COMMENTARY: Spring into Outdoor Toys

With the recent beautiful weather in New York City, our office is gearing up for spring. We’ve been testing out everything from bikes and scooters to bubble toys and R/C vehicles. We’ve been looking at eco-friendly toys to celebrate Earth Day and flying planes and bionic birds. But there are certain toys that have really triggered my own memories of spring as a child and the activities I used to do with my family.

CatchoftheDayWhen I was a kid, spring meant trout fishing with my dad. But if you can’t make it to the stream, or if baiting a hook with a live worm is a little too much for you this spring, Small World Toys has got an alternative. Catch of the Day is a battery-powered fish that swims through your pool or, on a rainy day, the bathtub. Just drop the line with the magnetic bait attached to the end and wait for a bite. The Catch of the Day swims around the pool or bathtub until the bait is caught in its mouth, then it fights as it is reeled in.

Ali.April11My brother was (and still is) a big fan of flying kites, and I always loved to fly them with him, which may be why I found the WindNSun Uglydoll SkyPals from Brainstorm Products so appealing. These licensed Uglydoll kites feature the characters Ox, Ice Bat, Uppy, and Wage as durable nylon kites that are easy to fly and fun for everyone in the family.

So save the tech toys for a rainy day, and get outside and play! Make some memories of your own!

For more commentary from Ali, click the Commentary tab on our homepage. 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!

COMMENTARY: Toys Are More Fun Than Candy

Mattel’s North American team recently kicked off an Easter program called Save the Bunny, which launched with a clever celebrity PSA. The concept is to promote giving toys, rather than copious amounts of candy, for Easter. As part of the promotion, consumers who visit www.savechocolatebunnies.com will have a chance to win a Mattel toy every day this month, download exclusive coupons on toys from Mattel brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and Thomas & Friends, and win grand prize money.

As a parent and someone who loves toys, I whole-hardheartedly agree with this idea. Not only does my 3 year old not need a giant chocolate bunny, gallons of jelly beans, and piles of fluffy marshmallow chicks (OK, I’ll admit this is making me hungry), but I know from experience that I won’t actually let her eat it all, and I’ll end up eating it, which isn’t exactly part of my summer bikini plan (though I’m pregnant, so what’s the difference, right?). Anyway, she will have a lot more fun if I limit the candy to a few of her favorites, and fill that basket—er, strongly suggest the Easter Bunny fill that basket—with toys!

For retailers, signage suggesting spring/summer toys to fill Easter baskets should already be up, but it’s not too late! Many consumers wait until the last-minute to shop, especially with the holiday coming earlier this year. A special display of spring-like, small, basket-sized items makes shopping easy and promotes quick sales. The pharmacies already do this, toy stores should too! [Read more...]