China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: A Fresh Take on Traditional Outdoor Toys and Games

These days, it’s pretty crucial for toy companies to be as innovative as possible. But sometimes, providing kids with a new take on an old-school toy or game is just as effective. Sure, kids are ridiculously interested in tablets, iPhones, and computers, but when it comes to play the rules haven’t changed all that much. Although kids are now growing up in the “digital age,” they are always going to love running, jumping, laughing, and exerting energy in a physical way.

Toys such as pogo sticks, Skip-Its (my favorite), and sidewalk chalk were staples throughout my childhood, and contrary to those who believe kids are actually digital robots, they remain favorites for children growing up now, too.

Kidoozie Pogo JumperI never got around to mastering the pogo stick, but this bouncing device still remains a popular activity for kids of all ages. The Kidoozie Pogo Jumper from International Playthings offers kids a lot of hop, but enhances the fun by adding a built-in speaker that squeaks with every bounce. [Read more...]

Expanded Partnerships for Lionel Means More Licensed Trains

LionelLionel has expanded its partnerships with Warner Bros., Coca-Cola, and Peanuts. As a result of these agreements, this year will see a number of new G-Gauge and Ready to Run O-Gauge train sets, including Frosty the Snowman, Coca-Cola Holiday, and Snoopy Railways. The model train maker also enjoys a new license with Crayola.

“Lionel Trains is bringing the nostalgia of iconic train sets to the hearts of fans of all ages,” said Howard Hitchcock, SVP/GM of Lionel. “By securing new licenses and expanding partnerships to grow our G-Gauge and Ready to Run O-Gauge platforms, we’re putting trains from familiar and beloved brands into the hands of children of all ages.”

COMMENTARY: Back to Basics: Sketch, Doodle, Paint, and Play

TF14Logo-cityDatesAfter Toy Fair 2013, the words “and there’s an app!” were ringing in my ears for weeks. This year, however, appcessories seemed more like a taboo than anything else, with most companies shying away from toys with app-enhanced features or reliability. Honestly, it was less than disappointing. I think keeping screen time and toy time separate is perfectly acceptable, and apparently, what kids and toy buyers prefer.

This year will truly mark a return to traditional play patterns. Rainbow Loom, a simple bracelet-making kit for kids, was huge in 2013, eventually snagging four Toy of the Year (TOTY) awards, including the overall Toy of the Year. That said, Toy Fair 2014 brought tons of cool innovations in the activities category, with companies fighting to be the next big thing once the Rainbow Loom craze comes to an end. [Read more...]

Activision Partners with Crayola on New Skylanders Products

The Activision Booth at American International Toy Fair

The Activision Booth at American International Toy Fair was a welcome sight for Skylanders fans.

Activision Publishing Inc. will be collaborating with Crayola on new products for its popular Skylanders franchise. As a result of the new licensing agreement, Activision and Crayola will introduce a Skylanders-branded line featuring Crayola’s signature Color Wonder, Giant Coloring Pages, and Xtreme Coloring formats. These will be available during the upcoming holiday season.

To date, Skylanders’ licensing portfolio features a total of more than 175 licensees. The recent announcement follows a highly successful 2013 for the toy and video game franchise, which outsold all action figure lines worldwide for the second consecutive year.

Crayola Launches My Virtual Fashion Show

CRAYOLA FASHION SHOW GAMECrayola has launched My Virtual Fashion Show, a product that lets kids design their own fashions and bring them to life on a virtual runway. Kids can create their designs in their Crayola sketchbook, which transforms into a virtual fashion show on their device, bridging the offline and online playing experience.

The product contains a fashion portfolio, 20-page fashion sketchbook, 12 short colored pencils, and the My Virtual Fashion Show app, compatible with iOS and Android devices. It is available in stores and online at select retailers nationwide.

Crayola Introduces Ultra-Clean Markers and ColorMax

CRAYOLA ULTRA-CLEAN COLORMAX MARKERSCrayola will launch Ultra-Clean Washable Markers, which washes clean from skin, clothing, and painted walls. The new Ultra-Clean Washable Markers also introduce a new generation of color, ColorMax colors, which provide the brand’s brightest colors yet.

The launch comes after extensive research and testing among kids, moms, and teachers. Designed with educators and parents in mind, Ultra-Clean Washable Markers clean easily from most common household surfaces and out of clothing with only one cold water fabric wash. [Read more...]

Crayola Launches Colorcycle Marker Program

Crayola Marker Recycling ProgramCrayola has launched its nationwide Colorcycle marker program, which transforms used markers directly into clean energy. The program is the latest innovation in the company’s continuing commitment to advance its sustainability efforts. The Colorcycle marker program will allow students to responsibly dispose of any type of used marker through an in-school collection process, keeping plastic out of landfills. Once the used markers are collected, a unique technology will convert the markers into usable fuel.

For decades, Crayola has been an industry leader in creating sustainable solutions. Initiatives include using solar power to manufacture crayons, incorporating recycled plastic into its markers, and using reforested wood to manufacture its colored pencils. Crayola conducted extensive research into various new and emerging technologies that would allow the company to repurpose its markers and found the most efficient and beneficial solution at this time is the plastic to energy process, which allows the company to repurpose the entire marker.

As part of the Colorcycle program, Crayola developed classroom lesson plans designed to help teachers educate students on the important role sustainability plays. The lesson plans engage students in environmental solutions, teaching them how to protect the planet in new and relevant ways, while also encouraging them to take environmental responsibility into their own hands. [Read more...]

Crayola and Nickelodeon Renew Licensing Partnership

Crayola-LogoNickelodeon and Crayola have announced a multi-year renewal of their licensing partnership to develop products based on the network’s preschool hit animated series. Under the social expressions agreement, Crayola will develop and produce Color Wonder Markers, Giant Coloring Pages, and Coloring and Activity Books for Dora the Explorer, Bubble Guppies,Go, Diego, Go!, Team Umizoomi, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The new Nickelodeon and Crayola products will be available at mass retailers this fall.

 

 

COMMENTARY: Toys Are More Fun Than Candy

Mattel’s North American team recently kicked off an Easter program called Save the Bunny, which launched with a clever celebrity PSA. The concept is to promote giving toys, rather than copious amounts of candy, for Easter. As part of the promotion, consumers who visit www.savechocolatebunnies.com will have a chance to win a Mattel toy every day this month, download exclusive coupons on toys from Mattel brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and Thomas & Friends, and win grand prize money.

As a parent and someone who loves toys, I whole-hardheartedly agree with this idea. Not only does my 3 year old not need a giant chocolate bunny, gallons of jelly beans, and piles of fluffy marshmallow chicks (OK, I’ll admit this is making me hungry), but I know from experience that I won’t actually let her eat it all, and I’ll end up eating it, which isn’t exactly part of my summer bikini plan (though I’m pregnant, so what’s the difference, right?). Anyway, she will have a lot more fun if I limit the candy to a few of her favorites, and fill that basket—er, strongly suggest the Easter Bunny fill that basket—with toys!

For retailers, signage suggesting spring/summer toys to fill Easter baskets should already be up, but it’s not too late! Many consumers wait until the last-minute to shop, especially with the holiday coming earlier this year. A special display of spring-like, small, basket-sized items makes shopping easy and promotes quick sales. The pharmacies already do this, toy stores should too! [Read more...]

The Strong Announces National Toy Hall of Fame Finalists

Courtesy of Toy Industry Association

After reviewing thousands of nominations submitted this year by toy lovers of all ages, The Strong in Rochester, Ny., has announced the 12 nominees for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Two finalists will be inducted on Thursday, November 15.

The finalists for 2012 are: Clue, dominoes, Fisher-Price Corn Popper, Lite-Brite, little green army men, Magic 8 Ball, pogo stick, sidewalk chalk, Simon, Star Wars action figures, tea set, and Twister. The selected winners will join the ranks of 49 toy luminaries already in the Hall of Fame, including Candy Land, cardboard box, Crayola Crayons, Duncan Yo-Yo, Mr. Potato Head, Radio Flyer Wagon, and Tinkertoy.