China Toy Fair


Nickelodeon Road to Worldwide Day of Play to Take Place across Multiple Cities

Nickelodeon has scheduled three Road to Worldwide Day of Play events that will visit San Diego, Calif., today to July 2; Detroit, Mich., on July 30 to August 1; and a third city on September 3 to 5, to be chosen by kids themselves via an online contest launching today. These summer events will culminate with Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play event on September 20, when the network goes dark and its partners host grassroots activities to celebrate play.

Through July 27, kids ages 7 to 12 can log onto www.nick.com/play to tell Nickelodeon why their hometown should get a visit during the Road to Worldwide Day of Play. One grand-prize winner will be chosen from the submissions to bring Nickelodeon-themed games, slime, and live-action stars to local events in their hometown.

As a lead up to September 20, Nickelodeon is partnering with organizations in San Diego, Detroit, and the third contest-winning city to bring Nick-themed activities to local partner events that encourage kids to get up and get active. These events will feature fun-filled games, appearances by stars from Nickelodeon hit shows, costumed characters, a grant presentation to a local non-profit organization, and more.

Spin Master to Participate in First Integrated Summer Camp Program

logo_spinmasterSpin Master has partnered with Youth Venture Marketing LLC and the American Camp Association (ACA) for the first integrated summer camp program. Spin Master products will be integrated into more than 135 camp programs across the U.S. at ACA-accredited camps through August. Campers will have the opportunity to interact with Spin Master brands such as DigiBirds, IONIX, Kinetic Sand, Meccano, Sew Cool, and Wackytivities.

COMMENTARY: Games Are Fun, and Can Keep Kids Thinkin’ Over Summer Vacation

I think any kid would back me up when I make the claim that the best part about summer vacation is having no school. As a youngster, the summer meant the beach, sports, barbeques, and playing outside all day, which made it my favorite time of year. However, summer can also mean reading, keeping up with topics, and building on concepts that were learned months before. That list isn’t always a kid’s favorite cup of tea, but something that they all love is toys and games.

The door in the educational category for toys is now wide open, especially with schools under extra pressure because of Common Core standards. There are quite a few games to keep kids’ noggins churning while having fun, which is one of the best ways to keep them engaged and interested while school is out. Some examples of such are these new games from Funnybone Toys:

cubu-1-250x250Cubu plays on visual illusions to confuse players as they try to follow number and color sequences. This game forces players to use both sides of their brain at the same time, which stimulates the mind in a way that you wouldn’t expect. The challenge lies in keeping up with the number, color, and position of boxes on the cards, while the key hurdle is identifying the pattern and seeing what cards you have in your hand to make your next move. The game lasts until someone reaches 100 points and is declared the winner. The instructions also offer a speed round of Cubu and alternate ways to play the game. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Video Game-Based Toys Can Ease Kids into Other Kinds of Play

KNEX.SuperMarioDesertIt’s summertime, which for a lot of kids means playing outside in the sunshine, swimming, and maybe even going on trips to visit nature. But for others, summer means staying indoors and playing video games all day. It’s probably best to moderate any activity that involves staring at a screen; however, the question is, how to get video game-obsessed kids to take up a different form of play? The answer may be toys based on popular video game titles, and there are quite a few of those available right now.

We kick off our non-comprehensive list with K’NEX, which since 2010, has partnered with Nintendo on construction toys based on its popular Mario property. Recently, I spoke to an executive at the company, who said that no small part of the partnership’s success came from replicating game elements in K’NEX’s construction sets: For example, many of its Super Mario building sets have a mechanism that simulates the avatar’s in-game jumping ability. [Read more...]

Wicked Cool and Sesame Workshop to Partner on Summer and Seasonal Products

WickedCoollogoupdatedWicked Cool Toys has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Sesame Workshop for summer and seasonal toys based on classic Sesame Street legacy characters, including Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Abby Cadabby. The licensing agreement covers North America, and the line is expected to include balls, hoppers, sprinklers, and sandboxes. These items will begin arriving at retail next spring.

“We are thrilled to be working with the talented entertainment innovators at Sesame Workshop, and to bring a line of engaging seasonal, sand, and water toys to market beginning next year,” said Jeremy Padawer, co-president of Wicked Cool Toys.

Beach Chess Goes Indiegogo for Funding

BeachChessAn Indiegogo campaign has been launched for Beach Chess, which consists of one white cube and one black cube. Each of the cube’s six faces features an outline of each of the six unique chess pieces—pawn, rook, knight, bishop, king, queen.

Each cube measures about 2.5 inches square and fits in the hand. The black cube makes a fully depressed imprint in the sand, whereas the white cube only makes an outlined imprint so you can tell the difference between the “white” and “black” pieces. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Here We Go A-Travelin’

Summer time means vacations, trips to Grandma’s, sleepovers with friends, and plenty of other activities that keep parents and their kids on the  move. On long car trips, plane rides, or any sort of day away from home, it’s good to have toys to bring along to keep kids entertained. It’s important to have toys that kids can play with en route, as well as upon arriving at the destination, without overpacking the car.

Avoid constant complaints of “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?” with a few of these fun on-the-go toys.

3artsee_studio_mainThe ArtSee Studio, from WowWee, turns an iPad into a creation station. Kids can turn simple drawings and paintings into animated games, activities, and more. Using the interactive tools, kids can quickly make a blank canvas explode with color, sound, and movement. The studio allows kids to explore creativity while dabbling in technology all at the same time. The ArtSee Studio is for kids ages 3 and up.

aquadoodle_travel_doodleWith the Aquadoodle Travel Doodle, from Spin Master, kids can turn a road trip into creative fun. By simply adding water, little artists can create fun-filled, no-mess drawings on the go. The Aquadoodle Travel Doodle pen draws in red or blue ink, never makes a mess, and never runs out. Bumpy car rides can be hazardous with other drawing tools, but the Travel Doodle leaves no trace behind. This soft, portable drawing toy allows kids to create on the go. [Read more...]

Five Tips for Safe Summer Play from Toy Industry Association

To help assure that summer play is both safe and fun, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) offers parents five toy-related tips for a safe, active, and fun summer.

1. Pay close attention to the age appropriate guidelines on toy product packaging.

Age labeling is a safety precaution and is based on children’s developmental skills and ability at a given age, as well as the appropriateness of the toy for that age. Age labeling does not pertain to the intelligence of a child, so selecting toys marked with an age older than the child’s age is a mistake.

2. Make adult supervision a crucial element of outdoor play.

Children are quick and inquisitive. They should never be left alone near water sources (pools, inflatable “kiddie” pools, beaches, etc.) … not even for a moment. Water toys should be kept out of sight or out of reach when not being used so children aren’t tempted to play in or near the water alone.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has published a complete set of tips and information to help keep kids safe in and near the pool.

3. Buckle children up with helmets, knee pads, and other protective gear when playing with ride-on toys.

Most parents are aware that protective gear (helmets, knee pads, and arm pads) is crucial when riding a bicycle, but buckling up and wearing protective gear is equally important for other ride-on toys, including tricycles, scooters, skateboards, and skates.

4. Keep young bodies protected from the sun and heat.

Outdoor play areas should be covered to protect childrens’ sensitive skin from the sun’s intense rays. Children should wear hats, 100-percent UVA sunglasses, and a broad spectrum sunscreen (UVA and UVB protection) when playing outdoors.  The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all children—regardless of their skin tone—wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and re-apply every two hours or after prolonged contact with water.  Studies show that children do not always experience thirst before dehydration, so it is important that they drink plenty of fluids during and after play, even when they do not feel thirsty.

5. Organize and store toys to prevent slips, trips, and falls.

Large, plastic bins with lids are perfect for organizing and storing smaller toys. Bins should be marked by name so that toys for children of differing ages can be easily separated.  An outdoor shed should be set up with designated “parking” spaces near the door for bicycles and other ride-on toys; smaller items like skateboards and skates should be hung off ground-level or stored on shelves to prevent slips, trips, and falls.

For additional information on safe play and tips on toy selection, visit www.ToyInfo.org.

This post was originally published by PR Newswire.

Children’s Musician Bari Koral to Play Free Summer Concerts

Bari Koral’s concerts are a high energy and interactive experience for the whole family. Her live shows blend music, movement, singing, dancing, and even a little yoga.

The summer, Koral will play seven free shows on Long Island. If you print out the flyer above (click on the image to make it larger) and take it to one of her shows, you can receive a free ducky with any merchandise purchase.

Check out her full schedule at http://barikoral.com/calendar.html.