Ah, the start of a new year. Typically, it’s the time in which we take stock of what we have, consider how we can make our lives even better, and then “resolve” to carry out those plans. It’s with this in mind that I’ve put together a list of New Year’s resolutions–not for myself, mind you; I’ve already composed that list, which is why this commentary is up at deadline, instead of several hours past. No, I’m talking about resolutions that I’d like the toy industry to consider taking on. Because as absolutely perfect as a thing is, there’s nothing like a detached observer’s unsolicited advice to make it even more perfect, am I right? [Read more...]
Next year’s entire line of Lincoln Logs, part of the K’NEX family of brands, will be manufactured in the U.S. by Pride Manufacturing in Burnham, Maine. Following industry trends, Lincoln Logs production was moved overseas during the mid-20th century. K’NEX, which licenses the brand from Hasbro, has been manufacturing Lincoln Logs since 1999.
Pride Manufacturing, the world’s leading supplier of wooden golf tees and related golf accessories, met K’NEX’s requirements for a wood manufacturing facility that could match the precision and detail required for Lincoln Logs. All sets come with a storage container for clean-up, are intended for kids ages 3 and up, and will be available next fall.
The Grand Pine Lodge includes real wood logs, plus colorful figures, play accessories, and cowboy and horse figures. Suggested for kids ages 3 and up, this set is available exclusively at Toys “R” Us and toysrus.com.
Meanwhile, the Collector’s Edition Homestead is the largest Lincoln Logs set ever created. This building set features 330 pieces including real wood logs, a frontiersman figure, a buildable covered wagon, and two horses. When playtime is over, kids can put the parts back into the handy storage container for a quick and easy clean-up. Suitable for kids 3 and up, the set is available on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.
You can check out K’NEX’s new video for the Lincoln Logs: Collector’s Edition Homestead below:
This article was originally published in the July/August 2014 issue of The Toy Book. To read the entire digital issue, click here.
The construction play pattern has always allowed kids to create buildable worlds and adventures straight from their imaginations. But with a recent surge of licensed toys entering the category, kids are able to build more and more familiar worlds based on their favorite existing properties. According to The NPD Group, dollar sales of licensed building sets grew by 6 percent from 2011 to 2013. As the world becomes more multi-media driven, licensed properties are deeply integrated into kids’ daily lives. Established building toy companies, as well as those looking to get their feet wet in the category, are jumping on the bandwagon with characters and environments that are already a staple among kids—and even collectors. [Read more...]
K’NEX has launched a sweepstakes running on the K’NEX Facebook page, open to U.S. fans 13 years of age or older. Fans can log on to the K’NEX Facebook page through July 23 and enter the Prepare for Titanfall Giveaway daily for their chance to win one of ten Titanfall K’NEX Prize Packs. These include one Titanfall IMC Pilot Strike Building Set, one Titanfall Militia Pilot Attack Building Set, one Titanfall IMC Atlas Titan Building Set, one Titanfall Militia Ogre Titan Building Set, and one Titanfall Angel City Escape Building Set.
In addition, one grand prize winner will be awarded a Deluxe K’NEX Titanfall Prize Pack, which includes all the prizes from the basic prize pack, plus one Titanfall Ultimate Angel City Campaign Building Set. Winners will be chosen at random on July 24.
Participants can enter once per calendar day, and fans can earn bonus entries by sharing the promotion with Facebook friends. Official sweepstakes rules are available online.
K’NEX has promoted Rachel Robbins to vice president, legal affairs and general counsel. Hired in 2013, Robbins previously served as associate general counsel for K’NEX Brands, and prior to joining K’NEX, she was a partner in the Commercial Litigation group of the law firm Cozen O’Connor.
In her new position, Robbins will provide legal counsel to company management and business teams as to commercial relationships, as well as all general corporate matters, including contracts, employment, regulatory, and intellectual property.
With new licensed building toys from K’Nex, fans of Plants vs. Zombies can now build and play with the characters from the game. The partnership between K’Nex and PopCap Games Inc. combines K’Nex building systems with the digital franchise for the first time ever.
Along with the first series of Mystery Figure Bags, the Plants vs. Zombies line includes the Pirate Ship Building Set, Wall-nut Bowling Building Set, Wild West Skirmish Building Set, and Jetpack Zombie Attack Building Set, all suitable for kids ages 5 and up; and the Cone Mech Building Set, Football Mech Building Set, and Pirate Seas Plank Walk Building Set, suitable for kids ages 7 and up.
It’s summertime, which for a lot of kids means playing outside in the sunshine, swimming, and maybe even going on trips to visit nature. But for others, summer means staying indoors and playing video games all day. It’s probably best to moderate any activity that involves staring at a screen; however, the question is, how to get video game-obsessed kids to take up a different form of play? The answer may be toys based on popular video game titles, and there are quite a few of those available right now.
We kick off our non-comprehensive list with K’NEX, which since 2010, has partnered with Nintendo on construction toys based on its popular Mario property. Recently, I spoke to an executive at the company, who said that no small part of the partnership’s success came from replicating game elements in K’NEX’s construction sets: For example, many of its Super Mario building sets have a mechanism that simulates the avatar’s in-game jumping ability. [Read more...]
Today’s culture of apps and Internet memes has spawned a new category for licensees. These new digital brands have inspired toys that carry the excitement, reference, or joke of a digital property beyond its original state and into the physical world. Smartphones, apps, and the Internet have allowed people of all ages to swap images, play games, and contribute to digital communities faster than ever before. The appeal of a licensed toy can largely be attributed to an emotional connection—such as victory, challenge, or humor—to the property by a consumer. When I see a toy (or any other type of product) that I identify with a funny meme or a favorite app, I’m instantly drawn to it, almost like being in on an inside joke.
For the past few years, many a birthday card that I’ve given and received has featured cringeworthy images of a person (or several) in an array of ridiculous outfits, making odd facial expressions, in questionable poses, and more. Since 2009, Awkward Family Photos (AFP) has accrued nearly 2 million Facebook fans and currently offers plenty of products for fans to enjoy. AFP has also expanded its brand to include Awkward Family Pet Photos, adding a whole new hilarious dimension to the theme. Fans can purchase the AFP puzzle in either the pets or siblings versions, which feature 999 puzzle pieces and come together to create a collage of several awkward images.
Fans can also enjoy a rousing game of ridiculous photos, questions, and answers with the AFP Board Game, from All Things Equal. A player flips over a card featuring an Awkward Family Photo and reads an open-ended question aloud. The other players must come up with their own answers; the player with the best answer wins the round. [Read more...]
K’NEX Education will be participating in the third USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo and Book Fair, hosted by founding and presenting sponsor Lockheed Martin. Designed to inspire the next generation of innovators, the Festival Expo allows kids and adults to participate in more than 3,000 hands-on activities, as well as see more than 100 live stage performances.
The K’NEX Education Build and Learn Zone invites kids of all ages to have fun with hands-on learning while designing, building, investigating, problem solving, and evaluating scientific and design principles in action using K’NEX rods, connectors, gears, tires, and hubs at interactive building stations. Kids will have the opportunity to chat with K’NEX designers and engineers, and teachers can stop by and learn how K’NEX Education building sets can complement their STEM curriculum.
The Festival Expo is scheduled for the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., on April 26 and 27, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.