Wal-Mart’s Toy Supplier of the Year Award Goes to Spin Master

logo_spinmasterWal-Mart chose Spin Master Ltd. as the recipient of its Toy Supplier of the Year award, which was presented at the company’s annual supplier summit in Orlando, Fla. on March 13.

“We are so honored to have received such great recognition from Wal-Mart,” said Ben Gadbois, global president and chief operating officer of Spin Master Ltd. “Our goal is to collaborate with all of our retail partners to be a world class supplier and deliver high quality and innovative products. Wal-Mart’s Toy Supplier of the Year Award exudes excellence in the business, and we look forward to continuing our work with Wal-Mart for many years to come.” [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: It’s All About the Robots

Earlier this week, Senior Editor Marissa DiBartolo wrote about how the floor of the American International Toy Fair 2014 was lacking in the realm of appcessories, and that many companies were heading back to the classic play patterns, especially in the activities category. I also noticed an emerging trend that does not heavily rely on app technology, but does not veer from the idea of incorporating tech into playtime: robots.

As I walked the floor, I saw a bunch of different robotic products that really displayed where the category is heading—and a lot of that was not app-reliant. Of course, most of these robots can be controlled with or used with smart devices, but gone are the days where “and it has an app!” was a suitable enough novelty to convince consumers to purchase the toy.

Ali.Feb27First, let me introduce you to MiP. MiP, which is short for Mobile Inverted Pendulum, is WowWee’s latest innovation in association with the University of California at San Diego’s Coordinated Robots Lab. MiP has unique dual wheel balancing (thanks to that inverted pendulum science!) and is a fully interactive robot. MiP is able to navigate his surroundings while being controlled by hand gestures or through a Bluetooth link to a smart device. MiP also has a personality that is communicated through motion, sounds, and his LED eyes. [Read more...]

The Year’s Most Outstanding Toys and Games Honored at TOTY Awards

Rainbow LoomOn February 15, the eve of American International Toy Fair, hundreds of toy executives and industry guests gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City for the 14th Annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and Toy Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Rainbow Loom, from Choon’s Design LLC, won Toy of the Year as well as prizes in three additional categories, while GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, from GoldieBlox Inc., took home the People’s Choice award by pulling in the most online votes from consumers.

The event also featured five inductions into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Jill Barad, former chairman and CEO, Mattel; Horst Brandstätter, president and owner, Playmobil/geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG; Jack Friedman, former chairman, CEO, and co-founder, Jakks Pacific; and Arthur “Spud” Melin and Richard Knerr, co-founders of Wham-O Toy. [Read more...]

Spin Master Ltd. to Show Off New Innovations for Toy Fair

logo_spinmasterSpin Master Ltd. will showcase its portfolio for the upcoming year at American International Toy Fair in New York City, introducing a number of new innovations and brands including:

Flutterbye: A world of fairytale creatures comes twirling, dancing, spinning, and of course, flying into kids’ rooms. Driven by innovation, Flutterbye puts the control into girl’s hands, inviting them to unlock their fairies’ hidden potential and joy.

Ionix: These construction bricks shape-shift and change to become mini figures, action figures, weapons, gear, gadgets, and more. They also snap together with other leading construction systems.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 by Ionix: Kids can shape-shift and build their favorite dragons with new Ionix bricks, and recreate the incredible adventures of Toothless, Hiccup, and all of their friends as they battle against new foes and other threats to their homes on Berk.

Pokémon by Ionix: Ionix bricks bring favorite Pokémon characters like Pikachu, Chespin, Fennekin, Froakie, and more to life.

Maddy: Spin Master’s newest interactive doll, Maddy, is a talking, moving, “thinking” animated toy. Maddy’s glasses are a pair of high-resolution LED screens that function as her eyes, but will also play short animations, and can even be used to play mini games. Kids can download the free companion app to call and text their Maddy, play games with her, and discover some of her hidden features.

Paw Patrol: Based on a top-rated preschool series airing every weekday on Nickelodeon, this new toy line features lovable pups, cool vehicles, and magical transformations.

Zoomer Dino Boomer: This new guard dino runs around on two feet, chomping and whipping his tail. Kids can play with him in autonomous mode via the sensors in his nose, or pick up the control pod to send him on the attack. Dino also has a softer side, protecting his friends and sometimes even busting a dance move.

COMMENTARY: Tech Toys That Extend Beyond the Screen

TT12This year, for the first time ever, the Toy Insider released a list of top tech toys for the holiday season in its gift guide called the Top Tech 12. This list promotes the belief that we have here about a “well-balanced toy box.” In a world that has new technology each day—and tons of digital, innovative toys for kids—it’s easy to get caught up in buying the newest, most glamorous toys out there without really knowing if it’s the right toy for your kid. The Toy Insider’s goal with this list is to help shoppers sift through all of the options out there for forward-thinking and impressive tech-based toys that incorporate the latest in digital play, creativity, and innovation.

Shameless self-promotion aside, tech toys are becoming harder and harder to sift through, so finding the perfect one for every kid can be difficult.  Of course, many in the industry, wandering the shopping aisles, and generally existing around toys know about Skylanders Swap Force and Disney Infinity, two new innovative video game platforms that mix digital and physical play, but they aren’t the only toys out there with exciting new technology. All of the toys on our Top Tech 12 list are great, but I picked a few favorites that are not only great technology innovations, but they also give kids other options of physical play—so they aren’t glued to a screen all day.

robodog_dalmatian_p9_go_pee_copy (1)Zoomer, from Spin Master, is a trainable robotic dog that is the perfect option for kids that want a pet and parents that want a clean house. Zoomer can be trained to respond to a bunch of different commands and tricks in three different languages (English, Spanish, and French). Zoomer learns kids’ voices and how to respond to these commands. He is adorably cute and lifelike. Left to his own devices, he’ll wander around the room, just like a real puppy. Zoomer’s LED lights blink and react making him seem more alive than your typical robots. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Indoor Toys to Defeat the Colder Weather Blues

I could have sworn that yesterday was the first declared day of summer. Man, it totally flew by! Though I love autumn now, I remember hating the changing of the leaves as a kid—it meant no more pool parties or beach days, and very limited outdoor play as fall turned to winter. Fear not, kids of 2013: there are so many new toys to make indoor play equally as exciting as those water guns and slip ‘n slides. Though I can’t help you with the pool situation (even I will miss the sunshine and water combo), I can give you a list of some of the hottest remote-control and robotic toys for indoor play to get you through the colder weather.

zoomer-150x150For parents who don’t allow dogs in the house, get rid of the constant begging and pleading from your kids with Zoomer, from Spin Master. He does everything that a real dog does—except shed hair and pee in the house! He’s cute and interactive, and he listens and learns commands. The trainable robotic pet will sit, bark, run, play, and even roll over on command. He even lifts his leg when commanded to “Go pee.” Kids can teach Zoomer more than 60 tricks, and the more time spent with him, the more he does—a lesson in pet responsibility. He responds to Spanish, French, and English. He is spotted like a Dalmatian, and he answers to his name, Zoomer! It’s absolutely adorable, doesn’t need regular vet visits, and won’t beg you for food. Win-win! He loves when you pat his head or tickle his tummy; like a real dog, he can’t help but wag his tail. [Read more...]