The Year’s Most Outstanding Toys and Games Honored at TOTY Awards

Rainbow LoomOn February 15, the eve of American International Toy Fair, hundreds of toy executives and industry guests gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City for the 14th Annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and Toy Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Rainbow Loom, from Choon’s Design LLC, won Toy of the Year as well as prizes in three additional categories, while GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, from GoldieBlox Inc., took home the People’s Choice award by pulling in the most online votes from consumers.

The event also featured five inductions into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Jill Barad, former chairman and CEO, Mattel; Horst Brandstätter, president and owner, Playmobil/geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG; Jack Friedman, former chairman, CEO, and co-founder, Jakks Pacific; and Arthur “Spud” Melin and Richard Knerr, co-founders of Wham-O Toy. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: DYO Arts and Crafts Kits Remain on Top

As the design-your-own (DYO) trend continues this year, more and more companies are jumping onboard and attempting to woo the world’s crafty tweens. A lap around the arts and crafts section at this year’s American International Toy Fair revealed no shortage of bands, bracelets, or buttons just waiting to be adorned.

These are a few of my favorites:

Crafty Bands

Crafty Bands

  • Crafty Bands (Epiphany Crafts): Designed for kids ages 8 and up, Crafty Bands allow kids to create their own charms using the included Shape Studio Tool. Unlike some other paper punches, this one is super easy on the hands and has a cap to ensure that the newly made charms don’t fly away. The Crafty Bands Starter Kit includes the Shape Studio Tool, four Crafty Bands (pink, purple, blue, and lime green), 20 Crafty Snaps, 20 Bubble Caps, and adhesive. beware though, you’ll need your own adhesive to adhere the paper to the snaps. I tried a glue stick, but that wasn’t quite strong enough. Some quick-dry liquid glue should do the trick. For more information on Crafty Bands, visit www.craftybands.com.
  • My Image Button Maker (Choose Friendship): This kit allows kids to turn their favorite photos and graphics into buttons. They can choose from one of 36 preprinted images or upload and use their own on myphotosizer.com or the My Photosizer iPhone and iPod touch app. My Image Button Maker comes with 12 pins, 12 magnets, 12 button fronts, 12 button pages, and six pre-printed image cards. For more information, visit www.choosefriendship.co/.
  • Rainbow Loom (Choon’s Design): Designed for kids ages 8 and up, the Rainbow Loom allows you to create a “woven” bracelet using rainbow rubber bands. The loom and bands can look a bit intimidating, but the whole endeavor only takes about 10 minutes. It was definitely worthy my time! The kit includes all the supplies necessary to make up to 24 bracelets and more than 600 rubber bands. For more information, visit www.rainbowloom.com. (Check out the cool instructional video below!)

For more commentary from Sierra, check back each Friday afternoon. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!