Archive for September, 2010
We were disappointed to learn this morning that one of the products on this year’s Hot 20 list – the Little People Wheelies Stand ‘n Play Rampway – was recalled by Fisher-Price. The wheels on the purple and green cars can come off, posing a choking hazard to young children. As a trusted resource for parents, and as parents ourselves, we are deeply committed to recommending toys that are completely safe for children, so we immediately removed the item from our list and replaced it with a wonderful, super-soft and cuddly, age-appropriate toy for ages 0+, Twinkle Twinkle Little Scout, from LeapFrog.
As industry experts, we know that all toy manufacturers take the issue of safety very seriously. By the time a product reaches our review team, it has gone through a number of rigorous safety tests by the manufacturer to ensure that it meets industry standards. Unfortunately, issues like today’s recall do occasionally occur. Consumers who have purchased the item should immediately take the affected purple and green cars away from children and contact Fisher-Price for free replacement cars. For additional information, contact Fisher-Price at (800) 432-5437 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.service.mattel.com. For this recall, Fisher Price will send a shipping label so you can send back the cars and receive a replacement. Each recall is handled differently, (for the high chairs they will send you a modification kit). We suggest reaching out directly to them for all your questions.
The Toy Insider Mom and the Toy Insider Team
Yesterday was some Monday!! It began with me rushing to make my train, stepping on the hem of my pants, and of course ripping it. So once off the Long Island Railroad, I stopped into the shoe maker at Penn Station and asked for a saftey pin since those pants needed to last me till I got home..and I had a day full of meetings. So I sat, pinned my hem and stood to discover that I just sat on gum.
It may seem like I was off to a bad Monday….but I thought to myself, “self….our Hot 20 list is breaking today and our team is so excited, so let’s laugh this off”. Ok, so not exactly funny, as I stood in my office bathroom with ice cubes trying to remove the gum, but what an exciting day it turned into. The Toy Insider Hot 20 list is out…and the balance of our list is not far behind (we can’t tell you everything yet).
I know it seems like the holidays are so far away, but there are a few key reasons why you see our list so early. First, retailers do not overstock anymore. They buy what they truly think they will sell and that’s it. And the toy manufacturers produce what is ordered.
We don’t have a crystal ball when we make our selections,but we look at trends and we work with kids as well as our own Toy Insider team (and we are all parents) and we believe we know what will sell out quickly (and we tend to be correct). So if it’s something that is going to top your kids wish list…and you see this item, don’t wait to purchase it, buy it now. Many items that make the list will be very difficult to find as we get closer to the holidays. Do remember to make these purchases because they are toys that your kids will love and play with and not just because everyone else has it. It needs to be right for your child.
And if you do wait, and the item is gone, remember that there’s a good chance it will be back and on shelves in January. There are often great alternatives, so look, or ask us, as we’d be happyto help.
Below are a few of the items from our Hot 20 list for The Toy Insider and why I love them!! Our new web site will be live soon…so I will be back to send you there when we are. In the meantime, take a look at these items (many are available at Walmart.com) and please reach out to get more information and ideas as we move into our favorite time of year.
Hot 20 ….here’s a few of them!
For every toy I talk about, I’ll give you my 3 top reasons for loving it!!
Paper Jamz: ages 9+
1) The coolest technology, paper thin, stringless, and plays like a real guitar in Freestyle mode, but I can sound awesome in Perfect Play mode!
2) There’s an entire band that I can create with my Paper Jamz guitar and drums and amp and I can do this for under $65.
3) I’m A ROCK STAR!!!
TRENDS/SKILLS: Smart Tech, Music, Price/Value
Zoobles Razoo’s Treehouse Playset: ages 4+
1) Bakugan for girls….Zoobles spring to life just like Bakugan does…but Zoobles are cute and colorful
2) Collectible…hundreds of Zoobles to grow my collection with with cool playsets like this one
3) I can take it anywhere I do, my Zoobles fit in my pocket (and the individual ones are just $5.99, so when kids say “I want more Zoobles”, they can feel empowered by making this purchase with their own money to grow their collection.
TRENDS/SKILLS: Imaginative Role Play, Price/Value, Social Interaction
V.Reader Animated E-Book System: 3+
1) First animated eReader with visuals designed for kids
2) Tech toy like moms (and dads) and really mimics the look and feel of the adult versions
3) Encourages Love of Reading (I don’t go anywhere without my kindle…kids will feel the same about their V.Reader!!
TRENDS/SKILLS: Smart Tech, School Readiness, Encourages language skills
HexbugNano Habitat Set: 3+
1) Great collectible for boys (and girls will enjoy them too)
2) No food, cleaning of cage, or mess/smell (I love this part)
3) A little science…moves in a very “buglike” way by vibration only
TRENDS/SKILLS: Smart Tech, Educational, Price/Value, Social Interaction
Furreal Friends GOGO My Walkin Pup 4+
1) My sister’s kids are not allowed a dog, and they desperately want one…I will be the great aunt that delivers this perfect size pup.
2) No food to buy…no poop to scoop!!
3) Simply RC so even I can walk GOGO, but with touch technology so that pup responds to touch.
TRENDS/SKILLS: Smart Tech, Physical (someone has to walk her), Social interaction
Hide-And-Seek JOJO Interactive Bunny 18mos+
1) Super smart technology for the youngest kids..they will be amazed.
2) JOJO finds the carrot (and your child) every time.
3) JOJO can count sing and talk….and hide and seek is more fun than ever before.
TRENDS/SKILLS: Smart Tech, Physical, Toddler Development, School Readiness…ok, the list keeps going on this one!________________________________________________________________________
Thomas & Friends: Adventures on Misty Island 3+
1) Kids Love Thomas…I love Thomas…Mega makes the most awesome playset for Thomas (#1 preschool building w/#1 preschool brand!)
2) From the Thomas movie, Misty Island Friends. Thomas celebrating 65th Anniversary…
3) Build and Play….build up with ramps….so much fun. Contruction toys grow with children…and they create their own role play atmosphere.
TRENDS/SKILLS: role-play, vehicle play, construction and language building skills, so much more…WOW!
1) You will need one for everyone in the family…and one for the desk in your office
2) This “labyrinth in a sphere” will provide so many hours of family fun and challenges
3) This grow with me toy will continue with your entire family for years…our mom bloggers and their families went crazy for this one!!!
TRENDS/SKILLS: Price/Value, educational, social interaction (for all ages)
Fly with Elmo Ride On 1+
1) One of baby’s first independent toys…with Elmo, a favorite all the time!
2) Lots of action to keep baby occupied, lights, sounds, spinning action
3) Elmo talks in his voice
TRENDS/SKILLS: Physical and active toy, interactive play, and encourages imaginative play
More to come later this week!!!
The Toy Insider Mom
Guitar Gadget, E-Reader for Kids May Prove Top Holiday Gifts
U.S. toy sales totaled $7.8 billion in the first half of this year, little changed from the same period a year ago, according to NPD Group Inc., a Port Washington-based researcher. Photographer: Tom Starkweather/Bloomberg
Paper Jamz Guitar, which lets children strum to pop music, and an interactive e-reader may be among the best-selling gifts this holiday season as toymakers offer budget-conscious parents lower-priced electronic toys.
WowWee Group Ltd.’s $24.99 guitar, which comes with pre- programmed music and allows users to create their own tunes, and VTech Electronics Ltd.’s V.Reader, an animated e-book priced at $59.99, are among the “Hot 20” chosen by the Toy Insider, a consumer-shopping guide coming out today.
“Three years ago, you’d see lots of $200 to $300 toys,” Jonathan Samet, the Toy Insider’s publisher, said in an interview. “Right now, there’s not one toy on our list that costs more than $60.”
Consumers have cut back on spending amid lingering U.S. unemployment and the economic slump, escalating competition between toymakers including Mattel Inc. and Hasbro Inc. Toymakers typically get at least a third of their annual revenue from the fourth quarter, making it the biggest shopping period of the year.
The fifth annual Toy Insider, featuring 96 toys broken down by age group, will be published in the Nov. 17 issue of Woman’s Day. Further items will be listed on the group’s website. Value- for-money, technology-based items, toys based on popular culture and games that bring the family together will be among the top sellers, Toy Insider said.
Toy sales may climb as much as 3 percent in the fourth quarter, said Gerrick Johnson, a toy industry analyst at BMO Capital Markets in New York.
“There are more opportunities to buy toys,” Johnson said, citing efforts by Sears Holding Corp. and Toys ‘R’ Us to increase shelf space.
U.S. toy sales totaled $7.8 billion in the first half of this year, little changed from the same period a year ago, according to NPD Group Inc., a Port Washington-based researcher. In 2009, toy sales fell by less than one percent to $21.5 billion, NPD said.
Moody’s Investors Service lowered its outlook on the U.S. retail industry to stable on Sept. 22. It expects holiday sales and margins to be marginally better than last year.
The Toy Insider’s “Hot 20” Toys for the 2010 Holiday Season 0-2 Years: Explore ‘N Grow Musical Gear Center - Playskool Fly With Elmo Ride-On - Tek Nek Toys Hide-And-Seek Jojo Interactive Bunny - Silverlit Toys Little People Wheelies Stand ‘N Play Rampway - Fisher Price 3-5 Years: Furreal Friends Gogo My Walkin’ Pup - Hasbro Hexbug Nano Habitat Set - Innovation First Sing-A-Ma-Jigs - Mattel Thomas & Friends: Adventures On Misty Island - Mega Bloks VReader Animated E-Book System - VTech Zoobles! Razoo’s Treehouse Playset - Spin Master 6-8 Years: Disney Princess & Me Dolls - Jakks Pacific Loopz - Mattel Perplexus - Plasmart Scene It? Disney Magical Moments - Screenlife Spy Net Secret Mission Video Watch - Jakks Pacific Toy Story 3 Blast-Off Buzz Lightyear - Thinkway Toys 9+ Years: Air Hogs R/C Hawk Eye Video Camera Helicopter - Spin Master Glee CD Board Game - Cardinal Industries Paper Jamz Guitar or Drum Set - WowWee Sharper Image U-Video Camera - Merchsource Source: The Toy Insider - www.thetoyinsider.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at email@example.com
Mega Bloks (R) Thomas & Friends
on Toy Insider Hot 20 List
Mega Bloks(R)’ Adventures on Misty Island Gets Recognized as a Top Holiday Toy for 2010
MONTREAL, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ – MEGA Brands Inc. (TSX: MB) is excited to announce that Mega Bloks(R)’ Adventures on Misty Island from the Mega Bloks(R) Thomas & Friends(R) construction toy line was named one of the ‘HOT 20 TOYS’ for the 2010 holiday season by The Toy Insider. The HOT 20 serves as the opening section of the Toy Insider and will run in full in over four million copies of the November 17, 2010 issue of Woman’s Day magazine, on newsstands November 2 through out North America.
Fresh off the heels of many prestigious accolades for the product line, Mega Bloks(R)’ Adventures on Misty Island is yet another buildable playset from the Mega Bloks(R) Thomas & Friends(R) line to be acknowledged for its outstanding quality and play value. Impressive honors for other products in the line include The National Parenting Center’s 2010 Seal of Approval, 2010 iParenting Media Award and just last week, Toys”R”Us(R) 2010 Holiday Hot Toy List.
“Over the past year, the Toy Insider team reviewed and evaluated the toys that will be available this holiday season to determine the most compelling and hottest new products to help gift givers get an early start on their holiday shopping,” said Jonathan Samet, Group Publisher of the Toy Insider and Adventure Publishing. “Mega Bloks(R)’ Adventures on Misty Island caught our attention as it offered the ever-popular Thomas & Friends(R) adventures through the perfect combination of creative building fun, engaging features, and character play for young preschoolers.”
Based on the movie Thomas & Friends(R): Misty Island Rescue, Mega Bloks(R)’ Adventures on Misty Island allows even the tiniest of engineers to join Thomas and James as they travel through the mysterious mountains of Misty Island. Preschoolers ages three and up can build and rebuild to new heights as Thomas and James race on unfamiliar tracks from sea level to high up in the mountains. They can take Thomas and James through eerie tunnels to get to their destination. With included accessories such as winding buildable ramps, Mega Bloks(R)’ Adventures on Misty Island is a super-sized playset that will delight every Thomas fan.
“We are honored to have Mega Bloks(R)’ Adventures on Misty Island recognized by Toy Insider for its great design, innovation, and building play experience,” said Adrian Roche, Vice-President Preschool Toys & Global Licensing at MEGA Brands. “Adventures on Misty Island gives preschoolers the opportunity to be imaginative and build their very own Thomas & Friends(R) adventures with Mega Bloks(R).”
About MEGA Brands
MEGA Brands is a trusted family of leading global brands in construction toys, games & puzzles, arts & crafts and stationery. They offer engaging creative experiences for children and families through innovative, well-designed, affordable and high-quality products. Visit http://www.megabrands.com for more information. Follow us on Twitter @megabrands.
The MEGA logo, Mega Bloks, Rose Art, MagNext and Board Dudes are trademarks of MEGA Brands Inc. or its affiliates.
About the Toy Insider
The Toy Insider is THE SOURCE for the hottest toys and gifts for the holidays. Now in its fifth year, the Toy Insider is an annual guide featuring toy and gift recommendations broken down by age categories. The 2010 guide is jam-packed with 96 toy recommendations from more than 50 different manufacturers, each of which were carefully selected by a team of experts with years of experience in the toy industry. The Toy Insider is published by Adventure Publishing, publisher of leading industry trades The Toy Book and The Licensing Book.
About Adventure Publishing
Adventure Publishing Group Inc. (www.adventurepublishinggroup.com) is the leading publisher of magazines for the toy and licensing industries since 1983. Its portfolio of magazines include: The Toy Book, The Licensing Book and Specialty Toy & Gifts. The Toy Book provides retailers with the latest in merchandising, trends, licensed products and new marketplace introductions and is published monthly. The Licensing Book focuses on character properties, brands and trademarks with topical features, editorials, legal advice and exclusive retailer information. Two Adventure Publishing-produced newsletters, The Toy Report and Total Licensing Report are weekly newsletters that keep their readers up to date on all breaking news and deals in the toy and licensing industries and are available in email format.
SOURCE MEGA BRANDS INC.