Crayola Introduces Color Alive! 4-D Experience with Augmented Reality Interactivity

Crayola-LogoEarly next year, Crayola will launch Color Alive!, the first augmented reality product offering among its growing digital portfolio. Partnering with leading 4-D company DAQRI, Color Alive! will feature a unique offline and online play experience through color and 4-D technology, allowing kids to bring their coloring to life.

Children activate the 4D Experience through the Color Alive! app, aiming their device’s camera at the colored page to bring the drawing to life. The included Magic Crayon transforms coloring by activating special effects through drawing on the page in real-time. Kids can also interact and take photos with the coloring book characters.

Color Alive! will be available at select retailers beginning in December, with a nationwide debut in February. The Color Alive! app is available on iOS, Android, and Windows smartphones and tablets, as well as iPod Touch. At launch, Color Alive! will be available in four coloring books: Mythical Creatures, Enchanted Garden, Skylanders, and Barbie.

Lionel Opens New Brick-and-Mortar Store and Headquarters in North Carolina

Lionel.NewStoreThis past Monday, Lionel opened its first retail store in Concord, N.C. The new location will serve as a central station for popular train sets, replicas, and collectibles, as well as store-exclusive gifts and keepsakes.

To celebrate the new store, which will also serve as the company’s new headquarters, Lionel President Howard Hitchcock drove festivities with J. Scott Padgett, the mayor of Concord, and Donna Carpenter, the CEO of the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Lionel.NewStore2The store will become a terminal for field trips, new product testing, and company announcements. The 1,100-square-foot space will house one of Lionel’s fully decorated layouts, which will feature different trains throughout the year. Kids can control the layout with handheld remotes and test the newest trains.

Lionel has made numerous expansion efforts of late, including partnering with the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago to debut its first life-sized trackless train ride, The Lionel Train Adventure, earlier this month. The company has also continued to add licenses for new train models through partnerships with DC Comics, Coca-Cola, Crayola, and other brands.

China Toy Expo Highlights Sustainability, Safety, and Education as Popular Trends in China

Despite being half a world away, the concerns and demands of toy consumers in China are not all that different from their U.S. counterparts, according to China Toy Expo.

The first day of the trade fair, along with China Kids Expo and China Licensing Expo—all hosted by China Toy & Juvenile Products Association—kicked off this past Tuesday in sprawling fashion at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai. Across three days, 1,364 global brands were on display, and roughly 80,000 visitors were expected to participate.

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The China Toy Expo took place at the Shanghai International Expo Center in Shanghai from Oct. 14-16.

Recent news shows reasons to be optimistic about the Chinese toy market’s future, including the country’s overtaking of the U.S. in terms of purchasing power. Yet based on the flow of crowds at the show, many of the types of toys that Chinese consumers are especially interested in are ones promoting sustainability, safety, and educational development. [Read more...]

Crayola Signs on for New Power Rangers Products

Oct7.CrayolaPowerRangersSaban Brands has partnered with Crayola to produce a line of Power Rangers-themed coloring and activity products.

The Crayola line will include no-mess color wonder products, coloring pads and pages, giant coloring pages, interactive color-by-number activity sheets, and a variety of color and sticker sets based on the TV series.

The Power Rangers items are expected to launch next fall, starting with products themed around the upcoming season of Saban’s Power Rangers Dino Charge.

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...]