China Toy Fair


Discovery Kids Partners with Cypher, Tek Nek for New Lines of Adventure Products

Discovery Kids has partnered with Cypher Entertainment and Tek Nek Toys to develop new lines of kids’ products. Cypher Entertainment will debut a line of 3D Jurassic Action toys, including the Dino Excavation Kit and Interactive Dinosaur Kit, which will use augmented reality technology to trigger an interactive dinosaur via any smartphone. The kits will come with digging tools and protective glasses to excavate fossilized bones and reconstruct a dinosaur. The line will also come with a trading card mobile game. 

Tek Nek Toys will introduce a line of outdoor adventure and role-play products that will include a ride-on vehicle, bug vacuum, light-up viewing scope, big pocket vest, wrist/watch compass, periscope, magnifying glass, creature catching net, and pop-up critter hamper. The line will also come with an electronic talking puzzle map of the U.S. and a number of play sets designed to let kids step into the roles of firefighters, police officers, soldiers, and handymen.

The products will be available across mass-market retailers, specialty retail stores, toy stores, consumer electronic stores, mid-tier department stores, and Internet retailers later this year.

COMMENTARY: Musical Toys

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of watching a live jazz band play at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The musicians seemed to thoroughly enjoy the set, and everyone in the audience was having a blast. Remembering my own days in the school band and piano recitals, I thought about how kids can be influenced early on by musical toys and instruments. Here are some of my favorites:

The Recorder

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Stripe Recorder, from Sassafras

A classic. I can almost hear “Hot Cross Buns” just by looking at one. Recorders, while often a symbol of fourth-grade music class, can actually be a gateway into other instruments for kids. While the standard plastic, beige soprano recorder reigns supreme among young players, there are alternatives, such as Melissa and Doug’s Makin’ Music wooden recorder, Sassafras’ Stripe Recorder, or colorful recorders from 1stNote. Alfred Music Publishing offers songbooks featuring tunes from The Wizard of Oz, Looney Tunes, and others.

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30 Key Fancy Baby Grand, from Schoenhut

The Piano

FirstAct offers a Dora the Explorer electronic keyboard for kids to explore music and try out different sound effects. Kids that want a more classical experience can enjoy Schoenhut’s 30 Key Fancy Baby Grand toy piano. For the youngest pianists, Hasbro offers the Sesame Street Let’s Rock Cookie Monster keyboard, featuring one octave of wide, easy-to-press keys.

The Drums

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Learn To Play Electronic Keyboard, from Discovery Kids

Kids that are more rhythmically inclined will enjoy Discovery Kids’ Learn To Play Electronic Drumpad. The battery-operated drumpad features drum sticks and adjustable tempo. Kids can follow the light patterns to play any of eight different rhythms. Union’s Toy Drum set features a bass drum, crash cymbal, and snare drum for little drummers to rock and roll. For a more laid-back beat, Remo’s Kids Bongo lets kids bang it out in colorful style, and are pitched high and low.

What are your kids’ favorite instruments? Let us know in the comment section!

For more commentary from Christine, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

Discovery Communications Reteams with Burger King for BK Kids Meal Promotion

Following last year’s debut partnership with the Burger King brand, Discovery Communications is teaming up with the restaurant chain again. The new line of premiums, featuring space-themed Discovery Kids items in every BK Kids Meal sold at participating restaurant locations across the U.S. and Canada.

Now customers can receive one of six space-themed Discovery Kids premiums crafted to promote learning and exploration, including a Red Planet Reveal Mars Rover, Orion Zero-G Astronaut, and Launch Center Rocket Discs. Each toy comes with a collectible card that unlocks activities and provides information about space exploration. This line of products from the Discovery Kids brand encourages kids to use their imaginations to actively explore the world around them and discover their inner space explorer.

Angelina Ballerina and Thomas and Friends Premiere in Latin America

HIT Entertainment and Discovery Kids have debuted new episodes of Thomas and Friends in CG animation, as well as the new CG animated series Angelina Ballerina the Next Steps, in Latin America. In its first week of launch, Angelina Ballerina the Next Steps received the top ratings for girls ages 4-11 across all kids pay-TV networks in Colombia and Brazil, and ranked as the No. 2 kids’ program for girls 4-11 across all kids pay-TV networks in Mexico and Argentina.

Thomas and Friends
introduces new characters including Charlie, a small engine with a reputation for fun and mischief, and the Japanese engine Hiro. Joining them are Kevin the crane and Victor, an engine from the Sodor Steam Works. The characters were first unveiled in the feature-length special Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails, which aired on Discovery Kids on May 7.

Angelina Ballerina the Next Steps
is an extension of the original Angelina Ballerina books by author Katharine Holabird and illustrator Helen Craig. Each episode stars Angelina and consists of two 11-minute CG animated stories linked with a live-action segment featuring all types of young dancers and musicians.

Discovery Communications to Develop TLC and Animal Planet Baby Lines

Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI), and Big Tent Entertainment (BTE) have announced the brand formation of TLC Baby. According to Discovery, TLC is the top cable destination for mothers aged 18 to 49 with children under 2 years old, airing shows such as A Baby Story and Bringing Home Baby. The newly formed brand extension hopes to capitalize and expand on this existing audience.

The TLC Baby brand will span markets including learning and development, health and safety, bath, feeding, electronics, furniture, room décor, bedding/blankets, layette, and apparel. Big Tent was recently named sole licensing agent of record for all TLC-branded content and currently represents Discovery Kids. [Read more...]