Sweet Suite 2016

The Toy Insider Unwraps 2015 Hottest Holiday Toys

Layout 1The Toy Insider unwrapped its 10th annual holiday gift guide today, including expert picks for the hottest toys and kids’ tech items of the 2015 season. The guide is broken out into three lists: the Hot 20, Top Tech 12, and, new for 2015, STEM 10. With many options for boys and girls of all ages, these 42 items are expected to top kids’ wish lists and be hard to find or sold out by Christmas.

“This year’s hottest toys are not only going to ‘wow’ kids this holiday season, but also keep them engaged in hours of imaginary, mind-stimulating, and creative play well into 2016,” says Laurie Schacht, Toy Insider Mom and publisher of The Toy Insider. “This year, we also created a STEM 10 list in response to requests from parents who are looking for great playthings to reinforce important science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills.”

Click here to see the full guide!

The Strong Now Accepting Nominations for Induction into National Toy Hall of Fame

Toy enthusiasts are invited to nominate their favorite classic toy or game for induction into The Strong museum’s National Toy Hall of Fame. Submissions are being accepted through July 31.

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Spin Master Named Global Toy Partner for Relaunch of Iconic Noddy Franchise

Noddy1Spin Master and DreamWorks Animation have entered into an exclusive licensing relationship, in which Spin Master will serve as the master toy licensee for the relaunch of the iconic preschool franchise, Noddy. Alongside the all-new TV series, Noddy, Toyland Detective, a wide range of toys including figures, playsets, vehicles, games, and more are slated to hit shelves in fall 2016.

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Animal Planet Hatch ‘Ems Dinosaurs Bring the Prehistoric Pandemonium

hatchemdino2Animal Planet Hatch ’Ems Dinosaurs are colorful dinosaurs that actually hatch out of their shells. Simply place the dinosaur eggs in a container of water, and within two days, the eggshells will slowly break. Once hatched, the dinosaur pet is to be kept in the water for up to three weeks for continued growth. The product line will also include Fun Fact Cards, providing information on each species of dinosaurs.

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CPSC to Host Webinar on Toy Safety Requirements in the U.S. and Canada

CPSCThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will host an upcoming business training webinar to provide toy manufacturers, importers, and sellers with requirement updates for manufacturing safe and compliant toys in the U.S. and Canada. The webinar will take place on June 24 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

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K’NEX Introduces Mighty Makers Building Sets, Designed to Encourage and Empower Girls

KNEX Mighty Makers logoK’NEX Brands has introduced Mighty Makers, a line of construction toys designed to empower girls through creative and stimulating building ideas. Created by an all-female marketing and design team, the Mighty Makers building set line encourages girls ages 7 and up.

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COMMENTARY: The Toy Industry Celebrates Valentine’s Day

SkylandersPopFizzOh, Valentine’s Day—the holiday people love, and the holiday people love to hate. Whichever way you see it, Valentine’s Day is at least a good enough excuse to eat a lot of chocolate, binge-watch romcoms, snuggle up with your favorite plush, and play with Valentine’s Day-themed toys. [Read more...]

GUEST OP-ED: Is That a Squirt Gun in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Displaying Your Deep Human Need to Play?

by Matthew Lawrence, strategist, Fresh Squeezed Ideas

FreshSqueezedPlay2As a 42-year-old dad to two young boys, I get excited when they ask for toys bearing the same franchises I loved as a child during the 70’s and 80’s (It seems to be superhero everything, these days!). Providing them these experiences reminds me that I still have some youthful zeal and enthusiasm, which is a great asset in my role as a cultural strategist who works day-to-day at loftier, more adult-natured stuff. But it also reminds me that they are able to enjoy the richest play experiences possible, through tried and true brands that have endured the test of time. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: As Play Gets Smarter, More Toys Come to Life Digitally

It’s official: Smart toys are taking over the toy space.

Gone are the days in which kids are content with traditional methods of play. Books, activities, and games are all available for kids on mobile devices, and they expect their toys to be no different. But although the mediums that kids are interacting with daily are changing, the one thing that won’t ever change is that kids love play.

Angry Birds Stella Telepods

Angry Birds Stella Telepods

Smart toys integrate physical toys and technology—essentially giving digital life to toys. Manufacturers are starting to realize the added value in these products and how wildly popular they can be. More than 72 million kids say they want smart toys, according to market research firm Interpret in a GameByte study.

In addition, kids are using mobile devices more than ever before. Seventy-one percent of households with a child age 4 to 14 reported owning a smartphone in 2014, already up from 55 percent in 2012, according to The NPD Group. Also, kids who own tablets doubled from 2012 to 2014, growing from 21 percent to 43 percent, respectively. [Read more...]

Fisher-Price Enters Global Collaboration with Shakira and The Barefoot Foundation for Best Possible Start Campaign

shakiraIn a global partnership centered on early childhood development, Fisher-Price Inc. has partnered with singer Shakira—who is also a mother and philanthropist—and the Barefoot Foundation to create a web series for moms and co-develop a new line of babygear and toys.

The program targets millennials, who make up 80 percent of today’s first-time moms. The collaboration, which is focused on sharing opinions and recommendations with other moms, kicks off today with a 12-part web series featuring Shakira’s personal reflections on what her baby has taught her about herself. Other topics include the importance of early childhood development, looking at the world through a child’s eyes, facilitating milestones, and her hopes for raising a future philanthropist.

Segments also celebrate babies’ activity and growth, as well as Shakira’s own parenting journey from a very personal mom-to-mom point of view. The series will be distributed exclusively over digital to 23 countries at one time, delivered via branded social channels and supported with paid media. The content will live within a microsite, which will contain product information on her First Steps Collection, the new Babygear, and infant line of toys Fisher-Price co-developed with Shakira.

Fisher-Price Shakira First Steps Collection Kick & Play Piano Gym

Available in the U.S. exclusively at amazon.com as well as fisher-price.com, Shakira’s introductory spring line of co-developed Fisher-Price baby gear and toys will include the following: [Read more...]