You probably know the best-selling Baby Alive doll from Hasbro. The play scenario is that you feed Baby Alive food and then she poops into diapers just like a real baby. This version has been around for years…what’s new this year, recycled food/poop.
Now you feed Snackin’ Sara food that looks like gummy worms. She eats them and they come out in her little diaper. We were then told and shown that the poop could then be recycled as new food. I’m all for recycling but this is just wrong. It sends a very confusing message to young children and the fact the “food” “poop” is candy also might make a preschooler wonder. The yuck factor here is huge.
Watch the video demo here.
The Force continues to be strong at Hasbro with their Star Wars line. The toy that will receive the most amount of buzz will certainly be FurBacca. This mashup of a toy brings back Furby (remember him?) to a whole new generation of kids that won’t think the technology is all that cutting-edge but will enjoy the Star Wars theme of this fun novelty furball.
Watch the video here toyportfolio-star-wars-furbacca-hasbro
Now what always gets my attention in the Star Wars section at the Hasbro Toy Fair showroom are the lightsabers. I never think they can out do the version from the year before, but I was really wrong. Imagine the biggest, baddest lightsaber you can think of– and that’s what’s coming for 2015. I need one.
Specifically, I want to play with the Bladebuilder Lightsaber where you can add several sabers to build your own super lightsaber. (I think they would have gone with Build a Blade if it wasn’t so close to Build a Bear). Anyway…it has all the great authentic lightsaber sound and it looks super cool.
New for the even younger Star Wars fans….there’s also Star Wars Mr. Potato Head (he’s been around before) and the new Star Wars Play Doh. Now I wouldn’t share the movies with a three year old, but Hasbro is counting on the trickle down from the cartoon series STAR WARS REBELS that older brothers and sisters are watching as well as sentimental buying from Star Wars fans that can’t wait to share the series with their kids.
It’s not really Toy Fair for me until we see the new Star Wars toys. Mattel unveiled their new collection under the Hot Wheels brand. There are miniature spaceships and we love the AT-AT Walker.
My favorite toys from this collection are those that truly marry the Star Wars and Hot Wheels Brands. Who wouldn’t want their own R2-D2 Car?
What an amazing two months we’ve had working with over 200 families in 24 states (with seven sets of twins) in order to conduct the first TODAY Show/toyportfolio.com Toy Review. Tomorrow I’ll be on to share the results for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. A special thank you to all the families that participated and gave us their feedback on the toys they reviewed! I hope you’ll tune! To read all the results, please visit www.toyportfolio.com.
We’re always on the look out for new puzzle makers. Duo Press has joined our short list of favorites! Their new 20 piece My San Francisco Puzzle and My New York Puzzle are both visually very pleasing, made on sturdy stock and are just right for the 3 & up crowd. Each puzzle comes in a well-designed box that will make storage easy and long-lasting. Read our reviews at www.toyportfolio.com.
The most troubling quote in today’s NYT’s article, “Today’s Girls Love Pink Bows as Playthings, but These Shoot” is “toys that stimulate aggression are healthy for children.” To suggest that literal props like weapons are something to be valued (regardless of what color they are) puts the conversation about the value of play experiences back a few decades. Yes, kids have aggression and need outlets for expressing it, but making it part of their play diet with plastic weapons is not beneficial. Most child development experts would suggest art supplies and puppets as appropriate outlets for expressing emotions.
We have nothing against archery – but here the game play (inspired by mega hit The Hunger Games) is targeting other children, not a bullseye. There is a disconnect between the teen/adult audience of the books and movies and the 7-year-olds that are the intended consumers of these toys. While we happily support “girl power” when it comes to STEM toys that encourage girls to be all that they can be, this kind of role play perverts the concept of empowerment. Even in the universe from which these toys have come from, we doubt very much that Katniss would approve arming children her sister’s age with weapons.
Last year the buzz was STEM toys with an emphasis on construction toys. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award-winning Goldie Blox even made its way to a Super Bowl commercial.
Now ThinkFun is launching ROBOT Turtles, a board game that promises to introduce young children (preschoolers) to programming. We haven’t played the game–but I love the idea of kids learning how to program rather than just spending so much time sucked into video games. ROBOT Turtles started on Kickstarter by inventor Dan Shapiro. The game is scheduled for release in June (retail $24.99).
ROBOT Turtles from THINKFUN
You won’t find these animal-themed mittens or socks in the toy aisle, but they are wonderfully playful! We love the idea of kids having different animals on their feet that can speak to each other. We received a three pack of socks ($14.99) that included: Shark vs. Penguin, Lion vs. Tiger and T-Rex vs. Triceratops. There are also delicious booties for older babies and toddlers…Cat vs. Dog, Owl vs. Mouse, T-Rex vs. Triceratops. The booties are sooo soft – you’ll be jealous that they don’t come in your size!
The mittens (available in adult sizes), recently spotted on Anne Hathaway, are equally adorable. We wish they were lined with the same material as the booties. We received a pair with Frog vs. Fly. These do come in adult sizes – proving that you don’t have to be a child to be super playful!
A fun company. Check out their website at www.hoorayhoopla.com
Calico Critters were first launched in Japan way back in 1985. They arrived in North America in 1993 and are currently distributed by International Playthings. (They’re known in other countries as Sylvanian families). No matter the name, these small animal collections are enjoying a resurgence with the “iphone generation” of preschoolers and early school age kids.
Calico Critters Ice Cream Truck
Unless your heart is stone cold, you have to admit that Calico Critters are seriously cute. Even for a preschool generation that lives on fruit ninjas and can navigate youtube like pros, there’s something appealing to actually holding a Calico Critter in your hand. Our testers also love that they come in families. For kids that like to pretend in miniature (as opposed to whole body pretending) – Calico Critters will say whatever they want them to say. There are no bells and whistles here – which is why they’re probably still so popular.
Here’s a link to our most recent reviews of their Border Collie Family, Ice Cream Truck, and Treehouse.
Remember when dollhouse furniture consisted of living room and bedroom furniture? Here’s a new trend that encourages a more fit dollhouse family.
For today’s modern dollhouses from Hape.