We had a neighbor when I was growing up who was most proud of her plastic flamingos. Of course, some people (who shall remain nameless) had great fun moving those flamingos from time to time throughout the neighborhood. Hey, it’s more humane than tipping cows.
As a result, I’ve always had a fondness for the plastic flamingo. This pair is from Playmobil.
We stopped byPlaymobil today and visited with Michelle Winfrey. Last year you’ll remember we gave the Playmobil Egyptian setting our Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award. Each year we wonder what will be the big new theme. This year, there were several new sets that I think will be a hit with our testers. The two biggest sets are the Dragons - complete with Castles that can connect by a bridge. It made me think of that portion of the original Shrek movie. (Of course here the dragons are not trying to court Eddie Murphy, but hey it’s pretend so I guess anything’s possible!). You can take a closer look by watching our video with Michelle.
Playmobil's Fire Fighter Sets
The next set that really caught our attention was the Fire Fighters. What we love about Playmobil is the attention to detail in planning a series. As you’ll notice in our video of the Fire Fighters series, there’s not only a really cool looking fire station (complete with pole), there are two different fire trucks, a fire chief’s truck and a fire boat.
“Wow” was how the review started from one of our testing families. Our tester parent sent us the following review after watching her kids enjoy this setting : “The complete set with the large boat, submarine, small boat, diving cage, deep sea diving bell. etc. etc is just incredible. Each set individually or all of them together provide innumerable opportunities for pretend play. The figurines and all of the accessories provide EVERYTHING a child needs to act out nautical stories. I am amazed by the level of detail in each set.”
This set is right for the bathtub…this family also plays with it on “land”…
If you have a child that likes to pretend with miniature settings…this is one to consider!
As we walk the aisles at Javits, we quickly discovered a new trend in toyland. All things Egyptian are big again. Most looked really promising. The highlight for us was the new Playmobil Egyptian themed playset complete with a Pyramid (that opens up with lots of hidden compartments inside), a Sphinx, a Royal Ship and other really wonderfully executed accessory sets. They’ll be available for the holidays. We also saw Hieroglypics Blocks from Uncle Goose that looked right on target for kids interested in all things Egyptian. We look forward to testing both.
One of the brightest booths at toy fair today was our visit to Playmobil. The highlights:1. A new circus. Complete with lights, a ring, a tent, a separate tiger ring (with special tiger cages so that the tigers go straight from their trailer to the circus), acrobats on the high wire and a moving horse set. All very special–we look forward to testing these themed sets with our Playmobil testers.2. Pirates! A really spectacular, extra large pirate ship–with separate flags (depending on whether you are the good guys or the pirates!) Huge sails, lots of special compartments and best of all–this oversized boat is going to float (comes with wheels for floor play as well). If you have a pirate fan in the house, this will be a must have holiday present.3. Under the heading of “they think of everything”…there is a horse/pony setting, complete with an itty bitty mouse near the hay..and the horses really have their own poop piles. Now usually we’re not big on such realistic props–but this one seemed appropriate and will likely delight kids.
One of the most innovative pretend settings of the season is Playmobil’s Arena. Complete with lions, trap doors and the original “stadium seating” this is a large setting that also comes with a play mat to extend the area of play. As with most Playmobil sets, the Arena will require an adult involved in the building. There are lots of pieces and no one expects your five year old to be able to do the building independently. One parent we spoke with plans on having the whole thing built and under the tree ready to go for Christmas morning. That’s one approach (if you haven’t left everything else to be wrapped)…but I much prefer making the building project a parent/child event. Depending on the age of your child, you may be doing more of the building–but putting it together is part of the experience. It also reinforces that not everything is instantaneous…projects can take some time. Not a bad concept to share with your kids.
If a more modern pretend setting is more your thing, we also liked the new Playmobil Hospital (but it was not tested for lead content). This multi-level hospital has all of the wonderful attention to detail that Playmobil is well known for including wheelchairs, gurneys and a baby nursery.
Right before we went on air, our 4 minute segment became 3.5 minutes–that’s right–to talk about over 15 great Platinum Award winning products! We also had kids on the plaza (bundled up) that were really into playing with the Castle of Courage from Step 2, the Arena from Playmobil, and the Candy Land Castle Game from Hasbro. Al Roker is always fun to do segments with – and I usually like doing segments outdoors because the crowds are there – giving that extra energy that you don’t get if you’re in the studio. The downside? The wind today was kicking up. So right before we were about to go on live, I turned sideways and all of my hair got caught in my lip gloss. Not the best look. But more important than my hair was that the Havoc Heli RC helicopters from Spinmaster couldn’t fly – too much wind for these really cool tiny helicopters that are meant for indoor use or a very calm day. Thankfully the big K’nex Double Ferris wheel did not fall over! It looked iffy there for a moment too. Of course I could really talk about any one of these products for 3.5 minutes–so it’s always hard to decide what the sound bite will be for each–and I didn’t want to skip any–so it was full steam ahead. If you want more info about these award winning products, you’ll find a lot more on our website at www.toyportfolio.com and we also have posted a calmer discussion of some of our award winners on www.youtube.com. The best sign of a successful segment, the kids didn’t want to stop playing with the toys after the segment was over!