China Toy Fair


Hasbro, generationOn, and Points of Light Honor Young Volunteers

This week, Hasbro Inc., along with the youth service movement generationOn and the volunteer service organization Points of Light, will honor six young service leaders as Hasbro Community Action Heroes. Each honoree has addressed challenging issues in their local and global communities in unique ways. The six will receive their awards during the annual generationOn Benefit on May 8 at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City.

The awardees include:

  • Ethan Cruikshank, age 15, of Mechanicsville, Va.: Cruikshank founded Music to My Ears, an all-volunteer-run organization led by middle and high school students who provide weekly music lessons to elementary school-aged children
  • Gabriele Eggerling, age 10, of Huntington Beach, Calif.: Eggerling founded Mission: HERO, which has donated more than 1,500 books to low-income kids in the United States and abroad.
  • Neha Gupta, age 17, of Yardley, Pa.: Gupta started Empower Orphans to help impoverished children in orphanages in northern India. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Easter Is the Other Big Holiday

I don’t know about you, but in my family, Easter is the “other” big holiday. It gets as much attention as Christmas and Thanksgiving, complete with family from near and far, a feast, candy, and, of course, Easter baskets. My sister and I are both in our 20s, but who says grown-ups can’t still get excited to open their Easter baskets and see what goodies await? While Easter isn’t the time for lots of presents, our baskets usually contain some candy, a few small trinkets, and one bigger gift. This Sunday, when kids across the country open their Easter baskets, some may be lucky enough to receive any of the following fun spring toys.

airhogsskywinder

Spin Master Air Hogs Skywinder is an awesome choice for a kid’s “big” basket gift. Kids toss the R/C stunt rocket into the air and squeeze the trigger on the remote. The rocket flies, dives, hovers, and loops, and is lightweight enough that it can be used indoors. It flies high, though, so kids will enjoy it most outside—a perfect reason to go outdoors and celebrate spring! [Read more...]

PlayCon 2014 Agenda Includes Speakers from The NPD Group, Google/YouTube, and More

A number of educational topics related to the toy industry will be explored at PlayCon, the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) International Conference of Play Professionals, scheduled to take place May 7 to 9 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The May 8 program includes a keynote address delivered by Doug Van Andel, executive creative director at global ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi; a case study presented by Michael Moynihan, vice president of marketing at Lego Systems Inc.; a two-part session by The NPD Group focused on the latest sales data; a presentation entitled “The Broader World of Play,” from Katie Rottier, head of U.S. industry, sports & toys, at Google/YouTube; and more. [Read more...]

Geocache Becomes First-Ever Fan-Voted Scrabble Word

The word “geocache” beat out 15 other nominees in last month’s Scrabble Word Showdown, and as a result, will be included in the fifth edition of Merriam-Webster’s Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, scheduled for release this August. This marks the dictionary’s first major update in nearly a decade, and the first time it has ever included a word voted on by fans.

Nominated by fans following a national call-for-entries on the Hasbro Game Night Facebook page in March, “geocache” is a verb meaning to seek items by means of a GPS device as part of a game. It faced 15 other popular choices in an online showdown from April 2 to 10, besting such fan favorites as “bitcoin,” “cosplay,” and “ew.”

Geocache will be an eligible word right in time for National Scrabble Day on April 13. It will also be playable in the upcoming National School Scrabble Championship on April 26 to 27 and the National Scrabble Tournament in August.

COMMENTARY: Prepare for Upcoming Summer Blockbusters with These Toys

The beach, barbecues, and time off from school are some of the most beloved parts of summer vacation. However, we can’t forget about summer blockbusters. While we are still getting over winter weather here in New York City, I can’t help but get into the summer mood hearing all about the movies that are fast approaching. And to make it even better, this summer’s movies have inspired some awesome products. I was happily surprised to see some versatile items that both kids and adults can enjoy, and have compiled some of my favorites below:

Apr2.SpidermanThe Amazing Spider-Man 2 Mega Blaster Web Shooter with Glove by Hasbro can make a kid feel like his or her favorite superhero. The product comes with a glove just like Spider-Man’s and a wrist-mounted shooter that blasts either water from the refillable water cartridge or the Spidey Shot Web Fluid. Both units are included in the package and are triggered by the push of a small lever with two middle fingers. The Spidey Shot Web Fluid is essentially a type of aerosol string, like Silly String, that comes out in a continuous line that feels like foam. After a few minutes, the fluid dries out and is easily removable from any surface. Although I prefer the web fluid over the water, both methods of simulating Spider-Man make a great way for kids to spend time outside. Kids can definitely enjoy this toy all spring before the movie comes out in May. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Now Every Kid Can Be Captain America

Phil.04.03.Cap6inchLegendsThis weekend, everyone’s favorite re-animated World War II super-soldier returns in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, from Marvel Studios. (PLEASE NOTE: THIS OPENING MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.) Having seen a preview of the movie, I won’t give too much away, but suffice it to say, it’s a good time, precisely because the captain faces conflicts that aren’t just fisticuffs. At a certain point, both he—and the other Marvel Comics-based heroes who appear—must decide whether to turn on their own government. Admittedly, it’s not that difficult a choice, since saying no means a terrorist organization descended from the Nazis gets the power to kill millions with the push of a button. But a moral quandary is, nevertheless, a moral quandary, and gives the movie a kind of complexity that isn’t always found in summer blockbusters. (END SPOILERS.)

It also results in a character that kids of all ages can—and should—aspire to become more like. (Did I mention that Captain America also learns to trust his friends? This film’s full of valuable lessons for young ones!) To that end, Hasbro has released an impressive line of Captain America: The Winter Soldier toys and accessories that allow for all kinds of pretend play. Since not every movie protagonist is a fit role model for kids, having found one with product support from the toy industry, I feel it is this column’s responsibility to highlight said product as much as possible. Cap, you’re welcome. [Read more...]

Contest Lets Fans Decide on House Rules for Future Monopoly Games

In a recent survey conducted by Hasbro, 68 percent of Americans admit they’ve never read the official Monopoly rules in their entirety, and 49 percent said they have made up their own Monopoly rules! Knowing this, Hasbro is giving Monopoly fans around the world an opportunity to “break the rules” by inviting them to help select the top “house rules” to become a part of future Monopoly games.

Through April 3, the Monopoly Facebook page will host the Great Monopoly House Rules Debate, with Mr. Monopoly himself as moderator. Fans are encouraged to debate the pros and cons of 10 house rules that were selected as a result of crowd-sourcing fans globally on the Facebook page.

As a result of the debate, Hasbro will identify the top house rules, and [Read more...]

Fans to Choose Newest Playable Scrabble Word

MERRIAM-WEBSTER INC. SCRABBLE DICTIONARY APPScrabble and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary are updating the The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary for the first time in nine years. On top of the thousands of words that are planned to be added, a new word will be nominated and chosen by fans during the Scrabble Word Showdown. Fans can submit their suggestions to the Hasbro Game Night Facebook page, where 16 words will be chosen for fans to cast their votes.

The final word will be chosen on April 10 and will be included in the 5th edition of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, available in August and across digital platforms later this year from Electronic Arts.

Funko and Wizards of the Coast Joining Forces for Magic: The Gathering Figures

Funko has entered a new licensing agreement with Wizards of the Coast Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc., to produce Magic: The Gathering Planeswalkers figures for Funko’s Pop! Vinyl and Legacy Collection action figures lines.

The first series of vinyl figures is set for release in April, and will feature 3.75-inch versions of Planeswalkers characters Jace Beleren, Garruk Wildspeaker, Chandra Nalaar, Liliana Vess, Ajani Goldmane, and Nissa Revane. The Planeswalkers will also be among the first Legacy Collection figures released; each one features more than 20 points of articulation as well as removable accessories.

Sculptors at Gentle Giant are collaborating with Funko on the new Legacy Collection, which is set for release in August and suitable for ages 14 and up.

Hasbro’s National School Scrabble Tournament Spells Opportunity for Kids

scrabble-largeThe 2014 National School Scrabble Tournament, hosted by Hasbro Inc., is scheduled for April 26 to 27 at the company’s new Providence, R.I., facility, One Hasbro Place. Young Scrabble enthusiasts in fourth through eighth grades are eligible to compete for the $10,000 top prize.

The National School Scrabble Tournament features contestants from across the U.S. and Canada, as well as the youngest and best Scrabble students. Competing students are generally members of a School Scrabble Club. Parents, teachers, and coaches can go to www.schoolscrabble.us to learn more about the event and to register students for the tournament.

Registration costs $100 per team and will be open until April 11. Those who wish to learn more about the School Scrabble Program or register a club to receive more information from Hasbro can visit the company’s website.

The final round of the tournament will be broadcast live online using the RFID Scrabble System from Mind Sports International, which showcases each team’s tile rack, score breakdown, as well as the “Best Word” that each team can play at any given point.