China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Endangered Species Toys Can Help Raise Environmental Awareness

CuipoGund

Endangered species stuffed animals, from Gund and Cuipo

Animal-themed toys are nothing new, but in recent months, I’ve been noticing a focus on endangered species. Shortly after Toy Fair 2014, BeginAgain released its Balance Boat: Endangered Animal Edition, a stacking toy featuring rubberwood versions of the panda, rhinoceros, tortoise, and more. Meanwhile, Green Tones by Hohner put out Endangered Animal Shakers, beautifully carved rubberwood musical toys that depict an owl, leopard, and turtle.

And on the plush front, Wild Republic has added vulnerable species such as the Siberian Tiger to its Cuddlekins line. Last but not least, Gund and Cuipo have collaborated on stuffed animals based on the endangered sun bear, emperor monkey, and three-toed sloth, among others. [Read more...]

PBS Kids Debuts Web-Original Plum Landing and App

PlumLandingRight in time for Earth Day, PBS Kids has launched a new, web-original property, Plum Landing, a digital adventure designed to engage kids ages 6 to 9 in environmental science. Plum Landing crosses multiple platforms including animated and live-action video, hands-on activities, web games, and an interactive mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Plum Landing follows the adventures of Plum, a video game designer from the desolate Planet Blorb, who longs to experience nature. To realize this goal, Plum commandeers a space ship, zooms down to earth, befriends five eager kids, and launches them on such missions as, “find a lake in the desert!” and “search for a cow that lives under water!” [Read more...]

New Zeenie Dollz Animated Web Series Arrives in Time for Earth Day

ZeenielogoOn April 3, Zeenie Dollz will launch a new animated webisode series introducing its six “eco-warriors”:  Zennia, Yana, Evee, Kazumi, Lina, and Sini. The webisodes add to the continued expansion of the brand and offer another educational tool for parents to teach children about both preserving the environment and the power of teamwork.

Created in collaboration with Brandberry, each webisode will be two to three minutes long and take the Zeenies on eco-themed adventures. “A New Addition” will be available both on the Zeenie Dollz website and their YouTube channel.

 

PBS Kids, National Recreation and Park Association Partner for Explore the Outdoors Campaign

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.56.37 AMPBS Kids and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) have partnered again for their annual Explore the Outdoors campaign. PBS Kids will air themed programming and launch online and mobile content beginning April 7 in celebration of Earth Month. PBS member stations and NRPA member parks will also host events throughout the month to encourage families to participate in educational outdoor activities and explorations.

In addition to eco-themed programming weeks and the premiere of The Cyberchase Movie, Earth Day themed episodes will play on PBS Kids on April 22. The season 3 premiere of Wild Kratts will begin on April 7, where episodes throughout the week will show the brothers exploring animals throughout the globe. Arthur’s Outdoor Week kicks off on April 21 and will include the premiere of two new episodes. The episodes will focus on teaching values, patience, sharing, teamwork, and the power of imagination.

The Plum Landing website will launch on April 21. Plum Landing is a new digital project produced by WGBH that uses animated webisodes, online games, free apps, hands-on science activities, and live-action videos. The goal of the website is to teach young kids about nature, ecosystems, and encourage them to be a caretakers of their planet. The webisodes will feature Plum, a purple alien from Planet Blorb, and her five earthling friends going on adventures and exploring ecosystems. Kids can play animated games in the same setting.

PBS Kids will premiere the The Cyberchase Movie in mid-April. The movie will be an eco-themed one-hour special that includes environmental and math topics. Three online games will debut on the Cyberchase website.

New Product: Scrap Kins Build-It Book

Earth Day is around the corner and kids can start getting in the mood with Scrap Kins Build-It Book Volume 1, a book filled with recycling projects. Main characters the Scrap Kins are a monster family who live in a recycling center. They give readers step-by-step instructions for 12 projects, such as turning toilet paper tubes and milk cartons into pirate ships, bookmarks, bird feeders, and more.

All of the projects are constructed from materials that are found around the home, including paper towel tubes, cereal boxes, and juice cartons—no other materials are required.

The book, ideal for kids ages 6 to 9, is published by Crackle Press and is 32 pages. For more information, visit www.thescrapkins.com.

New Sid the Science Kid Episodes for Earth Day

Sid the Science Kid will be celebrating Earth Day (April 22) with four new episodes, the week of April 18, on PBS Kids.

New episodes of The Jim Henson Company and KCET/Los Angeles animated preschool show will explore a different science theme related to the environment. As in every episode, Sid will begin each episode with a question and spend the day finding answers with help from his friends and family.

The episodes include “Where Did The Water Go?” (What happens to water that goes down the drain?) on Monday, April 18; “Clean Air!” (Why does Sid’s dad wear a mask when he paints?) on April 19, repeating on Earth Day; “Reused Robot” (Where does trash go when we throw it away?) on April 20; and  “Save The Stump” (Can an old stump be a home for tiny creatures?) on April 21.

[Read more...]

Scholastic Celebrates Earth Day with WordGirl

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Scholastic has announced that its TV series, WordGirl, will “fight the forces of planetary pollution” with an eco-themed episode titled “Earth Day Girl” that will air April 22 on PBS KIDS GO!. An “Earth Day Girl” early reader book from Scholastic and DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment will also be available.

In the “Earth Day Girl” episode, when the Birthday Girl learns that the Earth is having a special celebration (on her birthday!) she decides to teach the Earth a lesson. Will WordGirl find a way to stop the Birthday Girl and save Earth Day?

The WordGirl Earth Day Girl DVD gives fans a glimpse of the title episode and also includes seven new-to-DVD adventures, each of which introduces four new vocabulary words and reinforces their meanings in a variety of contexts. Special features include interactive games, video shorts, and coloring pages.