China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Here We Go A-Travelin’

Summer time means vacations, trips to Grandma’s, sleepovers with friends, and plenty of other activities that keep parents and their kids on the  move. On long car trips, plane rides, or any sort of day away from home, it’s good to have toys to bring along to keep kids entertained. It’s important to have toys that kids can play with en route, as well as upon arriving at the destination, without overpacking the car.

Avoid constant complaints of “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?” with a few of these fun on-the-go toys.

3artsee_studio_mainThe ArtSee Studio, from WowWee, turns an iPad into a creation station. Kids can turn simple drawings and paintings into animated games, activities, and more. Using the interactive tools, kids can quickly make a blank canvas explode with color, sound, and movement. The studio allows kids to explore creativity while dabbling in technology all at the same time. The ArtSee Studio is for kids ages 3 and up.

aquadoodle_travel_doodleWith the Aquadoodle Travel Doodle, from Spin Master, kids can turn a road trip into creative fun. By simply adding water, little artists can create fun-filled, no-mess drawings on the go. The Aquadoodle Travel Doodle pen draws in red or blue ink, never makes a mess, and never runs out. Bumpy car rides can be hazardous with other drawing tools, but the Travel Doodle leaves no trace behind. This soft, portable drawing toy allows kids to create on the go. [Read more...]

The UK’s Top 10 Best-Selling Toys to Date

The UK’s Top 10 best-selling Toys year to date (April 2013)

  1. Vivid ImaginationsMoshi Monsters Moshling Figures
  2. Lego‘s Lego Minifigures
  3. Leapfrog‘s Leappad Explorer Tablet
  4. Hasbro‘s Furby Hot and Cool
  5. Vivid ImaginationsMoshi Monsters Blind Bag
  6. Mattel‘s Monster High Doll
  7. Leapfrog‘s Leapfrog Explorer Game
  8. VTech‘s Innotab Learning Tablet
  9. Mattel‘s Cars 2 Character Clipstrip
  10. Flair‘s TMNT Basic Figures

Source: The NPD Group

Lego Group Unveils Lego Star Wars Model in Times Square

image001The Lego Group unveiled the world’s largest Lego model, a 1:1 replica of the Lego Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter, in New York’s Times Square today. To celebrate the upcoming premiere of The Yoda Chronicles on Cartoon Network on May 29 at 8:00 p.m., the massive replica took 32 master builders, five million Lego bricks and over 17,000 hours to complete. The model weighs nearly 46,000 pounds, stands 11 feet tall and 43 feet long, with a wingspan of 44 feet. The model will “take off” for a summer landing at Legoland California Resort where it will be installed through the remainder of the year.

Lego Star Wars is the original licensed product collection from The Lego Group and remains among the best-selling global toy lines. The theme appeals to fans across generations with a steady introduction of digital content such as The Yoda Chronicles to compliment the building experience.

[Read more...]

Lego Mindstorms and SparkTruck Team Up for a Play-Maker Summer Tour

LEGO MINDSTORMS GUITARLego Mindstorms EV3 and SparkTruck have teamed up to create the ultimate maker mobile that will tour this summer to invigorate the maker spirit of children across the country. Mindstorms EV3, the new consumer platform designed to introduce a younger generation to the excitement of robotics, partners with SparkTruck, the mobile prototyping truck that began at the Stanford d.school (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford) and was created using the principles of design thinking, to engage children with experiences and tools that can help them fulfill their greatest creative potential in an unexpected, innovative, and fun environment.

At Maker Faire Bay Area, May 18-19, the grad student-run SparkTruck will demonstrate representative workshop activities for its summer tour while the Lego Mindstorms EV3 team will unveil the first three bonus models designed by Mindstorms community members. The Mindstorms team will introduce nine additional bonus models throughout the summer and building instructions for the 12 bonus models and the original five “hero” models will be available when the platform reaches store shelves this fall. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: New Book Constructs Lego Cities

barronseduc_2260_1095264Never in my wildest tinkering with construction toys would I come up with building New York City’s Central Park, London’s Olympic Stadium (complete with a parachuting Queen Elizabeth), or Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral out of Lego bricks. Lego lovers prepare to be wowed. Warren Elsmore’s new book Brick City (Barron’s, 2013) blew my mind with page after page of realistic global landmarks constructed completely out of Legos. The book is a veritable trip around the world for fans of the popular building bricks.

Elsmore, a professional plastic model builder, begins by giving a brief overview of the tools you’ll need to pull off some of the fascinating feats accomplished within the pages of Brick City. Computer-Aided Design software, such as Lego Digital Designer, can help in creating a complete blueprint for any ambitious building project. Elsmore gives tips on finding bricks, customizing minifigures, and other preparations and tips you’ll need to embark on your Brick City journey.

Elaborate landmarks, such as the neo-Gothic Chicago Tribune building, often take some 27,000 or more bricks. London’s Olympic Stadium takes 120,000 bricks! Not all landmarks in the book come with directions. You won’t find a step-by-step guide to building, say, the Abraham Lincoln Memorial or a grand version of Westminster Abbey, but you will get guidance for smaller projects. Build a Brooklyn Brownstone building, Buckingham Palace, the Arc De Triomphe in Paris, or a tiny version of Westminster—all super cool. Readers will also get two glossy posters that feature Lego landmarks.

Brick City is available this month from booksellers and specialty retailers.

For more commentary from Loren, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

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...]

Lego Sculptures Become Art with Nathan Sawaya’s THE ART OF THE BRICK at Discovery Times Square

DISCOVERY TIMES SQUARE YELLOW

THE ART OF THE BRICK, an exhibition of works of art made exclusively from Lego bricks, is set to make its debut in New York City at Discovery Times Square (226 West 44th Street) on June 14, with tickets now on sale.

The collection of art constructed using only Lego toy bricks by renowned contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya is coming to New York after enjoying runs to sold-out crowds in Singapore, Taiwan, and Australia.

The Discovery Times Square collection will be the world’s biggest and most elaborate display of Lego art ever. Sawaya will be creating brand new works exclusively for this New York City premiere with more than 100 works of art made out of millions and millions of little Lego bricks.

Guests will have the opportunity to get an up-close and in-person view of the iconic, pop culture fan favorite, Yellow, a life-size sculpture of a man ripping his chest open with thousands of sunshine yellow Lego bricks cascading from the cavity. In addition, visitors will be able to walk under a 20-foot-long T-Rex dinosaur skeleton made out of bricks and come face-to-face with a giant Lego skull.

THE ART OF THE BRICK is the first major museum exhibition to use Lego bricks as the sole art medium. Sawaya transforms them into sculptures, enabling him to elevate what almost every child has played with into the status of contemporary art. THE ART OF THE BRICK at Discovery Times Square runs until January 5, 2014.

Geoffrey’s Jungle App Adds Star Wars Island for May 4

GeoffreyJungleGeoffrey’s Jungle, the interactive free app available for iPad and Android tablets, features Toys “R” Us mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe as he embarks on a safari adventure through different islands full of games and surprises.

Just in time to celebrate May the Fourth, Geoffrey’s Jungle features the all-new Star Wars Island. Kids can now interact and play games featuring their favorite Star Wars heroes and villains, including Yoda and Anakin Skywalker.

The adventure in Geoffrey’s Jungle begins with players customizing their own explorer character for the game, choosing the gender, skin tone and apparel for their explorer, including hat, shirt, pants and shoes. Children can also choose from approximately 20 first and last names for their character, such as Noah Toucana or Sandy Savannah.

Arriving with Geoffrey the Giraffe on their own starship, little adventurers can explore Star Wars Island and play the following games:

  • Whack-a-Sith: Future Jedi can try to “whack” as many Sith as they can with their lightsaber. As Sith pop up, players can use the lightsaber to make them go back down as fast as they can. Featuring Darth Maul, Darth Sidious, and more characters devoted to the dark side;
  • Slide Puzzles: Players can maneuver the pieces of the puzzle to reveal favorite scenes from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Three fun puzzles to choose from;
  • Coloring Activity: Adventurers can show off their creative sides with this coloring activity, which allows them to color some of their favorite characters and ones that they love to hate, including Yoda, Darth Maul, and Anakin Skywalker.

Star Wars Island also features a selection of the top Star Wars-themed toys available at Toys “R” Us, including the Star Wars Multi-Troop Transport from Hasbro and Lego Star Wars AT-RT Walker. Children can add their favorites to their Toys “R” Us Wish List with the click of a button.

Geoffrey’s Jungle is available for download on the iTunes store and Google Play Store.

Fort Bliss Military Families Receive Thousands of New Toys from Toy Industry Foundation

FortBliss1Nearly 3,000 children living with their families on military base Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas were treated to a special toy giveaway on April 17 hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and national partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services.

Families stationed at Fort Bliss, as well as resident members of the Air Force, Marines, National Reserves, and others, enjoyed a “Day of Play” that included bouncy houses and games, music and entertainment, and a pizza party.  Children of all ages received brand new toys, games, and stuffed animals donated by generous toy manufacturers. Gifts distributed at this event were generously donated by Alex, DuneCraft, Ganz, Gibout Toys, Hasbro, Lee Magic Pen, Lego, Look Out World, Mattel, MindWare, RBI Toys, Reeves International, Safari Ltd., and TMI Toy Marketing International.

The event was held as part of the joint TIF /BGCA Play Comforts program – the first-ever national toy distribution initiative to serve every branch of the U.S. military.  Through Play Comforts, toys and games donated by caring toy companies are delivered on an annual basis to families on dozens of U.S. military installations at home and abroad. Now in its fourth year of operation, the program has provided more than $3.5 million in toys for children of military families.


Experience the Lego Travel Adventure of the National Museum of Play

SailorwebFly, drive, or float anywhere your imagination can take you at Lego Travel Adventure at the National Museum of Play at The Strong through Sunday, May 12. The exhibit invites guests to pose for pictures among colorful backdrops, invent extraordinary vehicles at kid-friendly Lego brick stations, and be inspired by eye-popping Lego brick sculptures built by Lego Master Builders.

Among the many hands-on activities:

  • Kids and families can invent their own vehicles at building stations brimming with Lego bricks and Lego Duplo bricks, car bodies, tracks, and other accessories.
  • Preschoolers can race their creations along two downhill tracks with lanes sized especially for Lego Duplo cars.
  • Kids can pretend to fly above the clouds in the cockpit of a giant Travel Adventure Vehicle or hit the road in a child-sized race car made entirely out of Lego Duplo bricks.
  • Families can photograph their vehicles against destination backdrops and email the photos to themselves or to family and friends. Guests can also build their own virtual Lego vehicle on a customized computer program.
  • Museum guests can see models and dioramas built by Lego Master Builders. Display cases capture key moments in travel history—the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, Henry Ford’s automobile factory and Model T, the first giant steamship, and the first continental railroad.
  • Additional displays feature Lego brick vehicles set against travel destination landmarks including the San Francisco Bay Bridge, Paris Arc de Triomphe, Hawaiian Island, and Cape Canaveral. The Travel Adventure Vehicle (T.A.V.), an imaginary, multi-use vehicle, carries minifigure families on journeys through the clouds, under rivers, and up mountain roads.