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:
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...]
One 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...]
The results are in and more than 20,000 Children’s Museum of Indianapolis online visitors and fans have voted for their favorite toys from the last century. It is all part of the “100 Toys (& their Stories) that Define Our Childhood” interactive in which the museum asked people to choose the top 20 toys to represent the last 100 years. This list of 20 iconic toys includes: G.I. Joe, Transformers, Lego Toys, Barbie, View-Master, Bicycle, Play-Doh, Crayons, Cabbage Patch Kids, Monopoly, Etch a Sketch, Spirograph, Hot Wheels, Candy Land, Lincoln Logs, Raggedy Ann, Little Golden Books, Mr. Potato Head, Roller Skates, and Silly Putty.
The public is once again invited to vote for their favorites among the top 20 to rank the toys, which will ultimately determine the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners.
Voting to determine the final order for the top 20 runs through Sept. 7, and results will be announced to the public on September 11. To view the top 20 list of toys, vote, and share your own toy story, visit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis online at www.childrensmuseum.org/100toys.
This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.