Sweet Suite 2016

COMMENTARY: Action Figures Moving Forward by Looking to the Past

Breaking Bad ReAction Jesse as Cook action figure, from Funko

Breaking Bad ReAction Jesse as Cook action figure, from Funko

Here at The Toy Book, we constantly find ourselves staring at the unfolding future of toys. In the case of action figures, the future always seems to be on bigger, sleeker, and more—whether that pertains to more points of articulation, more swappable accessories, more high-tech bells and whistles, etc.

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COMMENTARY: These Toy Fair Exhibitors Have Science Education Down to a Science

Kids First Level 1: Amusement Park Engineer, from Thames and Kosmos

Science kits are typically geared toward kids ages 8 and up. There have been plenty of logical reasons for this—for one thing, kids need to be able to read the manual to do the experiments; and for another, science experiments can be complex, requiring kids to have longer attention spans and higher critical thinking skills. However, at this year’s North American International Toy Fair in NYC, many companies have found ways to introduce science to a younger audience.
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COMMENTARY: These Outdoor Toys Put a New Spin on Keeping Kids Active

Backyard Sports Mega Morph Super Hoop, from Day 6

Fresh air, sunlight, and exercise are all wonderful things. Unfortunately, many kids just aren’t getting enough of them. At the recent North American International Toy Fair, I encountered numerous toy makers who are trying to address this problem by developing new outdoor toys that encourage kids to get off the couch for some outdoor physical activity. Many feature novel tweaks to familiar play patterns, and the sheer breadth of items on-hand was impressive. Most surprisingly, not all of them try to pry kids away from their mobile devices or video screens.
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COMMENTARY: Toy Fair 2015 Debuts Plush for Both Kids and Adults

Moulin Roty Cat Plush, from Magicforest

Plush is not just about stuffed teddies anymore. At North American International Toy Fair, there were dozens of companies with plush on display—ranging from traditional bears, to robotic plush, to artistic plush. Creative plush designs are especially cool because they appeal to both kids and adults. The right plush piece can even add a unique design element to a room, and many of these types of plush characters are great gift ideas for expectant parents who are waiting to find out their little one’s gender, since they have a gender-neutral heirloom quality to them that makes them extra special.

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COMMENTARY: Bathtime Toys Clean Up at Toy Fair 2015

Playmates.BathTubVehiclesThis year, bathtime and playtime will become one and the same. Kids will no longer take pride in going days without bathing or purposely “forgetting” to wash behind their ears. In fact, judging from all of the amazing bath toys seen at the North American International Toy Fair, I’m betting that kids everywhere will be cleaner than ever and the dreaded bathtime battle between kids and parents will be a thing of the past. So, check out these babies and get ready for them to hit store shelves throughout the year! (Thought you should know, they’re listed in no particular order.) [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: At Toy Fair 2015, Classic, Low-Tech Play Is Alive and Well

Crayola Cling Maker, from Crayola

Tech toys that make you feel cooler than Marty McFly were in abundance at the North American International Toy Fair this week, such as robots that imitate your movements and a Segway-like device that tracks your thoughts. But not all of the toys at the Jacob K. Javits Center were reminiscent of what Captain Kirk probably played with as a child. There were also some stellar construction sets, high-quality hand puppets, and wooden toys that make you say, “wow.” Classic play is not dead, and not all quality toys require a microchip. Some of the most innovative new products for kids feature little to no tech at all. Here are our favorite low-tech new toys from Toy Fair: [Read more...]

New Affiliation Between TIA and CTA Now in Effect

A new affiliate agreement between the U.S. Toy Industry Association (TIA) and the Canadian Toy Association (CTA) went into effect on July 1. As previously reported by TIA, the partnership was formed to help strengthen the products, services, and events both organizations offer their collective members and industry stakeholders throughout North America.

Under the terms of the initial three-year partnership agreement, any TIA member with operations in Canada will be eligible to become a member of the CTA with one membership fee, while current CTA members will pay a single set of dues to access the benefits of CTA and TIA membership. A representative of each organization will sit on the leadership committee of the other body, and CTA will maintain its Canadian incorporation, mission, and bylaws.

Every CTA member is now in the TIA membership database and has unrestricted, members only access to TIA’s online products and services, including free educational webinars, proprietary reports on market research and industry practices, legislative bulletins on industry issues, and more. [Read more...]

Buildex Furniture, Vehicle Lines Launching During Nuremberg and NY Toy Fairs

The Buildex brand from Kids Preferred will launch a new line of kids furniture and wooden performance riding vehicles at Spielwarenmesse and American International Toy Fair in New York City. All the new items will be available for purchase globally in the spring. Developed in conjunction with toy designers at Chelona Wooden World, the new line is designed to encourage children to develop 3-D thinking, as well as an appreciation for construction, movement, and design.

Buildex1The Buildex line of kids furniture features durable wood constructions and ergonomic designs, which require no tools or hardware. All Buildex furnishings use the company’s exclusive connecting systems to safely secure all components in place. The furniture line includes the Rocketeer Table & Chairs Set, Daisy Table & Chairs Set, and more.

Buildex2Similarly, the Buildex line of wood performance riding vehicles assemble securely without the use of tools or hardware, and have natural suspension that works in combination with functional steering. The wood performance riding vehicles line includes the Max-Tractor, Super-Scoot for boys, Super-Scoot for girls, and more.

NumbersAlive! to Debut Internationally at Toy Fairs in Germany, NYC

NumbersAlive!, a suite of playful plush toys, travel books with educational activities, and games to improve numerical literacy, will debut internationally at two toy fairs. NumbersAlive! travels first to Nuremberg, Germany, for the Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair, held from January 30 to February 4, and next to New York City for the Toy Industry Association’s American International Toy Fair, held from February 10 to 13.

The coordinated NumbersAlive! products develop creativity and inquiry skills as children encounter numerical linkages in shapes, quantities, patterns, names, and order—the basics of mathematical and scientific thinking.

For more information, visit www.numbersalive.org/.

Kids Preferred Brings Celebrated Folk Legend Peter Yarrow to Toy Fair 2013

Kids Preferred, one of the leading U.S. children’s toy and gift manufacturers, is proud to announce that legendary folk singer Peter Yarrow will return to their booth (No. 2167) at the American International Toy Fair, located at the Jacob K. Javitz Center in New York City from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, February 11. Attendees of the trade show and members of the press will have the opportunity to meet Yarrow, hear him sing some timeless classics, and have him sign the hardcover illustrated children’s book he co-wrote based on the iconic dragon made famous by Peter, Paul, and Mary. [Read more...]