First snowfall of my holiday season, here in beautiful Saskatoon! Shared the joys of holiday gift-giving with Jeremy, on the CTV Morning News, and with Jeff on the CTV News at Noon. Happy and joyous Holiday Cheer!
Originally posted on dailylounge.com
Reyne Rice has this season’s gift ideas just in time for Black Friday & Cyber Monday!
Kids love construction sets and younger kids can have fun practicing real world activities or using their imagination to create an entirely new world. The LEGO DUPLO Family House is designed for a child’s smaller hands to develop motor skills, and introduce children as young as 1 1/2 to LEGO building, with bricks that are twice the size of a classic brick. With endless playing possibilities and loads of elements and colors to spark their imagination, they learn to stack, build, and role-play as they act out everyday life. Visit shop.lego.com to learn more!
Playing games is a great way to bond as a family over the holidays. Catch the Fox by Goliath Games was named toy of the year in France, bringing laughter and fun to the family when uh oh – the Fox is in the hen house. This greedy fox is snapping up the chickens and stuffing them into his pockets. But when there are too many chickens, his pants will fall down, sending the chickens scurrying so it keeps everyone guessing. Be the first to return 5 chickens to your coop to win! Click here to learn more.
This is the Merge Cube, an award-winning 3D Augmented Reality toy that you use with your smartphone or tablet. This cube allows kids to hold digital, holographic objects in the palm of their hand! Many kids are hands-on learners, and this is enhancing the learning experience in a fun way that they will remember! Just download free or paid apps to activate and play with 3D games, characters and learning tools, like a skull, a rotating labyrinth, a chomping piranha, and so much more…all for less than $15! Click here to learn more!
Getting kids outdoors is always a plus. Kids will get hours of enjoyment out of these Passback Sports footballs. It is a one-of-a-kind training tool that is thrown like a regulation ball but engineered to hit a surface and come spiraling back. Aim the flat side of the ball to any wall surface and be amazed as it boomerangs back to the person who threw it. It’s like having a perfect practice partner when no one is around! It comes in three sizes: Pee Wee, Junior and an official Full size. Click here to learn more!
New York Toy Fair opens this weekend and our toy trend expert, Reyne Rice, has a sneak peek at some of the coolest toys this year!
Lego continues to innovate toys for younger kids. The LEGO DUPLO Batcave Challenge lets Batman fans be their favorite superheroes and drive the Batmobile and Batcycle as they look for The Joker and Poison Ivy. Create fun action scenes using these LEGO DUPLO bricks that are two times the size of a classic brick to accommodate smaller hands and help develop motor skills. Visit shop.lego.com to learn more!
Klutz has new titles in their book-based activity kits including LEGO Make Your Own Movie. Bring your favorite Lego mini-figures to life with this beginner guide to stop-motion animation. Create short, funny clips on a phone or tablet using six backgrounds and thirty-six LEGO elements. Visit Klutz.com to learn more!
A follow up to Sew Mini Treats is Sew Mini Animals that lets you stitch and stuff an assortment of fuzzy animals from felt. These mini plushies deliver full-size fun and everything you need to make up to 14 animals is included. Add extra accessories like hats, bows, and glasses to personalize your animals. Visit Klutz.com to learn more!
From the all-new Klutz Jr. line for preschoolers, My Egg Carton Animals lets kids transform specially made egg cartons into 6 barnyard animals. Fun animal facts throughout the book give an added giggle as kids paint and add googly eyes, cotton balls, and precut accessories to make their very own farm animal friends. Visit Klutz.com to learn more!
Spin Master is reviving ZhuZhu Pets from their launch in 2009 with over 20 new Zhu’s to collect! Each little hamster has a special hidden talent to discover. With their unique personalities and unpredictable behavior, Pipsqueak, Mr. Squiggles, Num Nums and Chunk love to zoom around, dance, talk and even sing. Make sure to check these cute guys out at ZhuZhuPets.com!
Kids can have hours of fun with the Giant Volcano with T-Rex from Schleich Dinosaurs play world. Press the skull to release the stalactites, set the dinosaur trap, or hit the large stone to see the fossil puzzle erupt from the side of the volcano. This playset encourages your child to explore the exciting world of dinosaurs with over 30 additional dinosaurs to collect. Click here to learn more!
Following the collectability trend, Whiffer Sniffers have become the “It Toy” for kids who collect. The new Series 4 will be introduced this year including Sour Saul, and May B Minty that kids clip to their backpack or sports bag. They smell like everything from popcorn to jelly beans! Or take a chance with this mystery package to find a rare special edition character. Visit WhifferSniffers.com to learn more!
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Aeromax Toys brings imagination to life. The Get Real Gear, My 1st Career Gear Tops, and accessories lets kids pretend to be firefighters, astronauts, chefs, and more. Pretend play inspires kids to dream big and helps build self esteem in their developmental years. They are known for their quality and durability, along with an affordable price. Visit AeromaxToys.com to learn more!
The year of 2017 is shaping up to be another substantial year for strong licenses and licensed properties, and brands with multi-generational appeal. There are a number of factors that support this premise. Character licensing is no longer relegated to the merchandising power of toys and games. Strong theatrical releases, live events and multi-tier tentpole events are driving merchandising dollars into apparel, publishing, sports, entertainment theme parks, and even more branded lifestyle categories.
For example, it was no coincidence that Pokémon Go attracted a wide swath of the population across multiple age groups. In 2017, the Pokémon brand celebrates their 20th anniversary. Kids who grew up with Pokemon are now young adults, for whom augmented reality treasure hunts were a positive pat-time for Summer 2016. Kids and parents also joined the foot traffic, as tens of millions of people across the globe hunted for the elusive Pokémon characters. Expect more Pokémon news throughout 2017, in new and exciting formats that will continue to break barriers with technology innovations. Promoting inter-generational play, active outdoor activities and the “Gotta Catch Em All “mentality will continue throughout 2017.
Key Anniversaries of Brands and Movie/TV Characters
|In the Night Garden||10||DHX Media|
|YooHoo & Friends||10||Aurora World/ Mondo TV|
|Build A Bear||20||Build-A-Bear|
|Pokemon||20||The Pokemon Company|
|Dragon Ball Z||30||Toie Animation|
|Care Bears||35||American greetings|
|Maya the Bee||40||Studio 100|
|Star Wars||40||Lucas Ent/ Disney|
|Toie Animation||60||Toie Animation|
|Mr Potato Head||65||Hasbro|
|Wonder Woman||75||Marvel/ Disney|
|Daffy Duck||80||Warner Bros Looney Tunes|
|Goofy animated character||85||Disney|
|Peter Rabbit: Beatrix Potter||150||Sony / Penguin/Beatrix Potter|
Other strong cross-generational brands celebrating major milestones include Star Wars 40th anniversary. Their first action figures for boys were launched in 1977, and stores couldn’t get enough merchandise to meet demand, even then. This dual target audience brand (kids and adults) will be strengthened with another new Star Wars movie, Episode VIII in late 2017, and the Rogue One movie (Holiday 2016) will continue to offer new footage and characters with epic stories in late 2016 and spilling over into 2017.
On a softer side, Care Bears will be celebrating its 35th anniversary with a Fall 2017 movie release. TeleTubbies are back, marking a 20 year anniversary with new TV episodes. Their storyline has been updated for today’s kids by updating the television screen on their tummies with touch-screens. Power Rangers continue to appeal to new fans each year, and will be celebrating 25 years of Power Rangers with their own 2017 movie launch. DragonBall Z (30th) and even Dirty Dancing (30th) will continue to tug at Millennial heart strings, with young adults and new parents remembering their childhood favorites.
With this knowledge of upcoming movies and strong anniversaries, store shelves and online channels will continue to appeal to the dual-target market audiences, and offer an inter-generational connection for the young and the young-at-heart.
Blockbuster Movies 2017 with Popular License Properties
|The Greatest Showman on Earth||20th Century Fox||Jan 2017|
|Monster Trucks||Paramount||Feb 2017|
|LEGO Batman||Warner Bros||Feb 2017|
|Beauty & The Beast||Disney||March 2017|
|King Arthur; Legends of the Swords||Warner Bros||March 2017|
|Smurfs 3: The Lost Village||Sony||April 2017|
|Guardians of the Galaxy 2||Disney||April 2017|
|Fast 8: Fast & the Furious||NBC Universal||April 2017|
|Power Rangers||Lionsgate||April 2017|
|Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales||Disney||May 2017|
|Despicable Me 3 (Minions)||Universal||June 2017|
|Wonder Woman||Warner Bros||June 2017|
|Transformers 5: The Last Knight||Paramount||June 2017|
|Thor Ragnarok||Disney||July 2017|
|Cars 3||Disney||July 2017|
|Emoji Movie: Express Yourself||Sony||Aug 2017|
|LEGO Ninjago||Warner Bros||Sept 2017|
|Care Bears: The Movie||Not yet announced||Sept 2017|
|Justice League||Warner Bros||Nov 2017|
|Black Panther||Disney||Nov 2017|
|Croods 2||20th Century Fox||Dec 2017|
|Star Wars, Episode VIII||Disney||Dec 2017|
Toy Trend Expert, Reyne Rice, has this year’s best toys just in time for Black Friday!
LEGO Juniors was developed to provide builders ages 4 and older an easy-to-assemble brick-building experience to transition from bigger Duplo blocks to smaller LEGO bricks. NEW this year, LEGO Juniors NINJAGO Themed Sets The Lost Temple and Snake Showdown are perfect for the child who watches the TV show along with their older siblings and wants to get in on the fun! Now, they can build on their own — without help– and play along with the characters and stories they love. These sets feature familiar Ninjago characters with land and air vehicles and lots of interactive features, including a helicopter with spinning rotors, a super Ninja car with rolling wheels, and a swinging axe and a spinning saw blade. Click here to learn more!
The Ozobot Evo smart STEM robot reads colors! Enjoy unplugged play with nothing more than markers and paper. Use Evo’s color language to control its lights, sounds and speed. You can also control Evo from your smartphone AND compete and play games with friends! You can even send and receive OZOJIS – emoticons that your Evo acts out. Evo Action Skins bring your favorite Marvel characters to life … transform your Evo into Iron Man or Captain America. Then, connect with the app to complete Stark Academy missions. Click here to learn more!
Activision has taken Skylanders to a whole new realm with Imaginators, where kids can unleash their imagination, and create their own Skylanders characters. With the power of Imaginite Crystals and the guidance of the powerful Sensei Skylander Masters, kids can select their battle class, choose their gear, and pick their personalities to customize their creations. All of their previous Skylanders characters work in the Imaginators video game, and there are new side quest missions and mini-games to conquer. Click here to learn more!
Explore space, dinosaurs, and ants with Uncle Milton’s Virtual Explorer, a 4-in-1 interactive discovery system. With STEM-based learning at its core, the activity guides help to explore the stars with the Star Planetarium, create your own enclosed ant farm, and excavate a dinosaur skeleton. Use the virtual reality goggles with the 2-sided cards to see a 360 degree virtual reality view on one side and on the flip side, see 3D models come to life through an augmented reality experience. Simply download the FREE Explorer app onto your own smart phone, and use the included VR Goggles, to go on your journeys. Click here to learn more!
Easter is coming earlier this year (March 27th) and we’re here with some NEW ideas to fill your Easter basket!
Nintendo JUST announced a series of 12 best-selling games called Nintendo Selects: featuring some of the Top Video Games titles for Nintendo 3DS or Wii U at only $19.99 each! Classic favorites include Super Mario: 3D World, Donkey Kong, Animal Crossing AND the famous best-seller Legends of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The collection covers legendary titles that will appeal to everyone! Great entertainment for the whole family. Visit Nintendo Selects to learn more.
The LEGO Elves line adds more adventures for builders ages 7 and older to explore. These highly detailed sets take children through a fantasy land full of dragons, elves and other mystical creatures. The Starlight Inn includes a turning telescope, a hidden staircase and key plus a flame element that adds to the storytelling. Children can pretend to save the baby fire dragon, Spark, and tuck him into his translucent dragon egg bed. Visit the Starlight Inn to learn more!
Give the gift of education with ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy for kids ages 2 to 7. Developed by teachers and childhood experts, this site has over 650 lessons and 7,000 guided activities such as games, puzzles, and eBooks. It can be used on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Parents will love the safe online environment without links to other websites. Each subscription is $7.95 a month, with separate profiles for up to 3 kids, so each child’s progress can be tracked. Visit ABCmouse.com for more information! Also, get ABCmouse.com in the Apple Store here, the Amazon Appstore here … or on Google Play here.
Delight your children with Schleich figurine toys! For over 80 years, these toys have been hand-painted with detailing that shows quality craftmanship. Moms love to give the figurines and playsets because they encourage creative play and are great for little hands as young as three years old. Families can add to their Schleich collection all year round with farm and wild animals, dinosaurs, and fantasy characters. Visit Schleich-s.com for more information! Make sure you follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, AND Instagram!
And, hunt no longer for an ideal 2-in-1 Easter treat. Choco Treasure eggs are made of premium milk chocolate with a surprise toy treasure inside! The toys are really fun and interactive and have been tested safe for ALL ages! With more than 100 treasures in total, these collectibles include figurines, slap bracelets, 3D puzzles, and more! Themes include Cutest Baby Animals, Hello Kitty, Kung Fu Panda, and Minions. They only cost $1 or $2! Visit ChocoTreasure.com to learn more. Keep up to date on all things Choco Treasure by following them on Facebook.
Toy Fair New York kicks off this weekend and I’ve got a sneak peek at some of the coolest toys and games for 2016.
LEGO continues to be a leader in the construction category and are expanding the LEGO DUPLO line with “My Firsts” sets, like My First Catepillar and My First Rocket. These DUPLO bricks are four times the size of classic LEGO bricks, and are sized for little hands to introduce children as young as 18 months old to the world of building. They make learning fun by encouraging early counting skills with special decorated bricks and come with building cards for more inspiration. Learn more here.
Parents are always looking for ways to get kids outdoors. The Rocket Fishing Rod from Goliath makes fishing fun and more enjoyable for both parents and kids. Kids pump, launch and reel in the fish all by themselves! This fishing pole shoots the bait 25 feet so no casting is needed. The included safety bobber protects the hook safely until it hits the water, so all kids catch are fish. Ready to use right out of the box. Click here to learn more.
This new collection of dolls and books introduces the Middle School Moguls. It follows the story of five unconventional girls who attend Mogul Academy, a school for the brightest kidpreneurers of today. The books, entitled “You Be the Boss”, lets them choose their own adventure, with four different endings. It teaches kids about entrepreneurership and technology. These dolls encourage girls to explore modern careers. In stores this August, and is available for preorder here.
Aurora World is a global leader in plush toys, with over 3,500 original creations from alligators to dolls to zebras. These adorable guys are called Gnomlins. They come with colorful oversized hats, noticeable noses and fluffy white beards. This summer, children will love making friends with the Sea Sparkles mermaids. These six adorable sirens of the sea feature hair colors from blonde to pink to turquoise with sparkly matching or contrasting tails. Click here to learn more.
GameStop is THE PLACE to help find and purchase your favorite gaming and tech items affordably and simply. They have deals on games of all kinds and for all systems for everyone in the family including the best-selling LEGO Marvel Avengers video game! Play as Captain America! Also, add Captain America to your collection with this Pop Vinyl bobblehead figure! Visit the GameStop mobile app, website or stop in at over 4,200 locations. Click here to learn more.
From ThinkGeek, a ThinkGeek creation and exclusive, it’s the Hoverkraft Levitating Construction Challenge. Hoverkraft is an old-school building game with a twist: Players take turns stacking pieces on a platform… that levitates! Click here to learn more.