ASTRA’s Certified Play Expert Program Open for Enrollment

PrintThe American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA’s) Certified Play Expert program is now open for enrollment. The program is a new education initiative to help specialty toy professionals strengthen their businesses.

The Certified Play Expert program provides research-based instruction in several core areas, including theories of child development, characteristics of major developmental stages, play for children with disabilities, types of play and their benefits, toy safety, choosing toys and play activities, advocating for play, and making sense of play. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Everybody’s Game at ASTRA Game Night

A version of this commentary first appeared in the July/August issue of The Toy Book.

ASTRA Game Night Pic 1

ASTRA Game Night took place in Ballroom CD of the Charlotte Convention Center.

Game nights are a terrific way to unwind, and the one hosted by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) during its Marketplace & Academy in Charlotte, N.C., this past June was no exception.

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COMMENTARY: ASTRA Marketplace & Academy: It’s All Fun and Games

Mollie Thonneson, the creator of Tag the Art Game, at ASTRA Marketplace & Academy with Alan Walker, aka The Art Cowboy

Mollie Thonneson, the creator of Tag the Art Game, at ASTRA Marketplace & Academy with Alan Walker, aka The Art Cowboy

So I recently attended the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) Marketplace & Academy, which took place in Charlotte earlier this month. While it wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as its northeastern counterpart, February’s North American International Toy Fair, it was still a great place to spot new developments in toys and games, especially the latter.

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Q&A with Kathleen McHugh, President, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)

ASTRA.KathleenMcHughThe Toy Book (TTB): How can specialty retailers compete in 2015?

Kathleen McHugh (KM): ASTRA is launching an exciting new program that is designed to help independent specialty retailers position their stores as destinations. The program will offer exclusive products for ASTRA member retailers that will not be available elsewhere.

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YOXO Arrives in Select Target, Barnes & Noble, and Specialty Retailers across the U.S.

YOXOSpecialty retailers and select Target and Barnes & Noble stores have begun stocking their shelves with YOXO, a construction brand known for encouraging creativity in kids. The construction kits incorporate durable, recyclable, and interchangeable chipboard connectors in Y, O, and X shapes for kids to construct infinite creations powered by their brains and not batteries.
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