Brick Fan Festival Comes to Philadelphia in September

Brick FestThe Philly Brick Fest Fan Festival is coming to The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center on September 12 to 14. Attendees can play with the hands-on building attractions and shop a variety of Lego-themed merchandise. Attractions include the Brick Fest Derby, where participants can build and race custom Lego derby cars; the Video Game Arena, an area to challenge others to play Lego video games; The Brick Zone, where builders are free to create anything they desire; and more.

Additional Brick Fest live dates and locations are at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Maryland from September 19 to 21, Duke Energy Convention Center in Ohio from October 17 to 19, and Palm Beach Convention Center in Florida from December 4 to 7.

License to Build: Familiar Properties Fill Up the Shelves of the Construction Aisle

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...]

The Orb Factory Launches Pixel Pops

pixel popsThe Orb Factory, a leader in the specialty craft industry, has just launched their newest brand, Pixel Pops. These 8-bit inspired crafts consist of mini Pixilated pets, each with their own accessory and special habitat.

To play, children use a stylus to pick up and stick small squishy cubes onto a base. Following the illustrated instructions, they layer colored squares to make a pixilated pet and charm. These kits are appeal to kids who like to build, create, and enjoy activities such as Lego and Minecraft.

Marvel Launches Collection Inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy

Sept5GuardiansMarvel Entertainment, in conjunction with Disney Consumer Products, has unveiled a product collection to celebrate the new film, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Licensees for the products include Hasbro, Lego, Disguise, Hot Wheels, Her Universe, Café Press, Mad Engine, Just Play, KidDesigns, Rubie’s, C-Life, Jay Franco, and the Disney Store. Products in the line include action figures, plush, play sets, role play, costumes, and ’80s nostalgia-inspired lifestyle products.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy products are available now at national retailers, specialty stores, Marvel.com, Disney store locations nationwide, and DisneyStore.com. The movie opens in theaters on August 1.

Lego Shows Off New Products at Comic-Con International: San Diego

LEGO_LogoAt Comic-Con International: San Diego this week, Lego Systems Inc. will unveil new products, including two Lego Super Heroes: DC Comics sets scheduled to launch next year, one of which is an 1,800-piece tumbler.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of this December’s theatrical release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Lego Systems will preview one of the new Lego the Hobbit sets slated to arrive in stores this October. The company will also show off an upcoming set based on The Lego Movie, as well as sets based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series and new feature film.

Finally, Lego Systems will unveil the fourth wave of Lego Mixels characters and content, set to launch next year.

Lego Systems Maximizing Opportunities for Kids

LEGO_LogoLego Systems Inc. announced that it would be maximizing opportunities for young children to play, make, and share by working in conjuncture with the White House Maker Faire on the Junior Maker program.

The program will celebrate the company’s recognition that children are born with an urge to explore and be playful, and will provide free activities and information directly to parents to help their children discover these natural tendencies. Lego will collaborate with the Association for Library Service to Children to provide experiences for children as young as four years of age.

Starting in July, librarians will be able to download a digital toolkit from Lego for details on how to host a Junior Maker session at their library, and parents will be able to download content for their children to play in their own home.

Lego Juniors, introduced this year, are construction sets to help children learn to build independently.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Licensed Products Set to Explode at Retail

guardians of the galaxy poster 2. jpgToy manufacturers including Hasbro, Lego, and Kiddesigns have developed a wide range across key product categories inspired by Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which arrives in theaters on August 1. Products include Hasbro’s 10-inch electronic figure, Lego’s The Milano Spaceship Rescue construction set, Funko’s vinyl bobble heads, Rubies Costume Co.’s and Disguise‘s Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon costumes, and more.

To date, Guardians of the Galaxy has received major mass retailer commitment, including a cross-category pallet program at Wal-Mart, top placement for Hasbro and Lego’s toy lines in all key accounts, and a heavily promoted party goods program with Party City. The Guardians of the Galaxy merchandising program will benefit from Marvel Studios‘ major marketing push for the film that will hit full force beginning later this month.

Legoland Florida Theme Park Adds Duplo Valley Expansion

LegoLandThe Legoland Florida theme park has officially opened its latest expansion, Duplo Valley. The new extension brings the Lego Duplo line of preschool building toys to live with new farm-themed attractions, an air-conditioned indoor play area, and a water play area for toddlers ages 2 to 5.

Duplo Valley was designed to be an environment where parents can play and relax with their toddlers.  New outdoor attractions include Duplo Train, Duplo Tractor, and a Duplo Splash & Play area. The barn-themed play area includes private nursing and changing stations, rocking chairs, microwaves, bottle warmers, high chairs and cell phone charging stations.

Guests can also purchase the all-new Preschool Pass, which includes weekday admission to Legoland Florida and standard parking for one child under five and one adult for a full year.

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Blasts Off to Outer Space Adventure

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, the third installment of the Lego: Batman video game franchise, will be available this fall under multiple platforms. The game is being developed by TT Games and will be published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham will take Batman and Robin outside of the title city to join the superheroes of the DC Comics Universe in an effort to stop the evil Brainiac from destroying Earth. Players will be able to unlock over 150 characters from the DC Comics universe, including members of the Justice League, as well as villains such as Killer Croc and Soloman Grundy. Fans can play as heroes and villains alike with new gadgets and abilities. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Role Play Toys Engage Kids in Superhero Action

It’s no secret that kids are extremely influenced by the characters they see in movies and on TV. Superheroes are particularly influential, with their mankind-saving tendencies and super-human abilities. The best thing about superheroes is that they appeal to kids and adults alike, since many of the iconic superheroes we know and love have been around for decades. Fisher-Price’s DC Super Friends line is geared toward kids as young as 3 years old, and Lego will introduce DC characters into its Duplo line for the first time this year. While play sets and building blocks are popular play patterns for kids and adding their favorite superheroes to the mix is a great way to get kids excited, the toys that make kids feel like they are becoming their favorite superhero are some of the most engaging toys on the market.

Everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is now back on the block with new enemies. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened in theaters Friday, May 2, and now kids can take home all of the web-slinging action, thanks to Hasbro’s intense line of role-play and action figure toys.

Marissa.May13.Hasbro.SPIDER-MAN-MOTORIZED-SPIDER-FORCE-WEB-BLASTERWith the wrist-mounted Motorized Spider Force Web Blaster, kids can fire foam discs featuring web embellishments up to 20 feet with rapid speed. Each Motorized Spider Force Web Blaster comes with 10 Nerf foam discs that can be stored in the storage compartment on the top of the toy so they won’t get lost. Don’t worry—the foam discs are harmless and don’t hurt if you get hit with them. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, kids can take on any villain with this fun role-play toy. I should also note—it’s unbelievably fun for adults, too (especially if you have kids around willing to scoop up the discs for you). Just don’t let the name fool you—there are no messy webs with this product, just soft, foam discs! [Read more...]