COMMENTARY: Dolls Aim to End Bullying, Teach Virtues

Bullying is often written off as a normal part of childhood—growing up as a boy with a girl’s name, I was an easy target for schoolyard taunts. But it might be fair to say that this current generation of kids has it harder than ever. Consider Lee Hirsch’s recent documentary Bully, the countless news stories about youth being victimized by their peers through social media, and the It Gets Better Project aimed at ending the alarming trend of kids senselessly taking their own lives.

myfriendhugglesAt Toy Fair, I was pulled aside by a man holding up a child-sized doll with an adorable face and yarn hair. I later learned the doll was part of the My Friend Huggles line, which is among a growing number of toys that have a larger message. My Friend Huggles seeks to teach kids virtues such as kindness, fairness, and generosity. Each doll features a satin ribbon with a poem about the doll’s virtue. In addition to the regular doll collection, the My Friend Huggles line also includes a brother-sister duo dressed as anti-bullying superheroes.

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Toy Industry Foundation Celebrates “Christmas in July”

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) and the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) are showcasing a collection of toys and games that teach children about charity and social responsibility during a month-long “Christmas in July” media campaign.  The toys and games shown below were featured in a television segment that aired this week on “6 In the Mix” on WTVJ (NBC) Miami.

  • Hearts for Hearts, from Playmates Toys, features nine dolls from around the world that each have a story to share about female empowerment. Every doll purchased results in a donation to a program that helps girls around the world.
  • Wonder Glow Blocks, from Wonderworld Toys, are environmentally-friendly solid wood blocks that support a year-round program called the Tree Plus Project, a tree planting initiative.
  • Happy Nappers, from Jay at Play, are plush play pillows whose proceeds support the Home Sweet Home Fund benefitting the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation.
  • Harness the Healing Power of Horses, from Breyer, are pink horses. $1 from the sale of each will go to two breast cancer research organizations: Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
  • True Hope Dolls, from MGA Entertainment, consist of three Bratz dolls that support young girls and boys who suffer from hair loss or who are watching loved ones lose their hair from cancer treatments. $1 for every doll sold supports cancer research, treatment, and education at City of Hope.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris 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.