On April 24, the Hippie Dirigible, by Russian designers Dmitry and Anna Selivanov, became the first design available for rental on Pley.com to Pley users. It took 82 days to gather 5,000 votes from Lego fans worldwide. Pleyworld has now fulfilled its purpose as a Lego fan crowdsourcing website that enables designers to create, share, and distribute their designs.
Specialty 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.
K’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.
Brackitz 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.
In 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...]
Toy 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...]
On 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...]