.

Toys for the Newark event were donated by Kid O Products; Pretty Ugly, LLC; Briarpatch, Inc.; and New Adventures, LLC.

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Target’s Mommy Ambassador, Soleil Moon Frye, Reveals Top Holiday Picks

I attended Target’s Holiday Toy Preview on November 9, and had the great pleasure of meeting Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster, Sabrina the Teenage Witch). She is Target’s Mommy Ambassador, and frankly, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Soleil has two daughters herself, and seemed to have a ball talking about her favorite toys for the holidays. Rocking a pair of comfy slipper socks, Soleil walked me through Target’s top holiday toy picks, and introduced me to the toys she chose as her personal top picks:

  • Disney My First Princess Doll and Toddler Dress Gift Set
  • Disney Cars Charge n Race Speedway
  • LeapFrog LeapPad
  • Barbie Hairtastic Printables
  • Paper Jamz Pro Series Microphone
  • Scrabble Flash

Perhaps I should have removed my heels and rocked some slipper socks myself. It was a pleasure to meet you Soleil!

Disney Store Announces its Top 10 Holiday Toys

Yesterday, The Toy Book attended a special holiday event at Disney Store Times Square at which the retailer announced its top 10 toys for this holiday season.

Special guests included Disney animator Mark Henn, host and reality TV star La La Vasquez (La La’s Full Court Life), New York socialite and reality TV star Alex McCord (The Real Housewives of New York City), actress Daya Vaidya (Unforgettable), actress Kelly Rutherford (Gossip Girl), and, of course, Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

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Top Trumps Championship Announces Winner

Shawal Malik poses with contest goodies.

On September 1 at 10 a.m., 40 VIP guests and onlookers gathered to watch the six semi-finalists compete for the grand prize in the Top Trumps Championship. The championship was held on the 67th floor of The Top of The Rock Observation Deck in New York City.

This year’s winner, 11-year-old Shawal Malik, took home the prize package (valued at over $750), which included admission to the Top of The Rock Observation Deck for his entire class, 10 passes to The Bronx Zoo, Moshi Monster plush and collectibles, various Top Trumps games, and the Top Trumps Championship Trophy.

The Top Trumps competition was part of a six-week program in conjunction with the Queens and Brooklyn Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, held from July 12 to August 21. To qualify, children had to visit a participating branch of a Queens or Brooklyn Public Library to play rounds of Top Trumps. Participants were given scorecards and each time they won a round, the librarian would reward the player with a sticker on his or her scorecard. For every five games won, the child earned a prize, and if the child won 15 games by August 21 he or she won the right to enter the online tournament. The children then competed online to earn a spot as semi-finalists on the leader board.

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GeoSafari Talking Electron Microscope Combines Education and Fun

The GeoSafari Talking Electron Microscope, Educational Insights‘ educational electron microscope for young scientists of all ages, is now available. Bruce Lund, of Lund and Company Invention, created the microscope that can captivate kids through an extensive collection of more than 180 extreme close-up images, ranging from the inner workings of the human body to plant and animal samples. Children can choose between Learning Mode, where images and fun facts can be viewed, and Quiz Mode, where they can test their new knowledge.

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TIF and BGCA Distribute Toys to Military Children

Representatives from the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) celebrated military children by distributing new toys and games to more than 600 youth whose families are stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Marine Corps Recruit Depot in South Carolina. The distribution, part of the Play Comforts partnership, took place on April 13 at the Laurel Bay Youth Center.
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First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Visit Sesame Street

In this photo handout from Sesame Workshop, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden visit Sesame Street on Monday, April 18, as part of the White House’s “Joining Forces” Initiative and Sesame’s military families project, to tape Public Service Announcements asking all Americans to support our military families.

Photo by Richard Termine

I Spy Celebrates 20 Years

New York City students helped Scholastic celebrate the 20th Anniversary of its I Spy brand Wednesday in Times Square during the event, “I Spy A Celebration: 20 Years; 20 Kids; 20 Riddles.”  For finding 20 hidden objects around a 12-foot-high birthday cake, the students’ school will receive 500 books.  In addition to its new book, I Spy Spectacular, the anniversary year will see new I Spy releases from Briarpatch and Scholastic Interactive.

Photo: A. Walker

Rio Video Game to Release April 12

THQ, Inc. and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products will release a fast-paced, party-style video game inspired by Fox’s upcoming animated 3-D movie Rio on April 12. The movie will debut in theaters on April 15.

The video game will be available on the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation3 computer entertainment system, the Wii system, and the Nintendo DS family of hand-held systems.

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Mega Bloks Launches Tour for Halo Vehicle

Mega Bloks has launched a North American tour for the Mega Bloks Halo Vehicle, inspired by Halo’s Warthog. The vehicle will be traveling across Canada and the U.S., making appearances at toy shows, convention centers, retail stores, and more. The vehicle’s first stop was at the Javits Convention Center in New York City during American International Toy Fair.