China Toy Fair


Toys “R” Us Expands Education Product Selection, Introduces Imaginarium Brand

Toys R Us EducationalToys “R” Us will expand its year-round education product selection in stores nationwide and online at toysrus.com. Filled with a broad collection of items, kids from preschool to fifth grade, parents, and teachers can now find the essentials they need to make learning easy and fun throughout the entire year.

Toys “R” Us is also debuting a new line of exclusive education products under its Imaginarium brand, the company’s largest range of specialty and learning toys. Imaginarium Learning offers shoppers dozens of back-to-basics, as well as inventive products, which promote early learning skills in little ones ages 18 months and up.

Under Imaginarium Learning, kids can discover the universe with the Lift a Flap Solar System and Lift a Flap World Puzzle, or learn their ABCs and 123s with the assistance of Touch & Learn Alphabet Fish and ABC & 123 Monkey. Additionally, magnetic tablets, like Magnetab Numbers and Magnetab ABCs Lower Case, teach small hands to trace and write, while double-sided write and erase cards and take-along boards provide activities that reinforce writing skills. [Read more...]

LeapFrog Transforms Mom and Dad’s iDevice into Learning Fun

LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES LOGOLeapFrog Enterprises Inc. is offering two new innovative learning solutions that encourage learning as kids play, and turns parents’ Apple mobile devices into the ultimate learning tools. With the Learn to Write with Mr. Pencil Stylus and Writing App, children are encouraged to practice handwriting as they explore the town of Doodleburg with Mr. Pencil and friends. The Creativity Camera Protective Case and App encourages children to express their creativity through activities and gameplay designed to inspire little photographers.

Children Practice Writing Skills with Mr. Pencil
The Learn to Write with Mr. Pencil Stylus and Writing App is based on LeapFrog’s popular Mr. Pencil character and teaches introductory writing skills on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. The included app features interactive games and activities that encourage kids to practice writing letters, numbers, and drawing shapes by providing instant accuracy feedback using the Mr. Pencil stylus. As kids play through the game in the LeapFrog town of Doodleberg, they will unlock more than 85 different learning activities. Additionally, they will practice letter shapes, letter sounds, numbers,0 and counting.

Children Express Their Creativity Though Photography
The new Creativity Camera Protective Case and App, developed in collaboration with the award-winning global design firm Ideo’s Toy Lab, introduces kids to photography and encourages them to create and express their creativity. The Creativity Camera encourages children to embark on a photography adventure and explore their imagination through a tool that wraps around their parents’ iPhone or iPod touch, making it the ultimate camera.

The included app brings together physical and digital experiences to offer enhanced game play that lets kids pretend to be a real photographer, and go on game missions to practice their letters, colors, and vocabulary. The Creativity Camera features six modes: Camera, Gallery, Creativity Center, Silly Faces, Photo Missions, and PeekABug Catch. Through these modes children can take and edit photos to make silly pictures, go on photo missions to create special albums, and even play an augmented reality game.

Learn to Write with Mr. Pencil Stylus and Writing App, for kids ages 3 to 6, works with iPhone 4, 4s, and 5; iPod touch 4 and 5; and iPad 1, 2, 3 and Mini. The Creativity Camera Protective Case and App, for kids ages 3 to 6, works with iPhone 4, 4s, and 5 and iPod touch 4G. Both are currently available online and at major retail locations in the U.S., the UK, and Canada, and will be available in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Middle East this fall.

LeapFrog Partners with Random House for an Audio Book Library

leapreaderLeapFrog Enterprises and Listening Library, an imprint of Random House LLC, have partnered to bring Listening Library’s library of children’s audio books to the LeapReader platform. Listening Library’s audio books are available for download via LeapFrog’s App Center.

LeapReader is the new learn to read and write system that helps children build literacy skills and reading confidence with LeapReader’s three essential experiences–learn to read, learn to write, and learn through listening. Children sound out words and read sentences, write letters with interactive guidance, and develop listening skills, comprehension, and imagination through audio books, music, and more all available in the LeapReader library of more than 150 learning experiences.

LeapFrog Introduces Read With Me Scout and Violet

LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES LOGO
LeapFrog Enterprises has introduced Read With Me Scout and Read With Me Violet, two new interactive plush puppies designed to build early reading skills. Developed by LeapFrog’s team of learning experts, the products build off My Pal Scout and My Pal Violet, and offer an interactive story time experience with learning activities that build early reading comprehension, listening, and vocabulary skills.

Children can choose one of five books and as the pals read the story aloud, children build comprehension skills and early vocabulary. They also learn about the relationship between print on a page and the story as they turn the pages and listen to more than 70 spoken questions and audio responses. Parents can switch Scout and Violet into Sleepy Time mode to select a read-aloud story or eight minutes of lullabies.

Read With Me Scout and Read With Me Violet are the latest additions to LeapFrog’s line of Scout learning products that includes interactive plush friends such as My Pal Scout and My Pal Violet, My Own Leaptop, Chat & Count Smart Phone toys, and DVDs. The new plush puppies are available online and at major retailer locations in the U.S, Canada, the UK, and France, and will be available in Spain and Mexico later this year.

LeapFrog Debuts New LeapPad2 Power

LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES LOGOLeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. debuts the LeapPad2 Power. LeapPad2 Power includes a rechargeable battery and AC adapter, providing up to nine hours of continual play. This latest addition to the LeapPad family of children’s learning tablets includes all the features of the LeapPad2, such as front and back cameras and video recorders, 4GB of storage for photos, apps, videos, and more.

In addition, LeapFrog’s unique library of more than 800 content experiences designed or approved by LeapFrog’s learning experts is available for the new LeapPad2 Power. LeapPad2 Power, for kids ages 3-9, is available online and at major retailers in the U.S.

COMMENTARY: The Best of Both Worlds

My fondest childhood memories always involve some sort of book. Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, and the Baby-Sitters Club series played a huge role in my adolescence, and I still feel the pang of sweet nostalgia when I see these titles today. Part of my job is to round up toys, mobile apps, games, music, and books to feature in Toy Insider, but in recent months I find myself frantically searching for books to include while games, toys, and especially apps appear in abundance. I am a bit resistant to change, as I still prefer to hold a book in my hand to a Kindle or Nook, so the decline of printed books had me bogged down a bit. As I began searching for books to feature, I realized that reading is reading, and anything that brings a child to find his or her inner bibliophile is A-OK with me. There are so many new platforms for reading that don’t leave out books but take them to a new level, and we have to keep up!

8341295_0_9999_med_v1_m56577569853114439I am fascinated by the LeapReader Read & Write System by LeapFrog. This company is known for its kid-friendly tablets, but this new product has the coolest gadgets and gizmos that should make any child excited about story time. Starting with the very basics, the LeapReader Read & Write books will help your child learn to read and write by sounding out words and guiding letter strokes interactively. The set includes the LeapReader Reading and Writing System, an activity sampler book, one learning paper writing sheet, and free downloads of one audio book bundle, one music album, and one trivia fun pack. I think the coolest part is that interactive handwriting guidance helps children learn to write stroke-by-stroke on mess-free, no ink LeapFrog learning paper—which is also ecofriendly! There are more than 150 books and audiobooks available to add to the set, of which my personal favorite is Learn to Write Letters with Mr. Pencil. [Read more...]

LeapFrog Debuts LeapReader

41SqKpAalbLLeapFrog Enterprises debuted its newest product, LeapReader, at retail stores and online nationwide. The LeapReader is the complete learn to read and write solution for children. The LeapReader library includes more than books, audio books, flash cards, maps, learn-to-write sets, music albums and trivia challenges and lets parents easily personalize their child’s learning journey by choosing titles based on their reading level, favorite characters or learning style. This system builds early literacy skills through three learning programs: Learn to Read, Learn to Write, and Learn Through Listening. LeapReader will be available in select countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Korea, Thailand and other Asian countries later this summer. All audio books and music albums will be available for download using LeapFrog Connect Application for LeapReader. To read more about LeapReader, click here.

LeapFrog to Launch the LeapPad Ultra

LeapPadLeapFrog Enterprises Inc. announced the launch of the LeapPad Ultra, a new kids’ learning tablet. The LeapPad Ultra is kid-tough and works with LeapFrog’s unique library of more than 800 content experiences designed or approved by LeapFrog’s learning experts. LeapPad Ultra is kid-ready right out of the box with LeapSearch by Zui, a proprietary kid-safe web browser that parents can trust. Unique to LeapPad Ultra, the 7-inch Duo Tech high-resolution screen is designed to help children learn to write using a stylus while supporting interactive touch experiences. Additionally, LeapPad Ultra features a sleek new look, a rechargeable battery, and front and back cameras and video recorders, plus 8 GB of storage for photos, apps, videos, and more.

With new intuitive parental tools including a four-digit security code, parents are in control of what their child is able to access, while the Wi-Fi allows them to directly sync content to their child’s LeapPad Ultra. Parents can easily browse, purchase, and download apps from LeapFrog’s library of learning games, apps, eBooks, videos, music, and more.

With LeapPad Ultra, LeapFrog is launching LeapSearch powered by Zui, a secure browser that lets children access and explore content in a closed environment that is easy to navigate. Children can use LeapSearch on their LeapPad Ultra to browse videos, images, and sites from the web that have been reviewed and approved by LeapFrog’s team of learning experts as kid-appropriate. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Keeping Babies Busy

It seems that I have passed the stage in life that requires bridesmaid dresses galore and into the phase where diapers and pacifiers are abundant. There was a two-year period when it seemed I received that special “We’re engaged” phone call every weekend; now it’s the weekday “We’re having a baby!” I cry after every single announcement—I tell you, there is just something about a baby that brings forth the waterworks in me. Three particularly close friends just welcomed their first children into the world, and my cousin did as well. In the last three months, three very close friends called with the exciting news that they are expecting. Being across the country is difficult when there are new babies to hold in Alabama! I’m missing baby showers, delivery rooms, and those sweet babies.

The distance brought on the decision that I’m going to make sure to be the cool “aunt” that sends toys, books, games, etc. all the way from New York City. And after meeting these precious babies for the first time, I only want to send more. I did, however, want to give gifts that will set me apart from all of the other adoring friends and family members, and luckily, my job in the toy industry gives me the inside scoop on the neatest and newest play things for babies. [Read more...]

Sanrio Expands Hello Kitty Brand

hello_kitty001Sanrio Inc. has inked multiple partnership deals to expand the Hello Kitty brand across toys, sporting goods, and infant accessories

Blip Toys will produce dolls, plush, novelty, and play sets, while Just Play and International Playthings will create plush and soft toys. Fashion Angels and Ohio Art focus on creativity with sketch portfolios, hair chox, tapefitti, Etch A Sketch, doodle sketch, and nano blocks. MMA International and Street Flyer are responsible for sporting goods such as tennis, volleyball, basketball, and soccer equipment, as well as active skates, skateboards, and pogosticks. Baby Trend will create infant gear such as car seats, strollers, play yards, and high chairs, while Aden and Anais provide blankets, bibs, hooded towels, and washcloth sets. Ginsey will create bath accessories.

The Hello Kitty brand will also expand to the digital and publishing category with LeapFrog  and Viz Media.