This winter has been a brutal one for New Yorkers (and I’m not even sure it’s over yet). I for one was more than willing to load up on the cold weather gear, donning a new bubble coat, an oversized infinity scarf, and fingerless gloves with mitten covers in a concerned effort to keep out the cold and stave off the flu. Long johns were even necessary on a few of the more brutal days this year. Though most adults are eager to be as warm as possible during the winter months, it can be difficult to get kids to bundle up willingly. My niece and nephew whine and whine about putting on their winter’s finest: “The zipper pinches my chin!,” “I can’t breathe!,” “I can’t see with this hat on,” etc., etc. A good way to combat the incessant complaining and layering reluctance is to let kids make their own cold weather accessories. [Read more...]
At this year’s American International Toy Fair, I found that the industry’s trend of creating retro and nostalgic toys is hitting the infant/preschool sector in a big way. Multiple companies were debuting new toy lines that were a throwback to the classics: wooden toys.
Chicco’s new wooden line was particularly impressive. Known for their focus on developmental toys, Chicco created a wooden toy line that revamps the old classics that are familiar to parents. From Stacking Cubes and Sailor Friends, to all sorts of instruments and pull toys, Chicco was debuting a line that gave a modern, sleeker look to toys that are generational favorites. The Animal Cottage Wood Sorter, a classic wooden toy with a modern and colorful look that teaches important skills, was irresistibly adorable.
Along with Chicco, wooden toys were popping up in preschool lines from Beanpatch & Co. and Manhattan Toy. With no more proof needed than the success of Melissa & Doug’s wooden toys, classics tend to evoke memories in parents—ones they can then share with their children while creating new ones. In a world of technology-driven toys, there’s something to be said for the simple, classic nature of a wooden toy line, and the quality ones will stand up against time. These wooden toys not only have a crafted look that increases value, they also teach developmental skills to babies and infants in a simplistic way.
For more commentary from Ali, check back each Thursday afternoon. 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!
A recent arbitration ruling has reaffirmed Manhattan Toy’s licensing rights to Automoblox, LLC. Manhattan Toy has been the exclusive licensee and distributor for the Automoblox line of modular wooden vehicles in Europe since January 2008 and worldwide since January 2009.
In late 2010, Automoblox, LLC disputed Manhattan Toy’s rights under the agreement. An arbitrator has recently settled the dispute in Manhattan Toy’s favor, ruling that the license agreement between the companies is still effective, and that Manhattan Toy continues to have the exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute the line worldwide.
Manhattan Toy is unveiling the Edtoy line of new wooden building and construction toys. The toys use revolutionary rotating magnet technology that allows the blocks to securely connect together, regardless of their polarity. As the blocks rotate they produce a clicking sound, adding play value to the toy and boosting a child’s creativity. The wooden pieces are easy for children to detach and put back together. There are three different series of the toys available: MagnaMobiles, Ed Dinosaur Series, and Smart Block.
Parents magazine and Manhattan Toy will debut their new educational toy line at ABC Kids Expo, to be held October 10-13 in Las Vegas. The Parents toy collection features an array of preschool developmental toys that encourage musical interests, stimulate imaginations, and encourage role play. Made of soft materials and sturdy wood, the Parents toy line includes an activity cart, activity center, scooter, soft toys, and more. New additions to the line will launch in January.
I loved Fraggle Rock as a kid, especially Sprocket the Dog. This plush Sprocket the Dog from Manhattan Toy is new for 2010.
Sprocket is an intelligent sheepdog owned by Doc, the inventor of Fraggle Rock, and proves the motto that dog is truly man’s best friend. He spends much of his time in Doc’s Workshop, where his bed and food dish are, observing Doc at work. Sprocket is very communicative and frequently talks to Doc by barking lively, giving facial expressions, or by pointing to objects in a form of charades. Doc often relies on Sprocket to help with household chores, including repairs on the water pipes.
Manhattan Toy has introduced six new Dr. Seuss toys, featuring the classic characters One Fish Two Fish and Cat in the Hat.
The Cat in the Hat Activity Cat includes a crinkle flap mirror, ribbons, teether paws, as well as a squeaker in one foot and a rattle in the other. The Cat in the Hat Wiggle Ball jiggles when the attached yellow star is pulled, and features Cat in the Hat prints and crinkle paper flaps.
Manhattan Toy has finalized a worldwide licensing and distribution agreement with Quadrilla Spielzeug Design und Herstellung, creators of “Intelligent Play in Wood,” to manufacture and distribute Quadrilla’s complete range of Marble Runs and accessories starting in 2010.
Manhattan Toy will preview the collection at the Toy Fairs in New York and Nuremburg this month.