K’nex Announces New Additions to Tinkertoy Building Set Line

knex_2K’nex Brands has unveiled four additions to its line of Tinkertoy building sets. Licensed by Hasbro and Playskool, the newly redesigned Tinkertoy pieces snap together and stay together for long-lasting play. The toy is also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Additions include Tinkertoy: 65 Piece Essentials Building Set and the Tinkertoy 100 Piece Essential Building Set, featuring fan-favorite Tinkertoy parts, including spools, rods, flags, washers, end caps, and more. The Tinkertoy: Super Tink Building Set lets little builders create a skyscraper, fighter jet, getaway car, or imagine his or her own creation. The Tinkertoy: Big Top Set lets kids build a tent, animals, trapeze artists and more to recreate a day at the circus. The Tinkertoy: Pink Building Set lets kids create a castle, flower, cat, and more using the included guide of building ideas or their own ideas.

The new Tinkertoy building sets will be available on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

K’nex Launches New and Improved K’nexpert Search

knexK’nex announced exciting changes for its 14th annual K’nexpert Search, which launched on May 29. The K’nexpert Search challenges young builders to design and submit a creative, original model made entirely from K’nex parts. The models are judged on creativity, uniqueness, and detail.

For the first time since its launch in 2001, the contest will have four grand-prize winners from four different age groups. Age groups include: 5 to 6 years, 7 to 8 years, 9 to 11 years, and 12 to 14 years (a new category this year). The four imaginative children who win will each receive a prize package valued at $3,650. This year, grand prize winners will receive the coolest K’nexpert prize package yet: $2,500, an iPad Mini, a $250 gift card to Toys “R” Us, and a $500 K’nex credit code good toward a shopping spree at knex.com. An additional eight finalists will each receive a $250 K’nex credit code, a $100 Toys “R” Us gift card, and a K’nex T-shirt. [Read more...]

Reshoring Toys

By Howard N. Aronson, Managing Partner, Lackenbach Siegel LLP

Like the proverbial child who runs away from home only to return before nightfall, an American toymaker is bringing most of its manufacturing back to the U.S.—after more than a decade of outsourcing in Asia. The decision of K’NEX Brands, a family-owned maker of plastic building toys, to boost manufacturing at The Rodon Group, its Hatfield, Pa. plant, is only one example of a major trend. Persuasive factors leading to the ultimate decision included quality control, overall costs, timeliness of deliveries, and intellectual property issues. Many are following the lead of K’NEX and rediscovering that home sweet home is the best place to make and distribute products after all.

Manufacturing in the U.S. created many advantages for K’NEX:
• Greater ability to react to shifts in consumer demands for toys because it’s much quicker and easier to retool–thus creating additional sales;
• Delivery times are quicker–as are changes in delivery schedules, for example, to take advantage of unexpected increases in sales at some stores;
• There’s more control over quality–including avoiding toy safety product recalls;
• There’s more control over materials–again, especially important where safety is an issue, as it is with many toys;
• Overseas labor costs are increasing, whereas using robotics in its U.S. plant is boosting productivity–thus lowering per unit labor costs;
• Transportation costs are rising;
• Time zone differences make communication between manufacturers and suppliers difficult. [Read more...]

K’nex and Fox Consumer Products Announce Family Guy Partnership

KnexK’nex Brands has partnered with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products to create a new line of building toys inspired by the animated comedy series Family Guy.

The partnership combines the K’nex building system with characters and elements from Family Guy, including Peter, Stewie, Brian, the Griffin Family station wagon, and Stewie’s time machine.

Family Guy, currently in its 11th season, has dominated TV ratings and garnered support from its fans with more than 52 million followers on Facebook. The new K’nex Family Guy building sets will be available at major retailers next spring.

COMMENTARY: Construction Toys Shine Bright

9000One of the most classic toy categories is construction toys. These toys successfully compete in a market full of apps and tablets in their simplest form, without any gadgets or technology. Lego, Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoy - they’re all names that kids and parents know and love. But just because construction toys don’t need technology in order to hold their own on the shelves doesn’t mean companies aren’t trying to incorporate it, making construction toys an even more interactive play experience.

One of the most popular trends I’m seeing lately is the addition of LED lights to construction sets, turning creations into a flashy toy that you can display. Some companies have built their entire brand around this concept, such as Lite Brix and Laser Pegs. These building sets allow kids to construct creatures, characters, and vehicles that they can plug in and light up with LED lights. With this sort of creative toy, kids can make their own night lights, room decorations, or just fun creations to show their friends and family. [Read more...]

K’Nex Stays in the Fast Lane with New NASCAR Building Set

Nintendo Mystery Bag SeriesK’Nex, the U.S. construction toy company, is pleased to expand its officially licensed NASCAR building toys product line with new building sets that let young race fans expand their high-speed world. New building sets include the most popular cars and drivers of NASCAR and feature cool new paint schemes.

Each of the NASCAR: Driver Figure Bags Series #1 includes one buildable NASCAR driver. Drivers include No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 24 Jeff Gordon, No. 18 Kyle Bush, or No. 48 Jimmie Johnson, and each figure is compatible with the entire K’Nex NASCAR line of products. Each sold separately, so kids ages 5 and up can collect them all.

The K’Nex NASCAR Figure Bags are available on knex.com and at retailers nationwide.

K’nex Introduces K’nexMen Mystery Figures

K’nex, the U.S. construction toy company focused on Building Worlds Kids Love, introduces its first series of two K’nexMen Mystery Figures. The new figures feature jointed elbows and knees and swivel waists and necks.

The Mystery Figure packs feature 16 different figures in this first series. Young building fans will love collecting and building the figures across many themes including pirates, astronauts, pilots, race car drivers, and zombies. Some figures are more elusive than others, so you never know who you might get!  Compatible with all leading building sets, these new figures are available on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.

K’nex, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America Take Steps to Find a Cure

K’nex Brands, the only U.S. construction toy company focused on Building Worlds Kids Love, is proud to announce that for the sixth year in a row it will donate a percentage of online sales to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Now through April 30, 10 percent of all online sales made on www.knex.com will be donated to the CCFA. Donations are accepted with or without making a purchase.

In addition, a team of K’nex employees will be participating in the Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis walk in Philadelphia. These events take place at 158 walk sites across the country, where thousands of people gather every spring and summer to join the fight against digestive diseases. You can find your local walk by logging on to www.cctakesteps.org.

K’nex Brands Launches Fifth Annual Fundraising Initiative to Benefit the United Way

K’nex, the only U.S construction toy company focused on Building Worlds Kids Love, has announced their fifth annual fundraising initiative benefiting United Way. K’nex is donating 10 percent of sales from knex.com during the month of February to the North Penn United Way chapter and will be accepting additional donations through its website.   [Read more...]

K’NEX CFO Named Superhero by North Penn United Way

Robert Haines, chief financial officer of K’NEX, is being honored at the North Penn United Way’s Superheroes United for Kids fundraising event on May 3. [Read more...]