Check out the latest news for families and kids on back to school toys and supplies!
Greetings Toy, Games & Toy Tech fans! Thanks for visiting my newly updated website!
So what’s new with me? I’m excited to bring you the latest news on what’s happening at Key ToyFairs and events in North America, and across the global world of Toys & Games, Kids & Family technology, Entertainment & Licensing. I am constantly on the lookout for new trends and products that affect kids and families with the “Trickle Down Effect” (What is happening now in adult products, will trickle down to kids products within the next 12 to 18 months, or before!) Kids toys have never been more fun, interactive or engaging.
I spent the New Year at the International CES in Las Vegas in January 2017, & previewed the latest technology products for kids and families. Live from the Kids at Play Summit, I reported live news and clips of hot new tech trends, worked with the other KAPI Jurors to judge and award the Best of the Best in KAPi (Kids at Play Innovations) Awards, and got to see, and play with the latest drones, robots, electronic pets, STEM to STEAM to STREAM products, and just be a big kid in the world of technology. Yup, I do LOVE my career!
Then, I flew over to Germany to play in the biggest playground in the world at the Spielwarenmesse 2017 ToyFair in Nuremberg, Germany, where 18 halls of toys, games, kids tech, baby and infant products, costumes and more were waiting to be discovered. (See my blog posts from that Fair, here on my blog page, as well as connections to articles where I was recently quoted). As their lead Global Trend Hunter and a part of the Trend Committee, I was busy reporting on the news, meeting with other journalists from around the world, providing daily Trend Gallery 2017 Speeches, providing journalist overviews at the new Tech2Play Pavillion and presenting then latest innovations in Future Emerging Tech, in the Toy Business Forum.
In mid-February, I returned to New York City for the American International ToyFair and the Digital Kids Conference for more trend sleuthing, digital toy trend presentations , media coverage and playing with games, toys and kids technology! Saw more amazing products, and met so many new manufacturers, in the Innovation Zones, Creative Factor areas and in the show floor exhibits.
Then back to Europe, in late February, to provide a Keynote speech at the Eastern European Kids Time Toy and Baby Fair in Kielce, Poland. This trade show focuses on sales to and between many European, Eastern European, Russian and other countries (17 counties in all, attended this year), My coverage will be appearing in April 2017 issues of the ToyBook and other international publications.
In early April, I travel to Bologna Italy, where I will be one of the KeyNote Speakers for the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair, which is running concurrently with the Digital Media Hall and the Bologna International Book Fair. There, I will be featuring a presentation on the latest Digital Trends in Toys and their impact on the kids toys & licensing business. I will share the stage with Kidz Global Research Kids & Digital study results and the power of Spin Master in new technology product arenas. More news to follow.
Living with Passion,
Christmas is next week, are you ready? Yeah, we’re not either. Good thing we have Toy Trend Expert, Reyne Rice, to give us a heads up on some of the hottest Last Minute Gifts for kids this holiday season!
GameStop is THE PLACE to help holiday shoppers find the gaming and tech items on their lists. With the LEGO Dimensions starter pack, you’ve got the classic LEGO building bricks, mini-figures, and the added magic of video gaming in the newest toys to life creation. It features Batman fighting side by side with Gandalf and Wyldstyle! GameStop has ALL the games that feature interactive figures like Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and Nintendo’s amiibo. Now you and your kids can play together with the characters you remember from YOUR childhood, too! They have deals on games for the whole family on ANY gaming system. Visit GameStop.com to learn more!
The award-winning Bunchems by Spin Master are the latest creation for kids. Bunchems are soft plastic spheres that squish, connect and stick together for hours of fun. Kids can pull them apart and start fresh. With over 400 pieces in the MegaPack, kids can start playing right out of the box. Accessories like eyes, wings, hats, and feet personalize kids’ creations. For children who may want some idea-starters, there are easy-to-follow instructions for creating owls, bears, cars, monkeys and more! The smaller Creation Packs have 60 pieces to create things like bugs and pets which are great stocking stuffers. Click here to learn more.
The original light-up brick construction toy is Laser Pegs which combine lights and building, two things every kids loves! Children will have fun constructing illuminated helicopters, jets, cars and more. Laser Pegs come with a patented “Slide, Stack and Spin” feature. These translucent colored blocks foster STEM concepts using technology, engineering, and math skills. They also encourage hand-eye coordination, creativity, and language learning. They offer a great value becauase you can build multiple models and they are compatible with other “leading” brick sets. Visit LaserPegs.com to learn more!
A fast, simple strategy game to continue your kids’ STEM education in a fun way is Matermind from Pressman Toy. It is one of the best-selling games of all time for kids ages 8 and up. The Codemaker sets a secret code, then the Codebreaker tries to match the code using logic, deduction, and a little bit of luck. It’s an easy-to-learn quick moving game with more than 2,000 possible code combinations. It makes the game different every time it’s played! Parents will love that all of the game’s pieces can be stored in the game board. No mess! Click here to learn more.
The holidays are right around the corner and we have an insider’s look at the hottest toys and games of the season!
Guitar Hero, the pop culture phenomenon from Activision, makes its return with Guitar Hero Live. It’s a first-person, live-action gaming experience where the player is the star of the show! Feel the rush of being on stage and experience the reaction of the crowd. The game also introduces GHTV, a 24-hour playable music video network that lets fans play along to a constantly-updated collection of official music videos from classic rock to the newest hits. Players can compete with their friends, as well as players from across the globe. The guitar controller has been redesigned to feature six buttons so it looks and feels more authentic and is fun for players of all abilities. Learn more about Guitar Hero Live here.
Laser Pegs is the original light-up brick construction toy that combines lights and building, two things every kid loves! Imagine the fun children will have when constructing illuminated monster trucks, space jets, cars, animals, tanks, and more! Each kit includes instructions to build multiple models. Laser Pegs come with a patented “Slide, Stack, and Spin” feature. The sets provide STEM learning, hand/eye coordination, creativity, math, spatial and language skills. A great value because they are compatible with the “Leading” brick sets. Learn more here.
Kids will love role-playing with Hazel, the popular lead character from the new Little Charmers TV show. Bring home all the magic of Charmville with 12″ Hazel Magic Doll from Spin Master. She is dressed in her signature “charmer-in-training” outfit that includes her removable hat and extraordinary cape. Watch as Hazel’s cape magically disappears with just the press of a button! She comes with her charismatic kitty, Seven, her special magic wand, a hairbrush, and can say eight charming phrases! This is great for ages 3+. Learn more here.
Schools have increased their focus on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) and in many schools they are broadening that focus to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). But the learning is not just happening in the classroom, it’s happening at home too! Companies in the education space are making fun and engaging products that are capturing boys’ and girls’ imaginations and simplifying what used to be considered difficult subjects. Toy and game expert, Reyne Rice, shares a few products & services that are getting kids excited about learning!
Youth Digital has a goal to create active creators and not passive consumers, with tangible, hands-on digital learning-by-doing for kids ages 8 to 14. Their Youth Digital technology tools provide relevant examples of STEM and coding practice to teach kids about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math with real, concrete examples AND with topics they are interested in, like Minecraft! They also teach kids around the world about creating digital animated movies, developing apps, using 3D programming and printing, learning fashion design tools and more! Founded in 2010, Youth Digital has empowered more than 55,000 students to become digital creators through summer camps, after-school programs and through an expanding portfolio of introductory and advanced online courses. How do they do this and make it fun? Youth Digital provides kids with a comprehensive learning experience that includes watching video tutorials, responding to questions, earning badges, completing interactive quizzes, and by attempting challenging assignments as they step toward mastering critical technology skills and professional-level software. As you can see, there is so much to learn … and it’s fun! Visit Youth Digital to learn more.
With GameStop’s Trade More, Save More program, parents are teaching their kids about the financial life skills that are important – with real life education that uses relevant examples about choices and money management. Do you have a gaming console or video games that are just sitting there collecting dust? Well, dust them off and bring them to GameStop! Trade in what you have at any GameStop location and put the value towards the purchase of the newest educational video games for your kids, or even the newest tech – such as tablets! Once your kids outgrow their educational game, upgrade to a new one through the trade-in process. GameStop will be offering a guaranteed $30 value on select titles releasing through the end of the year. So, trade more to save more! Did you know you can even keep up to date with what’s new, available and more via their apps? Get it at the app store on iOS and Android! So check out GameStop.com/trade to see how your old games and consoles can save you some cash!
Great for back-to-school and ideal for a variety of skill levels, Casio’s new Compact Grand Piano delivers groundbreaking technology, a sensational sound system and a world class keyboard action that is perfect for aspiring and professional pianists alike. The CGP-700 is equipped with Casio’s Color Touch Interface(TM) which features a premium icon-based 5.3″ touch display. It also features Casio’s Tri-Sensor 88-note scaled hammer action keyboard with simulated ebony and ivory keys, as well as a unique 3-way sound system with 40 watts of total amplification, 550 built-in tones, 200 rythms, two headphone jacks and more! Visit www.casiomusicgear.com to learn more!
Our Toy Trend Expert Reyne Rice is at the New York Toy Fair showing us some of her favorite finds this year.
Celebrating imagination, LEGO offers a creative building experience for the entire family. This Large LEGO Creative Brick Box features bricks in 33 different colos, along with doors, windows, wheels, eyes and more to create anything a child can imagine. There are six sets available, no instructions, but lots of visuals to get kids started with building, right out of the box! The package provides built-in storage, making cleanup easy. Learn more at www.shop.lego.com and follow them on Facebook & Twitter!
From Disney Imagicademy, we have Mickey’s Magical Arts World. With five inter-connected apps, children use learning-based tools to create their own Disney-inspired neighborhood. Kids can explore drawing, music, drama, cartooning and building skills. The Disney Imagicademy Parents companion app lets parents take an active part in their children’s progess. By year-end, Apps for Math, Science, Reading and Social Skills will be included; for kids ages 3 – 8. Learn more at www.DisneyImagicademy.com and be sure to follow them on Facebook!
Mattel found that 9 out of 10 girls wanted to be BOTH a SuperHero and a Princess, so they combined the two! The Barbie in Princess Power: Super Sparkle easily transforms from her pink princess gown to her Hero alter-ego. The DVD introduces Barbie as Kara the Princess that turns frenemies into friends using her magical SuperHero powers, special gadgets and everyday acts of “Being Super”! Visit www.BeSuper.com to learn more and definitely visit their Facebook and Twitter pages for more info!
Ozobot is the world’s smallest programmable robot and makes learning fun! Kids can program Ozobot to move and play on any surface. Using thick markers, kids can draw paths and instructions for this mini robot to follow on paper, OR use a tablet to unlock additional free apps. Using the new OzoGroove App, kids can teach their robot to dance and play other games as well! Visit www.Ozobot.com to learn more. Want one? Click here to get it at Brookstone right now! Visit them on Facebook and Twitter too!
Let’s put the pedal to the metal with the Carrera Digital 1:32 Hybrid Power Race Set! It includes 27 feet of reconfigurable track with two exclusive cars, the retro-look Porsche RS Spyder and the sleek LaFerrari by Ferrari. With a 50-year heritage, the retro Carrera racing system adds digital technology by combining physical race-cars with a unique digital wireless 2.4 GHz controller system. Beginners and more advanced driving enthusiasts can enjoy racing together! Learn more here. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter too!
Written and Produced By: Amelia Floyd
As we all know, Black Friday is right around the corner! Do you have kids on your holiday shopping lists? Sure you do! We have picked some of the best toys and tech for kids this holiday season to make shopping a little easier for you!
The popular LEGO Friends collection takes kids on an adventure into the jungle with the LEGO Friends Jungle Rescue Base. This deluxe set includes living quarters, a boat, zip line, slide, 2 mini figures and 4 animals. They combine building, imagination and storytelling adventures for hours of fun! Compatible with sets from the jungle series, or even existing LEGO pieces, based on the freinds from Heartlake City. Available at the LEGO shop.
For younger kids, VTech has Bronco the RC Triceratops, their first remote control dino, a new addition to their Switch & Go Turbo line. See how it easily transforms from a fierce dinosaur to a sleek race car with the push of a button! Using the remote, you can move it around and charge the turbo boost lever to give it a burst of speed! Learn dino facts and hear wild sound effects too! Get it at VtechKids.com!
Get your kids off the couch and active with the Moff Band, a smart wearable toy! Powered by motion sensors and kids’ creativity, everyday objects can be made into a toy – a stick becomes a knight’s sword, a banana turns into a laser, the broom is an air guitar, and a whisk becomes a magic wand – and their imagination is the only thing a kid needs to play. With regular free app updates, there are always new sounds and activities so kids will never get bored. Simple to set up and easy to play with, grab 2 bands and kids can play together for even more fun! Watch a video and learn more about this awesome toy here.
Kids love playing with tablets, and from the makers of Tiggly Shapes, we introduce Tiggly Counts. It is the first hands-on math toy that interacts with your tablet to make learning math fun! By physically moving the Tiggly Counts pieces, children can see, touch and connect with the math concepts. It comes with three award winning apps that help teach counting, addition and number lines in a fun and engaging way. Perfect for children aged 3 and up. Learn more and order yours here.