Author: Christine Duhaime

Sago Sago Launches Consumer Products Division

Sago Sago, a developer of apps for toddlers, is launching a new consumer products division. The division will be led by Samson Lee, head of consumer products; and Stephanie Lemoine, design director. The move comes after the successful test run of plush toys produced by Sago Sago last year as a pilot project in partnership with Monster...

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Rasta Imposta, Sony Pictures Consumer Products Partner for Pixels Halloween Costumes

Rasta Imposta has been granted a license from Sony Pictures Consumer Products to produce Halloween costumes featuring characters from Pixels, based on the movie set to hit theaters July 24. Rasta Imposta will bring the Arcaders to Halloween this year, along with Lady Lisa and the video game character Q*Bert from the upcoming...

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COMMENTARY: Toy Shoppers Have More Tools at Their Disposal than Ever

Today’s toy shopping experience has become a combination—or choice—of in-person browsing, online price comparisons, and research in a way we’d previously never seen before the dawn of the smartphone. Gone are the days of browsing the aisles of a single store, limited to its inventory and prices. Competitors used to be a trip or a phone call away, and often, shoppers didn’t have the time or desire to drive around town in search of a slightly lower price. Shoppers that want instant gratification can now do a quick search online to check if the toy they want is in stock, or to see which store in their area offers the lowest price or is having a sale, promoting a discount or coupon, or other incentives. I am often this type of shopper—I know what I want, and I know when I want it: Now! However, depending on the product or price, I’m willing to go out of my way to find a better deal. It’s incredible that I can pull out my iPhone and determine the best way to spend my money in an instant. Not only that, I can get directions to the store while I’m at it! Other shoppers don’t mind waiting to get an even lower price from retailers such as amazon.com, or even ebay.com. Toy retailers sometimes use eBay to clear out stock to make...

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COMMENTARY: These Toy Fair Exhibitors Have Science Education Down to a Science

Science kits are typically geared toward kids ages 8 and up. There have been plenty of logical reasons for this—for one thing, kids need to be able to read the manual to do the experiments; and for another, science experiments can be complex, requiring kids to have longer attention spans and higher critical thinking skills. However, at this year’s North American International Toy Fair in NYC, many companies have found ways to introduce science to a younger audience. Snap Circuits Beginner (Elenco) Elenco’s Snap Circuits line teaches kids about building circuits, and each kit includes dozens of projects per pack to keep...

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COMMENTARY: Toy Fair 2015 Debuts Plush for Both Kids and Adults

Plush is not just about stuffed teddies anymore. At North American International Toy Fair, there were dozens of companies with plush on display—ranging from traditional bears, to robotic plush, to artistic plush. Creative plush designs are especially cool because they appeal to both kids and adults. The right plush piece can even add a unique design element to a room, and many of these types of plush characters are great gift ideas for expectant parents who are waiting to find out their little one’s gender, since they have a gender-neutral heirloom quality to them that makes them extra special....

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Wicked Cool Toys to Introduce Girl Scouts Cookie Oven

Wicked Cool Toys introduces a delicious baking experience with the first Girl Scouts Cookie Oven, as well as a line of role-play products inspired by the girls’ leadership organization. The Girl Scouts Cookie Oven will feature mixes inspired by Girl Scout Cookies, such as Thin Mints and Trefoils, as well as the Girl Scouts On-the-Go Wagon and Cookie Stand. The Wicked Cool Toys Girl Scouts line is expected to hit mass market retailers nationwide this fall. The Girl Scouts Cookie Oven lets aspiring bakers make their own Girl Scout cookies. The working oven comes with tools and mixes that allow girls to make cookies that look and taste like the real thing. The viewing window lets bakers see the cookies bake, and a warming station heats and melts cookie coatings and frostings. The Girl Scouts Cookie Oven comes with a mix to create Thin Mints, a spatula, a baking pan, and a measuring tool. Kids can choose from Thin Mints, PB Sandwich, Trefoils, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coconut Caramel, Chocolate Chip, Sugar, and Oatmeal Refill Packs. Deluxe Refill Packs offer kids several flavors. The Girl Scouts On-the-Go Wagon has a wooden base with height-adjustable metal mesh framed walls with a Trefoil pattern and holds lots of Girl Scout Cookies, toys, sports gear, and more. It includes a removable cookie stand, a chalkboard, and a clipboard. The Girl Scout Cookie Stand...

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Disney Introduces First Latina Princess

Disney has introduced its first Latina Princess: Elena of Avalor, a 16-year-old character inspired by “diverse Latin cultures and folklore.” Disney describes Elena as a “bold, caring, funny and clever ascendant to the throne in the fairytale kingdom of Avalor.” Elena will debut on Disney Junior‘s animated show Sofia the First next year, followed by a spinoff series, Elena of Avalor, which will premiere next year on Disney Junior and Disney Junior’s programming block on the Disney Channel. The series will be presented in 25 languages in 154 countries worldwide. The show’s estimated daily reach will be more than 207 million households. Princess Elena’s journey begins when her parents and kingdom were taken by the evil sorceress, Shuriki. Elena faced the sorceress to protect her little sister, Princess Isabel, and grandparents. In the process, her magical amulet pulled her inside its enchanted jewel, which saved her life but imprisons her. Years later, Princess Sofia discovers the truth about the amulet she has worn since joining her royal family and sets out to restore Elena to her human form and help her return to...

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COMMENTARY: This Holiday Season, Let’s Not Forget the Value of Games

Just this weekend, I attended a party at a friend’s house—a “FriendsGiving” gathering hosted by her and her husband. After a delicious pre-holiday feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and veggies, we decided to let the food settle while playing a game of celebrity Charades. Our game was spontaneous, so we worked with what was at hand: post-it notes, a pen, and a salad bowl. We tore up the post-its, wrote the names of celebrities, and tossed them into the bowl before breaking into teams and doing our best Michael Jackson, George Washington, and Vanna White impressions. This reminded...

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Q&A with Toca Boca on Artist Play Series, Toca Ink Tattoos for Kids

This month, Toca Boca launched the Artist Play Series, a new project that invites international artists to celebrate the synergies of play and art by creating tools for play. The result is a series of toys that encourage imagination and self-expression. The line kicked off earlier this month with Toca Ink, a set of six temporary tattoos by Brooklyn-based tattoo artist Virginia Elwood. The Toy Book chatted with Toca Boca about the new line. The Toy Book (TTB): Is this Toca Boca’s first licensed product line in the U.S.? Toca Boca (TB): Toca Ink, the first product from the...

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Gryphon House Teaches Kids About Science

Science—Not Just for Scientists!, from Gryphon House Inc., teaches kids about the world of scientific discovery. The book features more than 40 pages of hands-on activities, reproducible handouts, and colorful photos that empower children to question, experiment, and develop abstract reasoning skills. With the help of step-by-step instructions and lists of easy-to-find materials, children ages 3 to 6 will explore the water cycle, simple machines, energy paths, and...

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