China Toy Fair


Bunch O Balloons Kickstarter Campaign Blows by Funding Goal

bunch o balloonsInventor Josh Malone brainstormed and experimented for a few years to create a device that would allow his family to prepare for their water balloon fights easily and quickly. On July 22, Malone brought his creation, Bunch O Balloons, to Kickstarter for pre-order. Just 13 days later, he has raised more than 70 times his initial funding goal and experienced overwhelming support from beyond the core tech-oriented crowdfunding community.

One Bunch O Balloons pack features three stems, with each stem containing 37 balloons. Each balloon is attached to a stem by a hose coupling and then secured to the coupling by a small O-ring. Users screw the stem onto a hose and turn the water on, allowing the balloons to fill simultaneously. When the balloons are full, the user lightly shakes the system and each balloon falls off, cinched shut by its o-ring, allowing users to fill and tie 100 balloons in just one minute. [Read more...]

Jyrobike Inc. Creates the World’s First Auto Balance Bicycle

red bike aloneJyrobike Inc. has gotten rid of the concept of training wheels and pedal-less bikes, all while revolutionizing a kid’s first bike riding experience. The Jyrobike made its debut on Kickstarter earlier this month and the campaign has already exceeded its initial funding of $100,000.

The company designs and manufactures the world’s first and only Auto Balance Bicycles,  with a Control Hub built into the front wheel. The Control Hub has a motor driven gyroscope inside of it, which keeps the rider balanced and upright while he or she is pedaling, even if he or she tips or wobbles. It can also be placed on a standard bike wheel. [Read more...]

Never Ending Slinky Brings the Classic Toy into the 21st Century

18bb85d19c23ef3a3f932b3602fda962_largeThe Never Ending Slinky Machine has launched on Kickstarter this week. Also known as Project NESM, the product offers a new take on the classic Slinky, creating a perpetual motion machine when the Slinky is placed on the unit.

The product was created in the UK by a team of designers to be used as a standalone piece for a modern office or something to have around the home. It uses custom made components that turn the Slinky into an unending motion machine or infinite staircase.

The Kickstarter campaign was launched to bring Project NESM into full production. If fully-funded, one shipment will occur in September and the other in November in time for the holiday season.

Famed Designer Gayle Middleton Debuts New Line of Plush Baby Monsters

BitemaresToy creator Gayle Middleton, who helped re-design My Little Pony and Littlest Pet Shop for Hasbro, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund her latest designs. These include a Baby Undead Dragon and toe-nibbling little fur balls called Bitemares.

“After years of designing adorable pets for Hasbro, Disney and others, I started doodling these odd, ghostly white vampire babies drinking undead dragon bottled blood in 2006,” says Middleton. “Maybe I was suffering from, ‘Cute Overload,’ and this was my way of dealing with it. I wanted to create babies that were cute but mischievous, something surprisingly off-center and bizarre… Other breeds of creepy-yet-cute monster babies started appearing on my sketch pad, and after 3 years I had coined a name for them: Vamplets.” [Read more...]

Aryaball Kickstarts Into Motion

AryaBall HeadshotWith kids today constantly craning their necks down toward their iPhones and tablets, sometimes the perfect pick-me-up is a day at the park. But what parent wants to resemble a gym teacher or clutter up the car with a ton of sporting equipment just to keep their kids busy? Thanks to Babak Forutanpour, they don’t have to.

Forutanpour, owner and head coach of Aryaball, encourages active play through his new toy invention. The Aryaball and Aryabat are foam products made for kids ages 3 to 10. It allows kids to play five sports at once—with just one ball and one bat. The outer shell of the product is a full sized, regulation 5 soccer ball. The ball then opens up to reveal a football and flying disc. The football also twists and opens to uncover a soft baseball with the dimples of a golf ball. Kids can play baseball with the Aryabat or swing the tip out 90 degrees to turn it into a golf putter.

Forutanpour was inspired to create the product one afternoon when he was at the park with his son Arya. The two were throwing a football around when Arya, who the business is named after, asked to play soccer instead. Foruntapour did not have any other sports equipment with him, but after his son insisted, the pair ended up kicking the football to try to use it as a soccer ball.

AryaBall Product“That’s when it dawned on me that I’m not the only dad who forgot to bring all the balls to the park,” Forutanpour said. “I didn’t want to carry a bag with the soccer ball, baseball, football, and golf. I could reinvent the football and soccer ball. It’s about solving a problem I saw.” [Read more...]

Bowboard – Just Gravity and You

Bowboard2A unique product recently launched on Kickstarter is looking to change the way we skateboard and scooter, by making one ride-on device that encompasses it all. Developed by Chris Miller, the Bowboard merges a bow, frame, and spiral-gearing mechanism to propel riders forward by using gravity as the main source of motion. The Bowboard is unlike anything you’ve seen before and the bowboarding motion gives The Wave (which mirrors the experience of surfing on the street), scooters, and skateboards a run for their money.

When you first look at the Bowboard you immediately wonder how on earth do you use it, but it’s actually quite easy. The rider stands on the center of the bow with either one or two feet (however you feel most comfortable at first) and as his or her body weight pushes down on the bow, it spins the back wheel using the spiral-drive technology. The other alternative is the kick-and-go method, which is a great way to start off and pick up speed (this motion is most similar to riding a scooter). [Read more...]

Modarri Kickstarts a New Breed of Toy Car

ModarriThoughtFull Toys has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Modarri, a line that seeks to reinvent the toy car space. The company’s intent is to create toy cars that are sleek and durable, yet also drivable, buildable, and interchangeable.

Modarri cars can be disassembled and redesigned by changing their parts, leading to hands-on experimentation with real physical objects. In addition, kids can learn about the physics and mechanics of suspension and steering by driving the cars around, and feel the differences in performance by swapping out parts.

Suitable for kids ages 6 and up, Modarri cars are built using a combination of metal and high strength plastic, with no screws. The planned color prototypes of Modarri include the Street Car S1, Dirt Car X1, and Track Car T1; and each car includes chassis, hood/windshield, seat pan, seat, fenders and frame, hex tool, wheels, and front and rear suspension. [Read more...]

Seamless Toy Co. Launches ATOMS

ATOMSATOMS, smart building blocks from Seamless Toy Co. that began life as a Kickstarter project, are now available. With ATOMS, kids can create things as fast as they can imagine them: For example, a bashful talking pet monster that loves hiding under tables, or a stuffed cat that “meows” by waving a magic wand.

Suitable for kids ages 6 and up, ATOMS have no exposed elements or magnets, and come in starter sets that contain everything kids need to build monsters, magic wands, and robots. They are also designed to integrate with Lego, Barbie, and action figures, giving old toys new possibilities.

Seamless is also introducing an ATOMS iOS app later this month, which enables kids to add virtual ATOMS on their Bluetooth-enabled Apple iPad, iPod, or iPhone. Screen-based ATOMS can be used to control real ATOMS from across the room, and alternatively, real ATOMS can be used via the same Bluetooth link to remotely control features on iOS devices, such as the camera and music player. [Read more...]

The Mensch on a Bench is a New Hanukkah Tradition for the Whole Family

MosheThe Mensch on a Bench was created by Neal and Erin Hoffman, who were inspired to create an alternative to the Elf on a Shelf for their 4-year-old son Jacob.  After a successful Kickstarter campaign, The Mensch on a Bench makes its debut this holiday season.

The Mensch on a Bench book tells the story of Moshe the Mensch who was in temple with the Maccabees after they won the war against the Greeks. There was only enough oil for one night, so Moshe volunteered to sit on the bench and watch over the Menorah while the rest slept. Each night, Moshe incorporates a different Jewish tradition into the story.

In addition to the hardcover book, families receive their very own 12-inch plush Mensch to watch over their own Menorah. The Mensch loves to play dreidel, eat Latkes, sing songs, and be with family.

The Mensch on a Bench is available in limited quantities and available exclusively at themenschonabench.com.

COMMENTARY: World Maker Faire Is Where D-I-Y Meets T-O-Y-S!

MakerFaire,crowdshot,littleBitsThis past weekend, under terrific late-summer weather, the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., was the site of this year’s World Maker Faire. The massive, two-day-long science fair/state fair drew large crowds of hobbyists, educators, tech enthusiasts, and more. The exhibitors consisted of a wide range of crafty and tech-savvy folks working in a variety of medium—and they included quite a few toy companies.

Given that innovation and education are among the underlying principles of World Maker Faire—not to mention the larger “maker movement” as a whole—it wasn’t surprising to find many toys aimed at fostering intellectual curiosity in kids. It would take too much space to list them all, but here are three that struck my fancy. Each encourages learning in ways that are hands-on and inventive.

SparkleLabsSparkle Labs: The New York City-based company’s mission is to make science and engineering as approachable as possible. To that end, its Papertronics – Lunar Modules is an origami kit with cute designs on paper, to go with simple electronics that teach the basics of LED circuitry. Suitable for kids ages 8 and up, each kit includes all the materials necessary for three working lanterns: Spaceboy, Alien Girl, and Tabula Rasa. [Read more...]