COMMENTARY: Dough Play: Letting Kids Be Gross

Spending time with my niece (age 8) and nephew (age 4) has taught me many things: patience, kindness, compassion, etc. However, one particular lesson has stood out to me as of late: kids are gross. They are adorable and awesome and hilariously uninhibited, which, in turn, often makes them gross. They just want to stomp in the mud, pick their noses, and enjoy all the luxuries of gooey, mushy substances. However, this grossness can easily be turned into something productive, cute, and brightly colored through dough play.

Play-Doh PlusPlay-Doh, from Hasbro, has been around for decades. I loved molding the clay-like substance when I was young, spending hours at the kitchen table with multiple containers worth spilling out onto sheets of wax paper. I loved squishing a big ball of Play-Doh in my hands and feeling the smushy compound ooze between my fingers. It was gross, awesome, and most importantly, wildly entertaining. In addition to Play-Doh and the new Play-Doh Plus compound, which is a fluffier version that allows for easier molding, there are other great new options on the shelves that allow kids to be creative while channeling their passion for mush and grossness.

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Brush Buddies Launches Smurf-Themed Toothbrushes

BRUSH BUDDIES SMURFSIn anticipation of Sony Pictures Animation’s release of The Smurfs 2, in theaters July 31, Brush Buddies announces a partnership with Sony Pictures Consumer Products for the launch of Brush Buddies Smurfs Poppin’ toothbrushes, Brush Buddies Smurfs Talking Toothbrushes, and Brush Buddies Smurfs manual toothbrushes. This collection will be the newest addition to the Brush Buddies licensed toothbrush collection.

The Poppin’ and Talking line is designed with safety features in mind for kids ages 2 to 11 years old. The products are BPA free with soft DuPont Tynex Bristles and designed with an ergonomic handle that easily fits a child’s hands.

To order your own Smurfs Poppin’ or Talking Toothbrushes, visit www.brushbuddies.com/thesmurfs.  The products are also available at Toys “R” Us and Walmart.

VTech InnoTab 3 Available for Pre-order

vtech_2VTech has introduced its latest, lower-priced Learning App Tablet for kids, the InnoTab 3. On the heels of the popular InnoTab 2S, one of the first children’s learning tablets with Wi-Fi, InnoTab 3 delivers a powerful punch, in a compact size and at an affordable price. InnoTab 3 introduces children to a world of age-appropriate educational content on VTech’s comprehensive app store, the Learning Lodge, where they can explore hundreds of games, e-books, videos, and music across the widest variety of curriculums. The new tablet is available for pre-order on www.vtechkids.com, Amazon.com, Target.com, Toysrus.com, and Walmart.com.

InnoTab 3 key features include compact and lightweight design with a 4.3-inch touch screen, a new directional pad, and a tilt sensor; 2.0 megapixel, 180 degree rotating camera with more than 55 photo features and special effects; 2 GB onboard memory; 15 on-board apps, and one free download redeemable on the Learning Lodge; built-in microphone and headphone jack add versatility; and pop-up onscreen keyboard and stylus with storage slot.

Walmart Partners with Warner Bros. for Man of Steel Screening and Promotion

Walmart_MOS_TicketsWalmart has partnered with Warner Bros. for an advance screening of the Man of Steel film, which will take place in selected local theaters nationwide at 7 p.m. on June 13. Tickets can be purchases at more than 3,700 Walmart locations nationwide. In addition to being the first to see Man of Steel, Walmart customers can also take advantage of special offers. Each ticket bought at Walmart will feature a code on the back that allows customers to pre-order their own Blu-ray Combo Pack or HD Digital Download of Man of Steel, which will contain exclusive film content.

Fans can bring Superman to life with the official Man of Steel Experience augmented reality app. The app allows customers to take photos with the superhero, as well as unlock special photo frames by pointing their phone at Man of Steel signage in their local Walmart. The app is available at the App Store and on Google Play.

Customers will receive a free original Digital Comic Book written by Man of Steel screenwriter David Goyer with every ticket.

For more information and to view the selected theaters visit walmart.com/ManofSteel.

National CASA Association, Toy Industry Foundation Launch National Partnership with Volunteer Event

National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Association and the Toy Industry Foundation have partnered at the national level to provide toys and increase the number of trained CASA volunteers to benefit children in the foster care system. The Toy Industry Foundation will donate more than 25,000 toys to CASA this year. The launch of this partnership will take place at the Toy Industry Foundation’s Play Your Part volunteer event on April 5 in Los Angeles.

National CASA, a network of 946 community based programs that recruit, train, and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities, will be working with CASA programs across the country to identify and distribute the donated toys to children in the foster care system.

Former foster youth, CASA volunteers, and special guests will share their personal stories at Play Your Part, joining more than 100 Toy Industry Foundation volunteers from Southern California toy companies to package and sort more than 16,000 toys for local foster youth. Walmart is donating the use of two tractor-trailers to ship toys to destinations throughout Southern California, and World Vision has donated the space for the event. Mattel, Leapfrog Enterprises, Funrise Toy Corporation, and Women in Toys are additional event sponsors.

BREAKING: Walmart’s Scott McCall to Deliver PlayCon Keynote

Some say retail is dead. Others say retail is king. Which is it? Go to PlayCon and find out what the world’s largest retailer has to say. The Toy Industry Association and PlayCon present an exclusive, one-on-one interview session with Walmart’s Senior Vice President for toys, seasonal merchandise, and celebrations, Scott McCall. A longtime Walmart leader, McCall joined the organization in 1993 and has served in numerous decision-making positions including divisional merchandising manager of toys from 2002 to 2007.

Nick Lachey Releases “A Father’s Lullaby” Album with Fisher-Price

Nick Lachey is set to release his first-ever lullaby album, A Father’s Lullaby, this March in partnership with Fisher-Price, Inc., a subsidiary of Mattel, and Mood Entertainment.

The album will feature 12 heartfelt songs, four of which are original tracks Lachey co-wrote including “Father’s Lullaby,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Sleepy Eyes,” and “Another Day Is Done.” Additional hand-picked titles Lachey covers on the album include “All Through the Night,” “Baby Mine,” “You Are My Sunshine,” “All the Pretty Little Horses,” “When You Wish Upon A Star,” “Godspeed (Sweet Dreams),” “Hush, Little Baby,” and “Brahms’ Lullaby.” [Read more...]

Monster Jam Signs New Toy Licenses

Feld Motor SportsAdvance Auto Parts Monster Jam, the touring monster truck property, which performs in front of 4 million spectators annually, has signed multiple new licensees, including two new toy partners.

Ridemakerz, creator of the vehicle customizing experience, has partnered with Monster Jam to bring kids a new way to build, create, and play with customizable Monster Jam trucks. A line of interlocking Monster Jam Xtreme Customz construction vehicles will be available at retail this fall.

Revell Inc. is launching a 1:25-scale model kit of one of the world’s most famous Monster Jam trucks, Grave Digger. The Grave Digger Snap-Tite Model Kit features authentic graphic decals and replica plastic parts that snap together for easy assembly. Monster Jam fans and hobbyists will have the opportunity to replicate the Grave Digger Monster Jam truck design.

In addition, Rico Industries/Tag Express’ line of Monster Jam novelty and souvenir products are currently available at Walmart. Sky High will launch Monster Jam back-to-school products this summer, and CSS Industries will introduce Monster Jam Valentine and Easter products next year.

Zeptolab Reveals Expanded Licensing Program at Toy Fair

ZeptoLab, the entertainment and gaming company behind the global mobile phenomenon Cut the Rope, is bringing even more ways for fans to interact with the lovable monster, Om Nom. Debuting at this year’s American International Toy Fair is Om Nom: Candy Flick, a new augmented reality game.

Om Nom: Candy Flick, available on Apple’s App Store, is unlocked via a special tag that can be found on a variety of Om Nom plush toys from toy partner, Round 5. Once downloaded, fans can bring Om Nom to life by positioning their smartphone or tablet’s camera on the tags and watch as he virtually pops out of the tag ready to devour his favorite treat: candy. [Read more...]

Delta Releases New Chair Desk

Delta Children’s Products releases the new Minnie Mouse Chair Desk, featuring Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck. With bright colors and a handy storage bin located under the seat, this chair desk is a great place for any little one to learn and play. The chair desk also features a bright cup on the table for holding beverages, pens, and crayons.

This item is currently sold at Walmart