Coloring and Craft-Related Products Sales Grow Double Digits Ahead of Easter

NPDGroupFrom slime and foam to coloring and crafts, the latest trends around creative expression are driving U.S. sales of office supplies ahead of Easter, according to The NPD Group. The double-digit sales growth seen across coloring and art related categories suggests that a different wave of items may be joining the chocolate bunnies and stuffed animals in Easter baskets this year. [Read more...]

Alex Toys Expands Its Arts and Crafts Lines for Kids and Tweens

At the recent American International Toy Fair, Alex Toys showed off new products in its popular line of art supplies and art sets, and introduced new craft kits intended specifically for the tween market.

The extension in Alex Toys’ art line is intended to encourage creativity in open-ended ways, including a diverse selection of new art materials such as oil and chalk pastels, metallic pencils, glitter paint, sidewalk stencils, and acrylic paints.

The Ultimate Easel Accessories set comes with art supplies including poster paint, lidded paint cups, natural bristle brushes, paper roll, chalk, board markers, and board eraser. Meanwhile, the Color A Canvas, Mark It Up Canvas, and Paint A Canvas kits let kids create beautiful works of art with markers and paints on pre-printed canvases. Designs of varying complexity suit artists ranging from younger to older kids.

For its tween lines, Alex Toys is incorporating popular fashion design elements in its DIY kits. Along with extending its jewelry line with Spike Jewelry, Boho Bands, and Chain Bracelets, the company is also expanding its line of Alex Tech Couture accessory craft kits. New products include Duct Tape Tech for tablets and smart phone cases, Glam Rock Speakers, and Bling Headphones that give personality and texture to tech items through stickers, gems, and neon and patterned colors.

This year will also see the arrival of the Alex Spa collection for girls, and new party-sized spa and salon kits.

Nickelodeon Suites Resort Hosts Power Rangers Weekends in February

PowerRangersSuperMegaforceNickelodeon Suites Resort will host Power Rangers weekends with two Power Rangers Super Megaforce-themed celebrations on February 14 to 17 and February 21 to 23. These weekends include activities for guests such as a super-charged Power Rangers lunch, featuring training sessions with all five Power Rangers; up close and personal meet and greets; Power Rangers-themed activities and crafts; and a sneak peek screening of an all-new episode of Power Rangers Super Megaforce.

In addition to the Power Rangers, SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be on-hand to celebrate these weekends with meet and greets, live shows, games, and prizes.

Guests can book a Power Rangers Super Megaforce weekend stay by visiting

COMMENTARY: Toys to Brave the Chilly Weather

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but it can also start to get very chilly. I know that in New York City, I’m layering my clothes and bundling up, preparing for (an always windy) winter. Fall for kids means back to school and less outdoor play, which can lead to a bummed out little one. Outdoor play is fun because it’s physical—you run faster, the toys fly higher, and of course there’s always the option of shooting water out of most of those toys. But just because the play is moving inside and becoming a little less physical, doesn’t mean it has to be less fun.

The holidays mean gift-giving, and while guides like our Toy Insider 2013 Holiday Gift Guide are packed with a ton of options, including scooters and flying toys, I’ve also got some suggestions of toys to give that kids can enjoy right away—without having to play in the cold weather.

drawsomethingThe Draw Something Party game, from Hasbro, is a great game for the whole family. Based on the popular app, Draw Something Party allows players to draw on the double-sided, glowing drawing screen with their finger or the stylus included. The person drawing selects one of the three words on the card, holds the glowing screen between him or herself and the guesser, and places the card with the scrambled letter facing the guesser. As the screen glows and the drawer draws, the guesser tries to figure out what is being drawn using the scrambled letters as a guide. And just like in the app, the difficulty of the word yields a different amount of coins when guessed correctly. [Read more...]

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

The Orb Factory Presents Three New Crafting Kits

Just in time for the holidays, The Orb Factory has new crafty products that are sure to be on your child’s wish list.

For Tweens: Imaginista Twist & Loop Jewelry – Do-it-yourself accessories are extremely popular this year, and with the Imaginista Twist & Loop Jewelry kit, kids can twist, connect, and loopfunky jewelry made from over 80 silicone rings that make earrings, bracelets, rings, and more.Lave Rock Volcano

For Little Scientists: Curiosity Kits Lava Rock Volcano – Fun and educational, this kit uses simple products such as plaster and paint to make a realistic volcano that actually erupts. This kit is perfect for science fairs and home-crafting projects.

  • For Trendsetters: PlushCraft Owl Pal Pillow – For a simple, mess-free craft that produces beautiful pieces of room décor, this crafting kit allows kids to create decorative pillows with no sewing required. The kit includes more than 220 fabric pieces.

PomTree Launches No Mess Craft Kits


PomTree has designed a line of constructive play kits that require no glue or scissors. Ideal for children ages 3 and up, PomTree launches the PomTree Stuck On Fun product line that features high-quality materials like foam, felt, and mixed media stickers. When play is done, all of the pieces can be put back into the PomTree resealable totes, tubs, and canisters. These sets include:

Lily and her best friends, Charlotte, and Ella, spend a day on the town. Pages of stickers can be added to each scene as the girls go shopping, paint pictures, fly a kite and end the day with a pajama party. Play a matching and sorting activity by placing stickers on the correct story pages.

3-D toy tree house allows kids to imagine a treehouse. A tire swing, ladder in the back, secret door, and lift off roof are included.

Kids can decorate the house with enclosed pets, shrubs, and   accessories.

Look for  other PomTree make-and-play activities such as the Swing-A-Long Pet Playhoouse, Sunnyside Up Market, Over the Moon Creamery Playset Kit, Feathered Friends Post Office Playset Kit, and the Sweet Sundaes Treat Truck Playset Kit in stores. They will be sold in stores such as Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, Meijer, and Barnes & Noble.

Follow and share creations on social media sites Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. Click on the website, and look for the “Fun” button. Here kids can click then download-for-free coloring pages featuring Lily, Charlotte, and Ella.

Toys “R” Us Launches Jewelry and Accessory Crafts by Victoria Justice

Victoria Justice Mega_Jewelry_TRUToys “R” Us has introduced exclusive do-it-yourself fashion accessories and crafts designed by actress and musician Victoria Justice. The new line, Totally Me! by Victoria Justice is intended for tweens ages 8 and up.

The line features 16 items. Totally Me! by Victoria Justice customizable jewelry kits, craft kits, and the Victoria’s Closet Fashion Sketchbook kit are currently available online at, and will appear in Toys “R” Us Stores nationwide in the coming weeks.

Fibre-Craft Introduces text-UR Foam

Fibrecrafttext-UR Foam, from Fibre-Craft, allows kids to combine interesting textures with an added 3-D element to make projects stand up and stand out. Using 3-D space-urs, kids can peel and stick stackable squares that are included in most text-UR Foam products, making ordinary arts and crafts projects pop.

Kids can make crafts with their hands—no drawing, coloring, or painting required. text-UR Foam brings together concentration, dexterity, creativity, and patience in this artistic form of play.

text-UR Foam comes in bright colors and six different textures—wavy, dotty, scaly, stripes, bumpy, and terry cloth.

Manhattan Toy Unveils Nine New Imagine I Can Kits

Manhattan_Toy_150750_Farm_Fun_Combo_HRManhattan Toy will launch nine additional Imagine I Can kits for a mid-year release. Kids can explore weaving, stained “glass” window stick-ons, jungle or farm 3-D play, or go bowling on the kitchen counter. The newest Imagine I Can kits will be available online and on store shelves in July.

Imagine I Can features more than two dozen affordably priced activities for kids ages 3 and up. Many of the kits come packaged in colorfully designed tins that are portable and reusable.

The nine themed kits range from mini play sets of jungle or farm animals to bowling with a wooden ball or marbles. Craft kits expose children to the art of weaving and stained glass, using age-appropriate tools like paper stick-ons and pre-cut weaving strips. [Read more...]