China Toy Fair


Alex Toys Expands Its Arts and Crafts Lines for Kids and Tweens

At the recent American International Toy Fair, Alex Toys showed off new products in its popular line of art supplies and art sets, and introduced new craft kits intended specifically for the tween market.

The extension in Alex Toys’ art line is intended to encourage creativity in open-ended ways, including a diverse selection of new art materials such as oil and chalk pastels, metallic pencils, glitter paint, sidewalk stencils, and acrylic paints.

The Ultimate Easel Accessories set comes with art supplies including poster paint, lidded paint cups, natural bristle brushes, paper roll, chalk, board markers, and board eraser. Meanwhile, the Color A Canvas, Mark It Up Canvas, and Paint A Canvas kits let kids create beautiful works of art with markers and paints on pre-printed canvases. Designs of varying complexity suit artists ranging from younger to older kids.

For its tween lines, Alex Toys is incorporating popular fashion design elements in its DIY kits. Along with extending its jewelry line with Spike Jewelry, Boho Bands, and Chain Bracelets, the company is also expanding its line of Alex Tech Couture accessory craft kits. New products include Duct Tape Tech for tablets and smart phone cases, Glam Rock Speakers, and Bling Headphones that give personality and texture to tech items through stickers, gems, and neon and patterned colors.

This year will also see the arrival of the Alex Spa collection for girls, and new party-sized spa and salon kits.

Alex Brands Brings Several Toy Industry Companies Together Under One Brand

PrintAlex Toys, POOF-Slinky, and Zoob have come together to form Alex Brands, a family of brands that will include several names in the toy industry, including Alex Toys, Slinky, Scientific Explorer, and Ideal. Alex Brands’ collective portfolio will encompass more than 2,000 products spanning the categories of games, science kits, preschool and infant toys, construction sets, craft activity kits, and more.

The Alex Brands family will be headed by Fred Keller as president, and steered out of Canton, Mich., and Northvale, N.J. Alex Brands is owned by Propel Equity Partners, which acquired Poof-Slinky in July 2012, Alex Toys in May of last year, and Zoob this past September.

At next month’s American International Toy Fair in New York City, Alex Brands will introduce more than 150 new items across all its brands.

COMMENTARY: Makeup Kits for Girls Are Fun and Inexpensive

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 4.13.43 PMLittle girls love to play with makeup. I know I definitely did. Unfortunately for me, my mom mostly stuck to neutrals, earth tones, and pale pinks—”boring” colors, in my young opinion. I wanted to open that makeup bag and see electric blue eye shadow, fire engine red lipstick, bright pink blush, vermillion glitter nail polish—you know, the works. But I made do with what she had, bland though I may have thought it, because it was fun to play with. For years, I’ve said that if I ever have a daughter, I will keep a stash of all the fun stuff (that I would never wear myself—I now, of course, completely understand why my mom kept the palette she did) and let her have at it as a special treat. However, there are lots of great makeup kits for girls available today, which may save me a trip to the cosmetics aisle of my drugstore.

Alex Toys’ Mix & Makeup Nail Sparkle kit lets girls ages 5 and up create their own sparkly nail polish. Kids make the polish themselves by mixing the colors and glitter in the included mixing cup, then pouring their creation into the cute candy-shaped bottles with the funnel. The polish is easy to apply, and easily peels off. [Read more...]

TIF Distributes New Toys to More than 2,000 Kids on North Carolina Air Force Base

TIF/BGCAThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and national partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services distributed brand new toys to more than 2,000 children and families living on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C. on December 2. During the base’s annual tree lighting ceremony, kids were treated to more than just entertainment and festive activities—they were also given a generous donation of toys, games, and stuffed animals.

With the holiday season just around the corner, TIF and BGCA are hopeful that the toys will ease the stresses and challenges children face with parents who are frequently deployed. This special donation was made possible through toy companies to TIF’s signature giving program, The Toy Bank.

This event was held as part of the TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program—the first national toy distribution initiative to serve dozens of U.S. military installations at home and abroad. The program has provided more than $3.8 million in toys for children and families over the four years it has been running.

TIF’s Toy Bank includes AbraKIDabra, Alex Toys, Barnes & Noble, Cardinal Industries, Cartamundi USA, Hohner, Inc., Green Toys, Innovation First, Lego Systems Inc., Mattel Inc., MindWare, Ohio Art, Patch Products, Safari Ltd., Wonder Forge, Wyla/Just Pretend Kids, and exhibitors at the TIA’s Fall Toy Preview in Dallas. For 10 years, The Toy Bank has provided toys to more than 11 million children in need worldwide.

COMMENTARY: Kids Love to Make Stuff

Kids love to make stuff. Arts and crafts, do-it-yourself kits, construction sets—you name it. I loved crafts as a kid, especially the kinds that didn’t quickly run out of the included supplies, so I could start over if it wasn’t quite right the first time.

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Recently, I took home Schylling’s Metal Pot Holder Loom. It was the first time I’d made one of those over-under hook-and-loop pot holders since elementary school. Even back then, I remember taking great pains to get the weave tight, so there weren’t gaps or curves. This time was no different, except that the loom is now significantly larger. The kit includes a metal loom, a metal hook, a plastic crochet hook, an instruction manual, and enough loops to create two pot holders and still have some left over. One quiet weeknight, I settled in with a good show on TV and started making a pot holder. The little girl in me still enjoyed the process, and I put thought into the design before beginning. The result was an even, tight, and pretty awesome-looking kitchen accessory, if I do say so myself. [Read more...]

Alex to Premiere First App, Moody Monster Manor, on Friday

On March 25, Alex Toys will premiere its first app, Moody Monster Manor, targeted to kids ages 3 to 6. The free app for the iPhone, iPad, and iTouch features four monster-themed games and is a way for children to learn about emotions. Kids can create their own monsters, win monster merit badges, and learn about matching, colors, and animals, among other things. Activities include zapping Scared Sam’s bad dreams with a magical monster flashlight and whipping up a pot of Stinky Sneaker Stew for Hungry Hank.

The app will be available for download at www.alextoys.com and worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store. On launch day, Alex’s website will also feature printable monster illustrations to color and a contest to win Alex monster-themed toys, including Diving Monster, Tub Target Screaming Monsters, Monster Bingo, Monster Clompers, and Monster Mitts.