Q&A with Ben Gadbois, Global President and COO, Spin Master Ltd.

SpinMaster.BenGadboisThe Toy Book (TTB): Which toy categories do you expect to expand in 2015? Which do you expect to contract?

Ben Gadbois (BG): While it isn’t a category itself, robotic technology is advancing the toy industry in revolutionary new ways. Toy robots are nothing new to the market, but over the past few years we are seeing more innovative integration of robotics, allowing kids to do incredible things. From our trainable, voice-recognizing dog, Zoomer, to the autonomous, fiercely independent Zoomer Dino, toys are coming to life and great new play patterns are emerging. This year, we are fusing the latest technology and robotics with the iconic Meccano brand (known as Erector in the U.S.) with our latest robot, Meccanoid G15 KS. Meccanoid embodies the core values of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and empowers children by acting as a fun and engaging way to learn about coding, robotics, and engineering. As society advances, so do our toys, and there is a new thirst in the market as consumer behavior shifts toward products that can be both fun and educational. [Read more...]

GUEST COMMENTARY: International CES Explodes with Family-Friendly Tech

by Reyne Rice, toy trends analyst and consultant

Meccanoid G15 KS, from Spin Master

During the first week of January, International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 unveiled the latest consumer electronics innovations. Kids, families, and educators were among the target audiences for this new world of technology, which extended across all exhibitor areas. Here are some of the family tech-focused highlights from the show: [Read more...]

Spin Master Launches Interactive Meccanoid G15 KS

spin masterThis year, Spin Master Ltd. is working with Meccano—known as Erector in the U.S.—on Meccanoid G15 KS, a personal robot built with the latest Meccano parts. It is an advanced, yet easy-to-use open source Robotic Building platform, accessible to builders covering a broad range of ages and skill sets. Four feet tall and programmable, the robot is comprised of 550 parts and comes with a companion app, whereby owners can save animations and share them with friends. [Read more...]

Erector Launches Model Vehicles Collection for “Gears of War”

Erector launches four building sets based on the Gears of War video game exclusively available at Toys “R” Us and toysrus.com. The building sets allow fans to recreate realistic sets from the Microsoft game. The sets include 80 to 300 pieces, character figures, building instructions, stickers, and tools. The models are recommended for children ages 8 and up.

The National Building Museum Partners with Rockwell Group for Block Building Exhibition

In partnership with Rockwell Group, the National Building Museum will display the Play Work Build exhibition starting on November 18. The exhibition takes place in three galleries and will combine items from the museum’s architectural toy collection with Rockwell Group’s Imagination Playground. The Imagination Playground features loose parts and blue foam blocks of various shapes and sizes.

The earliest American construction toys, including alphabet blocks made by S.L. Hill in the 1870s and finger-joint building blocks made by Charles Crandall in the 1860s, will be displayed in the first gallery. Blocks by Friedrich Froebel and early Erector sets such as Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, a variety of plastic molded toys, skyscraper, house, and a village will also be displayed in this first gallery. Wall texts from architects, designers, and engineers will accompany the sets on display.

Foam blocks will be found in the second display gallery. Rockwell Group designed the blocks on display exclusively for the exhibition. Both children and adults can enjoy building opportunities with the variety of shapes, holes, and connectors provided in the gallery. The visitors can construct structures on the floor, off the wall, or combine both to invent their own creative narratives.