Author: Guest Contributor

The Toy Association Issues New Study: What Makes a Good STEM/STEAM Toy?

How can toy companies create products that truly prepare kids for careers in science, technology, engineering and math? According to a new study, “STEM/STEAM Formula for Success,” released today by The Toy Association, great STEM/STEAM (with the “A” representing arts) toys encourage open-ended play and trial-and-error exploration, teach problem-solving, and allow children to lead the play experience, among other attributes. “The Toy Association’s latest report is the second phase of our multi-year initiative to bring more clarity to the topics of STEM and STEAM, and the central role of toys and play in advancing science- and math-based skills in children,” says Ken Seiter,...

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Tariffs and Other Regulatory Challenges: Critical Reasons to Attend The Toy Association’s Annual Business Conference

Toy professionals will learn key information to help them address industry challenges including the latest sweeping tariff proposals by President Trump and how to combat counterfeit goods, during The Toy Association’s Annual Business Conference (ABC), taking place June 18 to June 19 in Minneapolis, MN, and co-hosted by Target. In the following Q&A, Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs at The Toy Association, explains how the Association will update and inform conference goers on regulatory and legislative issues affecting their businesses: What will conference attendees learn about The Toy Association’s priorities this year when it comes to...

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The Toy Association Offers Crucial Information for Companies to Optimize Finance & Credit Operations

Toy professionals will learn about a variety of finance and credit issues including the health of key retailers, business financing options, and implications of new e-commerce tax rules, among other topics, during The Toy Association’s Annual Business Conference (ABC), co-hosted by Target in Minneapolis this June.   “Conference participants will come away with a better understanding of how to implement strategies aimed at making their companies more efficient and profitable – and better protected against troubled retailers,” says Paul Vitale, executive vice president of finance and operations at The Toy Association. “The informative finance- and credit-related sessions are a...

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Discover Key Insights from Target and More at The Toy Association’s Annual Business Conference

Registration is open for The Toy Association’s Annual Business Conference, co-hosted with Target in the retailer’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The conference will bring toy and youth entertainment industry executives together from June 18 to 19 to learn critical insights on the most important issues affecting their businesses. “Following last year’s success in Seattle with Amazon, the Annual Business Conference is a must-attend event for toy, play, licensing and youth products executives looking to add invaluable growth strategies and protect their businesses in the shifting toy and retail landscapes,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association....

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Become a Toy Safety Whiz

Everything You Need to Know About the New Toy Association Course by KRISTIN MORENCY GOLDMAN, senior communications specialist, The Toy Association There are hundreds of U.S. and global requirements and tests in place to ensure the safety of toys, but navigating these laws, which are continually revised based on emerging products, trends, and technologies, can be challenging. That’s why The Toy Association created a unique, exclusive Safety Education Program, available at The program is led by industry experts from the Association who walk participants through the federal, state, and international product safety landscape; provide important details about compliance...

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Partnering With the Right Influencers

Six Simple Steps to Foster Meaningful Influencer Partnerships by JULIE LIVINGSTON, president, WantLeverage Communications As a youth marketer, you know the value of having your product featured in the media and endorsed by a celebrity or social influencer. Online content and social conversations can initiate that “gotta have it” buzz, skyrocket website and social platform traffic, and boost sales. In fact, a recent Association of National Advertisers (ANA) survey revealed that 75 percent of marketers use influencers as a marketing tool, with many planning to increase influencer spending by 43 percent over the next 12 months. ANTITHESIS OF ADVERTISING...

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ASTRA Members Grow to Reach New Markets

ASTRA Introduces Three New Membership Categories by KIMBERLY MOSLEY, president, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association Members have always been at the core of everything we do at the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). Elected members govern ASTRA, who shape the strategic plan to guide our decision-making and use of resources. Over time, we launched key initiatives in response to member needs for creative tools to grow their businesses. Many of these member-driven innovations — for example, the Best Toys for Kids awards and Neighborhood Toy Store Day — have become signature programs for ASTRA, along with professional certifications...

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It’s Just a Package. Or is it?

Brands make packaging integral to play. by TED MININNI, president and creative director, Design Force Have you ever noticed that kids often love the packaging that a toy comes in more than the toy itself? They find creative ways to integrate the colorful packaging into play. Even basic cardboard boxes morph into dollhouses, spacecraft, robots, puppet stages, or countless other possibilities. According to, this play pattern has been so prevalent that the cardboard box was actually inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2005. Fast forward to 2018: Ikea took it a step further and released...

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