China Toy Fair


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Launches Curious George’s Town App

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt debuts Curious George’s Town for iPad and iPhone. Developed for preschool- to kindergarten-aged children, Curious George’s Town teaches smart saving and spending habits while engaging kids in creating a virtual world complete with roller coasters, dinosaurs, and farm animals, as well as neighborhood staples such as the pet store, bakery, and fire station.

The app features a unique reward chart that parents and caregivers can customize by assigning a specific coin value to a list of real-world tasks—such as cleaning up toys—incentivizing children to complete real-life responsibilities. Kids can also supplement their stockpile of virtual savings by tackling in-app educational games.

Curious George’s Town from HMH Kids on Vimeo.

Mike the Knight Trains Knights in New App Pack

MiketheknightHit Entertainment and Funny Garbage Inc., an app design firm, launched the Mike the Knight: Knight in Training Game Pack for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. With six interactive games in one, the Mike the Knight Game Pack invites and transports young knights-in-training into an imaginative world of castles, dragons, and trolls.

Mike the Knight: Knight in Training Game Pack features everyone’s favorite young hero and includes Jam Tart Fling, Fruit Shoot, Paint the Castle, Jigsaw Jumble, Seek & Find, and Match Mission. This game app features fun missions for children to practice their archery skills, learn shapes and colors, unlock different puzzles, search for hidden objects, and match their favorite characters from memory, while developing children’s cognitive skills and hand-eye coordination. The game’s easy and hard modes welcome all children to play.

The app can be downloaded at the following links for the U.S. and for the UK.

 

COMMENTARY: Here We Go A-Travelin’

Summer time means vacations, trips to Grandma’s, sleepovers with friends, and plenty of other activities that keep parents and their kids on the  move. On long car trips, plane rides, or any sort of day away from home, it’s good to have toys to bring along to keep kids entertained. It’s important to have toys that kids can play with en route, as well as upon arriving at the destination, without overpacking the car.

Avoid constant complaints of “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?” with a few of these fun on-the-go toys.

3artsee_studio_mainThe ArtSee Studio, from WowWee, turns an iPad into a creation station. Kids can turn simple drawings and paintings into animated games, activities, and more. Using the interactive tools, kids can quickly make a blank canvas explode with color, sound, and movement. The studio allows kids to explore creativity while dabbling in technology all at the same time. The ArtSee Studio is for kids ages 3 and up.

aquadoodle_travel_doodleWith the Aquadoodle Travel Doodle, from Spin Master, kids can turn a road trip into creative fun. By simply adding water, little artists can create fun-filled, no-mess drawings on the go. The Aquadoodle Travel Doodle pen draws in red or blue ink, never makes a mess, and never runs out. Bumpy car rides can be hazardous with other drawing tools, but the Travel Doodle leaves no trace behind. This soft, portable drawing toy allows kids to create on the go. [Read more...]

Gameloft and Mattel Launch Uno & Friends

uno-and-friendsGlobal digital and social game publisher Gameloft and Mattel launched Uno & Friends. Available for free on Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, Uno & Friends brings an entirely new social dimension to the classic, fast-paced, and competitive gameplay of Uno. With multiplatform play, Uno & Friends can be played anywhere at any time.

Fans can now drop Wild Draw Fours and Reverse Cards on friends, family, and Uno players the world over via smartphones and tablets. Invite and challenge up to three other players in real-time using social networks, and explore unprecedented customization for the most complete Uno experience on digital devices. [Read more...]

Geoffrey’s Jungle App Adds Star Wars Island for May 4

GeoffreyJungleGeoffrey’s Jungle, the interactive free app available for iPad and Android tablets, features Toys “R” Us mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe as he embarks on a safari adventure through different islands full of games and surprises.

Just in time to celebrate May the Fourth, Geoffrey’s Jungle features the all-new Star Wars Island. Kids can now interact and play games featuring their favorite Star Wars heroes and villains, including Yoda and Anakin Skywalker.

The adventure in Geoffrey’s Jungle begins with players customizing their own explorer character for the game, choosing the gender, skin tone and apparel for their explorer, including hat, shirt, pants and shoes. Children can also choose from approximately 20 first and last names for their character, such as Noah Toucana or Sandy Savannah.

Arriving with Geoffrey the Giraffe on their own starship, little adventurers can explore Star Wars Island and play the following games:

  • Whack-a-Sith: Future Jedi can try to “whack” as many Sith as they can with their lightsaber. As Sith pop up, players can use the lightsaber to make them go back down as fast as they can. Featuring Darth Maul, Darth Sidious, and more characters devoted to the dark side;
  • Slide Puzzles: Players can maneuver the pieces of the puzzle to reveal favorite scenes from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Three fun puzzles to choose from;
  • Coloring Activity: Adventurers can show off their creative sides with this coloring activity, which allows them to color some of their favorite characters and ones that they love to hate, including Yoda, Darth Maul, and Anakin Skywalker.

Star Wars Island also features a selection of the top Star Wars-themed toys available at Toys “R” Us, including the Star Wars Multi-Troop Transport from Hasbro and Lego Star Wars AT-RT Walker. Children can add their favorites to their Toys “R” Us Wish List with the click of a button.

Geoffrey’s Jungle is available for download on the iTunes store and Google Play Store.

COMMENTARY: Everyone Has One, But I Want Mine to be Unique

Last Friday marked my niece Courtney’s eighth birthday, and what was she hoping for most? An iPod. Now, in my opinion, an 8-year-old doesn’t have much business with an iPod, but kids today are getting into electronics at a much younger age. Though part of Courtney’s argument for “needing” an iPod was, “everyone has one except for me,” the first thing she did when she got it was personalize it. Before even putting a song on it, she slapped a peace-sign sticker right on the back of it—10 minutes out of the box (hence why 8-year-olds probably shouldn’t have iPods). But, this was her way of making it her own.

For parents buying their children expensive devices such as smartphones, iPods, or even portable gaming devices like the Nintendo 3DS or the PS Vita, there are some awesome products on the market that will allow kids to dazzle and personalize their devices without placing a never-gonna-come-off, gooey-backed sticker on said device.

Plugy

Plugy, from Hashy, is a universal 3.5mm plug that fits snuggly into all standard headphone jacks. Plugys come in more than 40 different styles, including zoo animals, robots, and glow-in-the-dark options. Plugy has something for everyone, including a rainbow, Eiffel Tower, and an apple stem, and allows kids to  take their smart device to a more personal level in a not-so-permanent way. Plugys are made of rubber and will not break when inserted into the headphone jack. They even protect the device from rain, dust, and sand when earphones are not plugged in. Plugys are available on amazon.com and from Hanging Mobile Gallery. For more information on Plugys, email plugyUSA@gmail.com. [Read more...]

JibJab Reveals StoryBots Expansion

Brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis, co-creators of JibJab, are at it again with StoryBots, expanding its library this month with a range of new titles.

StoryBots, a multi-platform entertainment property for kids and parents, was created to re-invent the traditional story time every child and parent enjoy.

Recently featured on The New Ricki Lake Show, the StoryBots are brightly-colored, infinitely curious little creatures who live in the world beneath our screens (iPhones, iPads, computers, televisions).  Their mission is to make learning fun for kids–and life easier for parents–by offering personalized eBooks, videos, activity sheets, and more. [Read more...]

Fisher-Price Combines Toys, Tech to Ignite Children’s Imaginations, Infants’ App-etite for Learning

Fisher-Price has developed a new line of Apptivity products that bring a whole new level of interactivity, learning, and imagination to children to create larger-than-life play experiences.

Infants can connect with their favorite Laugh & Learn characters with the Laugh & Learn Apptivity Storybook Reader. The Storybook Reader is a case with benefits, allowing moms and dads to protect their iPhone or iPod touch from dribble and drool while their baby enjoys engaging content, turning the page of the book or swiping the screen to advance the content. [Read more...]

Word Winder Releases iPhone App and Free Holiday Puzzle Updates

The creators of the Word Winder brand of board games, puzzle books, Nook app, and iPad app are introducing two additions to the Word Winder line: the Word Winder iPhone app, as well as a free update for the iPad app. Both are now available through iTunes. [Read more...]

Scholastic Partners with Twin Sisters For New Storia Content

Scholastic has announced an agreement with Twin Sisters Productions to offer a selection of musical and non-fiction books on Storia, the e-Reading app for kids. Books from Twin Sisters will be available on Storia, through Scholastic Book Clubs, and at Scholastic Book Fairs next year. Storia is available for free download on PC, iPad, and select Android devices.