Toy Industry Unveils Nominees for 2015 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards

TOTY2015logoToday, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced the 83 finalists for the prestigious 2015 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY). Between now and January 11, toy consumers of all ages can visit www.toyawards.org to vote for their favorite toys, games, and properties across 12 categories.

The 2015 finalists were selected from more than 600 nominees submitted for consideration by 159 companies. Sixty academics, journalists, toy trend experts, play therapists, toy inventors and designers, and toy retailers staffed the nomination committees that narrowed the field to the slate of finalists.

Votes from mass retailers, specialty toy retailers, media, TIA members, and consumers will be weighted and used to determine each of the 12 category winners. The winners—including the overall Toy of the Year and the People’s Choice awards—will be announced at the TOTY Awards ceremony held on February 13, 2015 as the kick-off to the 112th North American International Toy Fair. [Read more...]

Children of Soldiers and Wounded Warriors Get New Toys from TIF and BGCA

toyindustryMore than 1,700 children of military personnel and Wounded Warriors were given brand-new toys and games on November 6 at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Va. Hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services, the toy giveaway was held in celebration of Military Family Appreciation Month.

Every child in attendance got to take home a toy, choosing from a selection of skill-building, enriching, and comforting playthings donated by Barnes & Noble, Big Time Toys, Imperial Toy, Lego, Mattel, Patch Products, and Yamie Chess. The event was held as part of the joint TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program, in which toys and games are delivered on an annual basis to families on U.S. military installations at home and abroad.

Toy Industry Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America Treat Military Families to Day of Play

tif_logoThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and national partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America Military Services treated 1,100 kids of military personnel stationed at Naval Station Mayport in Florida to brand-new toys and games this past Saturday. The “Day of Play” also included family games and activities, food, and entertainment. Every child in attendance was able to take home a toy. Barnes and Noble, Big Red Dog Patch, Imperial Toy, Lego, Lulu Jr., Mattel, and Yamie Chess donated the toys to TIF.

The event was held as part of the joint TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program, the first national toy distribution initiative to serve every branch of the U.S. military. Through Play Comforts, toys and games donated are delivered annually to families on U.S. military installations at home and abroad. Since the program’s launch in 2010, more then 1.7 million toys have been delivered to military families on over 152 U.S. military bases worldwide.

Lum Lums Circle of Friendship Sighting!

Lums Lums from Imperial ToyLum Lums‘ Valerina, from Imperial Toy, holds hands with her friends at the recent American International Toy Fair. Valerina and her fellow dolls encourage positive social play for girls. Their goal is a world of inclusion in which kids can experience the treasure of friendship.

COMMENTARY: Lighting Up Imaginative Play: Light-Up Toys Provide Magical Fun For Kids

When I attended Fall Toy Preview in October, I had a conversation with a few industry executives about how when companies expand their line to include glow-in-the-dark or light-up SKUs, it often signals the end of the brand. They referred to glow-in-the-dark and light-up products as a “last resort,” and said it typically means that there are no other possible innovations for the product line.

However, I know a certain 4-year-old boy who would absolutely disagree with this idea, along with his 8-year-old sister (aka my niece and nephew!). LED lights have a strange magic to them—especially for kids. The bright colors they provide, just like glow-in-the-dark effects, seem like something out of a fantasy story that kids go crazy over—no matter how simple the technology actually is. There are some great new products hitting the market that reflect how great glow can be, here are some of my favorites:

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Tracer Racers, from Skullduggery, utilize Light Trail Technology as they blaze streaks of light on the glow-in-the-dark track. That’s right—LEDs AND glow play patterns. Lights galore! Magic frenzy!—and there’s more! Each Tracer Racer beams down purple light rays from its undercarriage onto the track, which is specially engineered to emit glow remnants only after the racer has passed. The new Tracer Racer drag racing sets include a 10-foot single lane set including one racer, an 8-foot double lane set with two racers, and a 12-foot double lane loop set with a light-up finish gate and two racers. The company will also introduce trucks to the line this year. Kids ages 6 and up are sure to enjoy all of the amazing light-up elements in this toy. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Be a Rock Star—Through Play!

From the ages of 9 to about—oh I don’t know—now, few things got me more excited than hearing a Spice Girls song. I remember the days of standing in front of my mirror with a hair brush belting out all of Britney Spears‘ greatest hits. Everyone—whether you have an extreme case of stage fright or, like myself, were a diva-beyond-compare since the age of 5—loves the fantasy of being a rock star. It takes a lot of guts and gall—and boy does it seem glamorous.

We all know from reading the news that not all roads to rock stardom are as shiny, bright, and full of great shoes as we all hope for them to be. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still love the fantasy. With the upgrade of technology being incorporated into toys, kids’ fantasies of being a rock star are becoming truly, well, spectacular. Here are some great toys that will get kids—and kids at heart—up in front of that mirror belting into a hairbrush.

superstarThe Barbie Build ‘n Play Super Star Stage, from Mega Bloks, allows girls ages 5 and up to build their own two-story stage that features real lights and sounds that move to the music. The set comes with approximately 290 pieces, including sparkling blocks for a touch of extra glimmer. The Super Star Stage has three songs that will get kids up and dancing. Super Star Barbie, Raquelle, and Teresa figures are included with tons of fabulous accessories to make their rock show glam, including microphones, guitars, a DJ booth, a keyboard, and an elevator with a spinning feature. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Everything’s Comin’ Up Bubbles

This spring and summer, toy companies are incorporating a bit of bubbly fun into their lines. With prime weather for outdoor fun, we are seeing the usual sidewalk chalks, sports sets, family lawn games, water shooters, and, a favorite around this office, bubbles. As I sit at my desk as Funrise ToysGazillion Bubble Twister spins and fills the office with bubbles, I realize that these simple toys are a surefire way to bring springtime joy to any playtime.

FubblesFunrise’s Gazillion Bubbles toys aren’t the only ones we’re seeing this year. Little Kids Inc. Fubbles No Spill Bubble Guitar turns kids ages 3 and up into rock star’s with a little extra flair. As kids press the button to make musical sounds, another button releases a stream of bubbles from the guitar neck. [Read more...]

Imperial Toy Rolls Out Roxx Game

Imperial Toy is releasing Roxx, a new collectible head-to-head skill game, in the U.S. this month and will support the toy launch through the fall with a national grassroots sampling campaign and an integrated marketing, public relations, and advertising campaign both online and on TV.

Imperial has partnered with TCG, which is launching the brand in Canada and internationally. Imperial and TCG have also developed a website, Roxxnation.com, and an app, RoxxNation Image Station, where fans can scan and store their collections.

Aligned with the Simon Property Group, Imperial is participating in a 27-mall tour throughout summer and fall, along with an additional 81-mall promotion for the back-to-school season, featuring hands-on game play, contests, and sampling. Roxx is rooted in the old school New York street game called “Skullies,” but adds a simple yet addictive game play power system, along with an online component that extends the game to the web, iPhones or iPads, all of which will help kids (and adults) launch, trade and collect classic and deluxe Roxx in each series release. Series 1 features 72 designs and a variety of accessories.

Imperial Toy is securing Roxx licensed assortments which are set to follow the product launch and announce accordingly in the future months ahead.

This post was originally written by Loren Moreno 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.

Kidz Bop 22 Tops the Charts

The latest in the Kidz Bop audio series, Kidz Bop 22, landed a spot on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart, ranking No. 3. The album is also No. 1. on Billboard’s Children’s Chart. The Kidz Bop Kids, the faces and voices behind the Kidz Bop brand, will embark on a 22-city national “It’s All About Music Tour.” The tour will feature 11-year-old music sensation Ethan Bortnick.

Timed to coincide with the release of Kidz Bop 22 and the national tour, Kidz Bop and Imperial Toy will debut a new line of pop star role play toys. The line will feature musical microphones, keyboards, and fashion accessories.

The tour kicked off Friday, July 27 in Pittsburgh and runs through September 2. Tickets are on sale now, and tour information is available at Kidzbop.com. The toys will be available in August from Toys “R” Us and other major retailers.

This post was originally written by Lindsay Gordon 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.

BYU Breaks Record for Largest Water Balloon Fight

On July 23, students from Brigham Young University (3,927 to be exact) hurled 120,021 Imperial Toy Water Splashers water balloons at one another to take the official title of largest water balloon fight from 2009 record holder University of Kentucky. The battle lasted six minutes. Student started filling the Water Splashers at 8 a.m. on Wednesday and worked until the event ended Friday.

Photo Credit: Brigham Young University