LEGO: Open-ended sets are Basic Gear

One of the best press releases I’ve read this week came from LEGO.  It affirmed their commitment to open-ended sets.  While it’s often their more elaborate model sets that get most of the press, the importance of providing kids with open-ended construction sets can not be underestimated.

LEGO Basic Bucket

This new blue bucket looks promising–it comes with a rainbow of LEGO bricks…and wheels (always fun). There is no right or wrong way here–just whatever you feel like building.

While some kids are more secure having a model to follow–having the freedom to create your own structures is something we should all experience.  Chances are you probably have a bucket worth of LEGO bricks around the house…why not spill them out on the table and see what your family comes up with.

Toy Fair 2010: LEGO DUPLO

We started the day at LEGO – always fun.  LEGO Duplo is the line designed as an entry point for older toddlers and preschoolers.  New for 2010:  a bigger  bucket–we consider this basic gear for preschoolers.


The big new theme is a farm…


There’s also a new set that includes numbers as an added feature.

LEGO’s  Julie Stern, always a pleasure to work with– took us through the showroom. Watch the video.

Another cool day at toy fair 2010!

We had another big day at Javits today. I went in a dress (since I thought I was doing tv) and carrying tv shoes (there’s no way you can do Javits in tv shoes!)

We started at LEGO…always one of our favorites stops, visited with STEP 2 to see lots of fun new outdoor toys, International Playthings (super cute new toys from Calico Critters), Spin Master (lots of flying toys) and at Creativity for Kids we met the inventor of Shrinky Dinks!

My iPhone died right as we got to Spin Master–which was too bad since there were lots of fun things to tape there.  Oh well. I did bring my charger–but alas the one that plugs into my computer, not an outlet. Pretty lame on my part.  Below is a picture of Kate from International Playthings trying to find an adaptor so that we can charge my phone using the crank radio from their Ecotronics link. Unfortunately there wasn’t one that worked with my phone, but I was really so grateful to Kate for the effort!

Kate from International Playthings

Bumped by Donny Osmond & Mickey Mouse!

Such is the way of tv land, I got bumped due to lots of Olympic coverage and a segment on LX TV with Donny Osmond and Mickey Mouse. It happens. In fact, Donny and Mickey aren’t even my most notable bumpers.  I was really seriously bumped by the funeral of President Ronald Reagan.  Life happens.

They may show some of the toys that I was going to talk about during host time.

I will, assuming no breaking news, be on the Today Show on March 3rd.

Barbie Video Girl: Barbie is the Video Camera

Barbie Video Girl

When they first brought us around the corner at the Mattel showroom to look at Barbie Video Camera, I looked around thinking perhaps we were being punked.  No, it’s real.  Barbie is a Video Camera.

Barbie’s video camera is in her chest.  Maybe this was inspired by Ironman?

Barbie Video Camera: Camera in her Chest

Now you don’t have to be a teenage boy to see the humor of this placement. While we had just been taken through all of Barbie’s careers-it seemed to be balanced by the location of this camera. While we tell men to look at a woman’s eyes, not her chest…here you really do want to look at the chest to get the best video.

Barbie has a LCD screen in her back and will plug into both PCs and MACs. I do think watching the world from Barbie’s point of view could be fun and kids will probably enjoy the $50 video camera interacting with their other dolls. I just wish I could have been a fly on the wall when they came up with this one and the Glitterizer.  It does almost seem as if it’s an episode of Seinfeld…where one of them would suggest an outrageous idea – and some unsuspecting executive would say “yes!!”

Strong Multi-Cultural Choices at Barbie

Barbie Basic

Happily there are more multi-cultural choices in the world of Barbie. I have a sense that the Barbie Basic line is more for adult collectors (all shown in a little black dress) than for kids…but there are a whole range of dolls available in this line. The dolls were part of a fun ebay auction when real designers came up with their own version’s of LBD for Barbie.

Here’s another grouping…

One of favorite collections from last year, So In Style Barbie,  is also continuing. Created by Mattel designer, Stacey McBride, these dolls celebrate our diversity by featuring dolls of color. You can see Ms. McBride talk about the series on this video. I love that she also made mentoring part of the line. The first sets all included a big doll and a little doll (big sister/little sister).  Bravo to Ms. McBride!  Below, some of this year’s new collection. I’ve been trying to interview Ms. McBride about the collection–I hope we get a chance to talk soon.

New So in Style Dolls from Mattel

Barbie Glitterizer…really.

Barbie Glitterizer

Now before we get carried away with all of Barbie’s professional aspirations, you have to take a look at this toy, it’s called the Barbie Glitterizer.  You place decals on your Barbie…they have a sticky surface that attracts the glitter. Place your Barbie in the chamber and glitterize.  Don’t you wonder what the aha moment was for this product…did someone dream of Barbie in a phone booth, she had just come from the craft store, there was an opened bag of glitter…there was a gust of wind.

In any case, this is one of the funniest Barbie activity kits ever. Watch the video.

What TOY FAIR 2010 looks like…

A view of Toy Fair 2010 from above!

Whenever I tell people what I do and that I go to toy fair, it brings out everyone’s inner child… “so many toys!” “how fun!”…

It’s true, looking at toys can be fun…but it’s also grueling. The Javits center is full of row after row of toy manufacturers vying for attention. So here’s a look at one of the entrances…and for the first time, I caught the band that kicks off  Toy Fair.

In the olden days, there used to be a toy fair mini-parade outside of the toy building–where all of the licensed characters of the season would march up and down.  Watch the video…the person calling me darling at the end of the video is my mother.