HoliDAY of Play 2015

My Friend Cayla Now Available at U.S. Retailers

MyFriendCaylaMy Friend Cayla, from toy manufacturer Genesis, officially arrives at toy retailers in the U.S. this week. Both Wal-Mart and Target are among the confirmed retailers selling the talking doll, which had only been available outside the U.S.

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COMMENTARY: Why Every Toy Company Needs to Follow MakieLab’s Lead

MakiesMakieLab has just made the first step in what I hope will be a great leap for the entire toy industry.

The London-based indie toy developer is the first company to respond directly to a viral social media campaign, #ToysLikeMe. The company has created a selection of Makie doll-size impairment aids and accessories, including hearing aids and walking sticks. It—hands down—has got to be one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard of, and all toy companies should follow suit.

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COMMENTARY: Not a Barbie Girl!

Barbie just celebrated her 55th birthday, and to commemorate the occasion, made a splash on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Wearing a skimpy, and quite-controversial, neutral-toned swimsuit, Barbie caused quite a stir. Many argue that it may be time for Barbie to finally step down as the queen of the children’s doll world. Nickolay Lamm, creator of the new Lammily doll, would certainly agree that there is a new girl in town: the “average is beautiful”-promoting Lammily doll.

Lamm claims that Lammily is the world’s first normal-sized doll. Last year, Lamm designed images of what he dubbed, “normal Barbie,” in an attempt to make the doll reflect the proportions of real female bodies. He used the measurements of the average 19-year-old woman from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and molded them into a 3-D model of Barbie.

lammilyBarbie’s unrealistic proportions have long been criticized by feminist campaigns. Although her waist was expanded and her bust made smaller in 1998, her figure remains significantly out of proportion and unrealistic for the average teenager. Studies show that if transformed into a real woman, Barbie’s 16-inch waist would be four inches thinner than her head. She would be required to walk on her hands and feet, as her 6-inch ankles and vast, missing areas of body would not be able to hold her upright. Studies also show that body image issues in young girls may be related, in part, to Barbie and dolls of the like, and that more than 50 percent of girls ages 9 to 10 claim to be, “on a diet.” This is deeply unsettling, and it seems that while no one thing can be blamed for this warped sense of body image in young girls, Barbie’s unrealistic figure can’t be helping.

Lammily represents something new. [Read more...]

Barbie’s Staying Put in New Malibu Dreamhouse

BarbieDreamhouse2013Over the past year, Barbie, the original California girl, traveled the world to find the perfect place to call home. After touring New York, Paris, even the Australian outback, she is staying in the beachside city of Malibu, Calif., in a newly renovated, three-story Dreamhouse from Mattel.

Barbie&houseThe new Dreamhouse play set features ocean views, six rooms with details that include pink “stainless steel” appliances, and two pull string elevators. It expands from the center to reveal spacious living areas and a main elevator. Meanwhile, the second elevator transports Barbie’s doll outfits between her closet and the bathroom.

Other details include lights and sounds throughout the house as well as a working doorbell. The 2013 Dreamhouse play set is suitable for kids ages 3 and up.