China Toy Fair


Spin Master Launches Tenkai Knights by Ionix Toy Line

Tenkai WorldSpin Master Ltd. has launched the Tenkai Knights toy line. Tenkai Knights is the first franchise to launch under the Ionix construction brand, a revolutionary new construction system featuring shape-shifting building bricks. Ionix bricks are fully compatible with other construction sets, which allows kids to build whatever their imagination can create. Tenkai Knights by Ionix is available at Toys “R” Us and Target, and will be available at Walmart on December 1.

Kids of all ages will be able to bring the Tenkai Knight’s world to life by unleashing the Tenkai power inside each unique construction brick. The building bricks are packed with surprises and infused with a special kind of shape-shifting Ionix magic that will allow kids worldwide to experience classic construction play in a brand new way. The toys bring the characters and the world of the Tenkai Knights animated TV series to life.

The Tenkai Knights TV Show, which airs Saturday mornings on Cartoon Network, is a U.S. and Japanese co-production.  The Spin Master entertainment team worked with production company, Shogakukan-Shueisha (ShoPro), to create the series.  Tenkai Knights has a unique style, mixing traditional 2-D animation with CGI, creating a distinct look that separates Tenkai Knights from other series.

COMMENTARY: Tech Toys That Extend Beyond the Screen

TT12This year, for the first time ever, the Toy Insider released a list of top tech toys for the holiday season in its gift guide called the Top Tech 12. This list promotes the belief that we have here about a “well-balanced toy box.” In a world that has new technology each day—and tons of digital, innovative toys for kids—it’s easy to get caught up in buying the newest, most glamorous toys out there without really knowing if it’s the right toy for your kid. The Toy Insider’s goal with this list is to help shoppers sift through all of the options out there for forward-thinking and impressive tech-based toys that incorporate the latest in digital play, creativity, and innovation.

Shameless self-promotion aside, tech toys are becoming harder and harder to sift through, so finding the perfect one for every kid can be difficult.  Of course, many in the industry, wandering the shopping aisles, and generally existing around toys know about Skylanders Swap Force and Disney Infinity, two new innovative video game platforms that mix digital and physical play, but they aren’t the only toys out there with exciting new technology. All of the toys on our Top Tech 12 list are great, but I picked a few favorites that are not only great technology innovations, but they also give kids other options of physical play—so they aren’t glued to a screen all day.

robodog_dalmatian_p9_go_pee_copy (1)Zoomer, from Spin Master, is a trainable robotic dog that is the perfect option for kids that want a pet and parents that want a clean house. Zoomer can be trained to respond to a bunch of different commands and tricks in three different languages (English, Spanish, and French). Zoomer learns kids’ voices and how to respond to these commands. He is adorably cute and lifelike. Left to his own devices, he’ll wander around the room, just like a real puppy. Zoomer’s LED lights blink and react making him seem more alive than your typical robots. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Memory Games: I Can’t Remember When I’ve Had This Much Fun!

I’ll admit that my memory isn’t quite what it used to be. Part of that might just be the hectic nature of modern life: With so much going on around us and so many things to keep track of, forgetting becomes all too easy. It’s also a totally natural consequence of aging, says that article that I read, in, uh… some web site or other. The point is, nowadays I write a lot of stuff down on a pad, or I email myself reminders. I’ve also started playing memory games, which even if they don’t re-forge my brain into a sharp instrument of information-retention, are at least a whole lot of fun.

This brings us to the board game Memory, which we’ve all played in one form or another. There’s a set of tiles placed face-down, and one or more players take turns flipping them, two at a time. If a player turns up a pair with of same face, they get a point and go again. The overall premise is simple, yet versatile enough that the game’s been tweaked in all sorts of ways. Meanwhile, the images requiring matching can be anything, which might explain why various intellectual properties have utilized Memory as part of a larger licensing plan. Below you’ll find some interesting versions of the classic game currently on the market, though it’s by no means an exhaustive list:

MonstersUniversityMonsters University Look-A-Likes Matching Game, from Spin Master: This licensed game, intended for kids ages 3 and up, definitely benefits from the distinct visual designs of Mike, Sulley, and the rest of the gang from this past summer’s Monsters University (on DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack October 29). The illustrations are clean and brightly colored, and thanks to how they’re juxtaposed against white backgrounds, they make a better impression on your memory during game play. Meanwhile, each half of a matching pair of tiles features a different colored border, making it possible to split the deck systematically to play a simpler version of the game. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Indoor Toys to Defeat the Colder Weather Blues

I could have sworn that yesterday was the first declared day of summer. Man, it totally flew by! Though I love autumn now, I remember hating the changing of the leaves as a kid—it meant no more pool parties or beach days, and very limited outdoor play as fall turned to winter. Fear not, kids of 2013: there are so many new toys to make indoor play equally as exciting as those water guns and slip ‘n slides. Though I can’t help you with the pool situation (even I will miss the sunshine and water combo), I can give you a list of some of the hottest remote-control and robotic toys for indoor play to get you through the colder weather.

zoomer-150x150For parents who don’t allow dogs in the house, get rid of the constant begging and pleading from your kids with Zoomer, from Spin Master. He does everything that a real dog does—except shed hair and pee in the house! He’s cute and interactive, and he listens and learns commands. The trainable robotic pet will sit, bark, run, play, and even roll over on command. He even lifts his leg when commanded to “Go pee.” Kids can teach Zoomer more than 60 tricks, and the more time spent with him, the more he does—a lesson in pet responsibility. He responds to Spanish, French, and English. He is spotted like a Dalmatian, and he answers to his name, Zoomer! It’s absolutely adorable, doesn’t need regular vet visits, and won’t beg you for food. Win-win! He loves when you pat his head or tickle his tummy; like a real dog, he can’t help but wag his tail. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: This Summer’s Cinema Gets Cuddly

With the release of The Smurfs 2, Despicable Me 2, and Monsters University this summer, the movie theater will be a great destination for rainy days – and those days that are just too hot. With summer blockbusters come, of course, summer toys based on these movies to bring the movie worlds to life for fans. When it comes down to it, some of the best toys from these franchises are the simplest: plush toys. Plush toys allow kids to bring home new friends in cuddly, soft versions of their favorite characters. Bring the movie characters to life with these great plush products from your favorite summer movie:

54008Smurfs_Movie_Basic_Plush_SmurfetteJakks Pacific will introduce a line of 11-inch plush based on the characters from The Smurfs 2. With 12 characters to collect, kids can bring home their favorite friends from Smurfette to Grouchy to Papa Smurf. These Smurf plush toys aren’t just for fans of the new movie, but also for Smurf fans of all ages. [Read more...]

Monsters University Roars Into Retail

Spin Master's My Scare Pal Sulley

Spin Master’s My Scare Pal Sulley

Disney Consumer Products is rolling out a product collection inspired by Disney·Pixar’s newest film, Monsters University, starring Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan, “Sulley,” (voiced by John Goodman). The licensing program consists of more than 1,000 products from 125 licensees that celebrate the fun of Monsters University, which releases in theaters June 21. The product collection includes action figures, playsets, plush figures, apparel, accessories, home décor, publishing products, and more. An exclusive collection from Disney Store and DisneyStore.com is also available.

Products include role-play toys from Spin Master, playsets from Imaginext, T-shirts from Threadless, children’s footwear from etnies, a comforter set from Jay Franco, crib bedding from Kids Line, furniture from Delta Children, and themed Blue Raspberry Flavorz from Crunch Pak.

The line from the Disney Store and DisneyStore.com includes plush and pin collections, action figures, rolling luggage, books, and journals.

Chicago Toy & Game Group Expands Events in the U.S. and Abroad

The Chicago Toy & Game Group (ChiTAG) expanded its toy industry networking events to cities around the U.S., Canada, and the UK.

ChiTAG Networking Events were recently held in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto with upcoming events planned for London on June 5, Chicago on June 11, and Nashville on June 18 during ASTRA Marketplace & Academy, as well as events slated for New York, Seattle, Boston, Indianapolis, Sarasota, Montreal, and more.

ChiTAG advocates toy and game inventors, and its Networking Events are one of the many ways the organization carries out its mission to bring the industry together to share information, foster collaborative opportunities, and promote the power of play and the toy industry as a whole.

Events attract professionals from all areas of the business including manufacturers, inventors, designers, sales reps, independent consultants, and more, who come together to share experiences and develop new business relationships.

Past and future events are co-sponsored and held in collaboration with companies including Spin Master, Mind Candy, ThinkFun, Mayfair Games, PlaSmart, Bananagrams, Endless Games, RoosterFin, DesignEdge, Patch Products, Educational Insights, Top Trumps, Joyce Johnson Designs, Peaceable Kingdom, Jukem Football, Dynamic Designworks/DDW Inc., OtherdoorEntertainment, Snakes & Lattes, and toy/game retailers across the country.

Admission to ChiTAG Networking Events is free, and RSVP’s are required. For more information on upcoming events, please visit www.chitag.com/us/networking-events or email the Chicago Toy & Game Group at info@chitag.com, or phone (847) 677-8277.

Spin Master and NASCAR Teamed Up for Win a Ride to School Sweepstakes

ClientOn April 26, 
Spin Master Ltd. teamed up with legendary NASCAR driver Carl Edwards to bring the opportunity of a lifetime to Christopher Wooten, the lucky winner of this year’s Win a Ride to School Sweepstakes.

For Spin Master’s sweepstakes, children ages 5 to 17 throughout the U.S. were invited to enter online to win a free ride to school from Carl Edwards in a street-legal 2-seater version of his #99 Fastenal Ford Fusion car. With thousands of entries in the competition, Wooten was selected as the lucky recipient.

“It was definitely the coolest thing I have ever done.,” Wooten said. “I think we got some interesting looks along the way that morning. I was hoping no one was gonna wreck in front of us because we’d go by and they would be looking out the window to our side and not paying any attention to the road. I have never done anything close to what we did today, and it was such an incredible experience.”

Spin Master and NASCAR Team Properties have a multi-year, exclusive licensing agreement where children of all ages have been able to play and race like all of the pros with replica vehicles, play sets, and remote control items.

Air Hogs Takes to the Skies in For Lauderdale Air Show

jasonNewburgAir Hogs, announced the exclusive toy sponsorship of the Fort Lauderdale Air Show, April 20-21. The legendary Jason Newburg, who will be performing in the show, will pilot a full-sized version of the Air Hogs Sky Stunt R/C plane. After watching Jason and his tumultuous performance, guests will be able to meet the pilot himself at the Air Hogs Flight School Tent, where he’ll be stopping by for interviews, autographs, and photo opportunities on Saturday, April 20 from 3 to 4 p.m.

Visitors will be able to test out their own piloting skills in the Air Hogs Flight School where they can earn their own official Air Hogs Helicopter pilot wings with never-before-seen helicopters before they hit store shelves. Additionally, fans will be able to enter a draw to take home the entire Air Hogs product line to bring the fun and excitement of Air Hogs to their own backyard.

The 2013 Lauderdale Air Show will feature a diverse line up of military aircraft demonstrations, low altitude flyovers, parachute team jumps, civilian aerobatic performances that will soar over the oceanfront in Fort Lauderdale Beach. The Air Hogs tent is located at Sunrise Blvd and A1A and is open Saturday and Sunday, April 20 and 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Jason will be performing in the Lauderdale Air Show, piloting the Air Hogs Sky Stunt plane, throughout the weekend.

Temple Run Wins Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award, Unveils New Licensing Partnerships

Dimensional Branding Group (DBG), the licensing agency for Imangi Studios, announced today that Temple Run has won Nickelodeon’s annual Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite App. Temple Run beat Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, and Minecraft for the award.

Nickelodeon said more than 387 million votes were cast online in more than 22 countries, in 20 categories, spanning film, television, books, music, and sport for the stunt-filled annual award show.

More then just a game, Dimensional Branding has extended the Temple Run brand to include children’s sleepwear by Komar, digital comics with Ape Entertainment, and card and board games with Spin Master, among other licensing partnerships.