COMMENTARY: At Toy Fair 2015, Classic, Low-Tech Play Is Alive and Well

Crayola Cling Maker, from Crayola

Tech toys that make you feel cooler than Marty McFly were in abundance at the North American International Toy Fair this week, such as robots that imitate your movements and a Segway-like device that tracks your thoughts. But not all of the toys at the Jacob K. Javits Center were reminiscent of what Captain Kirk probably played with as a child. There were also some stellar construction sets, high-quality hand puppets, and wooden toys that make you say, “wow.” Classic play is not dead, and not all quality toys require a microchip. Some of the most innovative new products for kids feature little to no tech at all. Here are our favorite low-tech new toys from Toy Fair: [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Toy Fair 2015 Shows Off Toymakers’ Tech-Savvy Side

The Meccanoid G15 KS, from Spin Master

We all know that kids are more tech-savvy at the age of 2 than most of us will ever be. Living in the digital age comes instinctively for kids, and the fact that they have the ability to understand and use technology so early on lets toy manufacturers create some really, really cool tech toys for kids of all ages. Below is a roundup of favorite tech-y playthings from North American International Toy Fair, in no particular order:
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TOTY Awards Recognize the Most Outstanding Toys and Games of the Year

TOTY2015logoHundreds of global toy executives and guests gathered in New York City this past Saturday to pay tribute to the toy industry’s best and brightest toys, games and individuals at the 15th Annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and Toy Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Zoomer Dino, from Spin Master, took home the overall Toy of the Year award prize and was named Boy Toy of the Year. Spin Master’s pet dinosaur lets kids train it to sit, speak, and react to commands. Crayola‘s Paint Maker, a customizable arts and crafts kit, earned the People’s Choice award and was also named Activity Toy of the Year. [Read more...]

Kerry Cunnion Named New Head of North American Toys for Tomy International

Kerry Cunnion has been promoted to senior vice president, sales and North American toy, for Tomy International. In this new role, he will oversee design, product development, and product marketing in addition to continuing his role leading Tomy International’s North American sales force.

Cunnion joined the company in 2009 as vice president of sales for the Mother, Infant and Toddler business unit, and brings three decades of consumer product sales experience. In 2011, he assumed responsibility for the integrated sales organization.

Prior to Tomy, Cunnion held various sales and marketing positions with organizations including Publications International, Huffy Bicycle Company, and Crayola.

Madame Alexander and Crayola Enter Licensing Agreement Beginning This Year

MadameAlexanderlogoA new line of co-branded dolls will combine Madame Alexander with Crayola. Madame Alexander will design and develop new doll collections that allow girls to craft and draw on age appropriate dolls and doll accessories. The DIY products are intended to appeal to toddlers, preschoolers, and young girls. [Read more...]

Activision Unveils Special Edition Crayola Color Alive! Skylanders Trap Team Starter Pack, Cereal Boxes from General Mills

Feb9.SkylandersActivision Publishing has partnered with General Mills and Crayola for new products that will bring the Skylanders experience to fans. Beginning on February 14, fans in North America can play an interactive version of the Skylanders Skystones mini-game on specially marked Big-G cereal boxes, with packs located inside boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Reese’s Puffs, Trix, Lucky Charms, and more. [Read more...]

Toy Industry Unveils Nominees for 2015 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards

TOTY2015logoToday, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced the 83 finalists for the prestigious 2015 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY). Between now and January 11, toy consumers of all ages can visit www.toyawards.org to vote for their favorite toys, games, and properties across 12 categories.

The 2015 finalists were selected from more than 600 nominees submitted for consideration by 159 companies. Sixty academics, journalists, toy trend experts, play therapists, toy inventors and designers, and toy retailers staffed the nomination committees that narrowed the field to the slate of finalists.

Votes from mass retailers, specialty toy retailers, media, TIA members, and consumers will be weighted and used to determine each of the 12 category winners. The winners—including the overall Toy of the Year and the People’s Choice awards—will be announced at the TOTY Awards ceremony held on February 13, 2015 as the kick-off to the 112th North American International Toy Fair. [Read more...]

Macy’s Holiday Arcade to Offer Toys from Build-A-Bear, Madame Alexander, Gund, and More

MacysLogoMacy’s will be introducing the Holiday Arcade, in-store gifting shops offering customers an eclectic assortment of distinctive and playful options for their holiday shopping lists. These shops will launch at six Macy’s locations between late October and mid-November:

The Holiday Arcade at five locations including Macy’s South Coast Plaza, Macy’s Union Square, Macy’s State Street, Macy’s Herald Square, and Macy’s Center City will be home to exclusive Build-A-Bear Workshop shop-in-shops. Visitors will have the opportunity to customize Build-A-Bear stuffed animals, as well as licensed products such as figures from Disney’s Frozen and Marvel’s superheroes. [Read more...]

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.