RadioShack to Carry LittleBits’ New Smart Home Kit

LittleBits,RadioShackThis holiday season, littleBits Electronics has entered a partnering with RadioShack for a product roll out in 2,000 stores nationwide. RadioShack is the first nationwide brick and mortar retailer to carry littleBits, which was previously available online and through boutique stores.

Beginning this month, RadioShack locations will carry littleBits’ new Smart Home Kit, which features a series of modules that lets users turn everyday objects into smart devices, or recreate popular smart devices. The Smart Home Kit comes with 14 Bits, including the new MP3 Player, Threshold, Number, Temperature Sensor, and IR Transmitter Bits. It also includes an infographic poster with project ideas and 11 accessories, including an AC switch that connects the littleBits 5V system to AC power (110V).

The Smart Home Kit is compatible with all other littleBits kits.

K’Nex Releases New Building Sets for Plants vs. Zombies

PlantsvsZombiesWith new licensed building toys from K’Nex, fans of Plants vs. Zombies can now build and play with the characters from the game. The partnership between K’Nex and PopCap Games Inc. combines K’Nex building systems with the digital franchise for the first time ever.

Along with the first series of Mystery Figure Bags, the Plants vs. Zombies line includes the Pirate Ship Building Set, Wall-nut Bowling Building Set, Wild West Skirmish Building Set, and Jetpack Zombie Attack Building Set, all suitable for kids ages 5 and up; and the Cone Mech Building Set, Football Mech Building Set, and Pirate Seas Plank Walk Building Set, suitable for kids ages 7 and up.

Lego Systems Maximizing Opportunities for Kids

LEGO_LogoLego Systems Inc. announced that it would be maximizing opportunities for young children to play, make, and share by working in conjuncture with the White House Maker Faire on the Junior Maker program.

The program will celebrate the company’s recognition that children are born with an urge to explore and be playful, and will provide free activities and information directly to parents to help their children discover these natural tendencies. Lego will collaborate with the Association for Library Service to Children to provide experiences for children as young as four years of age.

Starting in July, librarians will be able to download a digital toolkit from Lego for details on how to host a Junior Maker session at their library, and parents will be able to download content for their children to play in their own home.

Lego Juniors, introduced this year, are construction sets to help children learn to build independently.

Toy Sales for Easter 2014 Are Up Year-over-Year

According to data from The NPD Group Inc., U.S. dollar sales of toys increased 3 percent in the four weeks leading up to Easter, compared to the four weeks preceding Easter of last year. Easter toy sales got a boost from the warmer weather provided by the holiday occurring three weeks earlier than last year. This was also evident in the strong growth performance of outdoor and sports toys in the four weeks leading up to Easter.

Comparing the pre-Easter period of March 23 to April 19 against March 3 to 30 last year, U.S. toy sales declined by 1 percent, but enjoyed 3 percent year-to-date dollar gains through the holiday.

Measured in dollar sales, the top toy growth segments were: outdoor & sports toys, with 20 percent growth; building sets, with 10 percent growth; and arts & crafts, with 10 percent growth.

TinkerBots Launches New Robot-Building Construction Line

TinkerBotsTinkerBots is a building set that enables kids ages 5 and up to create an endless number of toy robots without wiring or programming. The set includes “Power Brain” and kinetic modules, which easily twist and snap together along with other TinkerBots pieces, adding movement and interest to whatever robot is built.

TinkerBots is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com to offer parents the opportunity to pre-order a TinkerBots robot building set, and to support the production of a toy that introduces robotics and STEM concepts to kids in the form of play. The toys are expected to ship in the fourth quarter of this year. [Read more...]

Young Builders, Make Way for Modular Toys USA!

Modular Toys.Racetrack_piecesModular Construction Toys, the Israeli-based manufacturer of Modular Toys construction sets, is bringing its product line to U.S. specialty retailers with Modular Toys USA. More than 125 stores across the country are already stocking the company’s construction sets, and the expansion includes racetracks, as well as locomotive construction and building sets. These toys are suitable for kids age 4 to 8.

Modular Toys’ sets are designed to grow vertically through the use of included elevation pieces. No sorting needs to take place, since the innovative connector pieces let children mix and match different sets. This season’s new additions include the Mega Racetrack, which includes nine construction pieces, three cars, and a sturdy plastic storage bin for clean-up and organization; and the [Read more...]

Lego Mixels Mix Things Up

Jan29.MixelsLego Mixels is a new series of buildable toys that create fun collectible characters that leverage the versatility and creativity of the Lego building system. Mixels are colorful creatures that belong to different tribes, each based around a unique element. Set to debut in stores on March 1, Lego Mixels are batched in tribes, such as Frosticons, Infernites, Stretchers, Cragsters, Electroids, and the Fang Gang. Kids will be able to mix and combine the Lego Mixels using the mysterious Cubits, resulting in new characters and further immersion in the Mixels universe.

The Mixels franchise will also debut on multiple screens and digital platforms next month.

Laser Pegs Introduces Zippy Do

ZippydoZippy Do is the newest creation from Laser Pegs. The Zippy Do comes packaged as a car, but it can also be transformed into a helicopter or jet plane. Kids can also convert the Zippy Do packaging into a ramp and launch their new jet, helicopter, or car into the sky or along an imaginary racetrack.

Zippy Do comes with a light-up core that also has the capability to be set on flash mode, and comes with three batteries, instruction manuals for creating each model, and 22 different colored pieces that are interchangeable and 100 percent compatible with other construction toy sets. Children can follow the manuals or they can create something only they can dream up.

After the child has finished their creation, they can take a picture and upload it to the Laser Pegs website to be entered to win free Laser Pegs toys. Parents ands kids can also download the Zippy Do app for iPad and Android on the website. In the app, kids can choose between a virtual Zippy Do car, jet, or helicopter and race against time to record the fastest speed.

Zippy Do is suggested for kids ages 3 and up.