China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Celebrating Canada Day—Toy Style!

In case you didn’t know, this past Tuesday was the national day of Canada! Here at The Toy Book, we’re lucky enough to work with tons of awesome Canadian toy companies, and to show both our support and Canada pride, here are some of our favorite toys from great Canadian toy manufacturers:

WowWee.MipWowWee

From WowWee, we always know to expect something innovative and hi-tech, such as last year’s 32-inch-long Roboraptor. In keeping up with the robo-trend, WowWee recently rolled out MiP, a unique, dual-wheel balancing interactive robot that utilizes GestureSense technology. With MiP, kids can control the robot through a Bluetooth link to any smart device using a free app. There are fun games to play with MiP, and kids can even make it dance to songs from their iTunes library. [Read more...]

Mega Brands Partners With Shriners Hospital for Children

mega brands logoMega Brands has partnered with Shriners Hospital for Children in Canada and pledged half a million dollars to the hospital’s Exceptional Care for Exceptional Kids campaign. In addition, Mega Brands recently launched a custom-made limited edition Mega Bloks First Builders Block Buddy fundraising toy, Loveable Lucas, at the June 6 International Shriners Day celebration event in Ottawa.

Mega Brands will also provide Mega Bloks toys and decorations for the new hospital’s Child Life playroom. The construction of the children’s hospital began last spring and will be complete next year.

Mega Brands, Mattel Donate Over $70,000 to Autism Speaks Canada

DonationMegaMega Brands Inc. has donated $72,000 to Autism Speaks Canada in support of Autism Awareness Month. The donation was presented at the 2014 Walk Now for Autism Speaks event in Montreal, which helps fund autism treatment, education, research, and advocacy throughout the country. Mega Brands was also the local presenting sponsor of the event.

The money was raised during April when Mega Brands pledged to donate one dollar for every Mega Bloks toy sold by Toys “R” Us Canada both in stores and online. This generated over $20,000 in proceeds. Philanthropic donors also contributed $29,000 to the pledge amount.

Mega Brands employees raised an additional $10,000 in donations through bake sales and auctions, an amount that was matched by Mattel.

Mega Brands Presented with Award Recognizing Successes and Responsible Environmental Practices

mega brands logoMega Brands was honored this past Thursday with the Prix Hommage from the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Saint-Laurent-Mont-Royal. The tribute award was given at the 30th Alpha Gala, which celebrates outstanding performances by companies in St-Laurent, Cartierville, and Mont-Royal.

Recently, Mega Brands repatriated a large part of its production from China to Montreal, thanks to technological advances. This has enabled the company to accelerate its own growth, while following principles of sustainable development.

Jean-François Albert, vice-president of manufacturing at Mega Brands, accepts the Tribute Award from minister and member of the National Assembly for Saint-Laurent, Jean-Marc Fournier, at the 30th Alpha 2014 Gala on May 15.

Jean-François Albert, vice-president of manufacturing at Mega Brands, accepts the Tribute Award from minister and member of the National Assembly for Saint-Laurent, Jean-Marc Fournier, at the 30th Alpha Gala on May 15.

Mega Brands’ St-Laurent plant, now the world’s first toy manufacturing facility to be recognized as environmentally responsible, produces six times as many toys as before with the same amount of energy. It also emits 500 times less greenhouse gas emissions than plants in China for the same level of production.

Mega Bloks Brings the Holiday Spirit to Quebec

LudovicaMinilandMega Brands, which is based in Montreal, Quebec, is celebrating the start of the holiday season with a number of local events.

The company is kicking off the holidays on November 23 at this year’s Destination Centre-ville Santa Claus Parade with a giant, 48-foot float with a full Winter Wonderland theme. The Mega Bloks team will be on-hand greeting spectators and handing out gifts to kids throughout the event, which will feature Mega Bloks Halo, Mega Bloks Hot Wheels, and Mega Bloks Barbie. In addition, Mega Bloks’ all-new mascot, MEGA Man, will be making his first appearance.

Mega Bloks will also sponsor Ludovica Miniland, a compilation of more than 600 reproductions of buildings and iconic monumental structures from around the globe, completely built out of Mega Bloks. Ludovica Miniland is on display from November 22 to next January, at the Grand Marché de Wickham in Quebec.

Finally, as part of its yearly mid-December tradition, Mega Bloks has extended invitations to groups of children from the Sun Youth Organization, as well as the Generations Foundation, to come meet Santa Claus, visit the Mega Bloks factory, and personally receive a special Mega Bloks gift from Santa himself.

Mega Bloks, Activision Introduce New Call of Duty Collector Construction Sets

MegaBloks.CallofDutyMega Brands Inc. and Activision Publishing Inc. have introduced a new premium line of Mega Bloks Collector Construction Sets, based on the Call of Duty franchise. The new line brings a level of sophistication and detail never before seen in the highly collectible construction category.

Call of Duty Collector Construction Sets are part of a multi-year, global license with Activision that expands upon the two companies’ development of innovative, creative, and entertaining construction collectibles. The sets offer a range that includes buildable vehicles, themed locations, and collectible micro action figures. The action figures feature a level of articulation that includes unique joint design and poseability.

Swaptober Kicks into Gear in Anticipation of Skylanders Swap Force

Skylanders-SWAP-Force_NightIn anticipation of the Skylanders Swap Force launch, Activision Publishing Inc. is using the month of October, or “Swaptober” to get gamers ready for the game’s launch on October 13. Lucky Portal Masters will have chances to win copies of the Skylanders Swap Force game, explore the world of Skylanders in Times Square, and more during the month-long activities.

To kick off Swaptober, Activision will be giving away one Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack per day beginning October 1 and going to October 31 via the official Skylanders Twitter channel (@SkylandersGame). For a chance to win, portal masters can visit Skylanders.com to mix and match their favorite character combination and then tweet it along with a suggested catch phrase using hashtags #SWAPtober and #Skylanders.

There are even more ways to celebrate on  October 10, when Skylanders partners with Toys “R” Us to bring Skylanders to life with “Swaptoberfest”—a celebration in Times Square where fans will have the chance to be among the very first to play the game before it’s available at retail. This Times Square takeover will feature Skylanders Swap Force-themed activities, photos with Skylanders costumed characters, and chances to win Starter Packs and Skylanders-themed merchandise from companies, including Mega Brands, Rubie’s Costume Co., Hybrid Apparel, and Power A. [Read more...]

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...]

COMMENTARY: Billy’s Got the Toddler Beat

As a 24 year-old, one would hope that it would take a fairly fascinating toy to really pique my interest. While it does take probably less than you would imagine (I am admittedly a kid at heart), there is one toddler plaything that I simply can’t get enough of—Billy Beats Dancing Piano. This musical DJ, from Mega Bloks, does it all. Billy is a too-cute-to-handle, dancing piano that is the culmination of all things enjoyed by toddlers. I know that if Billy had been around in my toddler hay-day, his batteries would have needed very frequent changing. My short attention span made it difficult to entertain me, and Billy Beats is four sources of entertainment in one—singing, music playing, dancing, and block building. Win, win, win, and win!

billybeatsHe has eight classic preschool songs in his repertoire, and he knows them all in three styles—with standard piano sounds, barnyard animal sounds, and a funky DJ-style. Kids can mix-and-match the sounds in the “Discover Music” mode. The “Dance Along” option makes Billy dance along as the song plays. The keys light up and Billy shakes his little piano booty. I think my favorite is the “Teach Me” setting. Billy Beats’ keys will light up in the order of the notes in the song. Toddler musicians can follow along, playing the song. If they make a mistake, Billy Beats lets out an adorable little giggle; if they get it right, he plays the song back for them—and of course adds a little jig.

Staying true to the Mega Bloks First Builders brand, Billy Beats is a construction toy that is fully compatible with all Mega Bloks First Builders blocks. They can be stored in the space under his red cap, and built up over his keys and on top of his head. Along with the included blocks, Billy Beats comes with stickers of sheet music that kids can play on his light-up keyboard.

For more commentary from Kara, 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!

Mega Brands Launches Tours at North America’s Largest Toy Factory

Mega Brands launched its North America’s Largest Toy Factory Tour Program at its headquarters in Montreal, Quebec. The Mega Brands team welcomed the local Hochelaga Community Center Day Camp at its Mega Bloks toy factory for a day of building, learning, and fun. More than 120 children visited the Mega Bloks Toy Factory and enjoyed a variety of building activities alongside Santa Claus and his elves.

The Mega Bloks Factory Tours showcase the facilities to young builders through activities specifically customized for each age group. The tours highlight how-it’s-made processes, visits to areas where Mega Bloks are created from start to finish, and future professions visitors can aspire to.

Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session with Mega Bloks toy experts and ask any and all questions they have about the toy industry. The Mega Bloks Factory Tours are a great way for students to learn about a local global business as well as the stages in the “life of a toy”.

Tours are only available to schools, camps, daycares, and non-profit organizations to children. Although the tours are free, a donation of $5 per visitor in benefit of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation must be made (not applicable to non-profit organizations). Tours are limited to a maximum of 30 children at a time and it is recommended that classes be separated into groups of 8 to 10 to facilitate activities. Organizations are responsible for travel arrangements and all visitors must be dressed comfortably with closed shoes.