Sweet Suite 2016

Things Remembered Teams Up with Melissa & Doug For Holiday Collection

Things Remembered has collaborated with Melissa & Doug to carry a line of personalized products, ranging from toys, games, and arts and crafts.

Things Remembered will offer 10 items available for customization, including the Melissa & Doug Fire Truck, Stacking Train, Unit Block on Wheels, Alphabet Truck, Xylophone, and Wood School Bus Play Set. The collection at Things Remembered will range from $17 to $20 and is available in stores and online.

The Toy Insider Unwraps 2015 Hottest Holiday Toys

Layout 1The Toy Insider unwrapped its 10th annual holiday gift guide today, including expert picks for the hottest toys and kids’ tech items of the 2015 season. The guide is broken out into three lists: the Hot 20, Top Tech 12, and, new for 2015, STEM 10. With many options for boys and girls of all ages, these 42 items are expected to top kids’ wish lists and be hard to find or sold out by Christmas.

“This year’s hottest toys are not only going to ‘wow’ kids this holiday season, but also keep them engaged in hours of imaginary, mind-stimulating, and creative play well into 2016,” says Laurie Schacht, Toy Insider Mom and publisher of The Toy Insider. “This year, we also created a STEM 10 list in response to requests from parents who are looking for great playthings to reinforce important science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills.”

Click here to see the full guide!

COMMENTARY: As Play Gets Smarter, More Toys Come to Life Digitally

It’s official: Smart toys are taking over the toy space.

Gone are the days in which kids are content with traditional methods of play. Books, activities, and games are all available for kids on mobile devices, and they expect their toys to be no different. But although the mediums that kids are interacting with daily are changing, the one thing that won’t ever change is that kids love play.

Angry Birds Stella Telepods

Angry Birds Stella Telepods

Smart toys integrate physical toys and technology—essentially giving digital life to toys. Manufacturers are starting to realize the added value in these products and how wildly popular they can be. More than 72 million kids say they want smart toys, according to market research firm Interpret in a GameByte study.

In addition, kids are using mobile devices more than ever before. Seventy-one percent of households with a child age 4 to 14 reported owning a smartphone in 2014, already up from 55 percent in 2012, according to The NPD Group. Also, kids who own tablets doubled from 2012 to 2014, growing from 21 percent to 43 percent, respectively. [Read more...]

IAmElemental Accepting Pre-Orders for the Holiday Season

IAEIAmElemental, a company that creates action figures targeted to girls, has announced production of their first set of collectables: Series #1/Courage. The series includes seven four-inch articulated figures that personify the Elements of Courage: Bravery, Energy, Honesty, Industry, Enthusiasm, Persistence, and Fear. The company is now accepting pre-orders that will be scheduled for delivery in December.

The team at IAmElemental created their line of action figures when they saw that the typical female action figure on the market is not designed for girls, or even boys. They seemed to be more for the adult male collector, who are not heroines that girls can look up to. The figures launched on Kickstarter in May and were fully funded in two days.

Wal-Mart’s Toy Supplier of the Year Award Goes to Spin Master

logo_spinmasterWal-Mart chose Spin Master Ltd. as the recipient of its Toy Supplier of the Year award, which was presented at the company’s annual supplier summit in Orlando, Fla. on March 13.

“We are so honored to have received such great recognition from Wal-Mart,” said Ben Gadbois, global president and chief operating officer of Spin Master Ltd. “Our goal is to collaborate with all of our retail partners to be a world class supplier and deliver high quality and innovative products. Wal-Mart’s Toy Supplier of the Year Award exudes excellence in the business, and we look forward to continuing our work with Wal-Mart for many years to come.” [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Minecraft Brings A Whole New World

CARSONI admittedly didn’t know very much about the Minecraft toy and game selection until Halloween, when my uncle sent a photo of the costume that he had made for his son; who am I kidding—I knew nothing until then! My cousin Carson is a 5 year-old obsessed with the stuff! At the time, all I knew was that Carson could make anything look adorable, and that he had clearly moved on from trains and into this world where players can build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3-D generated world. I can’t even begin to understand all of the insider ins-and-outs of Minecraft, and it seems as though the name represents an entity of games and licensed products. I do, though, like to get as involved as I can with Carson, as I am much more aware of the favorites of his sister, Kennedy, since they were the same as mine: all things pink. Man, girls are simple! In time for the holidays, I took the game home to see what this Minecraft business is all about, so I can get those ever-elusive little kid “brownie points” while I’m home for Christmas. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: 1996: The Best Christmas Ever

1996. It was the year of the New York Yankees, the Chicago Bulls, the Dallas Cowboys. It was the year of Jerry Maguire and the Macarena. It was the year of Bill Clinton’s reelection. But most importantly, 1996 marked the best Christmas ever, with toy companies cranking out some of kids’ favorite toys of all time.

Cabbage Patch Snacktime KidWho could forget the Cabbage Patch Snacktime Kids dolls, from Mattel? Those pudgy-faced, yarn-haired little cuties each had a motorized mouth, and kids could feed their doll a french fry, a pretzel stick, a banana, and other yummy snacks. This was one of the toys my mom admits to pushing other moms out of the way for at Toys “R” Us on Black Friday morning. The food, which the dolls realistically chewed when kids inserted it into their mouths, fell into a backpack on the doll’s back, so kids could feed them over and over again. Of course, this beacon of glory was shortly recalled after the holiday season, as kids were getting their hair, skin, and fingers stuck in the doll’s mouth (as you can imagine, this resulted in many unhappy parents and kids with bald spots). While I made sure my hair was secured tightly in a ponytail while playing, my Snacktime Kid remained one of my favorite toys through ’97.

[Read more...]

The Orb Factory Presents Three New Crafting Kits

Just in time for the holidays, The Orb Factory has new crafty products that are sure to be on your child’s wish list.

For Tweens: Imaginista Twist & Loop Jewelry – Do-it-yourself accessories are extremely popular this year, and with the Imaginista Twist & Loop Jewelry kit, kids can twist, connect, and loopfunky jewelry made from over 80 silicone rings that make earrings, bracelets, rings, and more.Lave Rock Volcano

For Little Scientists: Curiosity Kits Lava Rock Volcano – Fun and educational, this kit uses simple products such as plaster and paint to make a realistic volcano that actually erupts. This kit is perfect for science fairs and home-crafting projects.

  • For Trendsetters: PlushCraft Owl Pal Pillow – For a simple, mess-free craft that produces beautiful pieces of room décor, this crafting kit allows kids to create decorative pillows with no sewing required. The kit includes more than 220 fabric pieces.

COMMENTARY: Boo! Halloween Toys That Outlast the Season

by Laurie Schacht, Toy Insider Mom

zombieLast year was a pretty tough Halloween on the east coast. Just a few days before the holiday, Hurricane Sandy shut off our lights, devastated our coasts, and in my neck of the woods, pretty much canceled parties and trick-or-treating. So this year I hope to see all our favorite ghosts and goblins make a big comeback.   

Who will you be this year? The Marvel superheroes will be strong sellers. Lets face it: what kid doesn’t want to save the world—and what adult doesn’t want a few hours to be “that hot” at a grown up party dressed up as Iron Man or Wonder Woman!

For little girls, if you haven’t purchased their Doc McStuffins or Sofia the First costumes yet, good luck finding them. I’ve yet to meet a 4-year-old girl that hadn’t loved one or both of these new favorite characters. Boys are loving Jake and his Never Land Pirates, Skylanders, Trash Pack Kids, and Slugterra.

But it’s not just in the costume. There are some great additions to the two hottest video games with Halloween themes this year that I need to share. Skylanders Giants released their special Halloween edition called Eye-Brawl. It’s sports a pumpkin head and a skeleton head at his feet. Disney Infinity will let kids build their own Halloween town in Toy Box mode, with the Pumpkin King throwing pumpkins at other characters, including the newly released Jack Skellington. [Read more...]

Long Island Newsday Picks Up the Toy Insider’s Hot 20 List of Holiday Toys

Check out Long Island Newsday’s slideshow of the Toy Insider’s Hot 20 list!

The Toy Insider’s ‘Hot 20′ list of 2013 via Long Island Newsday!