COMMENTARY: It’s Not Easy Being Pink

Recently, we wrote about a petition from mom Melissa Wardy for Lego to release a set of female scientist figures. After seeing that only 16 percent (11 percent if you don’t count the Lego Friends line) of Lego minifigures are females, Wardy knew something had to be done. She learned that one of the entries in one of Lego’s public contests to design new building sets featured a female minifigure series that included a paleontologist, a robotics engineer, a geologist, an astronomer, a chemist, a judge, and a fire fighter. This entry raised the amount of votes necessary to be considered for production, so Wardy started a petition to have these females in the STEM fields available on shelves, available for all kids to play with.

With positive role models—for girls and boys—being incredibly important, especially in a time where bullying is a very present topic in the media, I think that the toy industry is beginning to shape a new generation of women by not overlooking the importance of construction sets for girls that inspire them to be more than just “pink.” Here are a few examples (including Lego Friends) of construction sets that present introduce girls to bigger opportunities.

One of the main issues many folks have with girls’ construction sets, such as the Lego Friends line, is that they are very “pink-washed.” Just because the set is designed for girls, does everything have to have a splash of pink across it? The Lego Friends line’s newest product breaks down those gender barriers and creates a play set in its girls’ line that isn’t so pink—and even includes a boy minifigure.

heartlakehighStephanie and Matthew attend Heartlake High, where they study plants under microscopes, experiment with chemical reactions, and look through an astronomy telescope in science and biology classes. Heartlake High provides a well-rounded cirriculum, with an art class and a music class as well. After school Stephanie and Matthew can play basketball with the hoop outside or go for a bike ride. The Heartlake High set includes Stephanie, Matthew, and Ms. Stevens mini-doll figures. [Read more...]

YBike Evolve Launches Kickstarter Campaign

YBIKE EvolveThe YBike Evolve, the world’s first 3-in-1 smart bike for kids, launched on crowd-funding site Kickstarter. Starting at $50 for early backers, the new Evolve trike-bike “evolves” as your child’s riding ability progresses.

The Evolve begins as a trike to develop peddling skills, before transforming into a balance trike, and then finally into an advanced balance bike—all with a simple and easy mechanism. The Evolve’s 3-in-1 function is based on a design that helps develop balance and coordination in children, while also saving money and space.

The YBike Evolve is recommended for kids ages 2 to 5 depending on size of your child; features silent rubber wheels that are perfect for indoors, but durable for outdoor activities; and has passed all the relevant child safety regulations for Europe and the U.S.

Pueri Elemental Launches Kickstarter Campaign for New Eco-Bonk Real Hero Series

PUERI ELEMENTAL KICKSTARTERPueri Elemental launched a Kickstarter campaign this week to fund its newest Eco-Bonk Real Hero Series (RHS). This series consists of domestically-produced bops with characters printed on the inside of the toy, eliminating direct exposure to ink. The earth-conscious bop toys are manufactured with additive technology that converts vinyl material into food for microbes naturally present in soil, accelerating biodegradation.

Eco-Bonk RHS is an interactive play pal, giving children ages 2 and up important role models to tumble around with, embrace, and enjoy. Fireman Mason, Doctor Sophia, and Soldier Ethan are ready for production. One percent of proceeds will be donated to charity.

Pueri Elemental became a hit with its award-winning Eco-Bonk Wildlife Series; the first domestically produced inflatable bop toy with custom-fitted organic cotton animal covers. One percent of proceeds from this line are donated to Wildlife Alliance.

COMMENTARY: Moby Dick, or, The Card Game Brings an American Classic to Life


Moby Dick is considered one of the greatest American novels ever written. But more than just a classic tale, Herman Melville’s masterpiece leaves quite an impression on its readers, examining existentialism and obsession in a truly captivating way. Literary lovers of the classic tale can venture on the high seas in search of the White Whale in a new way.

King Post has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Moby Dick, or, The Card Game, a dynamic, action-packed adventure for two to four players ages 12 and up. The game is adapted from Melville’s classic novel, and is brought to life with three decks of unique cards featuring original compositions, period portraits, and classic illustrations.

The strategy-based game lets players live out the voyage of the Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. The Sea Deck contains adventures, creatures, and chapters adapted directly from the novel, including whales, giant squid, foreign ports-of-call, and pirate attacks. The Sailor Deck features characters including Ishmael, Starbuck, Queequeg, and Captain Ahab. The Whale Deck contains actions, defenses, and attacks of the hunted whales. In addition to the iconic imagery featured on each card, a quote from the novel ties the action of the game directly to the classic tale. The game also includes two dice and 40 oil markers. [Read more...]

Tek Recon: E3 Bound to Bring Live Action Online Gaming to Life

Havok_OSTek Recon will be available for demonstration and sampling by fans and consumers for the first time at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles from June 11-13.

E3 will immediately follow a crowd-funding campaign hosted on Kickstarter that began May 9. The response to Tek Recon from gamers, tech enthusiasts, and blaster fans has been exceptional as backers and players worldwide have reached out to provide feedback, insight, and support. The campaign is currently more than 51-percent funded and tracking to exceed the Kickstarter goal of $50,000.

Gamers, adventure-seekers, and fans of technology are being called upon to help create this revolutionary new way to connect and play. Tek Recon Blasters feature a first-of-its-kind design with real trigger action, authentic recoil, and specially-designed reusable NRG Rounds.

Tek Recon developed a free Live Action Online Gaming app to enhance blaster battles. Players can connect their mobile devices to the blaster to bring video game-styled play to life through mobile and GPS technology. The free Tek Recon app will be available for iOS and Android devices, enhancing real battle experience through an interactive heads up display, live chat, vision modes, and more.

You can also check out the Kickstarter video here.

Tek Recon Launches Kickstarter Campaign

tekreconTek Recon, from Tech 4 Kids, will be available for the first time through on May 9, beginning at 8 a.m. EST. The goal of the Kickstarter campaign is to enhance the development of the Tek Recon blaster and the free app, and to get the product into the hands of early adopters and key influencers helping to create the first real-life, online video game.

Through the course of 31 days, fans will be able to fund the project by purchasing product, exclusive rewards, and by bidding on prizes that include appearances in the TV commercial and an all-expenses-paid trip to present at E3. The Kickstarter funding goal is $50,000.

Tek Recon Blasters feature a first-of-its-kind design with real trigger action and specially designed, reusable NRG Rounds that blast up to 75 feet. To optimize the battle and team experience, Tek Recon developed a free “Real-Life Online Gaming” app. Kids can simply connect their mobile device to the blaster to experience video game-styled play through mobile and GPS technology. The free Tek Recon app will be available for iOS and Android devices, enhancing real battle experience through an interactive heads up display, live chat, vision modes, and more.

For more information on this product and the Kickstarter campaign, visit

COMMENTARY: Storytime and Playtime Collide

Storytime Toys Fuses Play Houses with Classic Fairy Tales

It can be really difficult to get kids enthusiastic about reading at a young age. When I was young, my mom gave me an enormous, leather-bound book full of fairy tales. Each page was laden with beautiful graphics and trimmed with gold. After having the stories read to me over and over again, I would use the tales and characters as inspiration for playtime, making my Barbie dolls act as Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel.

New specialty toy company Storytime Toys, is making it even easier for kids to incorporate reading into playtime. Kara Dyer and Sara Argue have created a line of toy houses and storybooks based on classic fairy tales. Now, kids can read along to fairy tales including Goldilocks & the Three Bears, Hansel & Gretel, and The Three Little Pigs, while they build a house (or three, in the pigs’ case) that corresponds to each story.


Each house features stunning, hand-painted imagery and comes with furniture and dolls for extended creative play. The pieces of the house can be assembled easily by kids ages 3 to 6. The stories are age-appropriate and will allow kids to associate playtime fun with the concept of reading. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Box Play for Kids Gives Imaginations a Boost

Little ones have the power to turn the most basic objects into adventure props with their own minds. Sometimes, large and high-tech toys are cast aside for the box they came in. I remember making guitars to play with out of old tissue boxes and toilet paper rolls when I was young. Now, Box Play for Kids is bringing colorful fun to recyclable, around-the-house objects, including milk cartoons, egg crates, and mac-and-cheese boxes.

Box PLay Mac n CheeseBox Play for Kids makes eco-friendly stickers that can be applied to cardboard items that would otherwise be thrown away. The stickers are printed on 100 percent recycled paper and are made in the U.S. Helping to inspire creativity and imagination, Box Play for Kids has more than 35 different designs available. Kids can make anything from a barn to a pair of binoculars to a school bus with these adorable stickers.

Now in its second year of business, Box Play for Kids is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign. With a goal to raise $12,000 by May 8, Box Play is hoping to increase their inventory, hire additional staff members, and attend trade shows. To back Box Play for Kids on Kickstarter, click here:

Baby So Beautiful Gets a Kickstarter

J. Shackelford Associates LLC (JSA) has announced the launch of a crowdfunding Kickstarter campaign to support the final production beta and launch of their 3-D Baby So Beautiful Virtual World. This life simulation game is for children ages 6 to 14 and casual and social gamers of all ages.

Built with Unity 3D, the game is free to play. Players customize a Baby So Beautiful baby doll that a fairy godmother, Ms. Judy, brings to life in the Doll Shop. Players can earn Baby Care Hearts in the game to pay for things they need to care for their virtual baby, or those who wish can buy Baby¢ents to immediately purchase anything they want for pennies.

Founder and CEO Judy Shackelford’s objective in making the virtual world game is to ensure that virtual babies are available and affordable for play by anyone, any age with access to a computer. JSA expects to launch the beta of its virtual world this summer. Once the game is out of beta, JSA plans to enable players to purchase a physical Baby So Beautiful doll, replicating their online virtual baby.  Versions of the virtual world game will be available later as apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Android platforms.

Find out more about the Baby So Beautiful Virtual World and Kickstarter Campaign at

GoldieBlox Builds a Foundation for More Female Engineers

Debbie Sterling creates a construction toy designed with girls in mind

What do Bob the Builder, Jimmy Neutron, and Bill Nye the Science Guy have in common? They all love engineering—and they are all male. Similarly, the construction aisles of toy stores are geared primarily toward boys, with blue and black boxes lining the shelves. Fear not, those of you with lady parts, GoldieBlox is here to inspire girls to tinker their way into the male-dominated world of engineering.

Debbie Sterling, who earned her degree in engineering from Stanford University, decided to create Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine, a construction toy specifically designed for young girls, two years ago. At one of Sterling’s “idea brunches,” where she and friends would get together to share their ideas over breakfast, the wheels started turning for the CEO when a fellow female engineer explained how playing with her brothers’ hand-me-down Legos influenced her. Having grown up with only a sister, Sterling was never exposed to construction toys as her parents never thought to venture into the boys’ toy aisles. “That morning, it hit me like a lightening bolt. I was sitting in that room and realized this is my life calling, as corny as it sounds,” she says. [Read more...]