MEGA Brands Inks New Deal for Dinosaur Train

As part of a partnership with MEGA Brands, Inc., there will be a new line of Dinosaur Train toys hitting store shelves in North America beginning spring 2011. The new Mega Bloks products will launch worldwide fall 2011.

The deal by The Jim Henson Company, creator of Dinosaur Train, grants Mega Brands worldwide, multi-year licensing rights for the line of preschool construction toys.

Created by Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold!), Dinosaur Train airs on PBS Kids.

Patch Products Announces New Line of Science Kits

Patch Products is releasing three new preschool science kits based on PBS KIDS’ Sid the Science Kid television show. Produced by The Jim Henson Company, Sid the Science Kid aims to encourage children’s natural curiosity, while developing early science skills.

Patch Product’s science kits include “Why Do I Need a Jacket?,” “How Do Plants Grow?,” and “Why Are Wheels Round?.” Each kit costs $9.99–for ages 3 and up–and includes a journal and kit-specific items.

“Why Do I Need a Jacket?” encourages preschoolers to explore aspects of the weather, including temperature and precipitation. “How Do Plants Grow?” teaches the fundamentals of plant growth, including what dirt is, while “Why Are Wheels Round?” teaches movement and some basic physics.

HIT Entertainment and Dizzy Feet Partner for Youth Dance Program

HIT Entertainment is collaborating with the Dizzy Feet Foundation (DFF) to expand its youth dance program nationally. The Angelina Ballerina Stars of Tomorrow campaign successfully ended its pilot program in the Bronx earlier this year, and the organizations plan to expand into at least three other cities’ Boys & Girls Clubs outside of New York this fall.

The partnership with DFF includes a dance scholarship–four to be awarded locally and one nationally–as well as access to DFF choreographers and special appearances by celebrity members of the Foundation.

Board members for DFF include Nigel Lythgoe, producer of So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol, and Katie Holmes, who will help guide the program as it develops. These members, as well as others on the DFF steering committee, will make public service announcements promoting the program, to be aired during the Angelina Ballerina The Next Steps television show on PBS KIDS.

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WordGirl Receives Comic Book Series Through BOOM! Studios

Scholastic Media has announced that superhero series WordGirl will receive a comic book series this fall through BOOM! Studios. WordGirl comic books and graphic novels will be available throughout the U.S. and Canada, ranging from $2.99 to $9.99. The comics will feature all-new storylines.

The deal follows the announcement that the WordGirl series has received three 2010 Daytime Emmy Award nominations. The series was awarded a Daytime Emmy Award for Best Writing in Animation in 2008. WordGirl airs daily on PBS.

BOOM! Studios recently launched it BOOM Kids! imprint in spring 2009. The imprint serves as a home for BOOM!’s kid-friendly content.

HIT Entertainment Launches Dance Education Program

HIT Entertainment has launched a new pro-social campaign to increase accessibility to dance programs for children through the Angelina Ballerina brand, the Angelina Ballerina Stars of Tomorrow campaign. The company will be working with the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, located in the Bronx, who will pilot the program.

The campaign will provide access to dance education for children ages 5 to 12 to raise awareness of the benefits of dance, including building confidence, inspiring creativity, and promoting physical health. The campaign will also feature a microsite on www.AngelinaBallerina.com, which will include the program’s mission, partners, local news, events, and ways to get involved. The site will also feature videos from the Stars of Tomorrow classes.

The pilot program at Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club will offer Angelina Ballerina dance classes in ballet, hip hop, latin, and African dance. Teachers will receive in class materials specific to the program, including an Angelina Ballerina Tip of the Week, posters, and nutritional information. Each class will begin with a warm-up routine based on the new PBS KIDS series, Angelina Ballerina the Next Steps.

HIT Entertainment plans for the campaign to be a multi-year endeavor.

All Aboard the Dinosaur Train! Four New Episodes to Premiere Starting May 24 on PBS Kids

PBS Kids will be airing four new episodes of the CG-animated preschool series Dinosaur Train from The Jim Henson Company. Airing May 24-27, the special summer vacation-themed episodes find the family packing up and boarding the train to discover the wonderful variety of dinosaurs inhabiting the globe as they journey to Asia, Europe, and Africa. Also joining this trip is a new character, Gilbert, the conductor’s young nephew.
In addition, two new games will be featured at PBSKIDS.org/dinosaurtrain. The All Aboard game (launching in May) will give kids control of the Dinosaur Train as a junior conductor, helping to seat different types of dinosaurs as the train moves from station to station. In Dinosaur Tracks (available now) Buddy and his friends are making tracks in the mud, and kids can help them figure out which footprint comes next.

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