Author: Jacqueline Cucco

Hidden Gems: This Year’s Doll Category Is Full of Surprises

Unboxing is a huge trend right now — and there’s no surprise there. Browse through YouTube or Instagram Stories, and you’ll see video after video of consumers unboxing anything and everything, from celebrities opening PR packages brimming with beauty products to young kids tearing through blind bags loaded with toys. Toy companies are taking the surprise component of the big reveal and bringing it to the doll aisle in unique ways this year. Dolls are becoming more multidimensional as manufacturers add new, surprise elements to the packaging and more hidden gems inside for kids to uncover. In some cases,...

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Play in the Upside Down With Stranger Things Monopoly

Stranger Things fans can keep on living in the Upside Down with Hasbro Gaming’s Monopoly Stranger Things Collector’s Edition game, even after they’ve finishing binging season three of the Netflix series. Fans of the Netflix series can first unbox the game from a retro package featuring artwork inspired by the show. The game is inspired by seasons one through three and features tokens, artwork, and themes that fans will recognize from the Upside Down and Hawkins, Indiana. To play, players race between the tunnels under Hawkins to buy as many properties as they can. Instead of the usual Monopoly houses and hotels, players can purchase forts...

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A Nickelodeon eSports Gaming Platform is in the Works

Emerge Gaming and Viacom Africa partnered to launch NickX, a kid-focused Nickelodeon eSports Gaming Platform based on Emerge Gaming’s ArcadeX technology. The interactive tournament platform will give kids a place to play unique games and content while showcasing content from Nickelodeon. Users in Africa will be able to access the service for free through the Nickelodeon web app, the Android app, and the iOS app, available on all devices. Monetization will come from brand take-up, premium subscriptions, in-app subscriptions, and advertising across the...

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Disney Releases a New ‘Frozen 2’ Trailer

Disney revealed a new trailer and images for Frozen 2 this morning. Like in the first teaser trailer that was released in February, Elsa is pumping herself up to jump into a stormy ocean. This time, she gets sucked underwater, where she comes face to face with a ghostly, glowing horse named Nokk — a mythical water spirit that uses the power of the ocean to guard the secrets of the forest. We finally get some dialogue as Pabbie the troll rolls up and drops some wisdom, saying, “We have always feared Elsa’s powers were too much for this...

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A Gift From Grandma and Grandpa: A Growing Market

Specialty stores create that special touch for grandparent shoppers If one thing’s a given in life, it’s that grandparents know how to spoil their grandchildren. Kids everywhere are in luck because grandparents account for more than a quarter of total U.S. toy industry sales, spending nearly $7 billion on toys in the 12 months ended last June, according to the NPD Group. And this segment will continue to grow as more millennials become parents. Tons of specialty retailers are using this growing market to their advantage with special programs and events tailored to grandparent customers. Kiddywampus, a specialty toy...

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Bandai America Launches New Tamagotchi

There’s a new Tamagotchi on the block. The original Tamagotchi made a comeback last fall, with the same look and programming from when it first came out in 1997. Bandai America is shaking things up this time around with Tamagotchi On, the virtual pet with a whole new look and gameplay. Tamagotchi On features millions of different Tamagotchi characters, including a “My Tama” that looks like a combination of the Tamagotchi’s mom and dad. Users can decide what their Tamagotchi character does, with so many more activities than the original: It can eat at home or at the restaurant, go...

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Go Ahead, Play With Your Food

The toy industry embraces foodie fun with edible toys. By JACQUELINE CUCCO, associate editor Elbows off the table, napkin in your lap, and don’t play with your food! Adults have always taught kids that food is for eating, not for playing. But toymakers are taking matters into their own hands and flipping the switch on the age-old rules of etiquette with a whole buffet of edible toys on the market. That’s right — toys you can eat. NEW TREND ALERT One of The Toy Association’s top toy trends of this year is “Foodie Fun,” based on the creative ways...

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‘The Gnome in Your Home’ Inspires Acts of Kindness

Dr. Susan S. Johnston, Ph.D partnered with Redasign Studio to bring The Gnome in Your Home to life through through a Kickstarter campaign. The Gnome in Your Home is a colorful picture book for kids ages 3-8 years old about a gnome named Heartley and his gnome friends. The gnomes find that although they are small, their kind acts can make a big difference. The book is written by Dr. Johnston and illustrated by Uma Sharma, and comes packaged with a 12-inch plush Heartley. The story concludes with a few pages of removable “kindness cards” that give examples of simple, kind acts that kids...

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Rubik’s Cube Has Big Plans for 40th Anniversary

The Rubik’s Cube is hitting the a big milestone, turning 40 years old next year, and Rubik’s Brand will celebrate the anniversary with a range of special events, new products, and partnerships. Rubik’s Brand will launch a new twisty puzzle created by Ernő Rubik; a series of brand collaborations and global licensing deals, influencer, and ambassador programs complemented by a multi-channel social media strategy; a global TV campaign; and a 20 month PR campaign. Speaking about the partnership, Smiley CEO Nicolas Loufrani said, “It is the only retro game to still be a massive hit with new generations of...

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USAopoly Releases Captain Marvel Card Game

USAopoly released Captain Marvel: Secret Skrulls, a social deduction card game inspired by Marvel Studios’ upcoming Captain Marvel film. In this 30-minute game, players can assume the identities of characters from the movie as they attempt to defend Earth in the intergalactic conflict between the Kree and the Skrulls. The game uses the same mechanics from USAopoly’s BANG! Game and is designed for four to seven people. Players can take on the roles of Captain Marvel, her allies, Skrulls, or a Skrull Defector, and then use logical reasoning, observations, and player feedback to strategically determine who to trust and...

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