Sweet Suite 2016

Roominate Releases #LetGirlsBuild Video

RoominateCoinciding with National Take Your Daughter to Work Day, Roominate is launching a video encouraging young girls to become whatever they want when they grow up.

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YOXO Arrives in Select Target, Barnes & Noble, and Specialty Retailers across the U.S.

YOXOSpecialty retailers and select Target and Barnes & Noble stores have begun stocking their shelves with YOXO, a construction brand known for encouraging creativity in kids. The construction kits incorporate durable, recyclable, and interchangeable chipboard connectors in Y, O, and X shapes for kids to construct infinite creations powered by their brains and not batteries.
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K’NEX Brings STEM-Based Building Sets Designed to Empower Girls

415533 43533 Mighty Makers Up Up and AwayK’NEX Brands is introducing Mighty Makers, a line of construction toys designed to empower girls through creative and stimulating building ideas. An all-female marketing and design team created the new building sets, intended for girls ages 7 and up, to encourage science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) learning.

The sets include colorful rods, connectors, panels, an exploration card for additional educational fun, and engaging story-based instructions that follow the life of a female character included in the set. The Mighty Makers line features the topics of aviation, going green, amusement park rides, making a home, and exploring the depths of the ocean.

New Brackitz Establishes a Base for STEM Learning

BrackitzBrackitz is a new construction toy that promotes STEM learning, using blocks to lay the foundation for higher-level cognitive thinking, reasoning, and problem solving. Sets come in 50, 100, and 200 pieces. Standard sets include interlocking 4-inch wooden planks and 90-degree and 120-degree angle connectors, which can be pieced together to form various models and architectural structures.

Brackitz’ connectors can interlock at different angles and directions, allowing kids to build circles, corners, and bendable structures. Brackitz is suitable for kids ages 3 and up.

Toys “R” Us Extends Hours, Offers Last-Minute Deals for the Holidays

toysrus.croppedIn the days leading up to Christmas, Toys “R” Us will offer extended shopping hours at stores nationwide. From December 20 through December 22, stores will remain open from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m., while beginning at 6 a.m. on December 23, and continuing through 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Toys “R” Us stores will be open around the clock.

At Toys “R” Us stores between now and December 20, deals are available on all Barbie dolls, Charmazing kits, Transformers Stomp & Chomp Grimlock, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combos or Blu-ray combo packs with ear buds and masks, Skylanders Trap Team Starter Packs, LeapTV systems, The Lego Movie DVD with Lego construction set, Imaginext toys, and select board games (while supplies last). [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: China Toy Expo Showcases Regional Toy Brands with Worldwide Potential

DreamBeyond2Toy trade shows are terrific places in which to catch a sneak peek of the next play product sure to take the marketplace by storm. Recently, I was covering China Toy Expo, sponsored by China Toy & Juvenile Products Association, which took place this past week at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai. While the show featured plenty of toy brands that would be familiar to Westerners—many of them imported by Chinese companies for domestic distribution—there were also lots of Chinese toy manufacturers on-hand, bearing properties that they hope will do well at home.

And of course, if a product does well in its native market, one assumes there’s a good chance it will gain an international partner that will help it take the next step. Think of Lego, which began selling in Europe during the 1940s before expanding to North America during the ’60s. Not every new toy brand can be Lego, of course; however, it’s always fun to speculate on new products and their potential to become the next big global star due to built-in appeal, compelling features, etc. Here are a few domestically-made items from China Toy Expo, which in this author’s opinion, have a shot at breaking out worldwide. [Read more...]

Mega Brands Partners with UP&L for Despicable Me Building Sets

DespicableMe.MegaBloksOn Tuesday, Mega Brands Inc. entered a multi-year international licensing partnership with Universal Partnerships & Licensing (UP&L) to develop a new kids construction line based on the Despicable Me franchise from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment.

Due in stores this December, the Mega Bloks Despicable Me construction sets will offer fully buildable characters, locations, and vehicles inspired by Despicable Me 2. The line’s customizable construction sets will include mix-and-match features, such as interchangeable accessories. In addition, each set will feature buildable Minions that are unique to the set, for a variety of Minions to collect, build, and play with.

To launch the line, seven fans will participate in the #MinionMontage Challenge on social media. Fans can visit the Mega Bloks Facebook page to see highlights.

Lego and Shell to Part Ways After Decades-Long Partnership

Lego.ShellOn Thursday morning, The Wall Street Journal reported that Lego is ending its co-branding relationship with Royal Dutch Shell. The move follows pressure from environmental group Greenpeace, which targeted the decades-long partnership in an online video and petition.

Since the 1960s, Lego has built play sets branded with the Shell logo, including Shell filling stations, tanker trucks, and Shell-sponsored racing cars. These have been sold at Shell gas stations and other retailers that carried Lego sets.

In July, Greenpeace circulated an online petition calling for Lego to sever ties with Shell, which it has accused of operating recklessly in exploring for oil in the Arctic. The group released an online video, Lego: Everything Is Not Awesome, which depicts an Arctic wonderland made of Lego bricks that is flooded with spilled oil, and asks viewers to sign the petition urging Lego to sever ties with Shell. According to Greenpeace, the video has garnered more than a million signatures to date. [Read more...]

Laser Pegs Announces New Peg Head Line of Building Kits, Animated Short Stories

LaserPegs.PegHeadsLaser Pegs will be featured in a new line of Peg Head-themed building kits accompanied by animated short stories.

Peg Heads building kits include customizable Mini Figures with interchangeable horn, eye, mouth, body with moveable arm, and leg blocks. The three Peg Head characters—Zippy, Peg, and Spinner—have 144 different face combinations between them.

Laser Pegs will also release three light-up Big Figures that work with other Peg Heads building pieces. Both the mini-figures and Big Figures can be integrated into any existing Laser Pegs set.

Jeffery Scott, who has written more than 700 scripts for various animated series, wrote the animated short stories.

The Peg Head kits are non-gendered, and the pieces are compatible with other major construction kits on the market today. Intended for kids ages 3 and up, Peg Heads will be available next year.

New Lincoln Logs Grand Pine Lodge and Collector’s Edition Homestead Unveiled

LincolnLogsK’NEX has added two new sets to its Lincoln Logs product line for this year:

The Grand Pine Lodge includes real wood logs, plus colorful figures, play accessories, and cowboy and horse figures. Suggested for kids ages 3 and up, this set is available exclusively at Toys “R” Us and toysrus.com.

Meanwhile, the Collector’s Edition Homestead is the largest Lincoln Logs set ever created. This building set features 330 pieces including real wood logs, a frontiersman figure, a buildable covered wagon, and two horses. When playtime is over, kids can put the parts back into the handy storage container for a quick and easy clean-up. Suitable for kids 3 and up, the set is available on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

You can check out K’NEX’s new video for the Lincoln Logs: Collector’s Edition Homestead below: