Good news– Spot is back! Toddlers will love the new oversized 16″ ($30) friendly pup from Kid Preferred –just right for hugging and lugging about. Spot is not too heavy making him a fun companion. Equally appealing is the 6″ bean bag version ($9.00) (much squishier than the larger Spot). A great take along choice. Our recommendation is to bring Spot home with some books. We’re giving both versions an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award. Also notable from the Kids Preferred is their line of Eric Carle inspired plush.
The Curious George Discovery Beach Game is great fun (and even looking at a beach on a cold January day made us feel better). The board is really innovative. The board shows a seascape with puzzle like pieces that lift off. Now here’s the really cool part–below the puzzle pieces there is “blue sand” that is safely behind clear panels. Players actually shake the whole board (box) and when they do they redistribute the sand and the hidden treasures. We found that shaking the box was a great hit with players.
The object is to collect six cards representing hidden treasure that you look for on your turn (the spinner tells you where you may look on your turn). So it’s a really fun visual discrimination game that moves pretty quickly (also a plus with this age group).
The other GREAT aspect of this game are the directions…which are much clearer than my explanation I think….kudos to the team at I Can Do That! Games for making the directions so easy we only had to read them once and we were good to go.
Curious George Discovery Beach Game is the type of game your older preschooler and early school age kids will want to play again and again. ($16.95). We have given the game an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award–but we can already tell it will be a strong contender for our year end Platinum Awards.
Looking for a great project for a cold winter day? Try this 1,00o piece puzzle of our new President! Yes We Can!!! We were delighted that this puzzle was in the press bag from Hasbro. At $5.99–it’s a great value too.
The folks at Mattel see four major trends for the new season…As we go through toy fair–we’ll be adding to the list and putting their trends to the test to see if they apply across the board.
1. Customization- Kids have the ability to use self-expression through their toys. We do see this with more and more on-line/product based tie ins where kids are able to customize their play experiences.
2. Simply Social- With the economy in turmoil, board games and other products for the home are now part of a clever marketing campaign that encourages nesting and entertaining closer to home. Makes sense–and from our point of view any opportunity to connect with family and friends is a plus.
3. Active Play- this trend continues from last year with toys that encourage kids to get up and move–often with an electronic plug in component of course. This is the Wii generation after all.
4. High Value Toys- I love this spin….in other words inexpensive toys–classics that are still a great value. Lets face it, the industry knows that your toy dollars are more restricted — and the price points of many products are being brought down to get under that magic $20 bar. All good news for consumers.
Maybe you have to be a certain age — but do you remember the break thru of the product “No More Tears”? I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved that bottle. It meant that my mother and I did not have to have a nightly battle (or tears…) over brushing my hair. Having two boys, I don’t even know if it’s still a staple — or if the overflowing hair product industry has come up with replacements.
I bring up my love of No More Tears because now Barbie also has a similar product — a special spray that will tame that blonde mane. Unfortunately I was told that the Barbie spray is only for Barbie hair–and should not be used on human hair. I would have tried it on myself if it worked so well for Barbie! Glad I asked.
Hard to believe that another toy season is just around the bend. While most consumers are recovering from the holidays, toy makers are busy at work getting ready to launch their new lines for 2009. Toy Fair officially begins in mid-Feburary in NYC–but many of the companies have previews to get all of us excited about the new season.
The first toy we “previewed” was the Barbie Digital Nail Printer. Now we’re usually not big on nail kits that have fake nails that are intended for your seven year old to glue on…but this is really different and if it works will be a hit with girls (and some not so little girls as well). You place your finger in the printer and then it hooks up to your PC—you can then select an image (I selected a repeating pattern of pink Barbies)….and it is literally printed on your fingernail. (The software allows you to adjust the image to exact a custom fit of the image.) Thankfully, I had just had a manicure and was good to go for my Barbie overlay.
That’s right you’re basically putting your finger into an ink jet printer. Once the image is printed on, you add a clear top coat and you’re good to go. If you’re having a sleepover party–or any situation where you have a bunch of girls…this will be a real crowd favorite. We’re looking forward to testing this one!