China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Makeup Kits for Girls Are Fun and Inexpensive

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 4.13.43 PMLittle girls love to play with makeup. I know I definitely did. Unfortunately for me, my mom mostly stuck to neutrals, earth tones, and pale pinks—”boring” colors, in my young opinion. I wanted to open that makeup bag and see electric blue eye shadow, fire engine red lipstick, bright pink blush, vermillion glitter nail polish—you know, the works. But I made do with what she had, bland though I may have thought it, because it was fun to play with. For years, I’ve said that if I ever have a daughter, I will keep a stash of all the fun stuff (that I would never wear myself—I now, of course, completely understand why my mom kept the palette she did) and let her have at it as a special treat. However, there are lots of great makeup kits for girls available today, which may save me a trip to the cosmetics aisle of my drugstore.

Alex Toys’ Mix & Makeup Nail Sparkle kit lets girls ages 5 and up create their own sparkly nail polish. Kids make the polish themselves by mixing the colors and glitter in the included mixing cup, then pouring their creation into the cute candy-shaped bottles with the funnel. The polish is easy to apply, and easily peels off. [Read more...]

eKids Launches High Tech Stylus Creativity Crayons

Jan22.CrayonseKids has launched a new line of Creativity Crayons, a new tablet and smartphone stylus designed for kids. The stylus comes with a soft rubber tip to make the mobile devices more user friendly. The Creativity Crayons came after the launch of the eKids Disney Creativity Studio app, where Disney artists provide step-by-step instructions to trace, draw, and color classic Disney characters. The Creativity Crayon takes the real life feel of a crayon and combines it with the advanced technological capabilities of the app.

The styli come in a variety of characters, including Doc McStuffins, Minnie, and Mickey Mouse.

Cardinal Industries Turns 70

cardinalIn 1944, a young Les Berger, the founder of Cardinal Industries, started the company in Brooklyn. With his knowledge of plastics, Berger began manufacturing dominoes poker chip racks, hula hoops, and Mah Jongg sets.

Seventy years later, Cardinal has grown to become one of America’s top signature board game and puzzle companies offering more than 400 items including traditional games such as dominoes, checkers, and poker sets, as well as an extensive line of licensed games and lenticular, wood, and basic puzzles. With a worldwide reach Cardinal products can be found throughout North America, Europe, and Austraila. Cardinal has excelled in the licensed puzzle and game arena working with Disney, Marvel, Nickelodeon, Sanrio, Twentieth Century Fox, NBS, Warner Bros, Sesame Street, HIT Entertainment, Lucas, Mattel, and Hasbro, among others.

Spin Master’s Paw Patrol Helps Boost Nickelodeon’s Ratings

paw-patrol-post-2Spin Master‘s Paw Patrol helped to tip the scales in Nickelodeon‘s favor, making it the children’s TV network leader in the battle between Disney and Nickelodeon for kids share, according to a report on Bloomberg News. The battle between these two large players grew even more after last year’s debut of Disney Junior, a channel aimed a preschoolers watching Nick Jr.

Nickelodeon cited Nielsen data that reported it averaging 918,000 viewers a day among kids ages 2 to 11 in the fourth quarter through December 15 compared to The Disney Channel’s 874,000 viewers. According to the Bloomberg News article, the ratings shift, is accelerating ad sales for Viacom, which posted its best quarterly growth in at least two years last month. The battle between the largest players in children’s TV intensified last year after the debut of Disney Junior, a channel aimed at preschoolers who watch Nick Jr.

Zact Introduces Smartphone for Kids Featuring Disney Mobile Entertainment

ZactDisney.smartphoneZact Mobile brings kid-friendly smartphone service with preloaded Disney apps and content to families across the U.S. The Zact Mobile service will come preloaded with the hit Disney apps, Toy Story: Smash It!, and, Disney Infinity: Action! It will also feature access to family-friendly content such as Disney Video, Disney Music, and Disney’s Spanish-language destination, Disney ¡Ajá!

Zact also lets parents manage their kid’s smartphone use, and helps parents remotely control when their child uses the phone, which apps they can use, and who they can contact. Parents can either use a Zact-enabled phone to control their kids phone or they can download a free app, Zact Control, from iTunes or Google Play.

The Disney-themed Zact phone is available on the ZTE Awe, an Android 4.1 device with a 4-inch display and 5.0 megapixel camera. A free 4-month child starter plan is included with purchase.

COMMENTARY: Disney’s Frozen Toys Will Melt Your Heart

The thing that I like most about Disney’s Frozen was that it played with the idea of a typical Disney Princess movie. It touches on the idea of falling in love and being engaged within hours of meeting each other and changes the way the audience thinks about typical princesses and princes. There is, of course, a curse that’s lifted by “an act of true love,” but this act comes from (spoiler alert!) one of sisterly love rather than romantic love. A lot of the plot is focuses on the two royal sisters, Anna and Elsa, and the animation is so spectacular as it brings this truly magical story to life.

To go along with this great movie, Mattel has introduced an entire line of toys that capture the lively, magical spirit of Frozen. With quirky characters (Olaf!), Frozen quickly becomes a new Disney favorite, and the toys are sure to have the same effect on any toy box.

MusicalDollsOne of my favorite toys from this line is the Disney Frozen Musical Magic Elsa and Anna Dolls. These dolls feature glittery and glamorous gowns, but I think also do a fantastic job of capturing the familial bonds that are so important to the movie’s story. When kids hold the dolls hands, the dolls hold each other’s hands, OR you create a circle of humans and dolls holding hands, Anna and Elsa magically light up and play enchanting music. [Read more...]

The Disney Store Thaws Out the Winter Soldier for Marvel Select

Winter SoldierAs fans anticipate Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s debut on the big screen next spring, Diamond Select and Disney have partnered to create the ultimate Winter Soldier collectible, based on his recent appearance in his own self-titled comic book.

Sculpted by Jean St. Jean, the new 7-inch Marvel Select Winter Soldier action figure will be available in mid-December exclusively at the Disney Store, DisneyStore.com, and MarvelStore.com. He comes equipped with a pistol, a machine gun, and a sniper rifle, along with 16 points of articulation. A shatter window display base is also included, and both the figure and base come packaged in the Select line’s familiar display packaging.

Get “Ice” and Comfortable with Delta’s Disney Frozen Chair

Delta.FrozenChairDisney’s new animated film Frozen arrived in theaters this past weekend, and now here comes the new Disney Frozen Upholstered Chair by Delta. It’s constructed with suede material for close comfort, and features the movie’s goofy snowman, Olaf. Some assembly is required.

The Disney Frozen Upholstered Chair is available now at Toys “R” Us.

COMMENTARY: Keeping It Fresh for Kids Sends Them Running to the Store

So many toys and video games are introduced each year. Many of them succeed at selling in and selling through, others flop, but manufacturers who have the wherewithal to get involved with their customers have the opportunity to draw in more customers, and to get their currently satisfied customers talking about their purchase and even send them running back to buy more.

disney-infinity-figurines-300x229One company that I’ve recently noticed to be doing an excellent job at this is Disney Interactive, with its Disney Infinity lineup. Disney Infinity, in case you’re somehow unaware, is a video game with a physical toy component. The toys are figures of favorite Disney characters. When a gamer owns a character’s figure, they can transport that character into their game, unlocking new worlds and ways to play.

Kids love collecting, so they are going to want to collect all the figures, and at $13.99 for one figure or $30.99 for a three pack, it’s not unreasonable for gift givers to purchase them as a birthday or holiday gift. What’s brilliant, however, is letting kids have some ownership. The tagline “Play in Their Worlds or Create Your Own” might sound a bit intimidating to the average adult. “Create my own world? I don’t know anything about video game coding!” To a kid, it sounds like magic, and it kind of is. Kids can easily create their own world—called a Toy Box—and then show their friends, who can bring over their own figures and they can play together in this newly created Toy Box. Even more amazing, they can share their new Toy Box with players all over the world. A bit heady for a kid, no?

Fantastic, but here’s the really brilliant part. Disney Interactive issues challenges to players to create their own Toy Boxes with a certain theme, for example, the recent Contraption Challenge, where players were tasked to create “crazy, unique and exciting contraptions that perform simple tasks.” The top five submissions were showcased on a Disney Infinity Toy Box Top Five Countdown webisode and will no doubt be downloaded by thousands of kids around the world. Now that’s exciting.

Each Thursday a new challenge is issued, so gamers are continuously being engaged and made to feel like part of a community. Parents are happy because their child is not only making their purchase worthwhile by continuing to play with it, but they are being creative while doing so. That in turn, yields more sales. Because when kids then ask for more figures to enhance their game play experience, parents are more likely to buy.

Check back regularly for more toy industry commentary from Jackie. 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!

 

Disney Store Starts Its Magical Week Online Deals Before Thanksgiving

disney storeDisney Store is giving shoppers the chance to start shopping online earlier with special discount pricing launching the weekend before Thanksgiving, November 22 to 24. Starting A selection of Disney Store’s Magical Week deals will launch on November 22 at 12:30 a.m. PST online at DisneyStore.com/magicalweekdeals. November 25, all of Disney Store’s Magical Week deals will be available in stores and online at special low prices, a first for the retailer. An additional deal will be unveiled online on Thanksgiving, November 28, and when stores open for Magical Friday.

Shoppers can interact with Disney Store’s guest services team on Twitter @DisneyStore. Updates on deals will be posted on Disney Store’s Facebook page as well. For holiday gift-giving inspiration, shoppers can browse the Holiday Gift Guide on DisneyStore.com and the Holiday Lookbook on Facebook.

Shoppers who prefer to shop from mobile devices can use the Disney Store’s mobile site and app. Through the mobile site, users can receive timely message alerts for new arrivals, in-store events, and promotional offers.