China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Marble Runs Are on a Roll!

During Toy Fair last month, I saw quite a few marble runs on display, which is not at all surprising. This particular toy has been around since my own childhood and never seemed to go away for any prolonged span of time. Meanwhile, one of the vendors I spoke to said marble runs have actually increased in popularity over the past year, thanks to the growth of the construction toy category. He also said that many customers opt for larger sets—or else buy multiple small ones of the same brand—and that the ability to combine sets to build ever-larger runs makes for exceptional toy value in their eyes.

Personally, I think marble runs are a thing of beauty: You drop in your fateful spheroid and watch as it winds its way toward its ultimate destiny, guided only by physics and skilled engineering. For young builders, they are a terrific means of developing an understanding of cause and effect, not to mention patience–as any seasoned vet can tell you, it can take repeated tries and multiple setbacks before a marble run is put together perfectly. But it’s worth it: A well-built run can have a downright pacifying effect, as watching the marble traveling along can put the mind in a focused, relaxed state.

Despite what they may have in common collectively, marble runs come in a range of different shapes, materials, and styles. Here are a few of my favorite companies currently producing them, but by no means should it be considered a definitive list. The breadth and scope of these toys is certainly worthy of a longer discussion; I’m just here to get the proverbial ball–or marble–rolling:

Phil.2.28.Pic2Hape is known [Read more...]

Kids Preferred Offers New Buildex Ride-Ons

tractorGiving kids their very first ride of their own, Buildex Riding Toys offer innovation in children’s toys. With cool suspension and steering, these easy-to-build, no-tools-required wooden toys, Buildex Riding Toys, from Kids Preferred, introduces many new wooden construction toys in a new product category.

Developed in conjunction with toy designers at Chelona Wooden World, Buildex toys are ideal for your little explorers looking to take their first independent ride. This new generation of real-wood toys with water based stains was designed for kids (and kids at heart) with an appreciation for movement and design. The collection utilizes Grid-Lock and Safe-Lock, unique construction systems that allow strong and safe assembly without the need for glue and tools. [Read more...]

Kids Preferred Debuts Little Artists, Musicians Lines Featuring The World of Eric Carle

EricCarleEaselThis spring, Kids Preferred will debut two new collections of toys from The World of Eric Carle. The Little Artist Collection features artistic toys and accessories that offer young artists the chance to paint the world as they see it, while the Little Musician Collection helps budding little musicians create notes, rhythms, and tunes all their own.

The World of Eric Carle line has The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Carle’s best-selling children’s book, as its centerpiece. Both the Little Artist and Little Musician Collections will debut at the American International Toy Fair in February.

The Little Artist Collection includes a wooden easel with a paper roll, paint cups, and magnets, including a chalkboard and a dry erase board; an art smock /apron with vinyl pockets; and a splat mat/floor cover with a colorful design that absorbs paints and spills. [Read more...]

Guillow’s Model Airplane Fleet Grows by Six New MiniModels

Rockstar.Jet.planeGuillow’s model airplane kits are still beloved by those who enjoy the simple beauty of building, and then flying, a balsa wood toy plane. Guillow will showcase six new miniModels in the company’s 4500 series at the upcoming American International Toy Fair. While Guillow’s traditional toy gliders can be put together in minutes, these miniModels require roughly an hour of engineering.

The 4500 series includes the U.S. Hellcat or U.S. Warhawk, each with red propellers, and a German Fighter with distinctive black markings on its wingtips. Three non-military planes—the Rockstar Jet, V-Tail, and Stunt Flyer—round out the six miniModels.

Guillow’s miniModels need no cutting or sanding to construct. Easy-to-follow 3-D videos can be found at the Guillow website. Each of the six new miniModels is appropriate for kids ages 13 and up, and can be found online and on hobby and toy store shelves next year.

Motorworks Expands with New Cars, Play Sets, Accessories

ManhattanToy.Motorworks.convertibleMotorworks, from The Manhattan Toy Co., will expand its line next year with new models, a car trailer, and accessories. The vehicles are designed with a common, convertible chassis, which allows kids to choose between durable, snap-on parts and to customize in different ways.

The collection is comprised of three different trim levels: Street Series, Speed Series, and Extreme Series. Motorworks will attend next year’s American International Toy Fair with its latest offerings, all of which are suitable for kids ages 3 and up. [Read more...]

Bunnies By The Bay Unveils Brand New Product Line

-1Bunnies By The Bay debuts its new Blossom and Skipit products from the Glad Dreams collection. This marks the company’s first collection of soft books and wooden toys, which will be available during fall of this year. The new line of Blossom and Skipit Busy Toys includes a Blossom themed soft book, rattle, and pull toy, as well as a Skipit themed soft book, rattle, and pull toy.

Kids Preferred, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of plush toys and gifts, recently added Bunnies By The Bay to its growing collection of offerings for babies, toddlers, and kids.

Nickelodeon Teams Up with KidKraft for Dora Inspired Wooden Toys

NICKELODEON DORA THE EXPLORER TOYSNickelodeon and KidKraft have partnered to create a line of designer wooden toys, doll furniture, and accessories featuring Dora from the Dora the Explorer series. The new line of products includes a lifelike kitchen and dollhouse, both standing at almost four feet tall.

Dora’s Dollhouse features 13 wooden crafted furniture pieces and colorful artwork to reflect the animated style throughout the Dora the Explorer series. Similar to the dollhouse, the Dora Kitchen is made of wood, includes a removable sink for quick and easy cleaning, convenient storage space under the sink, functional cabinet doors that open, and wooden pegs for cooking accessories

The Dora Kitchen and Dollhouse are available this summer. Additionally, doll furniture and accessories will be introduced to the line later this year.