China Toy Fair


First Loomy Awards Loom Large This Month

“Loomers” from far and wide are invited to submit their creations for the first-ever award for loom bracelet fanatics: the First Annual Loomy Awards. Sponsored by The Original Loom Boom, winners will be chosen from four categories: Best Bracelet, Coolest Charm, Wackiest Wearable, and Best Loom Boom. Three winners will each receive a $250 gift card, and one grand prize winner will receive a $500 gift card. In addition, all winners will receive a special edition of The Original Loom Boom.

Entries are already being accepted at The Original Loom Boom’s Facebook page, and winners will be announced on a live web award show on April 30.

For Saban Brands and Center for Childhood Creativity, It’s Inventing Time!

Julius JrSaban Brands is partnering with the Center for Childhood Creativity for its animated preschool series, Julius Jr. The Center for Childhood Creativity has been working closely with Saban Brands to produce a series of “Inventing Time” activities designed for parents and caregivers to use at home, and for teachers to use in a preschool setting.

The Julius Jr. discussion guides encourage kids to take everyday objects they find around the house and turn them into extraordinary things, such as bridges, musical instruments, shadow puppets, and more. The activities come with a list of open-ended questions for adults to ask children while they are working on the various projects, enabling original thought and problem solving.

These materials are available at the Center for Childhood Creativity’s website, as well as for pick-up at San Francisco’s Bay Area Discovery Museum.

NPD Group: Cyber Monday Week Toy Sales Are Strong, Up from Last Year

npd_group_logoRetail dollar sales for the toy category were up 23 percent for the Cyber Monday week compared to the same period last year. For the combined Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks, The NPD Group reports that toy sales were up 12 percent on a dollar basis compared to the previous year. These sales trends include both online and brick and mortar channels.

The NPD Group noted that all 11 super categories it tracks in the toy sector experienced positive dollar sales growth during the period covering Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks. Those with the highest growth—and their respective change in dollar sales compared with Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks last year—include plush at 34 percent, youth electronics at 32 percent, arts and crafts at 26 percent, and outdoor and sports at 18 percent. These results reflect brick and mortar and online sales combined.

ASTRA’s Neighborhood Toy Store Day Celebrates Fourth Year

ASTRAtoystoredayOn November 9, independent toy stores across the U.S. will participate in the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA) fourth annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day. The initiative raises consumer and media awareness about the positive influence that specialty and independent toy retailers have on the local community and economy.

Local toy stores will mark the occasion with special in-store events, including crafts, entertainers, scavenger hunts, and more. Participating ASTRA store owners can download banners and graphics and access sample promotional language on ASTRA’s website for members. For more information about Neighborhood Toy Store day, visit YourNeighborhoodToyStore.org.

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.

Christine.Oct7.b

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...]

Fibre-Craft Introduces New Bendastix

BendastixboxFibre-Craft introduces Bendastix, a kids’ creative activity where soft and squishy craft pieces replace rigid cardboard or wood.

Available in July, Bendastix will offer a kit of soft construction components to build cars, flowers, kooky glasses, and anything the imagination can dream up. Patterned Bendastix is a cool combination of crafts and construction where kids can bend, mold, and shape without ever breaking. The funky pieces can be reused next time to create a different bracelet, a robot, or a hair band.

Designed for children ages 6 and up, Bendastix makes its debut with eight arts and crafts kits. Each kit is packaged with a soft and squishy handle. These kits include Big Box, Braceletz, Botz, Budz, Bandz, and Bowz.