China Toy Fair


The Jim Henson Co. Debuts New Preschool Property

Jim-Hensons-Chatter-Zoo-300x137The Jim Henson Co. is launching Jim Henson’s Chatter Zoo, its first preschool property to be released “digital first” for mobile platforms. The new app is a collaboration with Mindshapes, the creator of mobile learning applications for kids. Chatter Zoo aims to teach early language acquisition as young preschoolers interact with four baby animals.  

Chatter Zoo, which was created by Alex Rockwell (Pajanimals, Bear in the Big Blue House), will premiere as a digital property prior to any other platform, and will be available in iTunes for iPhone and iPad on August 8. The Amazon Kindle Fire launch will follow in September. The Jim Henson Co. is simultaneously developing the property for television and ancillary products.

Mindshapes’ Chatter Zoo appisode includes two “Learn & Play” activities, two interactive stories, animations, and music content. Mindshapes’ Livebook format allows users to interact with the characters through touchscreen interactions. Users will experience four different activities in the Chatter Zoo house: Playtime, Mealtime, Bathtime, and Bedtime, all relatively time-appropriate (“day” or “night”). The app also features adaptive experiences like cause and effect, care giving, and responsibility, all taught by the Chatter Zoo characters, demonstrating positive social and intrapersonal values.

My Beastly ABC’s Now Available for iPhone

gI_130197_title_treatment_007-IG_csDuncan Studio has released its popular storybook app, My Beastly ABC’s, for the iPhone. Previously available only on the iPad, My Beastly ABC’s has been highly rated and ranked as one of the top ten iPad apps for kids.

Through the use of interactive animation and an imaginative plot, My Beastly ABC’s tells the story of a young boy as he encounters mythical creatures from around the world. Each page is filled with artwork and invites readers to interact with characters from the scene. Narrated by actor Jim Dale, of Harry Potter audio book fame, the app is an experience that the entire family will appreciate.

My Beastly ABC’s encourages children to strengthen their reading skills with the read-aloud feature while also learning a positive way to confront everyday apprehension. Additionally, the app includes an index where kids can find more information about each of the creatures within the story. My Beastly ABC’s for both iPad and iPhone is now available in the App Store on the iPhone and iPad or on iTunes.

Michael Janisch Offers Acoustic Jazz For Babies

Picture 4Musician Michael Janisch has produced an array of slow and acoustic musical covers as part of five albums called Jazz For Babies. In favor of real acoustic instruments performed by world class musicians, the albums are titled: The Saxophone Album, The Guitar Album, The Piano Album, The Trumpet Album, and The Vibraphone Album. The song lists on these albums are intended to appeal to every generation and cover a wide array of the classics, such as the Jackson 5′s “I’ll Be There,” played with a mix of double bass and grand piano. On the same album, “Moon River” and “Just The Way You Are” round out the 15-track playlist.

Jazz For Babies currently consists of five 15-track albums that gift givers and parents-to-be can sample online. Parents can order direct from www.JazzForBabies.org, Amazon, or the iTunes store.

Smart Games Live Releases RoadBlock Mobile App

RoadBlock app image 1SmartGamesLive.com released RoadBlock, its second mobile app. Smart Games Live is the digital arm of SmartGames, producer of single-player logic games, and features many online versions of Smart’s physical games.

Based on one of Smart’s best-selling games, the RoadBlock app challenges players to strategically position police cars in order to block a stolen red car and prevent a thief from escaping. This brain-teasing game offers 130 separate challenges at the following levels: Starter, Junior, Expert, and Master.

Game players can download the app to their mobile device and play eight challenges at various levels. The additional challenges can be unlocked at iTunes and at Google play.

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...]

Random House Children’s Books Releases First Interactive Coloring And Activity App

Random House Children’s Books announces the release of a coloring and activity app with Mattel for iPad. Barbie Color, Sparkle and Style includes two coloring books for a total of 16 pages of fun. Kids can create using a variety of different art tools, including the Barbie Bubble Wand, the Glitterizer, the Pattern Roller, the Fabric Fill tool, the Magic Wand, two Watercolor Paintbrushes, the Stickers tool, and the Paint Bucket. [Read more...]

Discovery Communications and Wendy’s Introduce Animal Planet Augmented Reality Games to Kids’ Meals

Discovery Communications and Wendy’s partnered to bring an augmented reality game to Wendy’s Kids’ Meals. On October 8, Wendy’s began distributing Animal Planet-themed Kids’ Meal premiums, featuring an augmented reality overlay, with the purchase of a Kids’ Meal.

The premiums feature one of five animals: a dog, cat, parakeet, chameleon, or fish. From a dog catching a disc to a cat purring, each toy will showcase a trait of the specific animal. The augmented reality experience features the same pets received in the Kids’ Meal and allows kids to play games from a desktop, as well as a mobile device through iTunes and Google Play. Fun and educational, each game of virtual play is differentiated among the five pets and incorporates each animal’s natural play patterns.

In addition to these Animal Planet premiums, participating Wendy’s will distribute coupons for a special offer on Animal Planet products, available at Toys “R” Us. Wendy’s will support the Animal Planet Kids’ Meal promotion with extensive in-restaurant marketing in more than 6,000 Wendy’s locations nationwide, which will include signage, branded Kids’ Meal bags, and window clings, as well as a presence on Wendys.com.

The deal was brokered on behalf of Animal Planet by its North American licensing agent, The Joester Loria Group.

Little Tikes Pioneers Technology-Enhanced Educational Toys

This month, Little Tikes launches the iTikes line of pre-school toys. Designed to be enjoyed on their own, iTikes also have extended capability through free iTikes Apps. iTikes products are suitable for kids three years old and up. The following iTikes products will debut this month:

  • The iTikes Canvas comes with a classic magnetic doodle board. With the App, kids can draw with the conductive pen, play interactive learning games, and press the shapes on the sides to magically stamp images. Compatible with iPad, iPad 2, and the New iPad.
  • The iTikes Piano teaches kids how to actually play and read music, with four songs built in that can be played in four modes: Freeplay, Stepper, Solo, and Playback. With the App, kids can learn pitch training, sight-reading, and music theory. Compatible with all Apple mobile digital devices.
  • The iTikes Map includes a smart-pen that recognizes images on the map. Through the device camera and Augmented Reality, the map virtually turns into a lifelike playground. Compatible with all iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, 4s and iPod touch 3 and 4.
  • The iTikes Microscope lets the child use a real lens-based microscope to examine and interact with 36 actual specimens. With the App, the specimens come to life with interactive 3D images and animated facts. Compatible with all Apple mobile digital devices.

All iTikes Apps can be downloaded for free on iTunes.

This post was originally written by Ali Mierzejewski 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.

Sesame Street Classics Debut on iTunes

Full-length Sesame Street classic television episodes are now available for download, exclusively on www.iTunes.com/SesameStreetClassics. Fans can watch the Sesame Street Muppets throughout the decades starting with the very first episode, which aired in 1969. Sesame Street Classics: Volume 1 contains 12 episodes, four each from seasons 1, 10, and 20. Those who purchase all 12 episodes will also receive Behind The Street: Volume 1, a 25-minute bonus video with fun facts about the series. Each episode will also be available for individual download for $1.99.

Other Sesame Street products available at iTunes.com include iYip, an app containing 78 “Yip Yip” phrases; Best of Sesame Street Spoofs, Volumes 1 and 2; and Sesame Street classic albums.

Ruckus Media Group Announces Two New Apps

Ruckus Media Group announced new children book apps. The titles include Spot the Dot and Chuck and Friends: Friends for the Long Haul.

Spot the Dot is an app that is part book and part game, plus a learning tool for preschoolers. The app, based on the work of pop-up master and author/illustrator David A. Carter, challenges toddlers to find various colored dots in numerous interactive backgrounds. The dots’ locations are randomized for  different play experiences each time. Carter’s Bugs in a Box series has sold 6.5 million copies worldwide.

The levels continue to get more challenging as the game is played. The app also includes tips for parents who wish to expand game play, teaching their child about shapes and counting.

[Read more...]