China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Games Are Fun, and Can Keep Kids Thinkin’ Over Summer Vacation

I think any kid would back me up when I make the claim that the best part about summer vacation is having no school. As a youngster, the summer meant the beach, sports, barbeques, and playing outside all day, which made it my favorite time of year. However, summer can also mean reading, keeping up with topics, and building on concepts that were learned months before. That list isn’t always a kid’s favorite cup of tea, but something that they all love is toys and games.

The door in the educational category for toys is now wide open, especially with schools under extra pressure because of Common Core standards. There are quite a few games to keep kids’ noggins churning while having fun, which is one of the best ways to keep them engaged and interested while school is out. Some examples of such are these new games from Funnybone Toys:

cubu-1-250x250Cubu plays on visual illusions to confuse players as they try to follow number and color sequences. This game forces players to use both sides of their brain at the same time, which stimulates the mind in a way that you wouldn’t expect. The challenge lies in keeping up with the number, color, and position of boxes on the cards, while the key hurdle is identifying the pattern and seeing what cards you have in your hand to make your next move. The game lasts until someone reaches 100 points and is declared the winner. The instructions also offer a speed round of Cubu and alternate ways to play the game. [Read more...]

Oregon Scientific Goes Global with SmartGlobe Additions and More

OregonScientificOregon Scientific’s product line-up for this year, shown for the first time last week at the American International Toy Fair in New York City, ranges from the latest action-capturing technology to new additions to the company’s SmartGlobe line.

These new electronic learning products include the ATC GeckoHD, a versatile and durable pocket-sized video camera. Kids can clip the camera on themselves using the included wrist strap and capture the world around them. Three changeable camera covers and an optional waterproof casing are also available.

The new SmartGlobe Infinity offers multiple themes, includes a wireless talking Smart Pen, and teaches countries, capitals, population, history, and more. By replacing the globe with a SmartGlobe Theme Globe, kids can explore themes such as Mysterious World or the Stars. Meanwhile, the Smart Pen can record notes with its built-in voice recording function.

The economical SmartGlobe Discovery features 19 activities and games, and provides hours of educational entertainment about planet Earth. Kids can explore the continents and compare countries to learn about populations, areas, and more. Users can then test their knowledge with the Ultimate Challenge activity.

Popar Toys Conjures Up the Magic of Augmented Reality

PoparPopar Toys has utilized the latest augmented reality (AR) technology to develop a new way for kids to learn anatomy, chemistry, and astronomy. With the 3-D Interactive Human Anatomy, Interactive Periodic Table, and Interactive Solar System charts, anyone can “play” with this learning technology that comes alive right off the wall.

Each AR wall chart works with any Android or Apple smart device once the free app is downloaded.

  • Interactive Human Anatomy Chart: Here the human body comes to life. Kids and students zoom in on their mobile device to see organs and even the digestive system.
  • Interactive Periodic Chart: Budding scientists can learn about atomic mass, boiling point, density, and structure. Use the app to tap elements and make compounds as well as learn more about their basic functions.
  • Interactive Solar System Chart: Planets leap off the wall and into the palm of kids’ hands with this app, which they can also use to watch videos and play games. Kids can learn the distance of these planets from one another and how many moons each planet has.

[Read more...]

Encyclopedia Britannica Launches Britannica Kids touchTab

BritannicaKidstouchTab

Encyclopedia Britannica, in partnership with Tek Nek Toys Inc., has launched its first interactive Britannica Kids touchTab. The touchTab is an educational tablet that inspires kids to learn interesting facts about various subjects with hands-on interactive play and quizzes to test knowledge.

Encyclopedia Britannica has found a way to engage young audiences while promoting knowledge and learning.  The touchTab comes with three content-rich cartridges, North American Mammals, Australian Mammals and African Mammals. Additional themed sets include Exploring Space, Incredible Earth, Amazing Ocean Life, and Days of the Dinosaur. The themed sets are sold separately.

Each cartridge contains more than 200 facts and questions, allowing children to explore three levels of content by answering questions in the Challenge Mode and unlocking new levels of difficulty. Children engage with the touchTab by pressing the various topics on the cartridges revealing educational audio content. The touchTab capitalizes on prestigious sources to insure that accurate information is presented in a fun and engaging method. [Read more...]

K’NEX Introduces Four New K’NEX Education Building Sets

Ideal for classroom and home use, K’NEX Education sets offer hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning for kids ages 9 and up. The new K’NEX Education sets are designed for small groups of students (between three and four kids), and bacsoon_logoteach concepts through problem solving, discovery, exploratory learning, and critical thinking. As kids build, they will have to use each other as a resource for investigating, discussing, and evaluating each scientific and design principle in action. These four new sets include: Simple Machines, Solar Energy, Wind and Water Energy, and Force and Motion.

Simple and Compound Machines – Offering hands-on learning the K’NEX Education Simple and Compound Machines Building Set is designed to expand upon middle school students’ knowledge of simple machines concepts. Students will be able to investigate, explore, and experiment with the K’NEX simple machine models as they analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information. The included teacher’s guide features student inquiry sheets and worksheets for the models highlighted, and asks questions and presents challenges that can be used to help students think more deeply about the concepts involved.  The set includes 332 K’NEX parts. [Read more...]

VTech Forms New Panel of Education Experts

VTech-LogoVTech, a world leader in age-appropriate and developmental stage-based electronic learning products for children, has formed a new Panel of Experts to help support its continued commitment to developing innovative, educational toys. Together the panel has a lifetime of experience in areas such as reading, language arts, science, math, STEM education, childhood development, and childhood education allowing them to provide invaluable feedback on the development of all new product introductions.

In developing learning content for VTech’s app store, the Learning Lodge, VTech will apply the expertise of the panel as well as share their expertise on VTech’s Parent Resource Center to provide parents with trusted knowledge on topics and subjects including technology, motor skills, cognitive development, reading, math, and science.

VTech’s esteemed Panel of Experts include Dr. Helen Boehm, Dr. Lise Eliot, Dr. Francis Fennell, Dr. Carla C. Johnson, Dr. Eric Klopfer, and Dr. Deborah Sharp  Libby. To hear more from VTech’s Panel of Experts, including parenting tips and advice on how children learn through play, visit VTech’s Parent Resource Center.

COMMENTARY: Keeping Kids’ Brains Active During the Summer

Now the school year is drawing to an end, parents surely want to keep their little ones mentally active during the summer months. There’s a whole slew of toys out there that are fun and educational, of course, so the trick is to really find the ones that work for you and your kids. However, we’ve got a bunch of toys in our office that’ll help kids of all ages flex those mental muscles, even when they aren’t sitting in a classroom.

Hello SunshineThinkFun‘s Hello Sunshine is a hide-and-seek game that uses a huggable plush toy. Parents of kids ages 18 months and up hid Sunshine according to a set of flash cards. In searching for the toy, kids will learn positional concepts such as in, on top, below, next to, and more. It’s also the perfect game for a rainy summer day that has to be spent inside. [Read more...]