China Toy Fair


The Young Scientists Club Turns 15

YoungScientistsClubTo celebrate its 15th anniversary, The Young Scientists Club will add new kits inspired by the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (S.T.E.M.) education. The company will show off the new kits, which feature The Magic School Bus and Clifford the Big Red Dog, at February’s American International Toy Fair.

The Magic School Bus Math Explosion features a volcano that kids can explode by getting their math facts correct, while The Magic School Bus Engineering Lab lets kids build a solar oven, design a car, construct a bridge, create solar energy, and more. Clifford Animal Science includes a colorful lab tray, measuring cup, and magnifying glass for kids to perform experiments in animal science. Finally, Clifford Food Science guides young scientists through tasty experiments with catchy titles, such as rainbow ice and ice cream in a bag.

 

COMMENTARY: Not All Science Toys are Created Equal

Not all science toys are created equal. Today’s kids live in a world oozing with technology, discovery, gizmos, and gadgets—and toy store shelves reflect this environment. Classics, such as volcano kits and fossil excavation sets, will always retain their charm and their ability to excite and inspire kids. However, more high-tech items, such as solar-powered robots and hovercrafts, are the toys of today—and tomorrow.

There is immeasurable value in science toys. Kids gain knowledge and understanding of the world around them by immersing themselves in a hands-on activity that lets them comprehend how things work, where things come from, or how to use one thing to power another. Providing kids with fun and exciting alternatives to mind-numbing video games or TV shows is a great way for parents and caregivers to encourage learning and positive play, even outside of school hours.

Hovercrafts, once a thing of sci-fi and fantasy, are now a reality. Thames & Kosmos offers kids the opportunity to build their own working hovercraft with the Air Stream Machines kit. The kit teaches kids about air mass and air pressure by letting them experiment with propellers, impellers, blower motors, and fans. Kids can even build a batting machine that suspends a ball on top of the stream of air. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Clifford The Big Red Dog Helps Explain The Science Behind Rainbows

Lindsay723.2Clifford The Big Red Dog is such a classic, lovable cartoon character, so it is fitting that Scholastic has a Clifford-themed science kit about something as spectacular as rainbows. Who doesn’t love to look to the sky and see an array of colors that seem to have magically appeared there after a rainy day? I know I sure do—almost as much as I loved Clifford growing up. Clifford The Big Red Dog Rainbow Science, part of The Young Scientists Club, is for ages 3 and up and is an experiment kit that teaches kids the science behind rainbows, while encouraging them to take an active role in their learning. Included in the kit is an informative manual advising close adult supervision for all experiments, and all the materials: a pipette, three test tubes, a funnel, test tube holders, wells, six pieces of chromatography paper, crayons, rainbow glasses, a measuring cup, a pencil, a mirror, and a white circular cardboard. Common household materials are needed for the experiments as well. The bottom of every experiment page provides explanation for the outcome and there are illustrations outlining each step to every experiment, which I found to be very helpful once I was actually experimenting.

The first two experiments are dubbed “milk rainbow” and “rainbow star.” Both call for milk to be poured into the provided plastic bowl and for kids to add a drop of yellow, red, and blue food coloring (which must be provided from home). The child is than instructed to add one drop of liquid dish soap to the middle of the bowl. The point of these experiments is to show kids the liquid soap breaking the surface tensions of the milk, causing the color droplets to mix together and in with the milk. The next few pages of the manual feature experiments that teach kids how to use and clean the pipette properly, be creative and come up with their own secondary colors from primary colors, and decorate the chromatography paper provided from the kit. The next three experiments use vegetable oil, which must also be provided from home. The purpose of the “colored bubbles in oil,” “rainbow color explosions,” and “colored bubbles in a tube” experiments are to show kids that since oil and water don’t like to mix, the watered food color will not dissolve into the oil, causing bubbles to form and even explode when the oil and water are mixed in one of the test tubes. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: The Best of Both Worlds

My fondest childhood memories always involve some sort of book. Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, and the Baby-Sitters Club series played a huge role in my adolescence, and I still feel the pang of sweet nostalgia when I see these titles today. Part of my job is to round up toys, mobile apps, games, music, and books to feature in Toy Insider, but in recent months I find myself frantically searching for books to include while games, toys, and especially apps appear in abundance. I am a bit resistant to change, as I still prefer to hold a book in my hand to a Kindle or Nook, so the decline of printed books had me bogged down a bit. As I began searching for books to feature, I realized that reading is reading, and anything that brings a child to find his or her inner bibliophile is A-OK with me. There are so many new platforms for reading that don’t leave out books but take them to a new level, and we have to keep up!

8341295_0_9999_med_v1_m56577569853114439I am fascinated by the LeapReader Read & Write System by LeapFrog. This company is known for its kid-friendly tablets, but this new product has the coolest gadgets and gizmos that should make any child excited about story time. Starting with the very basics, the LeapReader Read & Write books will help your child learn to read and write by sounding out words and guiding letter strokes interactively. The set includes the LeapReader Reading and Writing System, an activity sampler book, one learning paper writing sheet, and free downloads of one audio book bundle, one music album, and one trivia fun pack. I think the coolest part is that interactive handwriting guidance helps children learn to write stroke-by-stroke on mess-free, no ink LeapFrog learning paper—which is also ecofriendly! There are more than 150 books and audiobooks available to add to the set, of which my personal favorite is Learn to Write Letters with Mr. Pencil. [Read more...]

The Young Scientists Club To Debut New Clifford License at Toy Fair

A big red dog will be teaching science tricks to youngsters next year. Through a new licensing agreement, The Young Scientists Club has enlisted a beloved literary character, Clifford The Big Red Dog, to guide kids to discover bubbles, rainbows, and experiments by the kitchen sink in three new kits. [Read more...]

Scholastic Media Inks New Deals For Clifford’s 50th Anniversary

Scholastic Media announces new partnerships for Clifford’s 50th Anniversary. American Home and Textiles will offer Clifford-themed infant and toddle bedding and bath products as well as hooded towels, beach towels, beach mats, hooded ponchos, and terry canvas tote bags. American Home and Textiles will also have kitchen place mats, tablecloths, napkins, welcome mats, curtains, valances, tie backs, pet beds, and kids quilted slumber mats. [Read more...]

The Magic School Bus Celebrates 25 Years

The Magic School Bus is celebrating its 25th anniversary with new products, a live tour, and promotions. The Scholastic brand will kick off the celebration next month with the release of The Magic School Bus: Oceans game for Nintendo DS and The Magic School Bus: Dinosaurs app for Apple’s iPad. Both releases are based on the Scholastic books written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen.

Joining the celebration, Identity Games will release its new GameChanger (an electronic board that works with the iPad) featuring The Magic School Bus game skins. The Young Scientists Club will launch “The Magic School Bus Science Club,” and release five new Magic School Bus activity kits this year. Scholastic Audio has three new Magic School Bus audio books scheduled for release next year.

Additionally, Maximum Entertainment Productions and The Brad Simon Organization will tour the new “The Magic School Bus – Live! The Climate Challenge” live show throughout the U.S., hitting 60 cities. An anniversary field trip event and a book signing in New York City, as well as an online game, are also planned.

Video: Kid Stuff PR Media Party at Toy Fair

Kid Stuff PR hosted a Media Party at Toy Fair New York to showcase products from companies such as Mandy and Pandy, Marshmallow Fun, Prime Time Toys, Kids Preferred, and more. Learn more: