Surprise Ride Launches e-Shop, Makes Past Gift Boxes Available

ImageSurpriseRideIn time for the holidays, Surprise Ride is launching its first e-shop featuring past gift boxes, which include such themes as Ancient Egypt, Superheroes, and Volcanoes. Every month, Surprise Ride fosters creativity by providing a curated box of activities for kids ages 6 to 11 that promotes hands-on learning.

Each box teaches kids something new about the world, and past activities have included painting in the style of van Gogh, exploring the science behind how things glow in the dark, and making organic chocolate from scratch. Surprise Ride is also debuting its first limited edition holiday box, allowing kids to make their own DIY gifts.

Alex Toys Expands Its Arts and Crafts Lines for Kids and Tweens

At the recent American International Toy Fair, Alex Toys showed off new products in its popular line of art supplies and art sets, and introduced new craft kits intended specifically for the tween market.

The extension in Alex Toys’ art line is intended to encourage creativity in open-ended ways, including a diverse selection of new art materials such as oil and chalk pastels, metallic pencils, glitter paint, sidewalk stencils, and acrylic paints.

The Ultimate Easel Accessories set comes with art supplies including poster paint, lidded paint cups, natural bristle brushes, paper roll, chalk, board markers, and board eraser. Meanwhile, the Color A Canvas, Mark It Up Canvas, and Paint A Canvas kits let kids create beautiful works of art with markers and paints on pre-printed canvases. Designs of varying complexity suit artists ranging from younger to older kids.

For its tween lines, Alex Toys is incorporating popular fashion design elements in its DIY kits. Along with extending its jewelry line with Spike Jewelry, Boho Bands, and Chain Bracelets, the company is also expanding its line of Alex Tech Couture accessory craft kits. New products include Duct Tape Tech for tablets and smart phone cases, Glam Rock Speakers, and Bling Headphones that give personality and texture to tech items through stickers, gems, and neon and patterned colors.

This year will also see the arrival of the Alex Spa collection for girls, and new party-sized spa and salon kits.

GoldieBlox Introduces GoldieBlox and the Parade Float

GoldieBlox.ParadeFloatThere’s a new addition to the GoldieBlox toy collection: GoldieBlox and the Parade Float, available now for pre-order at GoldieBlox.com for delivery by December 1, and rolling into Toys “R” Us stores nationwide this holiday season. Encouraging the growth of a female presence in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, founder Debbie Sterling and GoldieBlox aim to introduce girls to the fun of building combined with the age-old pastime of storytelling, by offering an engineering role model who is smart, curious, and accessible.

The new main set, GoldieBlox and the Parade Float, features nine design ideas as well as a do-it-yourself project, and is compatible with all other Goldie Blox toys. Meanwhile, the new Blox + Bits Expansion Pack includes rods, blocks, and other extra pieces that fit both the original GoldieBlox and The Spinning Machine and GoldieBlox and The Parade Float sets, and allow kids to create even larger projects.

In addition, GoldieBlox has launched an online play gallery with stop-motion how-to videos starring little girl inventors. Fans can submit their own videos to be featured on GoldieBlox.com and the GoldieBlox YouTube channel.

Amav Introduces Sweet Art

image002Kids can now make their art, and eat it too, with Amav’s Sweet Art. The soft dough modeling kits allow children to make and decorate their own unique creations using rolling utensils and other crafting tools designed for small hands. The sugar dough is safe to eat (FDA-approved) and comes in several colors and flavors like strawberry, lemon, and chocolate.

The Ice Cream Maker allows kids to create their own Sweet Art ice cream shop complete with a serving station, and the Party Pack comes with an array of shaping utensils ideal for birthdays and family get-togethers. Other smaller kits feature themes such as animals, popsicles, and other treats. Intended for kids ages 6 an up, this new edible toy can be purchased at Toys “R” Us, amazon.com, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Kmart.

Toys “R” Us Launches Jewelry and Accessory Crafts by Victoria Justice

Victoria Justice Mega_Jewelry_TRUToys “R” Us has introduced exclusive do-it-yourself fashion accessories and crafts designed by actress and musician Victoria Justice. The new line, Totally Me! by Victoria Justice is intended for tweens ages 8 and up.

The line features 16 items. Totally Me! by Victoria Justice customizable jewelry kits, craft kits, and the Victoria’s Closet Fashion Sketchbook kit are currently available online at toysrus.com/victoriajustice, and will appear in Toys “R” Us Stores nationwide in the coming weeks.

COMMENTARY: Turning a Complaining Kid into a Knitting-Whiz

This winter has been a brutal one for New Yorkers (and I’m not even sure it’s over yet). I for one was more than willing to load up on the cold weather gear, donning a new bubble coat, an oversized infinity scarf, and fingerless gloves with mitten covers in a concerned effort to keep out the cold and stave off the flu. Long johns were even necessary on a few of the more brutal days this year. Though most adults are eager to be as warm as possible during the winter months, it can be difficult to get kids to bundle up willingly. My niece and nephew whine and whine about putting on their winter’s finest: “The zipper pinches my chin!,” “I can’t breathe!,” “I can’t see with this hat on,” etc., etc. A good way to combat the incessant complaining and layering reluctance is to let kids make their own cold weather accessories. [Read more...]