HoliDAY of Play 2015

ASTRA Names 2015 Best Toys for Kids

ASTRAlogoThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) unveiled its 2015 Best Toys for Kids award winners. This year’s list includes 18 winning toys in 14 categories.

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COMMENTARY: These Toy Fair Exhibitors Have Science Education Down to a Science

Kids First Level 1: Amusement Park Engineer, from Thames and Kosmos

Science kits are typically geared toward kids ages 8 and up. There have been plenty of logical reasons for this—for one thing, kids need to be able to read the manual to do the experiments; and for another, science experiments can be complex, requiring kids to have longer attention spans and higher critical thinking skills. However, at this year’s North American International Toy Fair in NYC, many companies have found ways to introduce science to a younger audience.
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Barnes & Noble Launches Educational Toys & Games Science Center in Select Stores and Online

Barnes & Noble Inc. has launched an Educational Toys & Games Science Center in select stores nationwide and online at They feature science-focused toys and games from brands such as Thames & Kosmos, Educational Insights, Scientific Explorer, Elenco, and more.

The new Barnes & Noble Educational Toys & Games Science Center is intended to inform children across grades K to 8th about circuitry, solar power, chemistry, dinosaur fossils and dinosaur digs, and other topics.

“Barnes & Noble is pioneering the way in educational toys and games, and we are thrilled to partner with them and to be at the forefront in offering our science-based products to children and families in such a comprehensive way this holiday season,” says Jane Stephens-Smith at Elenco.

Military Families in San Diego Receive Toys and Games from Toy Industry Foundation

Nearly 1,000 children of military personnel stationed in San Diego, Calif., were treated to a toy giveaway on March 2 by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and national partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services

Families stationed at Naval Base Coronado were joined by marine families from nearby Camp Pendleton for a fun-filled day of play, crafts, entertainment, and food. The children were gifted with brand new toys and games donated by toy manufacturers from across the nation.

The event was the first of many toy giveaways to be held on military bases this year as part of the joint TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program–the first-ever national toy distribution program to serve every branch of the military. Now in its fourth year of operation, the program has provided more than $3.5 million in toys for children residing on U.S. military bases.

Gifts distributed at this event were donated by Barb-a-Mel Books, Cartamundi, Cloud B, DuneCraft, Elenco, GANZ, Gibout Toys, Hasbro, Kidz Toys, Lee Magic Pen, LEGO, Look Out World, Mattel, MindWare, RBI Toys, Squishable, TMI Toy Marketing International, and Wonder Forge.