Check out Long Island Newsday’s slideshow of the Toy Insider’s Hot 20 list!
by Laurie Schacht, Toy Insider Mom
I’ve loved Elmo for as long as I can remember … and I’m not alone! He spans generations of boys, girls, kids, and adults. And while one might be able to argue that Mickey Mouse has the same appeal (and in many ways he does), every year there’s a brand new Elmo for a brand new group of kids to bring home and to love. But be warned, not all Elmo’s are alike.
When my kids were toddlers Elmo came in the form of a simple stuffed animal. He was cherished by all my girls, but especially my oldest, now 23. Today, she still adores him. I’ve actually had my ups and downs with Elmo (though my true love for him never really falters) as he has engaged in the world of technology.
Every holiday season I’m asked, “What’s the new Tickle Me Elmo this year?” and I think to myself, “I hope there isn’t one.” Yes, Tickle Me Elmo, from Fisher-Price, was a retailer’s and a manufacturer’s dream toy—a toy retailers couldn’t keep in stock because demand was so high, and at the time, no one had ever seen such innovation in plush. Add the Elmo factor and it was a solid hit (followed by a few more, such as the extreme version). But while it was sold out everywhere, sold for huge markups by individuals, and fought over in stores—and as cool as the innovation was—this was not my favorite Elmo. I could never watch Elmo laugh or roll over on the floor, pounding the floor and laughing, without full out laughing myself. The problem was that I was just watching. [Read more...]
With an official launch still to come this year, The Beatrix Girls brand has already announced nine new licensing agreements after its successful introduction at the International Licensing Show. The new line of collectible pop-star dolls has expanded since its promotional agreement with Peavey Electronics to add new brand partners in the teen/tween market. Licensing deals, including apparel, bags and backpacks, accessories, back-to-school, bedding, stationery, footwear, headwear, and more, were brokered by the licensing firm AALMG.
The U.S. licensees The Beatrix Girls have recently signed include Children’s Apparel Network for branded tops, bottoms, sets, dress, and outerwear; Berkshire Fashions for branded baseball caps, fashion headwear, fleece hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, head bands, ear muffs, leg and arm warmers, socks, slipper socks, rain slickers, ponchos, and umbrellas; Hanover Group for branded necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, anklets, charms, headbands, barrettes, ponytail holders, hair clips, hair scarves, lanyards, coin purses, purses, zipper pulls, flashlights, key chains, backpack clips, shoelaces, novelty headbands, tiaras, wands, eye masks, brushes, sunglasses, and gift sets; Skyhigh International LLC for branded back-to-school stationery, including notebooks, memo books, portfolios, binders, planners, journals, address books, list pads, book covers, stationery sets, stickers, pens, and pencils; Jay Franco & Sons for branded bedding, bath, room décor, beach towels, beach blankets, and beach backpacks; AME for branded girls sleepwear; Playa Vista Designs for branded footwear; and Fast Forward for branded handbags, backpacks, totes, sports bags, small leather goods, cell phone cases, luggage, lunch juts, and beverage bottles.
The Beatrix Girls band members—Brayden, Ainsley, Lark, and Chantal—produce real music that kids can collect. Each pop-star has her own developed personality, making it not only possible for her to live and interact in the human world, but for kids to vicariously live the fantasy of being a pop-star through play.
Lil’ Blabberz, from Little Tikes, are crazy and funny characters in the shape of a ball. The silly characters interact, tell jokes, and dance and sing together, with mouth animations that bring the toy to life. Kids ages 3 and up will love Oolie, a Lil’ Blabberz who is funny, and crazy, but also soft and fuzzy. Lil’ Blabberz can be stand-alone toys, but if there is another Lil’ Blabberz in the room, the fun multiples as they interact with each other.
Lil’ Blabberz is part of Little Tikes’ new extensive holiday line.
- Lil’ Blabberz: Oolie is a funny, crazy character in the shape of a soft, fuzzy ball for kids ages 3 and up.
- Activity Garden: The garden incorporates a variety of baby toys and activities to develop motor skills and cognitive ability. This activity gym can be configured in different ways to keep play exciting from kids ages 6 months to 3 years.
- GiddyUp ‘N Go Pony: A toy pony named Thunder that allows kids ages 3 to 5 to develop coordination and balance.
- I’m an Artist Station: This product allows toddlers ages 3 and up to be creative in art. The paper spins, kids add paint, and make creations.
- Wiggimals: This toy sheep can assist babies in learning to crawl with its movement. Wiggimals is suitable for babies ages 6 months and up.
Mindtwister USA will release AJ’s Toy Boarders Snowboarder Series 1 just in time for the Holidays. There are eight new Snowboarder poses in Snow Series 1 that emulate real snowboard tricks, including the popular Big Air and Railslide figures. Toy Snowboarders are hand designed and molded with attention to detail and style. Each individual Toy Snowboarders pack comes with 24 toy boarder riders; there’s three each of the eight different riders. Toy Snowboarders are recommended for kids ages 6 and up.
I attended Target’s Holiday Toy Preview on November 9, and had the great pleasure of meeting Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster, Sabrina the Teenage Witch). She is Target’s Mommy Ambassador, and frankly, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Soleil has two daughters herself, and seemed to have a ball talking about her favorite toys for the holidays. Rocking a pair of comfy slipper socks, Soleil walked me through Target’s top holiday toy picks, and introduced me to the toys she chose as her personal top picks:
- Disney My First Princess Doll and Toddler Dress Gift Set
- Disney Cars Charge n Race Speedway
- LeapFrog LeapPad
- Barbie Hairtastic Printables
- Paper Jamz Pro Series Microphone
- Scrabble Flash
Dollar General has announced that almost 200 of its toys will be on sale for $5 or less and 75 toys will be priced at $1 or less. The retailer’s toy selection includes Matchbox and Hot Wheel Die Cast cars for $1 or less, Littlest Pet shop figures for $5 or less, and Toy Story Activity Tables for $25 for less.