University Games has added Puremco, a publisher of dominoes and domino accessories, to its growing portfolio of toys and games. The acquisition of Puremco’s wholesale business by University Games is its tenth acquisition since 1998.
University Games has appointed Craig Hendrickson and Dickie Walsh to University Games Corporation’s executive team. Hendrickson joined the company on October 13 as its first senior vice president of marketing and product development, and will oversee University Games’ product development and marketing strategy and overall marketing program. He joins following 13 years at LeapFrog, where he held a similar title.
Walsh joins University Games as its first chief operating officer and will work closely with co-founder Cris Lehman in overseeing the company’s finances and operations.
University Games has invited young game inventors with original board game ideas to participate in the 22nd annual National Young Game Inventors Contest for a chance to have their game manufactured and included in the University Games lineup next year. Additional prizes include a family vacation to San Francisco, Calif. (includes four nights lodging and airfare for up to two adults and one child), a $10,000 savings bond for college, and a complete library of board games from University Games.
Entries are now being accepted for the contest, which is open to kids ages 5 to 12, and sponsored by Toys “R” Us and Scholastic Parent & Child magazine. Complete rules and entry forms can be found at www.nygic.org.
Since the National Young Game Inventors Contest was launched in 1993, it has encouraged thousands of young children to stretch their imaginations and develop board games such as Munch Math, Rapunzel’s Revenge, Rhyme Time, and more.
The Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood product line will include more products and enter major retail chains this year. Jakks Pacific will expand the brand’s range of toys, as well as venture into new categories including books and costumes, the latter through its Disguise division. In addition, University Games will offer puzzles and games such as the Colorform Deluxe Playset.
The new toys and games are part of an overall retail expansion, which includes Kmart and Target introducing a selection of licensed merchandise, and Barnes & Noble launching a full line of books from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing under Simon Spotlight. Daniel Tiger Neighborhood products will also be introduced to Canadian retailers for the first time.
The merger will increase University Games’ domestic revenue by approximately 20 percent. Additionally, the Briarpatch licenses will augment University Games’ Colorforms business. University Games will begin shipping Briarpatch products this month.
John Donofrio and Martine Redman founded Briarpatch in 1991, and Donofrio will join University Games in a consulting role.
Seemingly endless construction and bumper-to-bumper traffic. Dead batteries in the PS Vita or Nintendo 3DS. No wi-fi connection and nothing good on the radio. Uncomfortable seatbelts and restless little bodies. Though road tripping is a great option for a large family looking for an affordable summer getaway, sometimes a long journey in a crowded car can make a vacation more stressful than it’s worth. Portable gaming systems can be great (especially when coupled with headphones), but sometimes battery-free options are a safer bet for long journeys. For parents just looking to relax, there are a few great products on the market sure to keep little ones occupied in the car for extended time periods.
Brain Box Animals, from University Games, is great for on-the-go fun. Players ages 8 and up choose a card from the box and study the picture on one side until the timer runs out. Then the players flip the card over to the question side and try to answer as many questions about the picture side as they can. The player who can answer the most questions correctly wins. Brain Box Animals helps kids stay entertained while practicing memorization and recognition and learning new information.
Uncomfortable seatbelts are always a complaint with younger kids, but with SeatPets, from Jay at Play International, kids’ seatbelts stay in place. SeatPets are soft, cuddly animals that attach to the shoulder restraint portion of a seatbelt. Perfect for long carrides, SeatPets provide a soft cushion between the neck and the belt and a cozy pillow for naps. Each colorful, furry SeatPet has three pockets and two zippered compartments designed to store all of the things that kids want and need when they’re in the car including, MP3 players, hand-held games, toys, snacks, and an eight-ounce water bottle.
Stuffies, from martFive LLC, are super-sized plush animals with seven top-secret pockets that are fun to discover and store all kinds of keepsakes. For parents who don’t want their car to turn into a second toy box during travel, Stuffies allows kids to bring a few of their favorites and keep them all safe in one place. In addition, every Stuffies toy comes with a surprise roll of collectible stickers and a free storybook from the Stuffies Adventures collection. Each book shares important lessons in fully illustrated, rhyming stories on topics including controlling tempers, using imaginations, volunteering, teamwork, and embracing chores.
TrayKit, from Kids Preferred, is a carry-on backpack that kids can pack themselves and carry on a trip using the handle or shoulder straps. TrayKit can be hung from the back of a seat or strapped to a tray table. When the kit is opened, kids have a play surface with raised sides so nothing falls to the floor. There are colors and patterns for boys and girls ages 3 and up, and the play surface can be cleaned easily. TrayKit accessories include passport holders, luggage tags, travel journal kits complete with pencils and erasers, and TravelBugs, which are small clip-on plush bugs in four styles.
Each of these products are noise-free, don’t require any batteries, and will provide easy entertainment for kids during long trips. There’s enough play value in these items to keep kids happy, while mom and dad stay stress-free (as long as the GPS doesn’t malfunction).
For more commentary from Marissa, check back each Monday afternoon. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!
Kids Preferred has been a partner for more than 7 years with successful programs consisting of plush, plastic, and wood developmental toys in retail accounts including Babies “R” Us, Buy Buy Baby, Kohl’s, Sears, and Barnes & Noble. Kids Preferred continues to develop a wide range of innovative toys that encourage early developmental skills and playful learning for infants and toddlers. New introductions and expanded retail programs this year will include the following Target, Kohl’s, and Babies “R” Us. [Read more...]
Colorforms 60th anniversary set
The Colorforms brand is celebrating 60 years of creation by releasing new products to match today’s generation.
What do you get when you put two artists together? In at least one case, you get a “sticky” concept of classic shapes that allow imaginations to run free.
In 1951, Harry and Patricia Kislevitz were given flexible, paper-thin vinyl by a friend who manufactured pocketbooks. Curiously, they began experimenting with the vinyl, cutting shapes and placing them on the bathroom walls in their New York City apartment. They noticed the vinyl stuck to the semi-gloss paint, but could also be removed and rearranged, so the two left a pair of scissors and pieces of vinyl in the bathroom so guests could make their own creations.
With that, the Colorforms concept was created. This month, the brand is celebrating its 60th anniversary, with the launch of a special-edition Colorforms set, FAO Schwarz display, an iPad/iPhone app, and more.
Classic Media has announced new licenses for newly premiered television series Tinga Tinga Tales, including Ravensburger for puzzles, Pressman Toy Corporation for games, and University Games for Colorforms activity products. The new licensees will join master toy partner Bandai and master publishing partner Grosset & Dunlap.
Tinga Tinga Tales is an animated preschool series about how animals came to be. Inspired by traditional animal folktales from Africa and the colorful Tingatinga art style of Tanzania, the series is created by producer Claudia Lloyd (Charlie and Lola) and produced entirely on location in Africa by local artists.
Tinga Tinga Tales premiered on February 14 with the launch of the Disney Junior block on Disney Channel. The series, for kids ages 2-7, airs weekdays in the U.S. at 11 a.m. ET/PT. Bandai will release interactive toys based on the series in fall 2012.