For Saban Brands and Center for Childhood Creativity, It’s Inventing Time!

Julius JrSaban Brands is partnering with the Center for Childhood Creativity for its animated preschool series, Julius Jr. The Center for Childhood Creativity has been working closely with Saban Brands to produce a series of “Inventing Time” activities designed for parents and caregivers to use at home, and for teachers to use in a preschool setting.

The Julius Jr. discussion guides encourage kids to take everyday objects they find around the house and turn them into extraordinary things, such as bridges, musical instruments, shadow puppets, and more. The activities come with a list of open-ended questions for adults to ask children while they are working on the various projects, enabling original thought and problem solving.

These materials are available at the Center for Childhood Creativity’s website, as well as for pick-up at San Francisco’s Bay Area Discovery Museum.

High School Students Launch Toy Company to Raise Funds for Not-For-Profit

FlipNCheckStudents from Stuyvesant High School in New York City have launched their first product, Flip ‘N’ Check, a dry-erase activity book for kids ages 5 and up. The toy is sold in more than 20 stores along the East coast, with all proceeds to be donated to the Teen Entrepreneur Boot Camp (TEBC), a not-for-profit group dedicated to teaching entrepreneurship to teens. This team will be collaborating with the Bronx Zoo for the next version of Flip ‘N’ Check called Zoo Animals.

The idea for the Flip ’N’ Check method was donated to the project by Dr. Howard Wexler, inventor of the game Connect 4, in an effort to fund the program. Flip ‘N’ Check comes in an easy-to-travel format and contains educational puzzles, mazes, connect-the-dots, word searches, crosswords, and more. A demonstration video is available on YouTube.

The students will be documenting their learning experiences on the TEBC blog, which will also feature tips from professionals they have met along the way, and the experiences they have had launching this toy company.

Super Duper Going the Retail Route with Educational Products

SuperDuperSuper Duper Publications is partnering with U.S. retail and online resellers to sell its children’s educational products. The company has more than 750 common core and state standards-aligned card decks, games, workbooks, software programs, mobile apps, and more for children ages 3 to 12.

Previously, the company mostly sold directly to consumers and educators, and only offered certain items to retailers. “We are very excited about working with retailers to bring our unique products to parents and educators throughout the country,” said Super Duper president Sharon Webber.

Super Duper also has over 40 international resellers that distribute its products worldwide. To date, the most popular Super Duper creations include the HearBuilder programs, which have helped students dramatically improve their early learning and pre-reading skills, such as basic concepts, following directions, phonological/sound awareness, auditory/listening memory, and sequencing.

Little Pim Partners with VTech for Foreign Language Content

Little Pim has partnered with VTech on the Little Pim foreign language video series for preschoolers. The series will be available for the InnoTab Learning Tablet range starting December 1 in VTech’s Learning Lodge app store, which is home to educator-approved downloadable content and curriculum.

LittlePim1The Little Pim videos help kids learn 360 words and phrases in a second language. The videos will be offered in English, Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, and German.

Little Pim’s Entertainment Immersion Method provides total immersion in the language. The method engages a child’s love of play watching real kids and animation. The program is the brainchild of Julia Pimsleur Levine, the daughter of Dr. Paul Pimsleur, creator of the Pimsleur Method, the popular language-learning program for adults. For more information on Little Pim, visit LittlePim.com.

Tiggly Introduces New Tiggly Shapes and Apps

tigglyshapesTiggly Shapes, the first physical product from Tiggly, is a set of four geometric shapes (a square, a circle, a triangle, and a star) that are designed to interact with learning apps on tablets. Tiggly Shakes come with three free apps and a felt carrying pouch for easy transportation. The three included apps are Tiggly Safari, where kids use Tiggly Shapes to construct animals from the jungle, farm, and sea; Tiggly Stamp, where kids use Tiggly Shapes to build seasonally themed scenes and use voice record and camera options to tell stories and save their work; and Tiggly Draw, where kids use the tablet as a canvas and Tiggly Shapes as their tools. 

Tiggly is a learning company that is pioneering a new way to educate kids in the digital age. By combining educational benefits of physical play with the learning potential of digital tools, Tiggly Shapes believes they can create an ideal environment for early childhood learning.

Tiggly Shapes and apps are designed for kids ages 18 months to 4 years.

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.

Toys “R” Us 2013 Holiday Strategy Highlights Education, Tablets, and More

toysrusToys “R” Us Inc. will enhance product categories that have experienced sales growth over the past few years, such as education, tablets, and construction, as part of their 2013 holiday strategy.

This season, a dedicated Imaginarium shop will set in-store, and each store will have a whole aisle dedicated to new educational products, such as microscopes and telescopes from Edu Science and language-learning programs from Little Pim. Meanwhile, capitalizing on the growing construction category, the company will install a “Shop within a Store” in approximately 300 locations, showcasing construction brands such as Lego and Mega Bloks. The company will also feature approximately 70 Lego exclusives this holiday season, including Legends of Chima The Croc Swap Hideout and Star Wars Jedi Defender Class Cruiser.

After experiencing increases in sales of tablets and tablet accessories, Toys “R” Us will add easy-to-navigate 32-foot shops that will showcase 25 tablets that can be tested and engaged with by kids and parents. These shops are expected to set in the majority of Toys “R” Us locations by October. The company also has exclusive tablet products, such as the Kurio 10s by Techno Source and its recently announced tabeo e2, and will be launching a dedicated online tablet guide.

Finally, online shoppers can now place a “Buy Online, Pickup In Store,” order on toysrus.com and it will be ready for pickup in under an hour, and “Ship to Store” orders will now be available for pickup in five to 10 days. Later this fall, stores will be equipped with a secondary in-store pickup location, and “Ready for Pickup” emails that are sent to customers once their order is available will include a map of where the pickup location is positioned within the store.

COMMENTARY: Storytime and Playtime Collide

Storytime Toys Fuses Play Houses with Classic Fairy Tales

It can be really difficult to get kids enthusiastic about reading at a young age. When I was young, my mom gave me an enormous, leather-bound book full of fairy tales. Each page was laden with beautiful graphics and trimmed with gold. After having the stories read to me over and over again, I would use the tales and characters as inspiration for playtime, making my Barbie dolls act as Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel.

New specialty toy company Storytime Toys, is making it even easier for kids to incorporate reading into playtime. Kara Dyer and Sara Argue have created a line of toy houses and storybooks based on classic fairy tales. Now, kids can read along to fairy tales including Goldilocks & the Three Bears, Hansel & Gretel, and The Three Little Pigs, while they build a house (or three, in the pigs’ case) that corresponds to each story.

Storytime.H&G

Each house features stunning, hand-painted imagery and comes with furniture and dolls for extended creative play. The pieces of the house can be assembled easily by kids ages 3 to 6. The stories are age-appropriate and will allow kids to associate playtime fun with the concept of reading. [Read more...]

The Magic School Bus Makes Its Way to DVD

This summer, Scholastic and New Video will re-launch The Magic School Bus on DVD. This year marks the 25th anniversary for the Emmy Award-winning series.

On July 31, New Video will release The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series, which features 52 episodes and includes activities and brain busters for parents and kids. This set also features a 3-D lenticular cover; a guide for kids with teasers, trivia, and experiments; and a parents’ guide with lessons and learning options.

Released just in time for Back to School activities will be four Magic School Bus singles, The Human Body, Super Star Power, Takes a Dive, and Takes Flight. Also available will be two three-packs from the series, Blast Off! From Sea to Space and Field Trip Fun and Games, both of which include episodes that have never been released on DVD.

New Video will support the brand with a national marketing and publicity campaign, which includes trade media outlets, partnerships with licensees and science foundations, paid online and social media advertising, outreach to parenting press, mommy bloggers, parenting organizations and play in the top 10 radio markets, and more. The campaign is designed to generate several million consumer impressions this summer and fall.

This post was originally written by Leah Rocketto and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Top Toy Trends This Holiday Season, According to Target

This holiday season there will be nearly 7,000 toys featured in Target stores and on Target.com. Stephanie Lucy, vice president of merchandising at Target, shares what she thinks will be the five key toy trends this season and the hot toys that match them.

Interactivity

“One of the key items we selected is Fijit Friends. You look at Fijit and the ability to put it in dance mode, and the voice-recognition and built-in responses. Also, Let’s Rock Elmo is interactive for a much younger child, but we believe interactivity is important.”

[Read more...]