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TOY FAIR 2019 NEW TOYS HITTING STORE SHELVES THIS YEAR STATE OF THE INDUSTRY HOT TRENDS & HOT TAKES FOR 2019


FEBRUARY 2019

®

Volume 35, No. 1 — Published by Adventure Publishing Group

DEPARTMENTS 34 Editor’s Viewpoint 48 Industry Update

86 Talking Social Media: The Future of Video and Toys

246 Toy Association Update 248 WIT Stories

50 ASTRA’s Insights

88 Marketing Memo

251 Euromonitor

51 Toy Association Perspectives

130 Talkin’ Toys: KidStuff PR

252 Raising the Bar

54 Stat Shot

242 Talking Social Media:

56 Sweet Suite 2019

The Rise of Stories

244 Outside the Box

256 Industry Marketplace 258 Flashback: February 1999

97 What’s New

196 Outdoor & Active

132 Impulse & Collectibles

206 Infant & Preschool

150 Activities & Construction

218 Games & Puzzles

172 Dolls & Plush

Category Guide

232 Vehicles & Action Figures

features 52 Learning From Past Mistakes The NPD Group recaps toy performance in 2018.

58 Living in a Post-TRU World

Sean McGowan discusses what factors will impact the industry this year.

60 Controlling the Toy Space

Edge by Ascential examines Amazon’s continued growth.

Jackie Breyer Group Publisher jackie@toybook.com Maddie Michalik Managing Editor maddie@toybook.com Marissa DiBartolo Senior Editor marissa@toybook.com Ali Mierzejewski Senior Editor ali@toybook.com James Zahn Senior Editor james@toybook.com Jacqueline Cucco Associate Editor jc@toybook.com Madeleine Buckley Editorial Assistant mbuckley@toybook.com Victoria Rosenthal Editorial Assistant victoria@toybook.com Miranda Siwak Editorial Assistant miranda@toybook.com Joe Ibraham Art Director joe@toybook.com Bill Reese Production Director bill@toybook.com Patrick Kennerly Account Executive patrick@toybook.com Lori Rubin Controller/Office Manager lrubin@adventurepub.com U.S. Corporate Headquarters Laurie Schacht President laurie@toybook.com Adventure Publishing Group, Inc.® 307 7th Avenue, #1601, New York, NY 10001 Phone: (212) 575-4510 • Fax: (212) 575-4521

78 Toys and Grocery Are Back Again

Grocers provide new opportunities for toy partnerships in 2019.

82 The Return of FAO Schwarz

The classic toy store opens a new flagship in New York City, giving some familiar icons a modern update.

89 Barbie 60th Anniversary Special Section

62 State of the Industry Q&A

Top toy industry experts weigh in on what’s to come. Cover Image: © Mitchel Wu Toy Photography — www.mitchelwutoyphotography.com

240 CES 2019: Reflecting Changing Times in the Toy Industry

An inside look at the top trends of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

250 The Convergence of Specialty and Mass

Steve Starobinsky examines how industry trends affect the toy retail landscape.

254 The Next Generation

Wonder Works owner Christine Osborne discusses how new toy entrepreneurs are making a difference.

The Toy Book Volume 35, No. 1 THE TOY BOOK (ISSN-0885-3991) is published bi-monthly by Adventure Publishing Group, Inc.® Editorial and advertising offices are located at 307 Seventh Ave., Room 1601, New York, NY 10001, Phone (212) 575-4510. Periodicals Postage paid at New York and additional mailing offices. Copyright © 2019 Adventure Publishing Group, Inc.® All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. Printed in USA. Subscription rates: $48 one year, foreign $200. The Toy Book is a trademark of Adventure Publishing Group, Inc.® Registered in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Postmaster: Send address changes to: Toy Book, c/o Adventure Publishing Group, 307 Seventh Ave., Room 1601, New York, NY 10001 or e-mail bill@toybook.com. Opinions and comments expressed in this publication by editors, contributing writers, or solicited or unsolicited documents are not necessarily those of the management of The Toy Book.

Member, International Toy Magazine Association


EDITOR’S VIEWPOINT

TOY FAIR NEW YORK: A FRESH START by MADDIE MICHALIK, managing editor AH, TOY FAIR NEW YORK. IT’S THE TIME of year when you try not to laugh right in family and friends’ faces when they ask you, “At least the holiday season is over, so now you can take a break?” While it’s not my first Toy Fair (it will be my sixth!), it is my first time running the Toy Book’s biggest issue of the year. We have so much comprehensive information about the year ahead for you to flip through, including new products, trends, expert opinions, industry analytics, and more. I can’t wait to bring these books with me around the show floor and brag about how much work our staff put into them. What goes into putting together a book of this size? A lot of drinking—and not the kind you think. It’s all about drinking coffee to get through the early mornings; hot chocolate to cozy up while copy editing hundreds of product descriptions; Red Bull for that required surge of energy during late nights; and, of course, water—because it’s 2019 and you should care about staying hydrated. Last year was the first holiday season without Toys “R” Us. Reports from The NPD Group show that (projected to 100 percent of the market) the U.S. toy industry is estimated to be worth about $28 billion. This is a 2 percent decline from the year before, but really it is positive overall considering that many predicted the sky would fall last year. In fact, NPD’s Vice President and Industry Advisor of Toys Juli Lennett points out that annual 2018 sales are slightly higher than 2016, which experienced mid-single-digit growth. Read more from Lennett on page 52. While many of the major retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, and Target, seriously stepped it up last holiday season—battling it out for those coveted toy sales dollars—and so did specialty retailers, boutiques, and surprise places, such as grocery stores, which now have dedicated aisles and shelf space for toys. These grocery retailers were ready to play and try to fill the void left by Toys “R” Us. On page 72, Senior Editor James

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Zahn examines what worked and what didn’t last holiday season for grocery retailers. We’ll also have to wait and see what comes of Tru Kids Brands, the newly formed parent company of Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Geoffrey’s Toy Box, and more. Our annual State of the Industry report highlights crucial commentary and predictions from industry leaders, retailers, and manufacturers. Flip to page 62 for the extensive Q&A with valuable insights for 2019. For one thing, we can probably expect more acquisitions this year, such as the recent announcement of Simba Dickie Group acquiring Jada Toys. This year, as many of the industry experts note in our State Q&A, we will also see more surprise reveal collectibles. While MGA Entertainment’s L.O.L. Surprise! dolls continue to dominate this space (take a look at page 54 and the Top 10 Toys of 2018—and no, it’s not a typo!), I challenge toy manufacturers this year to think outside of the box and give consumers even more new and exciting products to look forward to in 2019. Innovation will drive the toy industry this year. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s Ryan’s World and we’re just living in it. The Toy Book delved deep into the trend of YouTubers getting their own consumer products programs in its December/January 2019 issue, and we’ll see a lot more of that at Toy Fair this year. pocket.watch will expand the Ryan’s World line of toys based on the Ryan ToysReview YouTube channel to including new partners, such as Just Play, Jada Toys, Kids Preferred, American Greetings, and Zak Designs. Ryan’s World will become a full lifestyle brand, with new products spanning new categories, including sleepwear, backpacks, Halloween costumes, party goods, furniture, and more. Ryan’s World success will definitely pave the way for even more products for other You-

Tube influencers down the line. In addition to kids’ digital entertainment, such as YouTube, it’s also a big year for entertainment brands. I think licensed brands will perform—and in some cases dominate— many categories this year. Highly anticipated releases include Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 4, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Star Wars: Episode IX, and many more. Grab your popcorn and see them on the big screen, and look out for the awesome products to accompany them! I sincerely hope you enjoy this issue of the Toy Book, and I welcome any feedback and thoughts on our issue. Our team can’t wait to walk through the show floor and play with all of the new toys you see in these pages. See you at Toy Fair! » Maddie Michalik is the managing editor of the Toy Book and senior editor at the Toy Insider and the Pop Insider. She reports on new products and toy industry trends, and has been featured on broadcast TV stations in the U.S. and Canada. Contact her at maddie@toybook.com.


INDUSTRY UPDATE

POKÉMON REVEALS DETECTIVE PIKACHU CONSUMER PRODUCTS The Pokémon Co. International unveiled an extensive consumer products line inspired by the upcoming film Pokémon Detective Pikachu. The new movie from Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Entertainment, and The Pokémon Co. arrives in theaters on May 10. The initial merchandise line for the film includes new Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) collections, Pokémon Center exclusives, products from master toy licensee Wicked Cool Toys, and construction sets from Mattel’s Mega Construx. Wicked Cool Toys will offer a series of action figures, plush, and role-play items that will be available beginning in April. » Detective Pikachu, from Mega Construx

SPIN MASTER INTRODUCES MONSTER JAM TOY LINE

First announced in 2017, this year marks the official start of a 10-year licensing partnership between Spin Master and Feld Entertainment Inc. for Monster Jam. This season, driver Camden Murphy takes control of the powerful Bakugan Dragonoid Monster Truck, which debuted in the Monster Jam Stadium Championship Series last month. Murphy, the 2017 Monster Jam Rookie of the Year, pilots the first Monster Jam vehicle inspired by an existing Spin Master franchise. Bakugan relaunched in December as part of a 10th anniversary revamp. Spin Master’s new Monster Jam toy line is available now and includes World of Monster Jam Trucks, Rev ‘n Roar Monster Trucks, Monster Jam Monster Dirt, and a 1:64-Scale Vehicle Playset Assortment. »

Monster Jam 1:64-Scale Megalodon, from Spin Master

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SIMBA DICKIE GROUP ACQUIRES JADA TOYS

German toymaker Simba Dickie Group (SDG) acquired Los Angeles-based Jada Toys. The acquisition marks a significant U.S. expansion for SDG. Jada Toys is best known for its die-cast and R/C vehicles, geared toward kids and collectors of all ages and interests. Jada also boasts a large portfolio of automotive and pop culture licenses, including Marvel Studios, DC Comics, Sunny Day (Nickelodeon), Hello Kitty (Sanrio), Transformers (Hasbro), Ghostbusters (Sony), and The Fast and the Furious (Universal). »

TOYS “R” US FINDS POTENTIAL REVIVAL IN TRU KIDS INC.

A potential Toys “R” Us (TRU) revival is taking shape in the U.S. A group of former Toys “R” Us executives officially launched Tru Kids Inc. last month. The new company was first named in court documents filed on Dec. 11 as the successor to Geoffrey LLC. A number of Tru Kids URLs were purchased on Nov. 30, including variations on TruKidsBrand.com, TruKidsToys.com, and TruKidsBaby.com. A new trademark application was submitted on Nov. 29. The new company will service TRU international locations, and will seek additional partnership opportunities and

potential pop-up Toys “R” Us stores. For more on Tru Kids, see page 64. »

GURU STUDIO NAMES PLAYMATES TOYS AS MASTER TOY PARTNER FOR PIKWIK

Guru Studio appointed Playmates Toys as global master toy partner for its newest original preschool series Pikwik. The news follows Guru Studio’s U.S. broadcast deal with Disney Junior and Hulu, and the recent expansion of True and the Rainbow Kingdom on Netflix. In collaboration with Guru, Playmates will bring to market a complete line of figures, play sets, vehicles, plush, and role-play items inspired by the new series, set to air on Disney Junior in 2020. Playmates Toys has worldwide toy rights, excluding China. »

MATTEL PARTNERS WITH WARNER BROS. FOR HOT WHEELS MOVIE, NAT GEO FOR BARBIE LINE

Mattel Inc. and Warner Bros. Pictures Group teamed up to bring Hot Wheels to theaters in the first-ever live-action feature film based on the iconic franchise. This is the second major announcement from the newly founded Mattel Films, following the Barbie feature film starring and coproduced by Academy Award-nominated actress Margot Robbie.


INDUSTRY UPDATE Mattel has sold more than 6 billion individual Hot Wheels cars during its 50year history. Mattel also entered a worldwide licensing agreement with National Geographic to create a new Barbie product line and content centered around exploration, science, conservation, and research. The new products will be available at retailers nationwide this fall. »

MOOSE TOYS ENTERS PARTNERSHIP WITH ASMODEE

Moose Toys entered into a strategic partnership with Asmodee in France, following its acquisition of the Scruff-a-Luvs brand and UK-based Worlds Apart last fall. The agreement enables Moose to expand the reach of new and existing brands in the region. Initially, the focus will include the Fortnite, Wrapples, and Treasure X brands. The partnership will not have any impact on Moose Toys’ current distributors or its existing portfolios. »

TRU GEOFFREYMOBILE SOLD AT AUCTION

Created as a parade vehicle that debuted on Nov. 28, 1980, at the National Rod, Custom, and Van Show at the New York Coliseum, the Geoffreymobile served as a family ride for Geoffrey the Giraffe, his wife Gigi, son Geoffrey Jr., and daughter Baby Gee. Robert Teel of Teel Auctions purchased the Geoffreymobile last summer, and it sold at auction this month, complete with its original trailer, for between $50,000 and $200,000. »

POCKET.WATCH EXPANDS RYAN’S WORLD INTO GLOBAL LIFESTYLE BRAND

Following last year’s foray into toys, pocket.watch unveiled plans to turn Ryan’s World—based on the kid-host of YouTube channel Ryan ToysReview—into “a true global lifestyle franchise.” The expansion of Ryan’s World is anchored by new partnerships and licensees, including Just Play, Jada Toys, Kids Preferred, American Greetings, and Zak Designs. pocket.watch will extend Ryan World’s beyond toys and introduce new categories, including sleepwear, backpacks, lunch kits and accessories, Halloween costumes, party goods, social expressions, hydration, and furniture. Additionally, pocket.watch is working alongside Accessory Innovations, Komar Kids, High Point, Handcraft, Fun World, Sun-Staches, Idea Nuova, Far Out Toys, Walmart, and others to create a range of Ryan’s World apparel, back to school items, home goods, accessories, seasonal toys, and wheel goods. »

RETAIL SHIPMENTS LEVEL OFF, BUT INDUSTRY TARIFF CONCERNS REMAIN

Following a months-long rush that saw retail shipments at major ports rise to record levels in an effort to beat increasing tariffs on goods from China, things have leveled off—for now. Data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates’ Global Port Tracker shows shipments normalizing, with decreases expected in the months ahead. Still, concerns for the toy industry loom on the horizon.

Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association, says “the core issue now for toys is the potential escalation of the third tranche of tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on March 1.” »

HASBRO ANNOUNCES NEW POWER RANGERS GAME, MONOPOLY MOVIE

Hasbro and Lionsgate partnered with nWay, the developer and publisher behind the mobile game Power Rangers: Legacy Wars, for a new cross-platform fighting game, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid. The game will be available for digital download on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in April, with a PC release later this year. Also, nearly four years after its initial announcement, Hasbro and Lionsgate will reportedly bring Monopoly to life as a live-action film starring Kevin Hart (Jumanji, The Upside). Deadline reports that Hart’s Ride Along collaborator Tim Story (Shaft, Fantastic Four) will helm the project. »

PLAYMOBIL JOINS WILDBRAIN YOUTUBE NETWORK

Playmobil appointed WildBrain to exclusively manage its YouTube content. The two-year agreement includes 15 short, animated videos featuring Playmobil figures. The videos will debut on a variety of channels in the WildBrain network in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, German, and Portuguese. » STAY CONNECTED!

@ToyBook The Toys “R” Us Geoffreymobile

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ASTRA’S INSIGHTS

ALLOW YOUR SALES REPS TO THRIVE AND SUCCEED

Learn how the Certified Master Sales Representative credential can enhance your business. by KIMBERLY MOSLEY, president, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association

WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THE AMERICAN Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)? The launch of the brand-new Certified Master Sales Representative (CMSR) credential, for one thing. Members who attended ASTRA’s first CMSR in person—a customer-service-focused workshop during the annual December 2018 sales representative meetings in Las Vegas— got a sneak preview of upcoming programs. ASTRA members and other toy professionals can now enjoy 24/7 access to an online, on-demand education that can lead to a lifetime CMSR credential. Sales representatives make up 7 percent of ASTRA’s membership, while the largest categories of membership are independent retailers and manufacturers. Though the proportion of sales representatives is modest, their impact in the industry is huge, says Sue Warfield, director of member relations at ASTRA. In the toy industry, most sales reps handle at least two or three dozen lines. “What all the good reps share is a deep base of knowledge about specialty toys,” Warfield says. “So they are experts on what

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is selling where and how different types of stores (Main Street stores versus suburban stores, for example) may see different sales patterns. They can be a critical resource in helping store owners, who are always beyond busy, keep up with what’s trending.” Recognizing the valuable role that sales representatives play in the industry, ASTRA’s recent investment in professional education addresses key areas to bolster their professional skills. The online curriculum will lead to a credential that certifies a sales representative has mastered key topics in these aspects of the toy business: Business and Finance • Setting Goals and Measuring ROI • Contracts and Agreements • Accounting Practices Customer Service & Promotion • Understanding the Customer • Identifying Follow-Up Tactics • Creating/Improving Sales Rep Image Customer Relations • Product Knowledge • Prospecting and Client Discovery • Cataloging/Pricing Technology • Time-Management Tools • Technologies • Product Tracking and Delivery Children & Play • Emotional Intelligence • Child Development and Toys Using input from ASTRA members, Ahren Hoffman, CTRS, CPE, director of education and training at ASTRA, spearheaded efforts to develop the curriculum. “Adult learning principles are woven into the course—particularly the reality that there is more than one learning style,” Hoffman says. “Learners will be able to watch, listen to, and read the content—then show mastery of the material through quizzes after each segment. They will have access to the content in digestible chunks that fit individual schedules.”

Warfield says individuals cannot overemphasize the importance of a thriving professional sales representative force in the specialty toy industry. For manufacturers, sales representatives are both hunters (finding new business) and farmers (cultivating the accounts they already have). For retailers, sales representatives are part of the “full circle of service” that manufacturers want to offer, but don’t always have the reach to deliver, Warfield says. “Manufacturers make great new products, but they cannot have feet on the ground in every market. Reps show products, train your staff, place your orders, solve problems, and get you the best deal on reorders. It’s a win-win role because everyone in the channel—manufacturers, sales reps, and retailers—all want the same thing: More business and more profit.” The CMSR credential is one more example of ASTRA’s commitment to professional development of its members. Information about the full suite of ASTRA credentials can be found at academy.astratoy.org/certification. All ASTRA credentials offer a unique opportunity to learn from accomplished veterans of the industry and connect with expert mentors to guide members. At ASTRA, we believe it’s never too late to make a New Year’s resolution. It’s still the first quarter, after all! How about making this the year that you make a little extra commitment to your own professional development? Check out the professional development offerings on ASTRA Academy, and you may find yourself with some new skills. » Kimberly Mosley, president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, is an experienced, award-winning, results-oriented association executive with a long track record of success in managing association operations, developing innovative programs, and growing revenue.


INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES

INNOVATIVE OPPORTUNITIES TO CAPTIVATE TOY CONSUMERS

An Exclusive Report from The Toy Association

by LAURIE CHARTORYNSKY, communications specialist and content developer, The Toy Association HOW CAN TOY MANUFACTURERS AND retailers evolve to attract new toy consumers? The Toy Association’s recently released report, “Toy Manufacturing and Retail Solutions—the Future,” explores fresh ideas for the industry to innovate around who is playing, what truly defines a toy, and what play is in order to capitalize on the changing landscape. Toy companies face new realities, including shifting consumer preferences and technological advances, which are redefining the nature of a toy and how kids play. Given the advent of the omnichannel shopper, retailers have to adjust to consumer demand for interactive shopping experiences, as low prices alone are not enough to draw and keep customers. The Toy Association’s report—the second in the series in which the Association commissioned ProdigyWorks and its exclusive network of creative thinkers and experts—delivers ideas as to how the industry can adapt for future success. “Change in the toy industry is inevitable and necessary,” says Ken Seiter, executive vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association. “Our most recent thought leadership work with ProdigyWorks suggests new ways for toymakers to create groundbreaking and engaging playthings that appeal to kids and enthusiasts of all ages and new avenues for retailers to capture these customers.” Selected from more than 200 ideas by ProdigyWork’s futurists, the report identifies five emerging themes: “A Toy Diaspora,” “Everybody Plays,” “Experiences,” “Speaking to Consumer Values,” and “Looking Beyond the Thing: Service Opportunities,” as well as 12 key opportunities for manufacturers and retailers to respond to these themes. “Finding new opportunities and successes in the toy marketplace means rethinking the purposes and benefits of toys, technology in toys, how toys are sold, and so on,” according to the report. Retailers and manufacturers must do more to offer consumers new ways

to discover and purchase the toys they want. Here is a closer look at the five themes and potential solutions for manufacturers and retailers to activate: • A Toy Diaspora: Digital technology, social trends, and e-commerce are creating a new ecosystem for toys, resulting in new places, occasions, and mechanisms for toy promotion and retail. These include mobile toy stores and pop-up retail experiences; airport playrooms, which can act as showrooms of curated toy collections with options to purchase; geocaching or scavenger hunt-like experiences using GPS to build product and brand excitement (think Pokémon Go); and interactive toy wishbooks. These opportunities all offer flexibility and low-cost ways for both manufacturers and retailers to introduce new products and reach niche buyers. • Everybody Plays: Toys can benefit not only the young, but also consumers of all ages who want to play and enjoy fun experiences. Opportunities within this theme include a “toys for life” approach to products, where a toy uses technology to adapt and change as kids enter various life stages. It also includes examples of multigenerational toys, games, and playgrounds that encourage older adults to stay physically and intellectually active. • Experiences: Experiences can delight or surprise consumers, or enlighten them on the meaning behind the purchases they make. Taking a page from Crayola or Hershey, toy manufacturers can conceive theme park-like factories that allow guests to learn and experience how and where a toy is made—resulting in a deeper connection to the plaything and its brand. Another option is toy retail makerspaces allowing consumers to create their own toy design with the tools and resources provided. • Speaking to Consumer Values: Today’s consumers are conscious of waste, harm, resources, gender concerns, and more. How the industry addresses these values and concerns must change—not only in the actual

product design, but also in the branding of the toy. Opportunities in this theme include biodegradable toys and creating neighborhood toy exchanges. • Looking Beyond the Thing—Service Opportunities: The toy sector can combine services with product to expand its offerings, including toy subscriptions, rental services, and business-to-business (and business-to-consumer) cleaning services for toys. “Successfully moving into a new era can only happen if toy companies and retailers are willing to step out of the box and address a new normal for the market,” Seiter says. “The ideas in the ProdigyWorks report will help the toy community explore innovation and capitalize on the unique opportunity presented to our industry.” The Toy Association commissioned ProdigyWorks to determine how the toy industry will look over the next decade and to explore transformational ideas about toys and play. “Toy Manufacturing and Retail Solutions—the Future,” complements a first phase completed early last year. At the time, ProdigyWorks concluded that the industry has significant opportunity to redefine toys and play for the next generation, and shared its findings in “The Future Toy Consumer and Toy Retail Ecosystem, Part I & Part II.” A third report exploring STEM/STEAM opportunities in toys and play will be available in the coming months. The full reports are available for free to all Toy Association members at toyassociation. org/reports. »

Laurie Chartorynsky has been a member of The Toy Association’s communications team since September 2016. At The Toy Association, she is responsible for the weekly e-newsletter Toy News Tuesday, and writes articles based on the latest trends in the toy industry for trade publications. Chartorynsky has a Master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

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TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

HOW THE INDUSTRY CAN LEARN FROM LAST YEAR’S MISTAKES The NPD Group recaps toy performance in 2018, and discusses what it means for this year. by JULI LENNETT, vice president and industry advisor, toys, The NPD Group ACCORDING TO THE NPD GROUP’S Retail Tracking Service data*, U.S. toy retail sales generated $21.6 billion in 2018 compared to $22.0 billion in 2017. This 2 percent decline comes after four straight years of growth in the toy industry. Overall, a 2 percent decline is a solid performance after such a significant shift in the retail landscape. After the liquidation announcement of Toys ”R” Us last year, there was a great deal of speculation about what would happen to the industry, with

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some predicting double-digit declines. It’s also worth noting that annual 2018 sales are slightly higher than 2016, which experienced mid-single-digit growth. Looking at supercategory performance in order of absolute dollar growth, dolls had the strongest growth thanks in large part to L.O.L. Surprise!, Barbie, and Hatchimals. Action figures followed, with sales from Jurassic World, Marvel Universe, and Beyblade driving most of the growth. Cool Maker, Cra-Z-Art kits, and Kinetic helped

the gains in arts and crafts, while Fingerlings, Kidi, and L.O.L. Surprise! helped the youth electronics supercategory grow. The top properties for the year based on total dollar sales included L.O.L. Surprise!, Barbie, Nerf, Marvel Universe, and Hot Wheels. Performance last year was one of contrast, showing growth in the first half and declines in the second half. Dollar spend in the first two quarters totaled close to $8 billion, a 7 percent increase over last year. L.O.L. Surprise!; Marvel Universe with the Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War movies both releasing in 2018; and Jurassic World, supported by the movie release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, fueled this growth. Toy sales in the first half of the year also benefitted as a result of the Toys ”R”Us liquidation program. The declines in the third and fourth quarters—close to 6 percent and 7 percent, respectively—were due to several factors, including Toys ”R” Us closing its doors in the U.S. (on the last day of the second quarter, June 30). Leading up to the holidays, many retailers stated that they made larger investments in toys for the fourth quarter in an


attempt to gain the share that Toys “R” Us left behind. It appears, however, as if some did not lean in enough with respect to the right additional inventory. It also appeared that some retailers focused on stocking brands that were sure to be big sellers, while others were out of stock of the most popular higher-priced toys toward the end of the season, which had a negative impact on sales. To me, it seemed as if everyone was taking the safe route this holiday when a little more risk-taking could have led to a stronger holiday.

“The industry needs some broader excitement this year, new and innovative toys are what drives growth.” Adding fuel to the declines, there was also increased competition for kids’ time and interest across other industries, including video games, which had a very exciting year. A few weeks ago, NPD announced that video game sales in the U.S. were up

18 percent in 2018. This marks the highest annual-tracked consumer spend total since 2011. There were a number of kid-friendly releases this year contributing to that growth that likely took dollars away from toys, including Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Mario Kart 8, both setting records. So, what lies ahead for the toy industry in the U.S.? Will the year see growth or a decline? In reality, it could go either way depending on the steps retailers and manufacturers will take. The industry will continue to work through the loss of Toys ”R” Us in the first half of the year. However, the U.S. is going to have a strong year for movies that appeal to kids, which often translates into great sales for toys. For example, Frozen 2 toys will be on shelf in 2019 and could be a game changer for the holiday. The industry needs some broader excitement this year and—while some of it will come from movie-related toys—new and innovative toys are what drives growth. In addition, retailers will need to lean in more this holiday, not only on the sure bets but also to go bigger on some of the high-

er-ticket items that Toys ”R” Us used to do so well with during the holiday season. Parents and grandparents will spend the money, but only if they are able to find the toys in stock in stores or online. » *Source: The NPD Group Inc./Retail Tracking Service, January to December 2018. Data is representative of retailers that participate in The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service. NPD’s current estimate is that the Retail Tracking Service represents approximately 78 percent of the U.S. retail market for toys. Projected to 100 percent of the market, the U.S. toy industry is estimated at about $28 billion annually.

Juli Lennett is the senior vice president and industry advisor for The NPD Group’s U.S. Toys division. She has spent the past 12 years at NPD managing client relationships and consulting a variety of manufacturers, licensors, and retailers within the toy industry.

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TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

DOLLAR SALES, U.S. TOY INDUSTRY, SUPERCATEGORIES* SUPERCATEGORY

ANNUAL 2018

CHANGE

Action Figures & Accessories

$1.55 billion

+10 percent

Arts & Crafts

$986 million

+3 percent

Building Sets

$1.82 billion

-5 percent

Dolls

$3.36 billion

+7 percent

Games & Puzzles

$2.14 billion

-1 percent

Infant, Toddler, & Preschool Toys

$3.15 billion

-5 percent

Youth Electronics

$613 million

+3 percent

Outdoor & Sports Toys

$4.00 billion

-4 percent

Plush

$1.23 billion

-10 percent

Vehicles

$1.41 billion

-10 percent

All Other Toys

$1.32 billion

-6 percent

GRAND TOTAL

$21.6 billion

-2 percent

*Approximately 78 percent of U.S. toys retail market. Source: The NPD Group Inc./Retail Tracking Service. Projected to 100 percent of the market, the U.S. toy industry is estimated at about $28 billion.

2018 TOP 10 TOYS RANK

ITEM

MANUFACTURER

1

L.O.L. Surprise! Doll Assortment

MGA Entertainment

2

L.O.L. Surprise! Series Eye Spy Tots Under Wraps Blind Pack Assortment

MGA Entertainment

3

L.O.L. Surprise! Eye Spy Bigger Surprise

MGA Entertainment

4

L.O.L. Surprise! Pets Blind Pack Assortment

MGA Entertainment

5

Hot Wheels Singles 1:64 Assortment

Mattel

6

L.O.L. Surprise! Lil Sister Assortment

MGA Entertainment

7

L.O.L. Surprise! Pearl Doll Assortment

MGA Entertainment

8

L.O.L. Surprise! House with 85 Surprises

MGA Entertainment

9

Barbie Dreamhouse

Mattel

10

L.O.L. Surprise! Biggie Pets Assortment

MGA Entertainment

Source: The NPD Group Inc./Retail Tracking Service/Unadjusted Dollars. These lists capture all widely distributed SKUs sold in the U.S. by retailers (including e-tailers). The lists do not include items that are exclusive to speciďŹ c retailers.

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TIA PERSPECTIVES

CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF SWEET SUITE THE BEST WAY TO REACH INFLUENCERS & PRESS IT’S THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF SWEET Suite, the ultimate toy event connecting top digital influencers and press with the hottest toys coming to market! Taking place on Wednesday, July 24, Sweet Suite is the most effective way to get your hot new products in front of the most influential consumers and top-tier press in the country. Known as the BIGGEST Night of Play, the event returns to Pier Sixty in New York City. Sweet Suite will welcome more than 350 members of the press, YouTube creators, and digital influencers to connect with more than 80 toy brands to meet face to face and get hands-on with the hottest toys and games of the season. Guests will enjoy delicious food and cocktails, all while getting a first look at new product reveals and making new industry connections. Last year at Sweet Suite, guests enjoyed one-on-one time with representatives from more than 80

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of the hottest kids’ brands and properties on the market, including VTech, LeapFrog, Nintendo, Jazwares, Just Play, Basic Fun!, Crayola, Dynacraft, Hasbro, PlayMonster, Mattel, HEXBUG, Jakks Pacific, LEGO, WowWee, Spin Master, Moose Toys, and many more. Enormous swag boxes will be shipped directly to attendees’ homes after the event, sparking a resurgence in social media impressions and ensuring influencers and journalists have products on-hand to review and share with their followers. The What’s Poppin’ lounge, sponsored by the Pop Insider, also returns this year with a wide array of pop culture products from companies that #fuelyourfandom. Cosplayers and products featuring entertainment brands fans love will fill the lounge with geeky goodness. Additionally, on Sept. 20, the Toy Book

team will host the seventh annual HoliDAY of Play event in New York City. At this launch party, members of the media will be the first to see the Toy Insider’s Hot 20, Top Tech 12, and STEM 10 hot holiday toy picks, as well as meet with top manufacturers right before the holiday season. This one-of-a-kind cocktail party will welcome traditional press, top lifestyle bloggers, and YouTube personalities to engage with sponsors and experience the top holiday toys. HoliDAY of Play is a great place to show off new products and be a part of the first round of holiday shopping coverage. Sponsors have already begun to reserve space at Sweet Suite 2019, and Early Bird rates are in effect through February 22. For more information about these events, contact Laurie Schacht (laurie@toybook.com) or Jackie Breyer (jackie@toybook.com). »


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

CHINA, ACQUISITIONS, AND A POST-TRU WORLD Factors That Will Impact the Toy Industry in 2019 by SEAN MCGOWAN, managing director, Liolios Group TOY FAIR: IT’S THE ANNUAL DEEP DIVE into Toyland, a time when we can all focus on the joy that new toys will bring to kids over the course of the next year, and maybe think a little less about Crazyland, where we adults get the joy sucked out of our lives. We’re coming off a year that was strange in so many ways, including the first holiday season in more than 40 years without Toys “R” Us (TRU). The retailer’s departure not only figured prominently in the outcome of holiday sales last year, but is also a central discussion point in this column. Here, I will consider what to expect in 2019 in light of what we’re leaving behind in 2018. TRU-ISMS One of the biggest surprises of the first half of 2018 was the speed at which TRU went from bankruptcy to liquidation. The bankruptcy was not that shocking: It was a bit like finding out your uncle who smoked three packs a day was diagnosed with emphysema. The shocking part was not that the patient was sick, but how quickly the patient lost the fight. From the moment TRU announced its liquidation, the big question facing toy makers became, “How much of the sales I expected to make to TRU will shift to other retailers, and how quickly will that shift happen?” Clouding this analysis was the uncertainty over the degree to which heavy retail toy sales rung up during the liquidation constituted “pantry loading,” whereby parents would simply spend their toy budgets in April rather than in November in hopes of getting a better deal during the “every58

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thing must go” sales. Plus, it wasn’t clear how much impact the extra shelf space allocated to toys at other retailers would have on total demand. There was a four-part argument for why the industry would enjoy strong toy sales last holiday season:

1. There was strong evidence and spec-

ulation that the pantry-loading effect would not be that significant, with some estimates suggesting that the vast majority of the toys purchased during the liquidation were not hidden in the back of the closet, but were, in fact, consumed shortly after purchase, which paved the way for a healthy holiday season.

2. Competitors such as Walmart, Target,

and Amazon stepped up their efforts to capture the lost TRU sales, either through extra shelf space (in the case of the brick-and-mortar retailers) and/ or extra and earlier toy promotions.

3. The absence of TRU brought a dra-

matic increase in shelf space from retailers not accustomed to doing brisk business in toys, such as Best Buy, GameStop, and Barnes & Noble. This would lead to consumers making greater impulse purchases when they visited those stores, and would create a fatter pipeline to which manufacturers could ship.

4. Finally, at least from the vantage point of mid-year, the economy and stock market were both booming, suggest-

ing consumers would not hold back on spending during the holiday season. In fact, pantry loading appeared to actually happen last year. Competitors did expand their toy offerings, but were not as profligate with their purchasing, leading to shortages. The lesser-retailers clearly wanted to be out of stock on December 26—and mission accomplished. The stock market also had its worst fourth quarter since the Great Recession, dealing a damaging blow to the wealth effect. My guess is that the percentage of toy sales that TRU lost and other retailers recaptured in 2018 was much less than the 80 percent-plus estimate that some put out there. And, of the portion that other retailers did not recapture, a significant part of it may be gone forever. (A quick shout out to Jakks Pacific, which was pretty much alone among major public toy companies last fall saying that other retailers would not pick up the lost TRU sales right away. Not that it was “good news,” but it just turned out to be more correct than the prediction that 80 percent or more of those sales could be made up in 2018. Full disclosure: I handle investor relations for Jakks Pacific.) Why did this happen? Even if those toys bought at half price in April were, in fact, consumed right away, it appears that parents found other things to spend their money on later in the year. Or, maybe they got distracted by the bi-annual “MostImportant-Election-Of-Your-Life.” Or they felt a little less like St. Nick and a little more like Ebenezer Scrooge when they opened their brokerage account state-


ments for November. Whatever the reason, the shift didn’t happen as expected—and there’s not much reason to think that it’s all coming back in 2019. THERE’S A NEW TARIFF IN TOWN Our president imposed a series of tariffs on imports from China and threatened to expand the range of tariffed products to everything made in China if the country didn’t meet his demands. But tariffs did not specifically target the vast majority of toys, and let’s face it: If everything made in China gets hit with a tariff, toys will only be one of a huge amount of products affected, so this is hardly an industry-specific concern. But even so, you think of China when you hear “toys,” so the concern has been center-of-mind for everyone in the toy industry. SLOW BOAT FROM CHINA In a not-unrelated development, we are finally seeing the long-anticipated largescale “de-Chinafication” of toy manufacturing. Tariffs—even those not yet imposed— are not the primary catalyst. The move to find manufacturing capacity outside of China has been underway for a long time, intensifying with each double-digit annual increase in the wages of workers in toy factories in Shenzhen and elsewhere, stoked by the desire of China’s leaders to move up the economic food chain by expanding production of higher-value products and moving away from low-value products, such as toys. Many U.S. companies found that countries such as Vietnam have adequate, modern factories and access to transportation infrastructure. The workers in these factories also typically don’t have to travel hundreds of miles to go back home for Lunar New Year celebrations, so there is less disruption in January. There is no way that Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and other countries can absorb all the manufacturing capacity in Southern China overnight, but the move out of China is underway, much like the move out of Japan and Hong Kong began a generation ago. GO BIG OR GO HOME In the immediate wake of TRU’s demise,

there was a prediction (which I agreed with) that the industry would see a massive wave of consolidation as larger companies swallowed smaller ones. The theory was that smaller companies were over-indexed to TRU, would find it much harder to replace those lost sales, and would be hurt much more by unpaid receivables. Well, the massive wave of post-TRU consolidation didn’t crest... yet. We still expect to see many smaller companies get acquired (or go under), but the buyers may not be the largest companies in the industry. Instead, private equity bottom-feeders may do the buying, or mid-sized players that are nimble enough to avoid getting burnt by the TRU bankruptcy, but are large enough to absorb other companies or product lines.

“My forecast for the industry this year is that it will be a good year.” CRUDE TO BE KIND The sharp drop in the price of crude oil over the course of 2018 would normally be a significant potential tailwind for toy makers looking to cut costs. And that may very well turn out to be the case. The price of crude oil ended 2018 roughly a third less than its peak in October, and more than 20 percent below where it was at the end of 2017. Often oil prices are a proxy for expectations of future economic activity—and if the drop in crude is driven more by diminished demand than by surging supply—it could be a harbinger for a recession, which is nobody’s idea of a tailwind. CRAZY RICH LICENSES By just about any measure, 2019 is shaping up to be an insane year for toyetic entertainment licenses, with movies such as Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, multiple Marvel and DC Comics features, Star Wars: Episode IX, live-action remakes of Disney classics, and more. History not only says that consumers’ appetites can have limits, but also that some of these properties have showed a bit of fatigue at retail lately. We like the

position a company, like Funko finds itself in: It will have products tied to just about all of the major toyetic content this year, in addition to some TV content not likely to generate sales of traditional toys, such as Game of Thrones and Stranger Things. (More disclosure: I handle investor relations for Funko.) OVERALL PREDICTION My forecast for the industry this year is that it will be a good year. Retail inventories are lean, there are many toy drivers, the economy remains relatively robust, manufacturing costs should be manageable, and the comparisons in the second half look pretty easy. In addition, for the first time in many years, the talk at Toy Fair won’t be, “So, what do you think will happen with TRU this year?” This is the first time in about 10 years that manufacturers won’t have to worry about the credit worthiness of one of their largest customers. If there is talk about “What will happen with TRU?,” it will center on whether the brand can successfully and sustainably revive in a new retail structure, and/or whether its various private label product lines can be successfully marketed under the Geoffrey LLC brand. Both of these are happier things to speculate about than whether or not a retailer accounting for a large share of industry sales will survive. I wish you all a successful Toy Fair, and a prosperous 2019. »

Sean McGowan is a managing director on the consumer team of the Liolios Group, which provides capital market navigation and advisory services. He has been closely following the toy industry for more than 30 years, analyzing product trends, cost changes, marketing practices, and other aspects of how products and companies succeed (or don’t). In addition to toy companies, his clients include companies in the sporting goods, video game, eSports, and consumer packaged goods businesses. He is also on the board of advisors of the Toy Industry Foundation.

toybook.com | FEBRUARY 2019 | THE TOY BOOK

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TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

ON AMAZON, ADULTS CONTROL THE TOY SPACE One Click Retail Examines Amazon’s Continued Growth by SHYLA NAVARRO, director of e-commerce advisory, Edge by Ascential WHEN TOYS “R” US SHUT ITS DOORS, the retailer left its 12 percent share of the U.S. toy market up for grabs. Amazon is not one to miss such an opportunity. Ahead of the 2018 holiday shopping season, the busiest time of year for toy sellers, the tech and e-commerce juggernaut mailed out its 70page toy catalog, “A Holiday of Play,” clearly designed to replace the beloved Toys “R” Us catalog. It also began developing its own line of private-label toys. The result? Amazon.com toy sales were up 15 percent* last year. The growth was neither uniform nor can be credited entirely to picking up what Toys “R” Us put down. Amazon’s toy categories saw some big swings last year, from games

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growing by 63 percent year-over-year to construction shrinking by 41 percent. These represent some wider consumer trends—bigger than just a shake-up in the retail landscape— and it all comes down to who is buying the toys—adults. Though the closure of a major toy institution like Toys “R” Us illustrates the shift to consumers now favoring e-commerce, experiential retail is still important. In fact, it’s arguably experiencing a comeback after the loss of Toys “R” Us, with new independent toy stores popping up across the country. The experience of taking kids to a toy store is something the online channel can never recreate—the value of the old fashioned toy

store is in product discovery, while the online channel is preferred for convenience, repeat purchases, and competitive pricing. Take the collectibles trend for example: We can’t talk about today’s toy market without mentioning L.O.L. Surprise! dolls. The collectible mystery dolls have been one of the fastest-selling toys for years, but they tend to do better in stores than they do online. L.O.L. Surprise! dolls are fun to collect and carry an accessible price point, so it’s easy for kids in stores to convince their parents to buy some. But when parents shop online, they’re less likely to be pressured into buying some flashy, brightly packaged toy and tend to gravitate toward products that


have beneficial qualities, be it active play, a social component, or educational/skill-building features. Amazon is also the preferred channel for adults buying toys and games for themselves. Last year, the games category grew by 63 percent, driven mainly by the popularity of party games—many of which, such as Cards Against Humanity, are not family friendly. Despite the many digital games and entertainment options, adults and parents continue to favor electronics-free social games. The biggest hit last year was What Do You Meme?, an independent, self-released game beating some of the big established manufacturers. As parents make an effort to reduce their kids’ screen time and encourage more active and constructive play, there is also an element of nostalgia driving toy purchases. Millennials are the last generation to remember the pre-internet age, and many are trying to give their kids the kind of childhood they fondly remember. As a result, the word “classic” became an important keyword in Amazon’s toy category, with toys from the ‘80s and ‘90s making a huge comeback. Toys

such as the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe and the Barbie DreamHouse, and board games such as Scrabble, are reverting to classic designs. The shift toward non-digital play, driven partly by nostalgia, caused some innovative, blockbuster toys like the Anki Cozmo robot to fall in Amazon’s rankings last year, but we do still expect STEM toys and robotics to be an important part of this year’s toy landscape. Consumers are moving away from tie-in products and action figures (entertainment properties declined by 8 percent last year) in favor of learning and exploration. For example, Amazon’s top toy of 2018 was the LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V Building Kit. Parents can encourage an interest in science and engineering in their kids with this product. In recent years, LEGO, with its many franchise licenses, pumped out some very successful tie-in products. Last year, these products began to fade in popularity, replaced by the Ideas product above, the LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox (full title includes “Fun Robot Building Set and Educational Coding Kit for Kids, Award-Winning STEM Learning Toy”), and LEGO Classic.

Today’s young parents are spending less time at the toy store, and the shift in favor of online shopping has a direct impact on the kind of toys they buy. Millennial parents are outcome driven—they don’t just want to keep their kids entertained and occupied. They want to enrich their kids physically, mentally, and socially. As these kids get older, STEM and educational toys will become a key category for mindful parents, and we will see the online channel continue to grow as younger generations become parents. » *Amazon.com Toy category YoY growth figures are estimated based on the most recent available data. Shyla Navarro leads the e-commerce advisory practice at Edge by Ascential, a data, insights, and advisory solution for global brands and retailers looking to win in today’s e-commerce-driven world. She is a toy industry expert and a thought leader in global ecommerce strategy, marketing, and sales.

toybook.com | FEBRUARY 2019 | THE TOY BOOK

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TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019 Industry leaders, retailers, and manufacturers weigh in on toy trends, changes, and more in The Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A.

ANNE CARRIHILL

Category Leader, Amazon Toys & Games How will you continue to evolve your toy department this year? Our mission is to build a world-class shopping experience that offers customers a vast selection, value, and convenience. We seek to provide the world’s largest selection of toys and games from manufacturers and brands of all sizes—from established brands to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Today’s customers seek toys and games from classic play patterns, such as the Disney Princess Dress Up Trunk, LEGO’s Classic Creative Brick Box, Melissa & Doug’s Let’s Play House! Dust! Sweep! Mop! Playset, Mega Bloks’ 80-Piece Big Building Bag, or Hasbro’s Play-Doh Modeling Compound 10-Pack Case of Colors. They’re also looking for new and innovative toys, including MGA Entertainment’s L.O.L. Surprise!, Mattel’s Jurassic World Alpha Training Blue, LEGO Boost, Crayola’s Ultimate Light Board, and Learning Resources’ Botley the Coding Robot. In addition, they’re shopping for items that feature their favorite TV or movie characters. Last year, we continued to offer even more innovative ways for consumers to shop our selection. To name a few, we published our first “A Holiday of Play” lookbook—both print and digital—which augmented our Holiday Toy List digital experience as a new way to research and shop for toys on Amazon. We expanded Amazon Books locations, which feature a curated selection of top-selling toys and games; launched 4-Star stores, allowing customers to discover, touch, and demo highly rated products from some of our top categories on amazon.com, such as LEGO and NERF; and launched Presented by Amazon pop-up stores, featuring items from the Holiday Toy List. We offered new subscription programs beyond STEM Club with Funko’s Marvel Collector Corps Box and Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty Box, Prime Book Box for Kids, Bitsbox, and Loot Crate. In addition, customers continued to shop items from the Amazon Launchpad program, which includes a selection of toys from STEM learning to open-ended play, and future-forward toys from today’s emerging brands. We also launched an easy way for customers to donate a toy to a child in need during the holiday season via Alexa and Toys for Tots. Customers could simply say, “Alexa, donate to Toys for Tots,” and they were presented with a reasonably priced item appropriate for kids across a broad range of ages directly from the Toys for Tots Charity List. This year, we will continue to surprise and delight customers by making shopping for toys on amazon.com fun and convenient to offer a broad selection with low prices and fast, free shipping options. We expect to see games, collectibles, and innovative toys for preschoolers continue to garner customer interest. We expect toys and games from PJ Masks, Marvel Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: Episode IX, and Frozen 2 to be popular this coming year. Other highly anticipated

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releases include The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, The Secret Life of Pets 2, Shazam!, How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World, Pokémon Detective Pikachu, It: Chapter 2, and Jumanji 2. We will continue to support innovators with the Amazon Launchpad program, which makes it easy for start-ups to launch, market, and distribute their products to hundreds of millions of Amazon customers worldwide. How successful was your first print catalog? How do you plan to build on that this year? We are always looking for opportunities to enhance the customer shopping experience and saw an opportunity to make Amazon’s Holiday Toy List shopping event even better. We augmented the digital experience with a lookbook format as a new way to discover, consider, and shop for toys on Amazon. Millions of physical “A Holiday of Play” lookbooks were sent to customers this past holiday season, and copies were also available in Amazon Books stores, 4-Star stores, and Presented by Amazon pop-ups. A digital version of the “A Holiday of Play” lookbook was also available for the season on Kindle and online. Parents and kids alike enjoyed flipping through the lookbook for inspiration and to discover the top toys for holiday. What were some of the most popular toy categories on Amazon last year? Among the most popular categories in 2018 were dolls, plush toys, and games. Kids and collectors of all ages enjoyed the fun and ever-surprising unboxing experience that came with some of the hottest doll brands, notably L.O.L. Surprise! (L.O.L. Bigger Surprise, L.O.L. Surprise! Glam Glitter, and L.O.L. Surprise! House), Hairdorables, and Poopsies. Indicative of the same customer insight were best-selling collectible plush toys, such as Pomsies, Pikmi Pops, and Hatchimals. Games that encourage families and friends to come together to laugh and play was another top trend, and adult card games continue to gain popularity. With endless options to choose from, some customers’ favorites included What Do You Meme, Exploding Kittens, Codenames, and Relative Insanity. Customers also continued to love classics, such as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Catan, Ticket to Ride, Jenga, and Connect 4, as well as innovative takes on traditional best-sellers, such as Monopoly Fortnite and Monopoly Cheaters Edition. In 2018, families came together to play outside with products from Radio Flyer and Step2. Educational and STEM toys continue to trend among parents and kids. Learning is always fun with some of the most sought-after STEM toys, such as the Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit, littleBits’ Avengers Hero Inventor Kit, and Ozobot’s Bit Coding Robot. Toys from popular movies and TV shows, such as Marvel Avengers, Harry Potter, Incredibles 2, Paw Patrol, and PJ Masks, delighted kids and kids at heart, including Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Series Infinity Gauntlet, LEGO’s Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall, Jakks Pacific’s Incredibles 2 JackJack Plush, and Just Play’s PJ Masks Deluxe Headquarters Playset.


KELLY CARUSO

Senior Vice President Merchandising, Hardlines, Target Corp. How did the demise of Toys “R” Us challenge you to rethink the way you did business last holiday season? Last year, as we were planning for the holiday season, we knew the retail environment was going to look a lot different, especially within the toy category. While Target was already on an uptick in the hearts and minds of guests—seeing 17 consecutive quarters of growth in toys—we knew we needed to stay focused and continue to make the right moves across our business to set a tone that signaled to our guests and vendors our commitment to the category—not just during the holidays, but throughout the entire year. This translated to identifying an opportunity to add 250,000 square feet of new, permanent space for toys across 500 stores, on top of introducing a reimagined kids-focused toy department in more than 100 stores last year. But this wasn’t just a brick-and-mortar strategy. We also enhanced our digital experience for toys on target.com and launched a new mobile app integration with our holiday gifting catalog. Looking ahead, we’ll remain nimble and opportunistic as the retail environment continues to shift, and make investments across our business to position Target for future growth. What were some of the most popular toy categories at Target last year? Board games, collectibles, and large dolls all saw consistent growth throughout the year. We launched more than 130 new games last fall, including 95 exclusive-to-Target items, and introduced a digital experience in November to help guests find the perfect doll. We also continue to be a big destination for collectors of all ages. What are your predictions for the state of retail in the toy category this year? While the landscape will remain extremely competitive and continue to change, you’ll continue to see retailers and manufacturers investing in toys. With all the extra attention, I am excited to see how this will challenge the industry to come up with even more innovative products. In toys, 2019 will be a big year for theatrical and licenses, and we expect properties, such as The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, and Star Wars: Episode IX, will all be key drivers.

STEVE TOTZKE

EVP & Chief Commercial Officer, Mattel Many retailers stepped up their offerings for the 2018 holiday season. How many of these changes will stick? Will consumers have as many options for shopping this holiday season? The 2018 holiday season was going to be a learning opportunity for everyone in our industry. It certainly was, and frankly it continues. The toy consumer is so important and valuable from a demographic and traffic standpoint, so retailers are motivated to attract, maintain, and satisfy this consumer base. The traditional retailers will continue to enhance their omnichannel experiential retailainment events throughout the year around beats, such as Barbie’s 60th anniversary or the upcoming Toy Story 4 movie, as they build momentum into the holidays. Some other channels may be more selective with when and how they amplify the toy category. Ultimately, toys are a terrific, important, and fun category, and I’m excited for Mattel to continue working closely with our retail partners to help surprise and delight families around the world. How did the demise of Toys “R” Us challenge you to rethink the way you did business last holiday season? The Toys “R” Us brand is still going strong in many parts of the world, including Canada and throughout parts of Europe and Asia Pacific. In the U.S., it energized us to continue to evolve and innovate our demand creation and retail execution with our key partners both in stores and online. You are seeing that show up in the activations and results for Hot Wheels and Barbie, as well as our Polly Pocket launch and the biggest toy year ever for the Jurassic World franchise. It also validates and accelerates our channel management strategies to have the right product for the right consumers in the right channels to optimize results. Finally, I am pleased with our data-driven approach to inventory management this past holiday, and I will continue to learn and apply that this holiday season. The bottom line is that strong brands and product innovation are more critical than ever.

toybook.com | FEBRUARY 2019 | THE TOY BOOK

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TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

BENOIT GADBOIS

RICHARD BARRY

Spin Master made several acquisitions in the past two years, including GUND in 2018. Do you have plans for further acquisitions in the future? One of Spin Master’s key growth strategies is to leverage our global platform through strategic acquisitions. We have an excellent track record of acquiring and integrating companies into our business, with close to 20 acquisitions to date, including Meccano, Cardinal, Swimways, and most recently, GUND. Spin Master continues to have a strong balance sheet, which provides our company with the financial flexibility and capacity to make strategic acquisitions both for the near and mid-term future. We’re always evaluating opportunities and we love when companies and potential partners contact us to brainstorm about the possibilities of working together.

What does the future hold for Geoffrey LLC? At the end of 2018, we embarked on a new chapter in the brand’s history. We emerged in 2019 with new ownership, new management, and a fresh, new vision. The newly formed company, Tru Kids Brands, is the proud parent of beloved brands Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Geoffrey, Geoffrey’s Toy Box, and more than 20 trusted brands, including Journey Girls, Fastlane, True Heroes, You & Me, Imaginarium, and Just Like Home. Leveraging globally recognized household names in the children’s space and more than 70 years of industry experience, Tru Kids delivers a wealth of valuable services, products, licensing, and wholesale opportunities to B2B and B2C partners worldwide. Tru Kids will remain a leader in championing play by developing new products and business models, and creating unique and immersive experiences that expand well beyond traditional retail concepts. As we continue to evolve our retail presence (both in store and online) in the U.S., we will also focus on growing our family of brands internationally where both the Toys “R” Us and Geoffrey brands continue to be powerful with a great retail presence in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

Global President and COO, Spin Master

How does Spin Master come up with new and innovative takes on existing lines, such as Hatchimals and Paw Patrol, to keep them fresh and exciting for consumers? Innovation is part of Spin Master’s DNA. One of our key growth strategies is to develop evergreen global entertainment properties, such as Hatchimals, that give us the ability to produce, develop, and monetize through product sales and licensing. Storytelling across multiple platforms is a core foundation of growth for these properties, seamlessly integrating toys and entertainment. We base our innovative product development decisions for toys, such as Hatchimals and Paw Patrol, on the stories we will eventually tell in episodic content. By doing so, we can create and introduce new characters, vehicles, worlds, and more, further expanding play opportunities for kids. And, we can bring them to life through content on many different mediums, from an app to YouTube. Our internal advanced concepts team and network of toy inventors and designers are constantly in search of new and innovative ideas that push the boundaries of creativity and fun. We never stop searching for new elements that can capture the hearts and minds of kids.

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CEO, Tru Kids Brands

What were the top-selling Geoffrey’s Toy Box products this holiday season? Part of the Tru Kids family of brands, the team behind Geoffrey’s Toy Box leverages expertise in product design, development, and global sourcing to provide wholesale opportunities and unique in-store experiences for babies, toddlers, and kids of all ages. The brands delivered through Geoffrey’s Toy Box were a proven success at our stores and on a wholesale basis. During the 2018 holiday season, we had product placed in more than 1,000 U.S. retail stores in partnership with Kroger and several other retail partners, and saw a huge appetite for our trusted brands. The best-sellers this holiday came from our role-play categories, including dolls from our You & Me and Journey Girls brands, as well as play sets from Just Like Home. Another best-seller was in the action figure category with our True Heroes brand. What are your 2019 toy trend predictions? I think it’s safe to say there will be plenty more surprises in 2019. We saw the surprise collectibles trend dominate last year, and it’s one that will continue to take hold, with MGA Entertainment’s L.O.L. Surprise! leading the way and new products in this category emerging from Just Play, Zuru, and WowWee. For older kids, the Fortnite trend is rapidly growing as more toys hit the market to support the biggest video game phenomenon. Now, kids can collect and play out a Battle Royale with action figures from Jazwares and an awesome collectible assortment from Moose Toys. With highly anticipated movies, such as Frozen 2 slated for holiday 2019 and Pokémon Detective Pikachu slated for pre-summer release, a new wave of excitement and products will be available for fans of these brands, including dolls, collectibles, crafts, and accessories. Finally, another stable category in which we predict continued growth is preschool, with product from kids’ favorite programs, such as Paw Patrol, PJ Masks, Peppa Pig, and Rainbow Rangers, seeing the most action.


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

KATHLEEN CAMPISANO

Vice President, Toys & Games, Barnes & Noble What trends will have the biggest impact on the toy industry in 2019 and beyond? The toy industry can certainly expect to see more innovative and creative ways of interpreting and delivering products that offer a “surprise inside.” With the success of franchises, such as Spin Master’s Hatchimals, MGA Entertainment’s L.O.L. Surprise!, and Funko’s Mystery Minis, it’s evident that combining the element of surprise with a unique reveal will continue to captivate kids. Another important and profoundly relevant trend is in STEAM products, or science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. This educational initiative needs the toy industry’s support to help make critical thinking, coding, programing, and problemsolving more fun. Manufacturers such as Thames & Kosmos, Wonder Workshop, and ThinkFun are leading the way in providing an opportunity for our industry to encourage kids with a lifelong love for the arts and sciences. What are your predictions for the state of toy retail this year? First, I think toy retail in 2019 will see a positive disruption driven by consumer demand for a reimagined shopping experience. Customers want more from their time in retail stores, and giving them a sense of journey and enjoyment while they shop is critical. Time in store will need to be time well spent! So, creating meaningful and relevant reasons to come into stores matters. Second, with access to information and the influence of social media, customers require complete transparency. They want to know who they are buying from, the policies around how things are made or manufactured, what causes they support, if they’re environmentally conscious, and more. Retailers need to openly share their policies, practices, and corporate values. The retailer that shares and communicates clearly who they are and what they stand for will be able to establish a mutual, longstanding relationship based on loyalty and value sharing.

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PAUL SOLOMON Co-CEO, Moose Toys

Several Moose Toys brands, such as Shopkins and Treasure X, are or will become licensed brands. How does this affect the way consumers interact with your brands? Licensing helps build brand affinity and longevity. You know that your product is resonating with kids when they want to incorporate it into their bedding, apparel, and other accessories. It’s exciting for both us and our consumers to have successful licensing programs across multiple categories, and for us to be able to collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands on innovative product lines. These kinds of partnerships also ensure that fans of our brands have multiple ways of engaging with their favorite products—from apps and books to food and shoes, there is something for everyone. Surprise reveals were a big trend for collectibles last year. Where do you see the trend going this year? Moose Toys kickstarted the surprise reveal trend five years ago with the launch of Shopkins and the phenomenon that followed. It’s exciting to see how this category evolved, and it is certainly one of the most crowded aisles in the industry at the moment. We continue to see incredible innovation because toy companies are all trying to push the envelope to break out in what is now an incredibly competitive category. Moving into 2019, we will continue to push the boundaries with unique unboxing experiences and engaging reveals. Moose will continue to set the trends in this space, not follow them, and we are excited to reveal in a few months’ time what we believe will be the hottest toy this year as we get closer to the fall season. Moose Toys donated proceeds from Scruff-A-Luvs to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). How did the partnership come about, and what are your plans this year? It was a global initiative for us, and we partnered with animal rescue organizations around the world. We were able to take the play pattern of rescuing a plush pet and support amazing organizations that are doing this in real life. It’s such a genuine connection, and we love that we are in a position to give back to such an important cause.


SHARON DIMINICO

DAVIN SUFER

Founder and CEO, Learning Express How did demise of Toys “R” Us challenge you to rethink the way you did business last holiday season? We are examining our product mix and adding new vendors to our line where it makes sense. Our stores average 3,000 square feet, so it’s impossible to carry large items or a vendor’s complete line of games, for instance. Many of our stores have extended their hours. I know that Toys “R” Us produced a special guide for differently abled kids that was very popular, and we will replicate it in the Learning Express way. Stores that are near a closed Toys “R” Us store advertised “Discover Learning Express” through Facebook and Every Door Direct Mail via the post office. We love it when a customer walks into our stores and says to their kid, “Well, this will be our new toy store.” What were the bestsellers at Learning Express during the 2018 holiday season? Our top 10 items were the Fresh Mart Grocery Store from Melissa & Doug, Laser X from NSI International, Smart Watch from iTouch, Rock ‘n Roll Rainbow Piano from MukikiM, the Lumiela Necklace, Doinket Darts from Marky Sparky, L.O.L. Surprise! Under Wraps from MGA Entertainment, Scruff-A-Luvs from Moose Toys, Speks from Retrospective Goods, and Funtime Tractor from Kidoozie—which we have carried since 1987! What new products do Learning Express retailers carry since the loss of Toys “R” Us? We’re expanding our selection of Barbie, Hot Wheels, Nerf, Hasbro games, PJ Masks, Paw Patrol, and Disney Princess. What trends will have the biggest impact on the toy industry this year and beyond? In terms of trends impacting the toy industry, I think the biggest trend that impacts all of us is YouTube videos and kids spending so much time watching them. If vendors find ways to take advantage of this (such as MGA Entertainment did with its L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, or many vendors did by capitalizing on kids watching other kids unwrap “blind” items), it can have a huge impact on what product kids will want. Specifically, unicorns are still hot, as well as sequin fashion items, animals, and pillows. Robotics and STEM toys are great, especially in the fourth quarter, but we had various impulse items prove to be popular, such as Schylling’s Nee Doh Glob, of which one of our stores sold more than $10,000 worth—that’s more than 2,600 pieces! How would the potential 25 percent tariff on Chinese imports impact your business? Along with the increase in the minimum wage, it will have a very negative effect. Many products will be out-priced and will not support a 25 percent increase. Grandparents contribute $7 billion dollars in toy sales each year. How do you reach this demographic? We sign up all our grandparents at point of sale (POS). We also target grandparents on Facebook. Several of our stores have set up a “mock store” in populated senior communities, and we offer senior discounts. Many of our stores create a “Grandparent Survival Kit,” which is a customized bucket loaded with toys, books, and games. We wrap it in cellophane and lots of curling ribbon and sign it. Grandparents will ask us if we can make up a basket for a 4-year-old-girl or a 6-year-old boy, and we say, “Of course we can!” We segregate our grandparents at POS and ask if they want to register their grandkids with us. We use it as a reminder service to call about two to three weeks ahead of time to remind them that their grandchild’s birthday is coming up and ask would they like us to recommend something and get it ready for pick-up or to mail out.

Chief Technical Officer, WowWee How does WowWee come up with new and innovative takes on existing lines, such as Fingerlings, to keep them fresh and exciting for consumers? We have a very playful and inventive team. We are quite literally always riffing on new ideas, things we see trending online, and what we see our kids doing. While that’s going on, our development team is constantly trying out new sensors, mechanisms, and design methods. When those two areas overlap, we end up with innovative products and innovative play. WowWee entered a licensing agreement with Pinkfong in September, and had product for sale by December. What does it take to deliver products so quickly without losing any of the quality? We were talking to the Pinkfong team for a few months at that point, but we moved quite quickly to get some really awesome items to market. Some of the ingredients that go into moving quick include an extremely engaged team, dedication to our brands, many late nights with the team in Asia, great manufacturing partners, and a lot of experience in what will resonate with young kids. On that note, it doesn’t hurt to have young kids at home to try out the products.

toybook.com | FEBRUARY 2019 | THE TOY BOOK

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TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

ANDY KEIMACH

DAVID CONN

VTech created licensed Go! Go! Smart Wheels for the first time ever last year. Are there any plans to expand the partnership with Disney or any other licensors? We couldn’t be happier with the success of the licensed Go! Go! Smart Wheels line, and we’re looking forward to continuing the momentum with the expansion of the line this year. In addition, we’re partnering with Netflix to develop a new animated series and toy line based on our Go! Go! Smart Wheels toys.

How is FAO Schwarz different from a typical specialty toy store? The big difference is the experience of shopping at FAO Schwarz. From a twoand-a-half-story clocktower and a giant rocket ship to toy soldiers that greet you at the door and, of course, the dance-on piano, a variety of exclusive, customized product-driven experiences make FAO a very unique toy store. In today’s world, children have such exposure to a variety of media and technology, and are very savvy as to what is current. FAO Schwarz, in addition to being a great place for finding classic toys, is also a place to find the new and the unusual. Knowing that kids are so well informed today, our challenge is to continue to bring innovation, combined with imagination, through our products and stores. We aim to provide experiences that continue to engage, excite, and create new memories for the next generations of FAO customers. Our focus is on what’s next, and we look to our own product development, in addition to our worldwide search for unique products and experiences that will first be seen at FAO.

President, VTech Electronics North America

Many retailers stepped up their offerings for the 2018 holiday season. How many of these changes will stick? Will consumers have as many options for holiday shopping this year? With so many ways to shop, retailers focused on personalized shopping experiences for customers this past holiday season. Consumer expectations continue to rise, so I think we will continue to see retailers and manufacturers working hard to anticipate these rising expectations. VTech prides itself on working closely with our retail partners to deliver great product and product experiences that seek to excite and delight our consumers. How did the demise of Toys “R” Us challenge you to rethink the way you did business last holiday season? The U.S. market remains diverse and dynamic! The departure of Toys “R” Us from the U.S. market presented us with both great challenges and a tremendous opportunity. With so much market share suddenly up for grabs for both manufacturers and our retail partners, it allowed us to work even more closely with them. We are fortunate that we can call on our continuous stream of innovative products, speed to market, and new product experiences to deliver very tailored and winning programs that will attract consumers to their stores and our VTech and LeapFrog brands. How do changes in school curriculums affect the way you develop educational products? We’re always cognizant of the growing list of skills children are expected to be fluent in by the time they reach school age, and we know school-readiness is a concern for many parents. Our VTech and LeapFrog products are designed to serve as a complement to the early skills children are learning at home, such as vocabulary, letters, numbers, colors, and more. We also work with a team of in-house learning experts to ensure we’re introducing a wide variety of beneficial, age-appropriate skills. We will continue to develop our educational toys to reinforce school curriculums in an exciting and engaging way to make it fun and create a strong foundation for lifelong learning.

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CEO, ThreeSixty Brands

Another brick-and-mortar store is opening at LaGuardia Airport. Do you have any plans to expand to more retail locations? We already have strong presences with FAO Schwarz shop-in-shops in stores across the country, including in Canada at Hudson’s Bay and in England at Selfridges. We opened our first airport store at LaGuardia and are opening more later this year in conjunction with Hudson News. We also announced a partnership with Kidsland, China’s largest toy distributor and retailer, which has almost 300 stores. They will open a 27,000-square-foot FAO Schwarz flagship at China World Mall, slated for April. They are also planning to open a second location in Beijing in March 2019, followed by additional stores set to open across China over the next five years.


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

SCOTT FLYNN

Vice President Sales & Marketing (Chief Fun Monster), PlayMonster PlayMonster made several acquisitions in the past year, including Kid O Toys, Interplay, and Utter Nonsense. Do you have plans for further acquisitions at some point in the future? Acquisitions will continue to be a major part of PlayMonster’s growth strategy. Our objective continues to be to acquire brands or product lines that extend or complement our existing product portfolio. We will also consider new categories that fit well with PlayMonster and expand our offering. The main criteria with any potential acquisition is making sure it fits with PlayMonster’s mission to champion play for all ages and make a difference through quality play. The key to any acquisition is to ensure we can add value in order to create long-term, sustainable growth. How will your alignment with Audax Private Equity affect PlayMonster’s growth this year? Aligning with Audax Private Equity is going to give us many more opportunities to continue our growth. With the infusion of capital and resources, PlayMonster can thrive and grow both organically and through synergistic acquisitions. We have ambitious plans for PlayMonster, as does Audax Private Equity. With their support, we can now explore expanding existing categories, such as Automoblox vehicles, and complementing existing brands, such as My Fairy Garden activities, along with some of our most popular brands and lines. We also now have the means to add new categories and brands through acquisitions to expand our already impressive portfolio of games and toys for kids and adults alike.

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THE TOY BOOK | FEBRUARY 2019 | toybook.com

MICHAEL MOSSER

General Manager, Lifestyle, Media and Toys, eBay eBay launched Toytopia, a new section of the site specifically for toys, and its first-ever toy catalog. Were these initiatives successful? What are your plans to expand in 2019? eBay distinctly stands apart from other retailers with a toy selection that only our online marketplace can deliver—the latest, trending toys, the sold-out and impossible-to-find toys, and the collectible, nostalgic, and super special toys. eBay brought this unique shopping experience of Toytopia to life through a mix of online and offline experiences, including a pop-up experience at Chelsea Market in New York City. We also introduced our first-ever toy catalog, which featured 2018’s hottest toys alongside unbelievable collectibles, such as the Bumblebee Transformer for $19.99 on the same page as a first-generation 1987 Transformer Set for $100,000. We also work closely to partner with our sellers to deliver our breadth of inventory. For example, Hasbro sells directly on our online marketplace, where we can offer consumers amazing deals and a popular selection ranging from Marvel action figures to games like Monopoly. Throughout the 2018 holiday season, we experienced strong traffic and sales across our robust offering of toys, and look forward to continuing that momentum in 2019. As a cultural barometer for what’s trending, we’ll continue to offer a myriad selection, ranging from the latest action figures from a blockbuster film to the hottest STEM toys. What were some of the most popular toy categories on eBay last year? In 2018, we saw categories, such as interactive building toys (LEGO), action figures and dolls, and board games, continue to prove popular on eBay. For example, from March through September, more than 148,000 L.O.L. Surprise! toys were sold on eBay. The momentum also continued in the back half of the year, from July to November, when we saw a 70 percent increase in searches for L.O.L. Surprise! toys on eBay. How do trends in consumer expectations affect toy sales? There are a number of expectations that today’s consumers have when it comes to shopping that we focus on delivering. In particular, we’re dedicated to catering to the busy shopper, where 63 percent of the eBay platform involves a mobile touchpoint, and 71 percent of items ship for free in the U.S., the UK, and Germany. Spending in video games increased 24 percent in the third quarter. How does this affect the toy industry? The video game and toy industries were always closely related. If you think back over the years, there were a number of character toys created that were licensed from video games, and video games that were built around existing character franchises, such as Disney. This past holiday season, for example, there were a number of licensed products based on the wildly successful video game Fortnite. The titles that are driving an increase in sales provides a resource for character and toy development for licensors that can act and manufacture quickly.


CHRISTINE OSBORNE

LAURA ZEBERSKY

What is one of the biggest challenges specialty toy retailers face, and how is Wonder Works addressing it? Staying relevant is one of the important challenges specialty toy retailers are facing in 2019. Discovering the experiences and products customers want and expect and tailoring one’s business to offer them are key to developing this year’s business plan. Reviewing our product mix for the age categories we provide for in our communities is essential to curating highly profitable, sought-after items. This involves expanding product categories, whether it is crossing the line into items mainly found in the mass market or adding certain adult gift categories for the moms and dads who are shopping in our stores already.

Spending in video games increased 24 percent in the third quarter. How does this affect the toy industry? The increased popularity of video games is amazing for the toy industry—it’s bringing new consumers into the toy aisle. These players are fully committed to the games they are playing, and spend countless hours honing their skill set, exploring endless opportunities of customization, participating in storytelling, and diving into multi-player interaction. Players are thrilled to have product dedicated to their favorite characters and in-game experience.

Owner, Wonder Works

Wonder Works debuted the country’s first Mattel store within a specialty store last year. Was the concept successful? What are your plans to expand this year? Wonder Works’ partnership with Mattel is extremely successful because the designated section allows customers to focus on one area for Mattel’s trusted brands—Barbie, Thomas, and Hot Wheels. Knowing they are getting the best of Mattel’s offerings and are experiencing in-store Mattel events allows for a wellrounded shopping experience. Wonder Works also worked with Fat Brain Toys to assist in developing a couple of experiential shopping opportunities for customers, including a play table with display and play bins and a free-standing, three-sided unit that turns the merchandise three times faster. This houses shelves, a flat wall, and play bins for a great hands-on opportunity to play. In 2019, Wonder Works looks forward to taking toy brands to the next level. Wonder Works will feature a unique, designated section for a well-known brand. Much time and effort has been placed into this project, and it is expected to be a revolutionary experiential and shopping experience much needed in specialty retail shops. Do toys from mass market manufacturers have a place at specialty retail? Absolutely. After the initial craze when L.O.L. Surprise! requests hit specialty stores in 2017, specialty retailers quickly learned to adapt, work together, and partner with companies that were willing to focus on specialty, such as KidFocus. The development of product sharing of MGA Entertainment brands with specialty stores was difficult at best in the past, but the generation of KidFocus created a pathway. Additional brands, products, and offerings were provided assisting specialty stores’ relevancy image. Numerous distributors, such as License 2 Play, also bring mass-specific products to specialty, which due to a large social media presence, specialty can no longer ignore. Companies including Moose Toys and Jakks Pacific are getting a broader customer base through the specialty channel License 2 Play creates. By offering these mass products to their customers, specialty stores are introduced to a customer base that may never have entered their stores otherwise. It is a win-win for all.

Chief Commercial Officer, Jazwares

Some of the hottest toys this year were based on multiplatform games and YouTube content. Do you expect this trend to continue in 2019? This trend will undoubtedly become more dominant in 2019 and beyond. Content consumption has completely changed; kids of all ages are engaged in new ways. From multiplayer games and phenomenon of influencer unboxing videos to creating their own content, this year’s hottest toys all prove that kids want to replicate that digital experience. Jazwares signed on as master toy licensee for several properties in 2018, including Feisty Pets and Angry Birds. What are the differences in creating proprietary product lines versus licensed products? The process between a licensed product and proprietary toy launch is very different. With more than 20 years in the industry, Jazwares prides itself as an expert on bringing licensed properties to life. In doing so, we become responsible for someone else’s content, which requires a complete understanding of that brand’s DNA. We are very focused on the authentic translation of the brand while providing the best customer experience, innovation, and on-shelf longevity. This is a special talent and speaks to who we are as a company. Creating proprietary lines is uniquely challenging and rewarding, as you are starting from scratch without the benefit of existing content, fans, and history. You start with a blank page, which is exciting, but most definitely daunting.

toybook.com | FEBRUARY 2019 | THE TOY BOOK

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TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

ISAAC LARIAN

Founder and CEO, MGA Entertainment What is one of the biggest challenges toy manufacturers face, and how is MGA Entertainment addressing it? One of the biggest challenges toy manufacturers face in the industry is the mass production of counterfeit toys and other toy companies that knock off the hottest toys on the market. It’s also an easy way out for some toy companies and so-called “inventors” to make a copy of an original idea instead of innovating. Longer term, this will hurt these copycat vendors as well as the retailers who support and buy knockoffs. Our legal team implemented a global anti-counterfeit program that vigorously pursues all types of counterfeit and knockoff cases and enforces our rights to the fullest. We will always protect our rights and our loyal fans who deserve to receive the best quality toys from a reliable and trustworthy manufacturer, such as MGAE. As a leading company in the toy industry for creating innovative product, packaging, and marketing tactics in bold ways, we are growing faster than anyone else. We care about our brand’s fans who support and allow us to continue making creative and groundbreaking toys that become a memorable part of their childhood. Unfortunately, L.O.L. Surprise! encounters a high volume of counterfeiters attempting to capitalize off of the unparalleled phenomenon, and we are vigilant in responding on social media and taking aggressive legal action as we urge fans to only purchase products from trusted retailers and websites. We also have a unique approach to educating kids about how to spot a fake that is in the tone and manner of our brand on our Unboxed series on YouTube, called “How to Spot a Fake L.O.L. Surprise,” which has received more than 10 million views to date. Maintaining the quality and integrity of our brands is a top priority and essential for the brand and fans. What are your predictions for the state of toy retail this year? I predict the loss of Toys “R” Us will have a major long-term effect on the toy industry. Many toy makers will likely not make new and innovative ideas, as major retailers, such as Walmart and Target, simply don’t have room to take new ideas. In addition, these retailers are risk averse to bringing anything onto shelves because their space is so limited. So, I believe the toy business as a whole will be down again this year because of the lack of original innovations that are brought to market. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a reality toy manufactures have to consider.

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STEVE PASIERB

President & CEO, The Toy Association What are the biggest challenges facing the toy industry as we head into 2019, and how is The Toy Association addressing them? Preventing tariffs on toy products from China and a threatened fourth tranche is The Toy Association’s top legislative priority, among many, this year. Our staff continues to aggressively communicate the detrimental effects tariffs would have on the toy industry in meetings on Capitol Hill and to the administration. Earlier this month, member companies were invited to join a Washington, D.C., fly-in as part of our participation in the Americans for Free Trade Coalition. Members added their voices on how tariffs can hurt the toy industry and will ultimately result in higher prices to consumers, impacting those who love to play—kids. The Toy Association also secured additional communications, public relations, and lobbying resources, which are being implemented. Another important topic in 2019 is attacking IP infringement, forgery, and counterfeit products that pose not simply a financial risk to toy companies but, as we saw over the holidays with the tragedy in Wisconsin involving an illicit toy, these products threaten the health and safety of children. In January, we released a white paper on intellectual property infringement and e-commerce in the toy space, and we will continue to work with the toy industry, e-commerce marketplaces, and lawmakers to rein in these abuses. Further, as the industry adjusts to the evolving retail sector and recaptures sales following the closing of Toys “R” Us, the question remains of who will fill the gap. The retailer frequently gave smalland medium-sized manufacturers that shot at growing significantly. In an age of limited retail shelf space, the Association will look to bring forward fresh thinking and diverse thought leaders to address this issue. What are The Toy Association’s key initiatives for the year ahead? Protecting and promoting both member companies and the broader toy community are the reasons we exist. We have many exciting happenings planned for this year, such as the Annual Business Conference this year in partnership with Target, continuing to strengthen Toy Fair New York and Toy Fair Dallas, and organizing a primary El Segundo, California, showroom location for members without business operations on the West Coast for April and September. Elsewhere, a new multitiered membership offering enables specialty toy stores and individual toy buyers to participate as members in Toy Association activities; we will commission new research on evolving retail, industry studies, and consumer insights for members; and will continue to promote to families the value of childhood play.


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

KIMBERLY MOSLEY

President, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association What are the biggest challenges facing the specialty toy industry as we head into 2019, and how is ASTRA addressing them? Last year at this time, we anticipated more large chain store closures. As we all know, that prediction became a sobering reality that continues to reverberate across the entire toy industry and at all levels in the distribution channel. It offers members of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) unprecedented new opportunities, even as it raises concerns about competitive responses from well-resourced big-box retailers. Added to the mix for 2019 is uncertainty about potential consequences from new tariff policies from the U.S. and its trading partners. We’re starting 2019 with accelerating change in our business environment. There’s nothing new about that, right? This year’s version is focused on the infrastructure side and characterized by fragmentation, new business models, and channel fluidity—all of which tend to be challenges for small businesses. However, those ever-changing consumer expectations play to the strengths of ASTRA stores—more experience-driven purchases, a focus on social responsibility retailing, and a desire for shared culture. Successful ASTRA retailers always respond to a changing market by using their smaller size and entrepreneurial creativity as competitive advantages that make them nimble and adaptable. ASTRA will help identify what is working for independent stores and share it widely with ASTRA members using our portfolio of professional education options, including Marketplace & Academy sessions in Pittsburgh; on-demand, web-based education available 24/7; our certification programs; and conversations that flourish in our online community. ASTRA is known for members who generously share their best business tactics to help others. We will double down on our efforts to give our small business owners proven tactics for weathering the latest changes in 2019. What are ASTRA’s key initiatives for the year ahead? • To grow the expertise of our members, which will in turn improve their business performance and increase the viability of their businesses. Check out academy. astratoy.org for details on our professional education programs and watch for the full launch of our new Certified Master Sales Representative (CMSR) this year. • Establish relationships and partnerships to expand the ASTRA footprint and grow face-to-face opportunities for members to get together, which will increase the mix of ideas, relationships, and products that flow through ASTRA. Think CES, Spielwarenmesse, Toy Fair New York, Toy Fest West, various gift marts and children’s products shows, and ChiTAG. ASTRA will have a presence at all of these and more—in some cases, fueled by formal partnership, and many offering in-person education and networking events. • Address big picture issues with the leadership of an ad hoc independent toy industry “think tank” we call the Innovation Council. Comprised of highly experienced toy industry professionals and others from aligned industries, you’ll hear more as this group prioritizes the longer-term issues we must tackle in the independent toy industry. • Add customer-focused activities and benefits centered on new ways to add no-cost, in-store philanthropic programs and information about toys and play to differentiate their stores.

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THE TOY BOOK | FEBRUARY 2019 | toybook.com

MICHAEL RINZLER

Co-President & Founding Partner, Wicked Cool Toys What are the differences in creating proprietary product lines versus licensed products? The creation of proprietary product lines tends to be more all-encompassing as you are essentially starting from scratch and “birthing a baby,” while managing licensed brands and caretaking for someone else’s intellectual property tends to be more like “babysitting someone else’s child.” Both of them require passion, strategy, line planning, marketing efforts, and more. Furthermore, the creation of proprietary product lines has a much faster timeline as you eliminate the time that is taken for licensor approval. From a retail perspective, it is easier to place well-known licensed brands than proprietary product lines in which you have to convince retail that you will make the investment spend and truly get behind what you are launching. What business strategies worked in the past that will no longer work in 2019? It definitely hurts not to have Toys “R” Us as a launching pad for new products that are challenging to get placed broadly in the mass market. When I started Wicked Cool Toys in 2012, I knew that Toys “R” Us would be supportive from the outset and I could place my products there. They were always willing to work with new companies and entrepreneurs. I also think the licensing business will be quite different without Toys “R” Us. In the past, smaller brands had a place to live at retail. In today’s toy business, a licensed brand is typically an “A” or an “F,” in which they will either get placed with one or more of a few remaining mass-market retailers, or likely not at all. How would you feel about the return of Toys “R” Us? Toys “R” Us is a meaningful brand to consumers and offered an experience that kids truly enjoyed! If Toys “R” Us returned with a store presence and backed by a strong financial partner, Wicked Cool Toys would happily support them.


SKIP KODAK

Senior Vice President, Americas, LEGO Group What is one of the biggest challenges toy manufacturers have to face, and how is LEGO addressing it this year? Today’s kids have more to choose from than ever before, and they move quickly from one thing to another, so maintaining their interest and attention is a constant challenge. Innovating a play experience to constantly meet the changing needs of kids around the world is a major undertaking and something we always have in focus. We’re lucky to have a play experience rooted in a system of creative play materials that lend themselves so well to reinvention with a familiarity that keeps the LEGO brand relevant and trusted. We’re very excited about the ways LEGO products appeal to kids this year—from a blockbuster new storyline featured in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part this month that will inspire imaginations to build and play to revolutionary new creative physical and digital play to epic properties, such as Star Wars, Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, Jurassic World, and Batman. We’re confident that we have many solutions for turning the industry’s biggest challenge into an opportunity for the LEGO business in 2019. Many retailers stepped up their offerings for the 2018 holiday season. How many of these changes will stick? Will consumers have as many options for holiday shopping in 2019? We saw retailers increasing marketing and experiential brand event support in 2018, which is exciting for us because the LEGO brand is rooted in the physical play experience. When you put LEGO bricks in the hands of kids and shoppers, there is an instant reminder of the power of personally relevant creative play and its longer-term value as an investment for the playroom. We use our own LEGO stores as a lab for retail experiences, so having an increased opportunity to leverage best practices in broader retail activation is not only exciting, it’s also good business. While it can be tough to activate in stores during the critical Q4 shopping season, we hope to see a continued commitment to take the shopper experience over the top. We believe retailers that grew 2018 toy sales last year will maintain or even increase support for expanded toy offerings to achieve 2019 growth.

JAY FOREMAN CEO, Basic Fun!

Basic Fun! made several acquisitions in the past year, including K’NEX, Playhut, Geoworld, and more. Do you have plans for further acquisitions in the future? Yes, acquiring companies, brands, and toy IP is part of our DNA and growth model. We see the market continuing to strain in the below-$50-million-revenue range, and we believe we continue to offer a great opportunity for companies worrying about how to navigate the changing retail landscape. The ability to launch and drive a new program is tougher than ever without Toys “R” Us, so growing and building sales volume is tougher than ever. In addition, the business is now shifting more and more away from FOB direct from China and toward domestic sales. This puts even greater strain on the cash flow of companies, requiring them to take greater risks on inventory product. Do you anticipate the trend toward mergers and acquisitions will continue in the year ahead? Yes, for sure. We are now headed into a very volatile period in our economy between the ups and downs of the stock market after 10 years of unprecedented growth, the threat of tariff impositions, and the uncertainty with regard to the investigations relating to the president. Chances are, things are going to get worse for the next few years, so now is the time for companies to make moves if they’ve been thinking about marketing their business for sale or merger. I expect a lot of action this year in the industry. What are your predictions for the state of toy retail in 2019? Unless a version of Toys “R” Us emerges, some of that volume is just going to go away. Think about how you shop at a grocery store. You go in for eggs and milk, and come out with chips and soda as well. It was the same with Toys “R” Us. You went in for a few gifts and came out with a basket because the selection was so enticing. Consumers shop online for what they want, and at big box you have clothes, food, and home goods to select from, as well as toys. How would you feel about the return of Toys “R” Us? As long as they are in a position to pay their bills, it would be great! In your opinion, who won the battle for Toys “R” Us dollars? Which strategies worked at retail this past holiday and which did not? In the end, all retail gained a bit, which either made up for a weak toy year or helped growth year over year. However, the toy manufacturer lost big time! Many of us thought that we could capture back 50 percent or more of the lost volume, and most got 20 percent at best. It’s going to take a bit longer than we all imagined to gain back what was lost at Toys “R” Us. Certainly adding space in areas close to closed Toys “R” Us locations helped and was smart, as was stacking out the aisles with features and pallets of special and new product. However, I don’t think anyone has really figured it out yet. It’s a work in progress for us all.

toybook.com | FEBRUARY 2019 | THE TOY BOOK

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TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

DEBORAH STALLINGS STUMM

DARRYL LI

Some of the hottest toys this year were based on multiplatform games and YouTube content. Do you expect this trend to continue in 2019? Influencers, social media, and gaming apps are at the core of how kids and teens now consume entertainment. YouTube stars and social media influencers are the new celebrities and role models that drive sales and demand for merchandise. Finding ways to integrate these new channels with popular and innovative play patterns will be hugely important for successful toy lines going forward. That said, not all influencers and gaming apps, regardless of their subscribers, downloads, and views, will work well for toy lines. Bonkers Toys will be very selective about the brands and channels with which we partner.

How do you integrate pop culture licenses into your products? In an ongoing effort to stay ahead, Jada looked to bring its core competencies in die-cast to the figure category, which resulted in Hollywood Rides. Hollywood Rides captures the essence of Hollywood’s most iconic vehicles and delivers them as die-cast collectibles with the iconic Jada style. From authentic movie vehicles to inspired-by executions, Jada delivers fan-favorite franchises across pop culture. By keeping our finger on the pulse of pop culture, we never miss our mark when it comes to delivering what the consumer is looking for. Hollywood Rides allows us to keep things fresh and exciting by giving consumers a nostalgic blast from the past or delivering modern iconic vehicles that have graced the big screen. Our Nano Metalfigs line opened the gate for us to create a vast library of the most popular characters from the most popular brands. These figures come in a 1.65-inch size made in a 100 percent die-cast metal execution that features authentic character likeness. Having this in our library led to us working with major entertainment properties, which laid the perfect foundation for us to grow Hollywood Rides. Recreating iconic vehicles and figures hasn’t been the only feat that Jada has to showcase. As we began to search for a greater challenge in pushing this brand, we came up with something truly special. One of the most innovative avenues that Hollywood Rides allowed us to go down is the creation of inspired-by vehicles. The team at Jada continued to show how infinite their creativity was by taking some of the most prominent superheroes and imagining what vehicles these characters would drive if they had a real life car. For example, our DC Comics Bombshells line takes the most popular super heroines in a 1940s-era pinup style and pairs them with a sweet classic ride in a livery that we think would perfectly compliment them as characters. To date, these are some of the most innovative and well-designed castings in our library. Another example that has brought us fantastic acclaim is our Marvel inspired-by executions. We paired fan-favorite characters, such as Deadpool, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Black Panther, with an existing vehicle that we redesigned to match them. When you see the character standing next to their own unique vehicle, you can’t help but think to yourself, “This is the perfect car for this superhero!”

Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Bonkers Toys

What does it take to deliver products quickly without losing the quality? In this digital age, it is critical to be nimble and have an incredibly fast time to market. Trends come and go very quickly, and kids expect to see products from their favorite digital stars while they are still popular. Bonkers Toys is extremely entrepreneurial and nimble, so we can identify trends, develop ideas, and manufacture meaningful products with our experienced product and quality teams, and ship to meet retailers’ timelines for key selling seasons. Having the right team in place to ensure quality while expediting time to market is essential. Ryan’s World was one of the hottest toy lines of the year. How did Bonkers Toys keep up with demand and manage retailer inventory? The Ryan’s World brand has most definitely become a phenomenal success story! Bonkers Toys was the first toy company to recognize the massive potential of Ryan in the toy space, and we signed as the very first licensee. It was no easy feat to sign the deal, design an entire product line, and ship product on time to meet retailer set dates in less than six months. We expected the consumer demand to be strong, but I think everyone was beyond amazed at the loyalty of Ryan’s fans and the incredible demand for the product. We worked very closely with all of our retail partners to ship as much product as possible to the right stores at the right times. Even with our best efforts, the flagship toy in the Ryan’s World line, the Giant Mystery Egg, was one of the hottest items of the holiday season and created a frenzy at retail, making it very hard to find.

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Director or Marketing, Jada Toys


LAWRENCE ROSEN Chairman, Cra-Z-Art

The Activities category was up in the first half of 2018. To what do you attribute the success? The Activities/Arts & Crafts category did well due to the continuing popularity of slime and other hot themes, such as sequins, glitter, bath bombs, and more. With Cra-Z-Art being one of the leaders in the arts and crafts category and being known for finding hot trends, we already had popular items, such as Nickelodeon Slime, Shimmer ‘n Sparkle Bath Bomb kits, and sequin bags, in the marketplace. We also included popular current themes, such as unicorns and emojis, into our designs. Our Nickelodeon slime kits, bath bomb kits, and glitter kits evolved into our trendy Nickelodeon Slime Studio, Bath Bomb Maker, and Glitter Maker. These activity sets allow kids to customize designs and engage in imaginative, creative play, as well as be socially interactive. Kids also like the tactile feel of working with different materials and textures. All of these self-contained activity sets come with everything kids needs to create their own arts and crafts masterpiece, making them easy and fun to use. Kids can showcase their artistic expression with this traditional play aspect using arts and crafts. We expect these trends to continue through 2019 alongside new and recurring trends, such as friendship bracelets and loom bracelets. How was Cra-Z-Art’s first holiday season without Toys “R” Us? There is no doubt that Toys “R” Us was missed this holiday season, as the retailer garnered an approximately 14 percent share of the toy marketplace and allowed us to showcase a wide array of our toy catalog. It certainly made the retail environment more challenging to navigate for sellers and consumers. However, Cra-Z-Art was able to aggressively and successfully make up share and fill the void. We also worked with our great key retail partners to expand listings and promote items both at the store level and online, and found new, alternate retail channels. Fortunately, we had a very good portfolio of items, including our Nickelodeon Slime and other arts and crafts items, such as our Bath Bomb Maker, that drove sales and increased revenue for us to have another good year. We’ll continue these efforts and look for additional growth channels this year.


PLAYTIME IN AISLE 19:

REFRESHING THE IDEA OF TOYS & GROCERY With billions in potential sales up for grabs, grocery retailers are ready to play again. by JAMES ZAHN, senior editor RETAIL TRENDS TEND TO COME IN waves, crashing in hard and quickly receding just before the next tide rolls in—they ebb and flow, if you will. When it comes to the relationship between toys and grocers, seasonality traditionally dictates the business, but that’s something that’s starting to change. Following a retreat for a few years, an increasing amount of grocery retailers are dedicating more space to toys, and the wave that drove the boom last year was the collapse of Toys “R” Us. With that behind us, this year is an opportunity to look at how toys can have a bigger presence at grocery year-round with the right mix between trendy and timeless. KNOCKING THE DUST OFF Placing an assortment of toys directly within or adjacent to greeting cards and party goods is an old standard, but one worthy of a

fresh look. We are familiar with the occasional 4- to 8-foot section of sad, dusty old stock, and that’s a thing that should never be. You wouldn’t keep perishables on the shelf past their expiration date, and you shouldn’t stock shop-worn toys. If you look at what Party City does to maintain an assortment of the right toys for gifting, the same idea can easily apply on a smaller scale for grocery. Display and assortment are key. CURATING FRESHNESS “I personally think Wegman’s has done a nice job over the last few years to curate a selection of quality toys in its stores. Things that are both appealing to consumers and that are at great price points make sense from a retailer perspective (profit potential). There is opportunity for toys in grocery, especially to capture impulse, party, and special occasion

Toy aisle at a Jewel Osco location in Grayslake, Illinois.

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purchases. Grocery won’t be a toy shopping destination per se,” Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association, says. On-trend displays of pocket money toys, especially small collectibles and blind packs, need to drive the impulse purchases. Keep the assortment fresh, and keep it moving by staying on top of what’s hot, but also be careful not to overdo it. Remember how quickly the fidget spinner craze came and went? Get in and get out. THE GEOFFREY’S TOY BOX EXPERIMENT One of the most buzzed-about happenings during the last holiday season was the arrival of Geoffrey’s Toy Box (GTB) in 600 Kroger locations, including Kroger Marketplace, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Fry’s, and more. The freestanding cardboard pallet shippers arrived at retail last fall, offering shoppers

L.O.L. Surprise! dolls at an ALDI store in Vernon Hills, Illinois.


the opportunity to purchase items from brands including Animal Zone, Imaginarium, Journey Girls, Edu Science, You & Me, and Just Like Home—all of which were previously exclusive to Toys “R” Us in the U.S. Following an initial round of mainstream press and enthusiasm on social media, the buzz quickly tapered off. Kroger was reportedly stuck with unsold merchandise in many of its locations, which led to deep clearance discounts after the Christmas holiday. “The holiday experiment with Kroger was worthwhile, but if sales were indeed weak, that may be because Geoffrey’s Toy Box suffered from lack of context—that is, Geoffrey likely does not transfer as well outside the confines of a Toys ‘R’ Us store,” Pasierb says. “The magic was always the store, not the mascot.” Of all the major chains, Kroger is most known for maintaining a robust toy department year-round in many locations, often building themed events with brands such as Mattel’s Hot Wheels. Pasierb says, “As a new entity with a selection of what were storebrand private label toys, Geoffrey’s Toy Box may not have presented well to the consumer in a grocery aisle nor offered a unique selling proposition of why these toys, here in this environment and now. Time will tell, and it’s too soon to make any pronouncements either way.” PRIVATE LABEL AND PARTNERSHIPS Still, private label is a growing segment with big profit potential—and the right exclusive partnerships can have a lasting impact. For several years, Whole Foods Market partnered with PBS KIDS on a line of sustainable toys, many of which are even made in the U.S. when available. Even under Amazon ownership—which included distribution of the e-commerce giant’s toy catalog through its stores last year—Whole Foods continued that partnership. Their bestsellers included simple classics, such as wooden alphabet stacking blocks, chunky vehicles, and premium plush.

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Geoffrey’s Toy Box store-within-a-store at Kroger last holiday season.

SEASONAL SURPRISE FACTOR A big part of the business is those surprising finds, and ALDI upped its game during the holidays with a mix of name-brand, wished-for items alongside its newly launched house brand, Bee Happy. Paired with featured placement in its weekly print ads and a social boost through video shares, shoppers scored great deals on items, such as Spin Master’s Hatchimals Hatchibabies, Moose Toys’ Sruff-a-Luvs, and MGA Entertainment’s L.O.L. Surprise!, while picking up additional items with higher margins from the Bee Happy line. Rolling into the new year, ALDI already started to offer baby toys as part of its Little Journey collection to expand upon the baby line that launched in 2016. That news follows last year’s IRI Private Label Report, which cited baby toys, gifts, and furniture among the fastest growing private label segments at brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S.

CHANGE IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS Last year was challenging on many fronts. Many were unsuccessful at finding the right mix of product assortment and quantity, but this year should see a correction. Grocers, toy manufacturers, and distributors should take this time to focus on building and renewing partnerships that will lead to more sales, more profits, and—most importantly—more happy shoppers and kids. But remember: What works today may not work tomorrow. »

James Zahn, best-known as The Rock Father, is senior editor of The Pop Insider and The Toy Book. He is a media personality, commentator, director, actor, adventurer, raconteur, and overall pop culture and toy enthusiast.


THE RETURN OF FAO SCHWARZ The Comeback of a Classic Toy Store with In-Store Experiences

by JACQUELINE CUCCO, associate editor JUMBO PLUSH GIRAFFES STAND GUARD as a ruby red, mini Mercedes Benz toy convertible twinkles with 44,000 shimmering Swarovski crystals. Little feet tap over the keys of a giant piano, lighting them up one by one in front of the giant window overlooking a buzzing courtyard below. This is FAO Schwarz, back with a new flagship store in the heart of New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza. The grand opening was in November, three years after the famous toy store shut down its massive Fifth Avenue location. The new store spans three floors, and is bursting with 12foot toy soldiers, a 27-foot rocket ship, and oversized teddy bears galore. FAO Schwarz made its comeback with a vision to act as a destination for families to make memories, rather than just a place to

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exchange money for toys. “FAO was always about having the experience. It was always more than just buying a toy,” says David Niggli, chief merchandising officer of FAO Schwarz. “What we found in relaunching the brand was that it is such an emotional brand for people. This is where they grew up. There are great toys from all over the world; there are great demonstrators; there are characters throughout. It’s the full FAO experience, just in a great new home with lots of new things.” Visitors will recognize the familiar icons of the store, with modern twists to keep people on their toes. “There are a lot of those same things, like the clock tower is back but bigger and better than ever. Our most popular plush toys are Patrick and Penelope, our big plush dogs. People are so glad to see them back,”

Niggli says. “Of course we have the dance-on piano, but now we have one that mirrors on the ceiling so the keys light up as you dance on the floor. We’ve got great new icons like a giant rocket ship from Build-A-Bear workshop.” There are plenty of in-store features that create an experience for customers while they shop, in addition to new concepts that make first-time visits exciting. These include the Alex Spa bath and hair spa, where kids can get their hair and nails done using Alex Spa products; the Melissa & Doug FAO Mart, a toy grocery store where kids can shop for play food using mini grocery carts (all from Melissa & Doug); and Discovery #MindBlown, a lab area where kids can watch staffers perform experiments using Discovery-branded chemistry sets. “Shoppers are invited to work alongside

Photo: Richard Cadan


trained mechanics at FAO Raceway, where they can build R/C cars piece-bypiece by picking out their individualized body style, color, wheels, and designs,” says David Conn, CEO of ThreeSixty Brands, the group that now owns FAO Schwarz. “Also new to the store is the FAO Schwarz Baby Doll Adoption Experience where nurses and doctors walk children through the adoption process and teach them how to properly love and care for their baby dolls. Once a prospective parent adoption form is completed, kids can select the doll of their choosing. The baby dolls are then taken for a ‘checkup’ before they are sent home with their very own FAO certificate of adoption.” There’s also an entire section of the store dedicated to one of kids’ favorite things— candy. FAO Schweetz, operated by specialty candy retailer IT’SUGAR, returns with more than 2,150 square feet featuring life-sized versions of classic toys serving as bulk candy containers. A gigantic toy train holds bins full of gummy worms and jelly rings next to a spaceship containing capsules of Jolly Ranchers and Tootsie Pops. In addition to selling products from wellknown brands, such as Spin Master, Hasbro, and Mattel, there are more than 200 FAO Schwarz-branded toys in the store, including an FAO Schwarz Giant Floor Piano Dance Mat, a 75-Piece Motorized Train Set with Sound, and an R/C Retro Bumper Car Set. There’s FAO Schweetz-branded candy as well, including giant gummy bears and unicorns and make-your-own gummy worm kits. The FAO Schwarz flagship now has its first holiday season under its belt after seeing a rush of holiday shoppers on their way to and from the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and ice skating rink, conveniently located right outside the shop. Conn says the best-selling products over the holidays “were those that tied into the in-store experiences we offered. FAO Baby Doll Adoption, FAO Make Your Own R/C, the Alex Spa hair

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Photo: Richard Cadan

and nail salon, and Build-A-Bear all were very popular this holiday. In addition, FAO Schwarz toys and holiday decor was our top-selling brand, with plush especially strong along with highly demonstrable items that all make up the magic of FAO.”

“What we found in relaunching the brand was that it is such an emotional brand for people.” FAO Schwarz recognizes that sales are important online, too, especially for people who can’t make it to the NYC location or for busy shoppers who don’t have the time to visit the shop. The store offers a selection of products online at faoschwarz.com. “Our online sales beat our expectations with FAO-branded items and specialty brands, such as Steiff and Bunnies By The Bay, all being very popular,” Conn says, regarding holiday sales. ThreeSixty Group plans to expand the brand with more locations worldwide, including shops-within-shops and a flagship in China. “We will continue to roll out FAO Schwarz shop-in-shops in Canada with Hud-

son Bay, in Europe with Selfridges and El Corte Inglés, and in Australia with Meyer, with more announcements coming soon,” says Jan-Eric Kloth, chief operating officer at ThreeSixty Group. “We opened our first airport store at LaGuardia Airport and are opening additional locations in conjunction with Hudson News.” ThreeSixty also announced a partnership with Kidsland, a Chinese toy distributor and retailer with almost 300 stores. They will open a 27,000-square-foot FAO Schwarz flagship at China World Mall in Beijing this April. The companies also plan to open a second location in Shanghai in 2020, followed by additional stores set to open across China over the next five years, according to Kloth. As the brand expands its wonderland, a new generation of kids from New York to China can grow up with the giant plush and glittering cars of FAO Schwarz. » Jacqueline Cucco is an associate editor at Adventure Publishing Group. She writes for The Toy Book, The Toy Insider, and The Pop Insider, and is in charge of all things Instagram. When she’s not watching slime videos, you can find her playing paparazzi for her pet bunny Peepers (@thebigpeep on Instagram).


TALKING SOCIAL MEDIA

BEYOND YOUTUBE:

PLAYING IT SAFE WITH THE FUTURE OF VIDEO AND TOYS As YouTube officially takes its crown as the new king of toy advertising, it’s time to start looking beyond the video platform to see how the industry will connect to kids and parents. by JAMES ZAHN, senior editor IF YOU ASK JUST ABOUT ANY PARENT OR grandparent what their little ones are into these days, odds are they will fire off the names of a few new toys and games. More often than not, they usually wrap those names in a statement about how the kids found them when watching a YouTube video. Of course, we all saw the headlines and heard the hype about how the YouTube channel Ryan ToysReview racked up nearly 30 billion plays, and turned the youngster— who will turn 9 years old this year—and his family into millionaires many times over. Out of the top 10 YouTube creators, Ryan is the only one who focuses on toys, but now he’s leading the pack and eclipsing more polarizing figures, such as Jake Paul. What many of the top creators now have in common isn’t just the ability to place products in front of a massive audience. Some newly minted licensing deals are shifting some of the focus from helping to market existing brands into marketing brands of their

YouTube Kids app

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own. pocket.watch partnered with Bonkers Toys to bring Ryan into the toy aisles himself with the launch of the Ryan’s World toy line last fall, and Brand Central repped Paul for deals with the likes of Bioworld and Trends International. These deals and ever-blurring lines between entertainment and marketing, and are expected to come under more scrutiny in the months and years ahead, particularly as YouTube and other platforms continue to replace traditional TV and start being held to similar advertising standards. This is important to keep in mind not only for partnered content, but also for video that’s developed in-house or through agencies. Last fall, the Children’s Television Act (CTA) of 1990 started popping up on the radar again for two reasons. First, Variety reported that the Federal Communications Commission was looking at the regulations that dealt with balancing advertising and educational programming—which had seen no substantial updates since 1996—in order to ease those regulations on traditional broadcasters. Second, those who watched the digital space grow and replace more traditional TV, a drastic shift since the CTA was first passed 30 years ago, cited it as a growing concern on how toys were being marketed to kids. The FCC originally passed the CTA to prevent companies, such as Hasbro and Mattel, from marketing companion toys

during animated shows such as G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe. Now that YouTube creators, such as Ryan and Paul, are promoting their own merchandise—sometimes in a way that plays loose with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines on disclosures—shouldn’t the same rules apply in the digital space? The FTC made it very clear that it is the sponsor’s responsibility to make sure that their partners play by the rules. There’s also the matter of “kids selling to kids,” which sponsored content should always avoid. When calling out specific retailers where product is sold, creators should use language such as “available at” or “found at” instead of hard-sell phrases such as “buy this” or “kids, tell your parents!” that could encourage kids to want these products. When companies partner with influencers of any kind, they need to consider many factors aside from sheer numbers, such as views and follower count. As YouTube culture continues to evolve, there’s also a fracturing of sub-genres that’s opened some moral, ethical, and—in some cases—legal questions beyond the FTC and FCC as to how the creators present content, and not just from a sales standpoint. When YouTube creators move beyond traditional toy reviews, features, and commentary and begin making short films using major companies’ intellectual properties, when does it cross the line from parody a la Robot Chicken and go beyond fair use and into infringement? Some took notice, and now we’re seeing professionally produced, authorized content from major brands presented in a hand-crafted style with unboxings, stop-motion animation, and toy hacks. These are the very formats that captivate young audiences, but in a streamlined form that controls the messaging and maintains the brand’s integrity. And now we’re moving beyond YouTube.


Neonate Babies, from Distroller

OTT: THE NEXT FRONTIER FOR TOYS As YouTube becomes more crowded, creators and advertisers alike are starting to look beyond that ecosystem for future opportunities. The over-the-top (OTT) market is heavily developing this year, in which many familiar creators are starting to syndicate their content beyond YouTube, or create original content for specific outlets, such as Roku, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV. Companies even clean up and repackage content, which the aforementioned pocket. watch was quick to do. The company markets half-hour “Ultimate Mishmash” compilation episodes of its YouTube series to other platforms to generate more views. OTT is giving everyone a new place to play, but these new platforms should be approached cautiously to look out for the greater good of all parties—something that YouTube perhaps evolved past too quickly. “Regardless of which platform creators choose, they always need to remember that their primary audience is children,” says Melissa Hunter, CEO of Family Video Network, an outfit that helps pair creators and brands across an array of digital platforms. “Those in the family space have a much higher level of responsibility than other creators, but many of them still do not understand what that means. Toy brands and influencer agencies need to be certain that the creators with whom they partner are acting responsibly, not just because of the threat of fines or FTC censure, but because it is the right thing to do for children and families.” AVOIDING THE TEMPTATION OF CLICKS AND VIEWS OVER QUALITY Companies should avoid proliferating sensationalized content, particularly content

that may appear to place kids in danger or encourage what could be perceived as irresponsible actions or habits (including overeating, overspending, and even gambling). If you uploaded a video to YouTube recently, you may have even noticed a callto-action on the side that asks straight out, “Do children appear in this video?” As part of YouTube’s commitment to improving its kids and family content, the company is actively attempting to steer creators away from “dangerous stunts and pranks” and “emotional distress.” The old “don’t try this at home” days might be behind us. RIGHT FOR THE BRAND, RIGHT FOR KIDS AND FAMILIES The best content provides real value to the viewer. Be entertaining. Be educational. Be storytellers. Use the product as the catalyst—or even as a MacGuffin—to do something more or a bit different than everyone else. One of the best examples in the past few years is one that my own daughters discovered on their own on YouTube, the mysterious “Nurse Tania.” In a series of short but well-produced clips, kids were getting care tips on taking care of and raising tiny alien babies. Aside from the occasional mention of a Distroller clinic, there was never any mention of where to buy these Neonate Babies, nor were they ever distinctly referred to as being toys. For Distroller and its dolls (mostly known in Mexico), the buzz began growing organically, creating demand for a product sold largely at a few experiential retail locations on the West Coast. “We love YouTube as the outlet of choice for children to find us, giving them the tools to learn about our brand, our values, and characters through fun and entertaining

content,” says Daryn Fillis, CEO of Distroller USA. “We don’t believe in shoving advertising down kids’ throats, just snippets of our world to help tell our story.” Then there’s MGA Entertainment, which leveraged partnerships with individual third-party creators and launched its own channels to back young brands, such as L.O.L. Surprise! and Kingdom Builders. The company pulled back on traditional TV ad spend in favor of quality content for new platforms. According to CEO Isaac Larian, the shift was necessary to evolve. “The best thing that happened to MGA was for Nickelodeon (we used to do more than $30 million of TV advertising a year with them) to cancel our booked TV for the Hard Eight,” Larian says. “It forced us to think and find a new way to market. It was risky, but we succeeded and led and never looked back.” And while emerging products often are the biggest focus, legacy brands can also benefit from a video content recharge. One brand doing well in the space is Mattel’s Hot Wheels, which the company positions as a lifestyle brand. It brings kids and adults together with a mix of content from STEMbased educational fare to action sports, stop-motion video, and real-life automotive events produced in collaboration with Race Service and Donut Media. As we move through Toy Fair season and start looking toward summer and the holidays on the horizon, now is the perfect time to pull back and do a little digital housekeeping. Companies should make sure that the content put out there into the world is presented with purpose and integrity when it comes to toys and games. If it’s good for consumers, it will also be good for the greater toy industry as a whole. »

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MARKETING MEMO

STANDING OUT IN THE CLUTTER

How to Help Your Product Compete in a Crowded Category by AMY OPHEIM, freelance marketing consultant WHILE IT’S TRUE THAT TECHNOLOGY IS changing the landscape of the toy market and offering some exciting new ways for kids to play, many of children’s interests remain timeless and fairly predictable. Think about pretend play and dress up, arts and crafts, building, and board games: These play patterns are classics because they appeal to a basic way kids want to play. From wooden blocks to LEGO Duplo, preschool-aged kids have enjoyed the process of stacking and building for hundreds of years. The same goes for drawing, painting, sculpting, and creating. Madame Alexander launched in 1923, and continues to create dolls with which kids can express their nurturing natures. GUND, a major player in the plush category since 1898, knows kids will always enjoy collecting and cuddling plush animals. It’s no wonder, then, that these categories are impacted (in many cases, severely) with product—every toy manufacturer wants a piece of the classic play pie! So, the question is this: How do you create a product that capitalizes on one of these timeless play patterns but still stands out in a crowded category? How do you break through the clutter? First, you have to do your research. Spend some time in the stores and online and look carefully at your competition. Take note of everything, from features and benefits to piece count and age grade. Some trends will emerge—things each product offers in order to appeal to that specific play pattern. You should also find some anomalies—things

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individual products offer that feel unique and different from the competition. When I work with clients to come up with product names, tag lines, and packaging copy for products in classic categories, I ask for this research first. Understanding the competitive set is critical to understanding three things: A: What does your product have to do in order to compete in the category? B: What are others are doing to be unique in the category? C: Given A and B, what does your product do that feels original and special? Let’s look at a classic category such as arts and crafts. Dig into the sculpting space and you’ll find brands like Crayola’s Model Magic, Playfoam by Educational Insights, and Hasbro’s Play-Doh, all designed for preschoolers. They’re all sculptable and tactilely satisfying. All three encourage creativity, inspire imagination, and promote self-expression. Model Magic is unique in that it dries hard, leaving the sculptor with a permanent work of art. On the flip side, Play Doh is not meant to dry out, but it does if not stored properly, rendering it unusable. So, what does Playfoam do to differentiate itself from these two major players? It plays up “The Everlasting Squish,” a slogan meant to communicate that the product never dries out, no matter how long you use it or how you store it. That’s a meaningful point of distinction to the consumer. Then, Playfoam takes things one step further by hiding collectible characters inside pods of Playfoam and marketing them as Playfoam Pals. Never dries out? Adorable surprise character inside? That feels really different. Or, think about kids’ vehicles. With hundreds of basic kick scooters on the market, how do you make yours stand

out? Most of them claim a smooth ride. Most are adjustable and grow with kids. Many fold for easy transport and storage. What else can you do to a basic kick scooter to catch the consumer’s eye? Adding a special feature, such as the spark bar on the Razor Spark Scooter that leaves behind glittering sparks as kids ride, is definitely one way. Maybe someone will make a scooter that blows bubbles next. We previously touched on plush. What can you do to differentiate one stuffed dog from another? Ask Scruff-a-Luvs! Against all traditional marketing sense, these lonely, messy animals start out as a matted ball of fur. Kids get to hand wash, dry, and brush them out. It’s the ultimate reveal—talk about a fun twist on traditional plush play! You get the idea. Before you jump into the potentially lucrative business of classic play patterns, make sure your take has a twist that’s meaningful enough to make a consumer choose your version over other choices. Then, shout that twist from the rooftops! » Amy Opheim has more than 20 years of experience creating copy and content that compels consumers into action. She has served as director of marketing for several mid-sized toy companies and worked with dozens of manufacturers as a consultant, from start-ups to high-profile brands. Learn more at linkedin.com/in/ amy-opheim.


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TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

ZURU

BASIC FUN!

ZURU enters the party and celebration category this year with ZURU Bunch O Balloons Self-Sealing Party Balloons. The self-sealing party balloons take the time and hassle out of blowing up and tying party balloons. Kids can fill, tie, and string up 40 party balloons in just 40 seconds. Users attach the stems to the Electric Party Pump and press go, and the Bunch O Balloons party balloons fill and self-tie within seconds. Each pack comes with pre-attached ribbon and string and an adapter to fill Bunch O Balloons party balloons with helium or using an air compressor. The balloons are also reusable, and the stems are recyclable. Bunch O Balloons Self-Sealing Party Balloons will launch online in March and will be available at Walmart in May with Electric Party Pump and Balloon starter packs and in single color and multicolor packs.

Kids can watch caterpillars transform into butterflies with Basic Fun!’s Uncle Milton Butterfly Farm Live Habitat. Kids ages 6 and up can build and decorate their butterfly house, put caterpillars into the Transformation Chamber, and watch metamorphosis in action. Kids can release them into the world once they transform into real butterflies. The kit includes butterfly habitat materials, a magnifying lens for observation, and a STEM learning poster that features information about the four stages of metamorphosis.

RUBIE’S COSTUME CO. Rubie’s Costume Co. expands its Imagine by Rubie’s line with the Black Panther Deluxe Battle Suit Costume Top Set and the SpiSet. Each set includes der-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Costume Top Set a fiber-filled muscle chest costume top and a mask. The Gryffindor Four-Piece Dress-Up Set includes a hooded robe, a tie, a scarf, and a wand. It is available in a child’s medium. The Deluxe Wonder Woman Costume features the iconic Wonder Woman dress, a fabric tiara, a lasso rope, and two gauntlets. From Rubie’s Pet Shop division comes the Mini Mouse Pet Costume. The set includes a red-and-white dress and a matching bow headpiece.

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TOMY TOMY introduces the Ritzy Rollerz Dance ‘n Dazzle Spa Playset,, part of its new Ritzy Rollerz line. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, Ritzy Rollerz vehicles each have their personality and features. The spa set features lights, sounds, a stage, a tub, and more. The play set also comes with an exclusive Tori TaDa Unicorn and 30 charms, which kids can use to accessorize their Ritzy Rollerz. Adorbs is a collectible dress-up line featuring different styles of dresses that kids ages 3 and up can easily take on and off. The dresses come in collectible packaging that doubles as storage.

Ritzy Rollerz Dance ‘n Dazzle Spa Playset

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Little Kids Inc. introduces Fubbles Sky High Bubble Machine Machine, which creates a continuous stream of bubbles. Unlike other bubble machines, the motorized machine blows bubbles up rather than out. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the assortment comes in three bright colors and includes a container of bubble solution. Fubbles Musical Bubble Unicorn is a bubble machine that can light up, blow bubbles, and play music. The stylized unicorn comes in three colors and includes bubble solution for kids ages 3 and up. The Paw Patrol Action Bubble Blower collection expands to include the Skye Action Bubble Blower, based on the Paw Patrol pup. Kids ages 3 and up can pull back on the character’s head to launch a stream of bubbles in the air. Sunny Day Nail Polish Bubbles is a salon-inspired bubble machine designed for kids ages 3 and up. Each nail polish bottle-shaped bubble container features Sunny Day graphics and glitter, and includes premium bubble solution and a bubble wand. Each kit comes in three styles inspired by Sunny, Rox, and Doodle. Also available is the Sunny Day Bubble Blow Dryer. Kids can activate the lights and blow streams of bubbles into the air using the machine that resembles a blow dryer. The Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 8 oz. Bubbles features a sculpted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character topper and includes premium bubble solution and a wand. Bottles are available in Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Donatello styles. The Licensed Musical Light Up Wand plays music and lights up while kids blow bubbles. The assortment includes bubble wands in various licensed themes, including Paw Patrol, Sunny Day, and PJ Masks. Each wand plays the corresponding show’s musical theme songs.

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HEXBUG HEXBUG introduces HEXBUG Coco the Acrobatic Monkey, available this fall for kids ages 8 and up. Coco is a robotic monkey that responds to touch and sound. She can swing on her jungle gym, ride her bike, and play the bongos. The HEXBUG Scorpion is an autonomous scurrying mechanical scorpion featuring a bouncing tail and free-swinging claws. It will be available this fall for kids ages 8 and up.

PLAYMOBIL

HEXBUG Scorpion

Playmobil adds to its Pet Hotel line with the Tiny Paws Hotel, available now. The set includes three figures, eight Pet Hotel dogs, two birds, two doghouses, a bench, a seesaw, a wheelbarrow, dog food, birdseed, and more accessories. There is a reception desk inside the front doors, and kids can store their pet’s food on the shelves above the desk or in the kitchen. There is an outdoor area and a fenced-in yard for the pet figures, and kids can use the included stickers to add to the décor. They can also combine the set with the rest of the Playmobil Pet Hotel theme (sold separately).

EASTCOLIGHT With Eastcolight’s AR Dino World, kids can dig out dinosaur pieces to build the creature, which can stand on the included base. Kids can use the Monster Park app to bring the dinosaur to life using augmented reality technology to recreate the prehistoric era and what the dinosaur looked like. The collectible includes a dinosaur, a dinosaur tooth that provides access to the app, the Dinosaur Creative Studio to create a dinosaur, a dinosaur stencil to capture the skin pattern, a plaster block and tools, a base, a supporting holder, a pin to hold it in place, and a name card. With AR Human Science Series, kids can scan the realistic model of the human body using an augmented realAR Dino World ity app. Kids can play with animations and games using the body model in the app while they complete assignments to learn about anatomy and functions of the human body. Kids can suit up with the active accessories and special features of Hero Armor.. The Hero Metal Detector features a high-sensitivity device that becomes part of kids’ bodies. It can detect metal anywhere while the sensor is located in kids’ hands. The set also includes a hero navigating light, a listening device, and a voice changer for spies in training. Other items include special pens, motion detectors, and recorders.

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VTECH/LEAPFROG VTech enters the robotics category for the first time with Myla the Magical Unicorn.. Kids can customize this interactive friend’s eyes, horn, mane, and wings with a magic brush and color palette. Myla also comes with a microphone that prompts her to sing. She moves her eyes and head to express emotion for an interactive experience. VTech expands its Kidi line of electronics with updates LeapBuilders to cameras and smart devices, along with new products inABC Smart House cluding high-tech walkie talkies for kids, a writing journal, and KidiStar Dance, which encourages self-expression through a variety of interactive dance and motion games. New additions to the Go! Go! Smart Wheels line have new features, such as moveable tracks and updated vehicles. The new Revved Up Stunt Spiral features stunts, including a 360-degree loop and jump ramp, and easily connects to the new Revved Up Raceway with a double launcher, and more stunts, jumps, and obstacle courses. VTech builds on Go! Go! Smart Wheels featuring Disney characters with an additional play set. Toddlers can explore the new Treasure Seekers Pirate Ship to reveal an interactive play set inside. Kids can interchange nine different tiles with the new Stomp ‘n Sing Dino to customize the dino’s movements, moods, and interactions while exploring LeapBuilders fine motor skills, problem solving, social and emotional skills, and early con123 Fix-It truck cepts of coding. LeapFrog launches LeapBuilders, a new line of smart building blocks. Kids can bring their Myla the Magical Unicorn projects to life with building blocks infused with learning, designed to engage problem-solving and fine motor skills with interactive, curriculum-based learning as they build. The line is anchored by the LeapBuilders ABC Smart House, featuring more than 60 easy-to-hold pieces, including two play characters, 20 smart blocks, and an interactive electronic unit. LeapFrog introduces a new twist on handheld gaming. This new product will feature four-sided play, light-up controls, multiple games, digital pets, songs, and more for kids ages 4 to 7. It is expandable with additional downloadable games that include physical and digital collectible pets. LeapFrog also expands its LeapStart line with LeapStart Go.. This wireless, compact device is compatible with all books in the LeapStart library, offering audio and video features through a built-in LCD display. With more advanced content for older kids, the video enhances learning through content that reinforces the activity lessons. New titles will be available in the growing LeapStart library. LeapFrog’s Scrub ‘n Play Smart Sink features a faucet that responds with lights and sounds, a soap bottle that teaches counting, and an interactive dishwasher. LeapFrog’s Smart Sizzlin’ BBQ Grill teaches colors, numbers, food, and food facts while encouraging pretend play with a rotisserie that recognizes food.

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ISCREAM Kids can snuggle up in a furry leopard print bag with the Snow Leopard Sleeping Bag, from Iscream. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the sleeping bag features a furry outside and a soft, faux-sherpa lining. It rolls up into the top pocket to carry on the go.

KD GROUP Kurio Watch Glow,, from KD Interactive, is a Bluetoothconnected smartwatch that comes preloaded with more than 20 apps and games for kids ages 4 and up. The watch features seven light effects, including secret watch-to-watch light messages, color light filters for selfies, new games with lights, and lights that flash to kids’ music. Kids can use the front-facing camera to take selfies and videos, then add filters and frames. The watch will be available this fall.

SUPER IMPULSE Super Impulse adds Tiny Arcade Series 3 this March with Tetris, Pole Position, Rally X, and Q*Bert, designed for kids ages 8 and up. With a screen size of 1.5 inches and an overall cabinet size measuring 3.75 inches by 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches, each Tiny Arcade is a working, miniature version of the original full-size arcade that comes with a keychain. It features complete gameplay; a full color, hi-res screen; authentic game sounds; a joystick; a steering Position; and two directional buttons in a backlit, arcade-style cabinet. wheel for Pole Position MicroArcade Series 1 are compact games available this March in Pac-Man, Tetris, and an Atari Combo Card featuring Missile Command, Centipede, and a surprise bonus game. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, each game measures 3.25 inches by 2 inches by .375 inches and comes with a full-color screen, sound effects, and directional control buttons, with a micro USB charger included. Mattel Collectible Pens are real working pens featuring Barbie and Hot Wheels themes, set to launch this summer. The Barbie versions feature working pens that come with scale versions of Barbie Fashionista dolls in three different styles with rooted hair, articulated heads and arms, colorful printed outfits, and a display stand. Hot Wheels pens feature three assorted dragster styles, with working wheels and a pop-open design. The pens are designed for kids ages 4 and up.

MicroArcade Series 1 Tetris

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TASTEMAKERS Tastemakers LLC adds new arcade cabinets to its Arcade1Up line. Standing at about 4 feet tall, each cabinet features a joystick, control buttons, and classic arcade games in full color and hi-resolution. The new cabinets include Mortal Kombat, Space Invaders, Golden Tee, Karate Champ, and Final Fight, all of which contain multiple games. All Arcade1Up Fight machines are designed for kids and adults ages 14 and up. Wall-cades and Counter-cades feature authentic gameplay and are designed to make use of empty space. Kids can hang Wall-cades on a wall or door, or place Counter-cades on a desk or table to display and play.

JAKKS PACIFIC Jakks Pacific introduces a line of toys based on Godzilla: King of Monsters. The 3.5-Inch Monster Battlepacks include two articulated monster figures—one Godzilla and one monster—and a backdrop accessory. There are three versions of Godzilla available in the packs. The 6-inch Monster figures, available as either King Ghidorah or Rodan, each come with a vehicle accessory and a breakable accessory. Kids can open their mouths while wearing the Godzilla Mask with Lights and SFX to activate Godzilla’s growl, or open their mouths wider to activate Godzilla’s roar with lights and sounds. The detailed 12-inch Godzilla and 24-inch Godzilla are poseable figures modeled after the monster in the movie. All Godzilla products are designed for kids ages 3 and up. The Acorn Plains Playset and Deluxe Dungeon Playset recreate classic levels from Super Mario video games. The play sets each include a 2.5-inch Mario figure and environment pieces. Kids can expand their Mario World with additional sets, including the Acorn Plains Diorama Set and the Dungeon Diorama Set.. Each diorama set includes three 2.5-inch character figures and two accessories with feature mechanisms, such as a warp pipe, a flagpole, or a tower. The accessory pieces are modular and are compatible with the play sets. Kids can collect new waves of Super Mario 2.5-inch Figures and 4-inch Figures. The figures include multiple points of articulation, and the 4-inch figures each include an accessory. All Super Mario products are designed for kids ages 3 and up and will be available this spring. Jakks Pacific also introduces toys based on the upcoming Toy Story 4 film, available this spring. The Buzz Lightyear Table Top Star Command Center Quiddich Playset features moveable targets, blaster buttons, a joystick with a trigger, and multiple light and sound effects. Toy Story in a Box is a replica of Andy’s toy chest with a laser blaster, a sheriff badge, green army figures, an old west map, Pizza Planet tokens, and Lenny the Binoculars inside. Kids can pretend to be a Space Ranger hero with the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Set,, which includes a laser blaster featuring lights and sounds. All Toy Story 4 products are designed for kids ages 6 and up. Kids can recreate their favorite Harry Potter scenes with Harry Potter Mini Playsets Assortment Wave 1. The Quiddich Playset includes figures of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, a Golden Snitch, and a chest with a Quaffle and Bludgers inside. Ollivander’s Playset includes Harry Potter and Garrick Ollivander figures, a levitating lamp, a sliding ladder, and moving shelves with wand boxes. Each set is sold separately. The Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall Mini Playset includes Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Albus Dumbledore figures. The set also features the Sorting Hat, banquet food, and other accessories. The play sets are designed for kids ages 4 and up and will be available in March.

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NKOK NKOK introduces Petbotz, three rechargeable miniature robots coming this spring. The puppy, kitten, and unicorn all light up, are sound activated, and make noises on command. The unicorn includes a necklace, and the puppy and kitten include pet bowls.

ALEX BRANDS Alex Brands will add to its Scientific Explorer line this spring with the new Butterfly Science kit, featuring five activities for kids ages 6 and up. Kids can make a butterfly mask, learn how butterflies eat, simulate butterfly flight, learn metamorphosis through modeling, and more.

WICKED COOL TOYS Wicked Cool Toys continues as the master toy licensee for Pokémon, introducing new toys for the upcoming movie Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, including a Flame Action Charmander and a 4-inch Electronic “My Partner Pikachu” featuring sensor technology. The Feature Magikarp features motorized flopping action, and kids can squish and squeeze Squishy Ditto. Kids can collect a line of 4-inch vinyl figures based on Pokémon Quest and a variety of new collectible Pokémon plush. These products are designed for kids ages 4 and up. Wicked Cool Toys also expands its WWE line with new figures, belts, accessories, and more. Real Scale Championship Belts are life-sized belts made from the mold of an actual WWE Title Belt. On a smaller scale, kids can collect Mini Diecast Belts or Fan Flair enamel pins. pins Kids can collect Micro Maniax Figures and battle them in the Micro Maniax Battle Game On Wrestling Ring. Kids can also create their own WWE atmosphere with the Authentic Scale Ring Stage Pop Ups. All WWE products are designed for kids ages 8 and up. Lunch Pets are plush that double as lunch storage that kids can take on the go. The pets are available in four styles—SnackyCat, Yumicorn, HungryPup, and Mumchosaur. Each Lunch Pet features an insulated storage pouch and paws that snap together to create a handle. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the pets are machine washable and will be available this fall. Wicked Cool Toys partnered with eSports influencer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins for a new line of products, collectible figures and emotes, vinyl figures, plush, mystery boxes, role-play items, accessories, games, and vinyl augmented reality figures. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the line will be available this fall.

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CARLIN WEST AGENCY/BLIPD Carlin West Agency and Blipd LLC introduce Shopkins: Shop ‘n Seek, a new way for kids to explore the world of Shopville. Kids can use the Shopkins: Shop ‘n Seek AR mobile game for iOS devices to look for hidden Shopkins in the world around them. Once kids find hidden blue boxes, they can uncover one of 40 collectible digital Shopkins. Kids can make them dance, play games, or accessorize them with props through the in-app store.

Shop Owner Imagination Station

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TECH WILL SAVE US The Creative Coder kit, from Tech Will Save Us, is a wearable tech device that kids can build and code themselves. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, the device snaps together in 15 minutes without the use of tools. Once built, kids connect it to a computer and use a visual coding software to make the sensors and lights react to their movements. Kids can use the Sew + Glow kit to build their own light-up badges. While they master their crafting, sewing, and design skills, kids can learn about electricity and how to make circuits. The kit includes templates for kids to cut out and sew together with the electro thread. With the Light Racer Kit, kids can build wireless bike lights that flash as they ride. Each kit comes with two lights and all the components needed to construct a wireless hub that attaches to a bike wheel to power the lights. Kids will learn about capacitors, wireless coils, and how electricity works.

KIDKRAFT KidKraft introduces the Shop Owner Imagination Station, which kids ages 3 and up can use to run their own pretend business. Kids can personalize the set using the chalkboard top, hanging sign, and magnetic menu. The set features a slanted display shelf, a canvas storage box, a tablet-style register, and a credit card. The Mosaic Magnetic Play Kitchen features a magnetic refrigerator with an icemaker, a gas stove with sound effects, a microwave, and a sink. Kids ages 3 and up can decorate the fridge with magnets, put up shopping lists, and show off their creations through showcase doors. The set includes a six-piece accessory kit. Kids ages 2 and up can pretend to cook in the Play and Put Away Wooden Kitchen. This compact kitchen features clicking knobs on the faucet and oven, a fridge, and marble-inspired countertops. When playtime is over, an adult can remove the legs and store them in the back. The Farmer’s Market Play Pack includes play fruit, veggies, eggs, cheese, honey, and milk. Kids ages 3 and up can use the set alone or with other sets, such as the Shopkeeper Stand (sold separately). Kids can learn about fresh foods, weigh the fruits and vegetables on the scale, and label the baskets with chalkboard sticks. The 27 Piece Cookware Set: Modern Metallics includes everything kids ages 3 and up need to serve play food. The set comes with a plastic lidded pot, a pan, and four place settings.

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MUKIKIM MukikiM will add two new products to its Rock and Roll It line of musical instruments. Designed for kids ages Rock and Roll It Xylophone 4 and up, the Rock and Roll It Xylophone is flexible and portable so kids can take it anywhere. In addition to a typical xylophone sound, there are multiple tones that kids can choose from, including tubular bells, Flockenspiel, music box, and more. It also features multiple demo songs to which kids can play along. This battery- and USB-powered instrument comes with a built-in speaker, record and playback features, two mallets, and a song booklet. The flexible and portable Rock and Roll It Bongos feature professional demo rhythms, such as Caribbean and Polynesian beats. Each of the drums has a sweet spot in the center and a tighter “pop” on the rim, just like bongo drums. The bongos feature battery and USB power, record and playback features, and the ability to connect an MP3 music player so kids can play along to their own music. The Rock and Roll It Bongos are designed for kids ages 6 and up.

FIWI TOYS Fiwi Toys introduces the Pre-Bot Wooden Robot, a robot figure designed for kids ages 3 and up. Pre-Bot is the main character in the Learning with Pre-Bot series. The robot is about 7 inches tall, and kids can move its head, arms, and legs. There is an anti-bullying themed companion book for this toy, Pre-Bot Learns Not to Hurt. The book and toy are available for purchase as a combo set or separately.

SUNRIGHTS Sunrights Inc. introduces new Beyblade-branded products this year. Beyblade Burst chocolate eggs are back from Dolci Preziosi in Spain with a brand new look featuring season two, Beyblade Burst Evolution. Available this Easter season, each chocolate egg features a surprise toy inside. In Italy, Bauli will also produce chocolate eggs based on Beyblade Burst Evolution, featuring two toy surprises, but there is only one surprise in each egg. Goliath Games will globally introduce an interactive board game featuring Beyblade Burst Turbo. Available in the fall, this board game challenges players to become a master Blader through interactive gameplay. In France, Panini will debut a Beyblade Burst Evolution magazine so that fans can find info on their favorite Bladers, as well as tips to improve their battle techniques. Each issue features comics, games, and a Beyblade Burst toy. Also in France, Grund will publish a Beyblade Burst Evolution novel, in which epic battles ensue on the international stage. Readers can follow Valt on his road to becoming the world’s best Blader. In Peru, Industria Denz will debut Beyblade Burst Evolution sandals and clogs, featuring Valt and his partner Genesis Valtryek. The sturdy and comfortable footwear is set to release early this year.

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Ballerina Dreamer Ballet Studio

HUNTER PRODUCTS Kids can dance at home with the Ballerina Dreamer Ballet Studio,, from Hunter Products. Kids can watch Christina Ballerina and use the ballet barre to copy the steps on the mat as they learn how to plié, relevé, and pirouette. Kids can press the tiara on the Ballerina Dreamer Magical Ballet Dancer doll and watch her pirouette, kick forward and backward, or shuffle her feet and do splits.

JAZWARES Jazwares expands the First Act Discovery musical instrument line with the Blue Flames Acoustic Guitar, available this fall. Kids can make music with this beginner guitar, which is designed and sized for young players. First Act also introduces a line of products inspired by Woodstock and its upcoming 50th anniversary concert, Woodstock 50. The Woodstock Percussion Pack includes a hand-held bongo drum, a full-size tambourine, and a pair of maracas. All three instruments are made of solid wood with a natural finish. The Woodstock Dove Ukulele is a soprano-sized ukulele featuring a wooden body, nylon strings, and a wooden bridge and fingerboard. Woodstock Love Revolution Acoustic Guitar is sized with a smaller build for kids and features a hardwood, steel-reinforced neck and a rosewood fingerboard. All Woodstock 50 products will be available this fall. This spring, Jazwares expands its Roblox line with new figures and play sets. The Roblox Jailbreak: Great Escape Large Playset, Playset inspired by the game Jailbreak, includes four Roblox figures, accessories, and a redeemable code kids can use to unlock content in the game. Kids can mix and match the figures’ parts to build their own Roblox characters, then recreate Roblox adventures or create their own.

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TOYSMITH Toysmith introduces the 4M KidzRobotix Motorized Robotic Arm, made for kids ages 8 and up. This robot arm can move up and down and grip objects with its set of claw jaws. Kids ages 3 and up catch fireflies in their own two hands with Chasing Fireflies. Each firefly gently flashes in the dark and features an on/off switch. Kids can place them around the house or backyard and search for the flashing spark. Once they find all of their fireflies, they can place them in one of the two 5-inch plastic jars and watch them twinkle inside. Each kit includes two plastic jars, five blue fireflies, and five green fireflies.

Chasing Fireflies


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POWERUP TOYS POWERUP Toys introduces POWERUP 4.0, an activity kit that kids ages 14 and up can use to transform a traditional paper airplane into a smartphone-powered flying machine. The POWERUP 4.0 motor adapts to almost any paper airplane design and includes two motors for maneuverability. Kids can use the POWERUP app to launch, steer, and land their paper airplanes. The built-in Bluetooth smart technology provides a range of up to 200 feet, and the motor can produce a flight time of up to 10 minutes with a full charge. An autopilot feature makes flying easy, and on-board sensors collect real-time flight performance data for STEM learning. OKO Multi View is a multi-use accessory for smartphones. Kids ages 8 and up can place their device inside, wear the OKO Multi View like a set of goggles, and watch as their phone’s camera transforms into an augmented reality tool. OKO Multi View

CEPIA Cepia LLC launches Bananas,, a new collectible line of six colored and scented bananas that look, smell, and peel like a real banana. Kids can peel the bananas to reveal mini surprises inside, including a Crushie character, two mini squeezable characters, gemstone stickers, a collector sheet with stickers, and a hanging vine display. Kids can hang Bananas on their backpacks or reseal them to take on the go and trade with friends. Bunch 2 debuts in April and features jewel-toned bananas with new Crushie characters inside.

MINTED LABS Minted Labs’ new patent-pending Soft Statue line brings a new category into the collector market. This year, the company will launch a Resident Evil Nemesis 1:6 scale Soft Statue, as well as a 12inch Street Fighter Assortment, a 12inch Mega Man, and a limited series of Netlix’s popular Queer Eye Fab 5.

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LITTLEBITS littleBits recently acquired JAM.com, the largest paid subscription video course platform for kids, and now young inventors can use their electronic building blocks to invent anything at home using Inventing with littleBits courses. These courses, based on littleBits’ STEAM Invention Kits and Avengers Hero Inventor Kit, empower kids to understand how circuits and sensors work and teach them how to invent new things with them. In addition to the littleBits course, all JAM subscriptions provide access to hours of videos and projects to try, with subjects including drawing, animation, or science. Kids ages 8 and up can use their littleBits kits to get expert invention tips with step-by-step instruction, receive ideas for new projects and inventions using the kits they already have, and be changemakers.


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SCHLEICH Schleich expands its Farm World collection with Puppy Pen, a play set featuring detailed puppy figures and accessories, including a water bowl and a soft bed. This set is designed for kids ages 3 to 8. Schleich expands its Wild Life assortment with Quokka, a detailed, hand-painted replica of the cat-sized marsupial found on islands off the coast of Western Australia. Giganotosaurus is the newest addition to Schleich’s dinosaur collection. The detailed figure features a moveable jaw and is made for kids ages 4 to 10. The Large Horse Stable with House and Stable is the newest addition to the Horse Club series, designed for kids ages 5 to 12. Coming in July, this tri-level play set features animal and human figures, a house, a stable, and horse-themed accessories. The set includes moveable stairs, an adjustable hose for washing the horses, a secret door leading to the loft, and more.

Puppy Pen

ESTES INDUSTRIES Estes Industries introduces a Saturn V Scale Flying Model Rocket to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission. This fully assembled and authentically detailed model stands almost 22 inches tall, and kids can display it or launch it into the sky over and over again. The 1:200 scale model also includes a 10-inch by 30-inch full-color poster of the memorable launch at Merritt Island, Florida. The Saturn V Scale Flying Model Rocket is designed for kids ages 10 and up and will be available in the spring.

BIGJIGS TOYS Bigjigs Toys adds the new pink Roleplay Set to its imaginative play collection. The wooden play set includes all the necessities for kids to host a classic tea party. The roleplay set includes a pink toaster, an electric mixer, a teapot, teacups and saucers, milk and sugar containers with spoons, a serving tray, and servingware and utensils, all in a dainty pink floral design, plus pastries and biscuits.

SCENTCO New from Scentco, Gamer Smencils bring back the retro-themed pixelated design of collectible pencils. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, each set contains five pencils in different scents. Kids can create works of art with Smarkers,, launching in the spring. The set of eight markers comes in different colors and scents. Cutie Fruities Sketch & Sniff Note Pads includes an 80-page note pad with a design and color gel pen. Kids can scratch and sniff the note pads 250 times to reveal a unique scent. With Cutie Fruities Sketch & Sniff Sketch Pads,, kids can scratch-and-sniff the notebook, featuring a cover design that doubles as a scratch-and-sniff feature. Each sketch pad contains 80 blank pages and includes a scented pencil.

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CREATIVE EDUCATION OF CANADA The Great Pretenders Let’s Party themed party line, from Creative Education of Canada, comes with everything adults need to decorate for a kid’s birthday party. The new collection of birthday decorations now comes in superhero and unicorn themes. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, each kit includes plates, cups, banners, prop kits, candles, napkins, masks, chandeliers, and more. The Superhero Party Collection includes holographic metallic copper foil detailing, and the Unicorn Party Collection features holographic metallic detailing. Also new is the Great Pretenders range of four Iconic Princesses Deluxe Gowns. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the princess gowns are available in three different styles resembling the fairytale princesses’ iconic looks. Made with precise details to match each character, gowns are available in Belle, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella styles. Dresses are available in sizes 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8.

PRESCHOOL COLLECTION Preschool Collection introduces a new way for kids ages 3 and up to learn the concept of time with analog, icon-based watches and a wall clock. The time learning method uses a measurement of time in which colors represent the hours and animals represent the minutes. Preschool Clock is a 12-inch wall clock with a sturdy, white metal frame; a non-ticking, silent quartz movement; and a shatter-resistant acrylic window. The clock comes with a cardboard play watch, 12 hour figures stickers, and 34 removable activity stickers with themes, such as school, lunch, bedtime, toothbrush, and more. Kids can use the stickers to establish daily routines and can learn the hour figures when they are older. The Preschool Watches will be available in six different designs and have the same dial as the Preschool Clock. The watch features glowin-the-dark animal icons and a hypoallergenic, one-piece silicone strap, and it is splash-proof and shock-resistant.

Iconic Princesses Deluxe Gowns

PAI TECHNOLOGY Pai Technology introduces PaiBots,, an interactive robot kit that kids ages 4 and up can use to create, program, and play more than 30 interactive augmented reality games. Kids can explore coding concepts, such as sequencing, looping, and conditional coding, through in-app tutorials as they build six PaiBots using blocks. PaiBots have internal sensors and motors that kids can program to move, drum, dance, make sounds, and light up.

Unicorn Silicone Preschool Watch

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SUNNY DAYS ENTERTAINMENT Sunny Days Entertainment adds to its Cupcake Surprise line with Cupcake Surprise Bedazzled Edition dolls available this fall. Each doll features a soft bedazzled dress and a grape, caramel, vanilla, lemon, strawberry, or chocolate scent. Kids can use the styling brush and bedazzled gems to make the dolls sparkle and shine. Sweet Pups are squishy croissants, pastries, and sweet rolls that smell like fresh baked bread, chocolate, cinnamon, or strawberry. Kids can collect all 12 in different styles and colors. Blue Ribbon Champions introduces the Blue Ribbon Deluxe line of horses with authentic features and sounds, including “whinny” sounds, movable head sections, a textured mane and tail, detachable saddles, and horse-care accessories. The Thomas and Friends Pop Up Tent is a 4-foot-long tent that can fit two to three kids inside. Kids and parents can assemble the tent without tools and fold it up when it’s not in use.

MASTERPIECES Masterpieces partnered with Kaskey Kids for Sports Guys, a line of 24 figurines that includes the Football Guys and the Baseball Guys. The figures come with accessories inside a newly designed MasterPieces toy box. Masterpieces also partnered with Lionel to expand its classic line of wood magentic trains. Kids ages 3 and up can start their train collections with the vintage-style Lionel Original Steam Engine Set, the Lionel Santa Fe Cargo Train Set, and the Lionel Steam Engine & Coal Car.

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Sweet Pups

SKULLDUGGERY Skullduggery launches Knuckle-Headz Head Poppin’ Racers, available in single and double packs for kids ages 3 and up. Featuring a pull-back motor, these racers simulate medieval jousting with a modern twist. Kids can aim one of six collectible character vehicles at their opponents, pull back, let go, and watch them smash into each other. With a direct hit, the losing character’s head pops off into the air.


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GOLIATH GAMES With Goliath Games’ BoomTrix,, players can design their own trampoline course, create action-packed ball tricks, and show off their trick shots. The BoomTrix set includes mini trampolines, obstacles, and launch pads for kids to make original tricks and spins. The game allows kids to explore their creativity and promotes spatial reasoning. BoomTrix also helps kids ages 8 and up learn STEM concepts as they estimate distance and experience physics while playing. Gator Golf is a game designed for kids ages 4 and up and can be used both inside and outside. Kids will try to putt the ball into the alligator’s mouth using the flamingo-shaped golf club. When a kid makes the shot, the gator’s mouth clamps shut, and then it uses its tail to shoot the ball over its head and back to the players. Dragon Snacks is a memory game that challenges kids ages 4 and up to reach inside the glowing dragon to see what he ate for dinner. Kids must remember what’s in the dragon’s tummy and pull out the correct color without waking him.

WECOOL TOYS WeCool Toys expands its Compound Kings line this year. Squishy Sharks are collectible squishy sharks that are available now. Kids can flip, stretch, and poke Fluffly Cloudz, fruityscented cloud slime. Kids can add to their Mix & Mash Disc collections and create ASMR slime with Confetti Mash, Unicorn Mash, and Beach Mash. The Giant Easter Egg slime kit includes more than 1 pound of super stretchy, multicolored slime with foam beads and glitter mixers. The egg also doubles as a storage container. Squishy Sharks

CEACO/GAMEWRIGHT Designed for three to eight players ages 12 and up, Hello My Name Is,, from Gamewright, challenges players to race the clock and name as many real or fictional people they can think of based on certain adjectives and traits. The player who gets the most cards is the winner in this fast-paced, 15-minute game. Embrace the flower power with Bloom.. Designed for two to five players 8 and up, this dice-rolling game provides players with a bouqet of possible outcomes. Players will roll the dice and decide what to aim for, such as choosing a matching color or filling a mixed dozen. The game combines strategic play with a little bit of luck.

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IDENTITY GAMES Identity Games celebrates the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street with the Sesame Street Elmo Hide and Seek game. Kids can search for Elmo with the help of 24 location cards, or listen for Elmo noises to help track him down. The game features three levels of play that range in difficulty, so kids of all ages can get involved.


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RAZOR USA Razor USA introduces the Power A5,, an upgrade to last year’s Power A2. With adjustable handle bars and a new color, the Power A5 gives kids ages 8 and up a lightweight, foldable scooter option. With the Power A5, kids can ride continuously for up to 40 minutes or 6.5 miles at speeds up to 10 mph. The Power A5 has a rechargeable 24V lithium-ion battery pack, a rear fender brake, and a push-button throttle. The Crazy Cart Shift features Power Core technology and up to 40 minutes of continuous use. With the parent-control switch, parents can adjust the speed to go between 3 mph and 8 mph. Made for kids ages 8 and up, Crazy Cart Shift features steer-to-drift steering; a high-impact, airless front tire; and a bucket-style seat. It also comes with a battery charger, flag, and front stabilizer posts. E-Punk builds on the electric bike trend for kids. With a run time of up to 40 minutes of continuous use, kids ages 8 and up can ride at a speed up to 9 mph. The e-bike features a push-button throttle; hand-operated, front caliper brake; adjustable handle handlebars; foam grips; a retractable kickstand; an airless rear tire; and an adjustable, padded seat, plus it comes with a rechargeable battery.

CIRCUIT SCRIBE Kids can build and fly their own drones with mess-free assembly and clear instructions with Circuit Scribe’s Drone Kit. Kids ages 12 and up can draw the circuits to bring their drone to life with the kit’s non-toxic, liquid silver Circuit Scribe Pen. The compatible app includes easy-to-fly hover, takeoff, and landing modes, or kids can test their skills with a full manual joystick control. Kids can use the premade plastic arms or make their own custom designs with the additional cardboard templates.

B4ADVENTURE b4Adventure introduces 4Fun, a new product line. 4Fun 2 in 1 Jumbo Chess and Checkers Set is an oversized game set of chess and checkers. Kids can inflate the molded chess set with removable bases. The chess pieces range from 6 inches to 10 inches in height, and the checkers pieces have a diameter of 4.25 inches. The 70-inch by 62-inch, four-color printed mat is made of a non-woven material, has waterproof backing, and comes with a storage bag. The 4Fun Wicket Kick Giant Kick Croquet is an outdoor croquet game. Kids can run and kick the ball through a course of six wickets, and make the course as hard or as easy as they want. The set comes with two 14-inch, high-density PVC balls; seven wickets that are powder-coated metal; two poles; and one hand pump. b4Adventure also expands its American Ninja Warrior line with the Ultimate Aqua 4 in 1 Obstacle Challenge. This versatile set includes two jumpthrough hoops, with and without a water sprayer; a dive-through pool ring; and a swim-through pool ring. Kids can add this set to existing American Ninja Warrior obstacle course sets or use it as standalone obstacles. Kids can also use the hoop with a stand with or without the water feature to create a finish line; use the hoop to dive through a pool or swim through a lake; and adjust the floating depth with sand. All items are made for kids ages 5 and up.

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RHODE ISLAND NOVELTY Rhode Island Novelty introduces Sequinimals this year. These soft-stuffed plush feature flip sequins that change color when kids run a hand across the material. The new Sequinimals include trending animals, such as unicorns, llamas, sloths, owls, sea turtles, and more. Sequinimals flip sequin plush is made for kids ages 3 and up and will be available for purchase in the

SAFARI LTD. Safari Ltd. introduces new figures to its line designed for kids ages 3 and up. The Bigfoot Figure is covered head to toe in coarse, sculpted fur and is posed in mid-walk with its head turned. The creature’s iconic pose is based on a still-frame from the “Patterson Film,” one of the most wellknown supposed recordings of Bigfoot. The Spinosaurus figure is sculpted in a swimming pose with its mouth open, revealing its many teeth. The detailed figure features a distinctive crocodile-like snout and a high-spined tail. The Styracosaurus figure features a Ceratopsian body with four legs, a short tail, and a scaly hide with larger scales breaking up smaller ones. Its neck frill features six long spikes, as well as several shorter protrustions and a nose horn that projects from its face.

FAR OUT TOYS Crash Racers, from Far Out Toys, are motorized cars that kids ages 5 and up can race on the replica figure-eight track. Available in the fall, the racers combine motorized, high-speed racing with cars that break apart when they crash. In less than 10 seconds, kids can charge the racing cars with the included flash chargers and watch them speed around the 6-foot-long track. Additional cars and accessories are sold separately. With Crash Racers T-Bone Chase, kids ages 5 and up can create crashes using the motorized vehicles and crash zone ramp set. The four-sided crash zone can endure high-impact, head-on, and T-bone collisions. Car parts break apart on impact, and then kids can put them back together to crash again. Available this fall, the set includes the T-bone intersection mat, two motorized electric crash cars, chargers, and crash barrels. Crash Racers

MCFARLANE TOYS McFarlane Toys partners with HBO for Game of Thrones 6-inch figures, a line of highly detailed, articulated figures of characters from the series, each with its own accessories and classic outfits. The initial line, designed for fans ages 14 and up, includes Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, the Night King, and Arya Stark. The figures will be available this spring. McFarlane also introduces Rex and Drift Fortnite Premium Figures, designed for ages 14 and up. The new line of figures will feature 18 points of articulation, accessories, weapons, and a Fortnite-branded display base. Game of Thrones 6-inch figure

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KIDSTUFF PUBLIC RELATIONS CELEBRATES 25 YEARS The Toy Book chats with Lisa Orman, president and founder of KidStuff PR, about the agency’s 25th anniversary, advice to PR professionals, and how the toy industry has evolved. Toy Book: Congratulations on KidStuff PR’s 25th anniversary this year! How did the company get its start? Lisa Orman: I had been a journalist for seven years (Dallas Morning News, Des Moines Register, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Crain’s Chicago Business) and a retail management marketing consultant in Chicago. I was traveling like mad in the consulting job and was newly married at a relatively late age, so my husband and I were ready to start a family. A friend and neighbor in the Chicago area suggested I try the public relations (PR) field because he thought I had the perfect combination of skills for it. He had a PR agency that specialized in real estate. After two years of working on real estate clients, which I found that I loved, my friend and I decided to pitch Zany Brainy, a national chain of large specialty toy stores. We saw that the company advertised for a general manager and other staff as it entered the Chicago market, so we pitched their marketing vice president on a grand opening project. We got the gig, and the rest—as they say— was history. We worked with the retailer for seven years, and the last six of those years were under my agency name, KidStuff PR. I had a team of six other moms who were publicists across the country. There wasn’t a term for what I was doing, but it was a “virtual business,” which turned out to be a pioneer for the time. By then, I was pregnant with my daughter (now 24), and my focus and passion were on products and services for families. I realized all new moms go through a massive education process to learn about all the choices to make for their new families. After seven years, Zany Brainy filed for bankruptcy. That was incredibly hard, as was the financial loss I took. But rather than quit PR or the toy industry, I realized I had met

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so many people in the industry and learned a tremendous amount about it. I decided to focus on helping build awareness for smaller companies who were creating or manufacturing truly innovative products and services for families. We’re still doing that! TB: How did KidStuff PR evolve from when it first began? LO: Zany Brainy was our first and only client for the first seven years of KidStuff PR’s existence. It was a rookie mistake to put all our eggs in one basket, but they were all-consuming. We learned a lot of hard lessons with their demise, but as Kelly Clarkson’s song “Stronger” says, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” In the past 18 years, our clientele has been heavily comprised of toy and game manufacturers, with a few services or non-toy companies mixed in. Four years ago, I started TechStuff PR to represent technology for families or app-enhanced toys. TB: In what ways has public relations in the toy industry changed since you founded KidStuff PR? LO: When I started, we had a $3,000 a month fax bill, and $12,000 a month went to printing and postage to mail press releases to media. AOL was the only email service, and it was unacceptable to email reporters. We didn’t have cell phones, so the long-distance phone bill for my team was more than $6,000 a month. Now, those expenses and practices are virtually gone. About 14 to 15 years ago, a phenomenon called mom bloggers popped up. We recognized right away they were going to be a force to be reckoned with—and important to our industry—so we started working with them for our clients. Their role and the respect for them changed a lot over the years,

and now they are accepted as an important part of PR campaigns and awareness building. Through the years, we’ve educated our clients about how to regard and evaluate bloggers. Most companies want to equate immediate sales from bloggers’ product reviews, but it doesn’t work that way. Clients must have a longer and broader view of their role. We have 300 vetted bloggers on our team, many with specialties, such as home schooling, crafting or DIY, tech for families, or baby toys. TB: What is the biggest piece of advice you could give to public relations professionals trying to break into the toy industry? LO: Never burn a bridge (or a person, or client). Be kind and patient—most people really don’t understand public relations, and it’s a constant process of educating. PR is constantly changing. Most changes are for the better, but sometimes you must consider if a change passes the sniff test or meets your moral code. TB: What are the most effective ways for manufacturers to create buzz about their products and get coverage? LO: Have great photography and video (b-roll) of the product in use. Brevity is valued. If it takes five minutes to explain it, we have a problem. Have a clear “reason for being”— why is your product better, different, special, fun, educational, or of value? Does it have an ingenious design? Don’t be a copycat. Be prepared to send out a lot of samples—you want your new product in as many people’s hands as will assess and review it! Have a name that’s fun, descriptive, and makes sense. Work with an agency, such as KidStuff PR, that specializes in this niche, has deep relationships with media in this realm from years of experience, and loves the industry! »


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ZURU

LITTLE KIDS INC.

ZURU launches OOSH Cotton Candy Cuties,, which combines fluffy slime and slow-rise squishy toys. Cotton Candy Cuties each contain a surprise slowrise squishy Cutie inside and a scented, squishy foam toy that comes in four colors. ZURU adds to its Smashers line with Smashers Series 3: Dino.. Kids can smash open the Smash Eggs to collect more than 100 dinosaur characters. Kids can lift the dinosaur tail in the Smash Rex play set to make the dinosaur bite down on the Smash Eggs, then press down on the egg shell to smash and poop out the Dino Smashers. With 5 Surprise Series 2, kids can unwrap, peel, and reveal the capsules to find five surprise toys inside. Each capsule contains five sealed segments for kids to reveal, and each segment contains a different surprise from a range of more than 200 new toys. Blue capsules feature sticky slime suckers, gross monsters, glowing figures, and transforming creatures. Pink capsules feature unicorns, sequin sparkles, stationery, pets, and accessories. Both ranges also feature super rare LED chasers.

JUST PLAY

Little Kids Inc. launches PEEPS Wind Ups in chick or bunny shapes. Available in three bright colors, kids ages 3 and up can wind up the PEEPS to watch them walk. Kids ages 3 and up can shape, stretch, and mold PEEPS Putty. Each putty container is shaped like a PEEPS chick or bunny and is filled with 15 grams of colorful putty. With PEEPS Soft Squeeze Peeps, kids can squeeze the slow-rise characters and watch them return to their original shape. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, the slow-rise shapes come in the classic PEEPS bunny and chick shapes in three different colors.

PEEPS Wind Ups

Just Play expands its Hairdorables line with Hairdorables Collectibles Series 2, featuring dolls with new styles and new hairdos, such as buns, bangs, and braids. Each Hairdorables package contains 11 surprises, including a new color-reveal accessory. The dolls are based on 12 girls from the Hairdorables YouTube series. There are 26 new dolls for kids to collect, including rare and ultra-rare figures. In addition, Just Play introduces Hairdorables Pets Series 1, with 24 pets for kids to collect, including one ultra-rare character. Kids can pull, peel, and reveal eight surprises inside. Each pet has hair that kids can style, and each package includes two accessories, two stickers, a brush, an adoption card, and a collector list. Both Hairdorables products are designed for kids ages 3 and up. Flutter Friends are birds that interact with kids and each other, with more than 40 realistic hummingbird sounds to unlock. Each Flutter Friend features soft, shimmery wings that flap. Kids can tap or pet their Flutter Friend’s head once to turn it on, twice to activate different sounds and tweets, and three times to unlock musical tweets. Kids can also tap their Flutter Friend’s back twice to see it flap its wings. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, each Flutter Friend comes with a flower feeder accessory that kids can use to feed the bird. Flutter Friends interact with each other when they hear clapping or snapping. Smash Crashers are smashable vehicles made for kids ages 5 and up. When the Smash Crashers trucks crash, two mystery crates containing surprise collectibles based on a variety of gross-out themes pop out. Each truck contains three collectibles—two hidden collectibles and one bonus collectible. There are 50 mini figures and 12 trucks for kids to collect in the first series.

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REDWOODVENTURES

RedwoodVentures expands its Smooshy Mushy line with Smooshy Mushy Series 5 Sugar Fix. Kids can open up the gumball machine to reveal new scented Smooshy pets, besties, and more surprises. There are glow-inthe-dark rare and ultra rare characters, with eight in total to collect. Foodie Surprise contains a mystery food cart with multiple reveals, including all the supplies kids need to make treats. There are dozens of characters to collect, available this fall. Coming in the spring, TLC Kritters feature an incubator that opens to reveal a mystery baby animal. Kids can drop the included packet in water to reveal the Kritter’s gender. The packet also contains accessories, such as a bottle for kids to feed their new pet. Kids can also remove the Kritter’s diaper and dunk it in cool water to reveal a dirty diaper, noted by emojis, and soak it in warm water to clean it again.

JAKKS PACIFIC Jakks Pacific expands its Who’s Your Llama line with series two in the spring and series three in the fall. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, the 4-inch llamas each have a unique personality and style, articulated legs, and a silly facial expression. There are 12 new blind bag llamas to collect in each series. Series one of Who’s Your Llama Mini Collectibles, a line of miniature collectible llamas, will be available this spring, followed by series two in the fall. Kids ages 4 and up can collect 24 different mini llamas in each series, each of which comes in a reusable camper. Series one includes a rare llama with a gold finish, and series two includes a rare llama with a multi-colored iridescent finish. The collectible llama line further expands with Who’s Your Llama Plush collectibles. Series one will be available this spring and series two will be available this fall. Each series features six different plush llamas for kids to collect. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, each llama is about 6 inches tall and wears a non-removable outfit. Jakks Pacific also expands its Squish-Dee-Lish foam squishy line this spring, designed for kids ages 6 and up. Squish-Dee-Lish Series 7 and Series 8 each include 20 new styles to collect. Series seven features animal and food mash-up designs, and series eight features pairs, such as a squirrel and an acorn, a chicken and a chick, and more. Squish-Dee-Lish Jumbo Series 3 includes six new 7-inch squishy toys with food and animal mash-up designs. Squish-Dee-Lish Wacky Series 4 features 20 new designs, such as a samurai, a gorilla, and a monster in an egg. Each comes in a foil blind bag. The Squish-DeeLish Wacky Jumbo Series 1 introduces larger versions of the Wacky squishy line. The first series features six styles, including a toilet, a butt, a brain, and underwear. Each stands about 7 inches tall. Disney Tsum Tsum Squish Dee-Lish Series 3 is available this spring with eight new squishy Disney Tsum Tsum characters for kids to collect. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, each Tsum Tsum comes in a mystery pack. Kids can squeeze the characters and watch them expand back to their original shape. Kids can collect pairs of Tsum Tsum characters with the Disney Tsum Tsum Mystery Packs Series 13. These Mystery TFF (Tsum Friends Forever) Packs each include either two medium Disney Tsum Tsum figures, or one medium and one small figure. Available this spring, this series includes 14 pairs for kids ages 6 and up to collect.

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Who's Your Llama Mini Collectibles


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YULU

YULU introduces Pop Pops this spring. The new line combines bubble wrap popping, slime, and collectible figures. Kids ages 4 and up can pop the slime-filled bubbles to find the hidden characters, including common, rare, super rare, and special editions. The Starter Pack features six bubbles and two hidden characters, and the Deluxe Pack features 12 bubbles and four hidden characters. New characters and play sets will be available in the fall. Pop Pops Pets feature 60 characters in series one, including a teacup pig, a bunny in a top hat, a penguin pirate, and more. Available this spring, each character comes in its own brightly colored bubble with fluffy, vibrant slime. Additional characters will be available in the fall. Pop Pops Snotz feature 60 characters in series one, including aliens that play basketball, a mariachi band, and a pizza maker. Each character comes in its own snot bubble with gooey green slime, available this spring. New characters and the Slime Hammer play set will be available in the fall.

SUPER IMPULSE

Super Impulse launches World’s Smallest Crocodile Dentist, a miniature version of the game in which kids ages 6 and up examine the crocodile’s teeth. Kids can open the crocodile’s mouth and press one tooth during each turn. If a player hits the sore spot, the crocodile will quickly bite down. World’s Smallest Super Soaker is a miniature, working Super Soaker that will be available this March. Less than 4 inches in size, each blaster squirts a dozen shots up to a distance of 25 feet. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, they feature styles based on the original Super Soaker, including Super Soaker 50 and Super Soaker Barrage. Also new to the World’s Smallest line are two classics—Toss-Across and Uno. World’s Coolest Smooshy Mushy Blind Box Series 1 will be available in March. Each item comes wrapped in a sippy milk container. Kids ages 6 and up can unwrap them to discover a squishy pet, a flat bestie keychain, and a sticker. There are six characters to collect.

World's Smallest Crocodile Dentist

MATTEL

Mattel introduces Lil’ Gleemerz Babies,, miniature versions of the Gleemerz. Each Lil’ Gleemerz Baby features a rainbow plush tail and a stomach that lights up when kids press its nose. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the Babies respond to movement with up to 25 sounds and phrases. Mattel also expands its Polly Pocket Polly World Assortment with three new compact Pocket Worlds, which open to reveal a different theme, micro dolls, and accessories. The new themed compacts are Mini Mall Escape, featuring micro Polly and Lila dolls and a Segway; Surf ‘n Sandventure, featuring micro Polly and Shani dolls and jet skis; and Tiny Twirlin’ Music Box, featuring micro Polly and Lila dolls and a horse and carriage. The compacts are designed for kids ages 4 and up. Mega Construx Crystal Creatures Assortment are blind packs with a buildable Crystal Creature and slime inside. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the assortment includes Sapphire Peryton, Emerald Unicorn, Amethyst Pegasus, Topaz Dragon, and Ruby Deer.

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Lil' Gleemerz Babies


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IMPERIAL TOY Imperial Toy celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with new product assortments and collections, and will be a part of events and experiences, including a partnership with BuzzFeed. This fall, the company launches new characters from Funky Farm, a collection of colorful, squeezable chickens. Kids can squeeze the chicken’s belly to hear it squawk. Each character features a signature look and personality. Googly Ooglies are bouncy, squishy creatures from Googly Town. The patented product design features sparkly eyes, spikey hair, and signature markings. A new Googly Ooglies collection will be available this fall. Sticky Pals are squishy, sticky collectibles featuring six shapes and colors. Kids ages 5 and up can throw them against the wall and watch them roll down. New characters will be available in the fall. Power Poppers Self Inflating Swords are inflatable swords that expand up to 32 inches. Kids ages 4 and up can grab a Power Popper, smash the packet, and watch it self-inflate in seconds.

HASBRO

Hasbro launches Transformers BotBots. A mist of Energon came down from the sky and covered a shopping mall, bringing the objects inside to life as little Transformers robots. These BotBots can hide in plain sight as everyday objects, meaning no one knows what’s a bot and what’s not. Collectible BotBots toys are 1-inch tall mystery figures that change from normal objects to adventurous robots in three to five easy steps. Transformers BotBots Series 1 features 61 characters across three assortments.

Googly Ooglies

WOWWEE

WowWee introduces Untamed Mad Lab Minis,, miniature hybrid creatures that share Untamed DNA. Kids uncover their DNA samples; Buttheads extract them from the Geoslime, Biosand, or Terraclay; then classify their new creature. The creature could be a Raptor, T. rex, Allosaurus, Spinosaurus, Sabre-tooth Tiger, Dire Wolf, Bear, Polar Bear, Gorilla, or Skeleton. Kids can also mix and match the mini’s heads and bodies to create unique new creatures. WowWee expands the Fingerlings line with new additions. Fingerlings Foxes respond to noise, motion, and touch. They react in different ways when kids pet them, rock them to sleep, hold them upside down, or talk loudly. If kids blow them a kiss, they’ll kiss back. Fingerling Narwhals can surf air waves with the new motion sensors. They also feature a mood horn that lights up different colors when kids interact with them. When kids pet them, Narwals flap their tails, blink their eyes, and make noises to show how they’re feeling. Fingerlings Narwals can give kids kisses that get bigger and louder the longer kids press the Narwhals’ faces to their cheeks. Buttheads collectible figures are available in four characters—Grim Ripper, Tushi, Robutt, and Brainfart. Kids can pull the Buttheads’ fingers for a gross surprise. Each Butthead has different attributes, including a Stank Score, loudness, and staying power, so kids can battle against their friends’ figures.

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MGA ENTERTAINMENT

MGA Entertainment expands L.O.L. Surprise! this spring with L.O.L. Surprise! Makeover Series #Hairgoals and L.O.L. Surprise! Fuzzy Pets, both designed for kids ages 6 and up. #Hairgoals dolls feature new characters with styleable hair. Kids can feed or bathe their dolls to discover a water surprise, including a color-changing feature. There are 12 new characters with 15 surprises for kids to unbox, including a magic mirror, stickers, a hair curler, a bottle, fashion accessories, a mystery disguise, and more. The doll comes in a new hairspray can capsule that transforms into a salon chair, a display case, a doll stand, or a purse. Fuzzy Pets each come in a shampoo bottle package that doubles as a bath, a purse, and a play set with seven surprises for kids to unbox. Kids can bathe the fuzz-covered pets in the shampoo bottle to wash the colorful fuzz off and reveal the pet underneath. Kids can also create hairstyles with the fuzz, or add water to the pet to discover a water surprise, including a color change. The seven surprises include a magic mirror, a secret message sticker, a bottle, a scooper, a fashion accessory, an outfit, and an L.O.L. Surprise! Fuzzy Pet. L.O.L. Surprise! Makeover Series #Hairgoals

SPIN MASTER Spin Masters adds to its Hatchimals CollEGGtibles line this spring with new mini collectibles for kids ages 5 and up. The eggs hatch when kids rub the purple heart until it turns pink, then gently press down to crack the shell and uncover the surprise inside. Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Mermal Magic are shimmery seashell-shaped 6-Pack Shell Carrying Case eggs with color-changing Hatchimals inside. Kids can dip the Hatchimals in warm water to see them change color. There are more than 80 characters to collect, including Mermals (half-Hatchimal, half-mermaid). The Hatchimals CollEGGtibles 6-Pack Shell Carrying Case features a sparkly shell-shaped lid, six ombre eggs, and a sticker sheet. The shell closes to turn into a carrying case. The eggs contain Sapphire Springs Hatchimals that each hold their own jewel that changes color underwater. Hatchimals CollEGGtibles 12-Pack Egg Carton is a glittery blue case featuring color-changing Mermals, Clownfish, and more. It contains 10 seashell-shaped eggs and two out-of-egg Clownfish. Available this spring, Lollipets are collectible pets that kids can activate to move. Kids ages 5 and up can hold the included treats in front of the Lollipets to make their floppy ears and tails wiggle as they move toward it. Kids can hold the treat above the collectibles to make them hop, behind them to make them spring, or to the side to make them dodge. There are 20 characters for kids to collect that come from Cake Pop Coast, Lollipop Lake, and Marshmallow Meadow, and rare characters from Cotton Candy Canyon. Characters come in fuzzy, glittery, brightly colored, or pastel-colored versions. Each Lollipet includes a character card, a map of its home, a sticker, and a treat. Spin Master expands its Fuggler line with Fuggler Vinyl Figure Collectibles. These collectible vinyl figures have tiny mouths full of teeth. Each of the 16 vinyl figures is unique, including some with buttons for eyes, eyeballs for eyes, or three eyes. Some are covered in zebra print or have gangly arms and claws. Fuggler Keychains will be available in the fall. There are 32 Fuggler characters for kids to collect, each with signature Fuggler teeth. Kids can hang them using the key chains.

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TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

ZING

Zing launches KlikBots, collectible figures with multiple points of articulation and built-in suction cup feet, making them ideal for kids to use to create stop-motion animation movies. Kids ages 6 and up can use the interchangeable pieces to combine figures or take them apart to create new figures. With the free KlikBot app for iOS and Android, kids can snap individual photos, stitch them together into a video, then share their creations with #KlikBot on social media. The figures will be available this fall. Rip Rollerz feature 48 blind bag characters available in four rarity levels, including common, rare, super rare, and ultra rare. Kids ages 5 and up choose from monster, dino, insect, hero, villain, mythical, animal, or bot teams to compete in the Rip Rollerz Games, a series of competitions based on real-life play patterns of the toy. Rip Rollerz will be available this fall, and will also be part of an animated series launching this year. KlikBots

BASIC FUN! Basic Fun! introduces ZooBalloos, a line of squishy balloon animal figures. Each balloon-shaped capsule contains a blind-packed ZooBalloos figure, ZooBalloos stickers, and a surprise Bopaballoo self-inflating balloon. Kids can set the Bopaballoo on a hard surface, bop it with their fists, shake it, and set it on the table to watch it inflate. It pops out of its wrapper with a sprinkle of confetti, inflated by a safe, baking-soda chemical reaction. Once the Bopaballoo is fully inflated, kids can attach it to the included plastic stand so it looks like a balloon on a string. There are 28 ZooBalloos to collect in series one, including rare metallic and ultra-rare glitter figures. Little Lucky Lunchbox includes two blind-packed Foodie Friends, each with another surprise hidden inside. Each Little Lucky Lunchbox includes two Foodie Friends, one Little Foodie, a sticker, and a collector guide. The Mash’Ems Wear’Ems jewelry box includes two stretchy characters—one kids can see and one that is a surprise. Kids can wear Wear’Ems as rings or hair ties, or they can use them to decorate pencil boxes, backpacks, and more. There are 24 different Wear’Ems for kids to collect. All three collectibles are designed for kids ages 4 and up.

BONKERS TOYS Bonkers Toys expands its Ryan’s World line this spring with a variety of products designed for kids ages 3 and up. Kids can be like Ryan from Ryan ToysReview as they unbox surprises inside Ryan’s World Giant Mystery Egg Series 2.. The blue egg includes an exclusive pullback vehicle, ultra-rare figures, a new skydiver Ryan figure with a workFGTeeV Giant Mystery Pack ing parachute, putty, a squishy, and a Red Titan mask. Ryan’s World Mini Mystery Egg is a 5-inch egg with six surprises inside, including a mystery figure, putty, a bouncy ball, Ryan’s World tattoos, and more. The Ryan’s World Build-a-Ryan EGGstravaganza egg crate is full of Build-a-Ryan components that kids can mix and match to create Ryan’s World character figures. Each set includes enough pieces to create three full figures. Bonkers Toys launches the first FGTeeV toy line this fall, inspired by the popular YouTube channel of the same name. The line includes 6-inch figures, blind bags, squishies, mini mystery sets, and a flagship unboxing item.

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HEXBUG

HEXBUG introduces HEXBUG Skatees, collectible footwear characters that can dance. Each Skatee includes accessories and will be available this fall for kids ages 8 and up.

MOOSE TOYS

ALEX BRANDS Alex Brands expands its ALEX D.I.Y. line with a second and third series of Do Dats, collectible characters that kids create using beads and a patented no-knot system. The new additions include characters, such as Marina the mermaid, Melonie the watermelon cat, and more. Kids can display them, wear them as bag charms, or mix and match them as their collections grow larger. Do Dats are designed for kids ages 6 and up and will be available in the spring.

Moose Toys introduces Pikmi Pops DoughMi, which will be available this spring. This sweet-scented range of collectible doughnut plush is available in three sizes—small, medium, and jumbo. There are Treasure X Quest for Dragons Gold— more than 40 DoughMis for kids Deluxe Dragon Figure Assortment to collect, including a selection of special edition Squish ‘n Rise DoughMis that are soft and squishy. The surprise pack offers an extra layer of unboxing when kids crack open the doughnut center to reveal a small Jelly Pikmi character. There are surprises for kids ages 5 and up to discover, including an assortment of rings, erasers, hair ties, notebooks, pouches, nesting doughnuts, flocked stickers, and bag tags. Moose Toys introduces the Shopkins Happy Places Mermaid Reef Retreat Playset for kids ages 3 and up. The two-level play set features a mermaid theme with a Jacuzzi, a shell lounge, and a Pearlina Mermaid figure with a tail that changes color when kids dip it in water. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, Shopkins Family Mini Packs Shopper Pack will launch this spring with a new Shopkins family member included in each pack. There are more than 30 Shopkins families to collect, including the Bubs & Spices limited-edition Shopkins. The single pack contains one Shopkin inside a mini pack with a collector’s guide. Kids have a 1 in 4 chance to find a Babykins. Moose Toys introduces Shopkins Lil’ Secrets Shopkeypers, which features a small Shoppie and a key that unlocks layers of tiny surprises, including a pop-up bunny and a hidden garden. There are six mini shops to collect, available in June. Moose will also introduce the Pop Up Party Mini Playset to its Shopkins Lil’ Secrets line. Mighty Beanz S2 Slam Pack comes out this spring. Kids ages 5 and up can slam the top of the bean pod to make it expand and burst open. There are eight Mighty Beanz inside each pod, with 140 Mighty Beanz to collect in series two. There are rare, ultra rare, super rare, and mighty rare beanz, as well as glow-in-the-dark and limited-edition Golden Mighty Beanz. The Mighty Beanz Fortnite Four Pack is available now, with 35 Mighty Beanz for kids to collect in series one, including rare, epic, legendary, and mythic Mighty Beanz. Kids ages 5 and up can dig through 10 layers of surprises to search for real gold-dipped treasure with Treasure X Dragon Quest for Dragon’s Gold, available now. Kids can use the dragon’s eye to reveal the secrets on the map, then find the dragon’s heart and pour out the ooze to uncover the treasure. There are eight dragons to find, as well as new treasures for kids to collect. Treasure X Treasure Hunter Quest for Dragon’s Gold will be available this spring, with 24 new Treasure Hunters for kids to collect, as well as new treasure hidden inside a chest filled with ooze.

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THAMES & KOSMOS

EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS

Thames & Kosmos launches Rabbit’s Hat Magic Tricks this spring. Each small top hat comes with props and instructions for kids ages 6 and up to perform two or three magic tricks with different themes, including shape-shifting and mind reading. Kids can collect all eight hats to build their magic skills and watch video tutorials online for help. Kids ages 7 and up can expand their Ooze Labs collections with two new tubes. Super-Expanding Instant Snow makes fake snow using a superabsorbent polymer. Glowing Galaxy Slime makes glowing slime using blue slime powder and two types of glitter.

Educational Insights expands its Playfoam Pals line with series four and five, designed for kids ages 5 and up. Playfoam Pals Series 4: Fantasy Friends are fantastic creatures hiding inside a pod of three-tone sparkle Playfoam. Kids can collect 12 different pals, including Eileen the Cyclops, Karl the Goblin, Sunny the Phoenix, Yolie the Yeti, and more. Playfoam Pals Series 5: Monster Party are creatures hidden inside a pod of glow-in-the-dark Playfoam. Kids can collect 12 different pals, including Freaky Fish, Saber-tooth Teddy, Phantom of the Octopus, Ghost Elephant, and more.

ORB Odditeez Plopzz

ORB WICKED COOL TOYS

Wicked Cool Toys introduces Swarm Squad, a line of toy bugs featuring realistic movement, texture, speed, and size. The collectibles are designed for kids ages 5 and up to collect, share, and use for pranks. The Squad includes four bug species—Wigglers (Cockroaches), Hoppers (Long Horn Beetles), Pushers (Stag Beetles), and Twisters (Trilobite Beetles). The bugs are available in single, double, and six packs. Kids can keep their bugs working with the Bug Juice Battery Replacement Pack and race them with the 10-foot Ricochet Raceway. The line will be available this fall.

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ORB introduces Slimi Café this spring. Kids ages 8 and up can combine specially formulated ORB Soft’n Slo Squishies with Slimi Café toppings to make food creations that they can mix, match, decorate, and squeeze. When kids are done squeezing, they can take apart the toppings to make new creations. ORB Odditeez Plopzz are fuzzy creatures that kids ages 8 and up can squeeze to watch them pop out a bubble of sparkly goo. There is a range of characters for kids to collect, available this spring. ORB Mocheez Babies have a soft, jelly texture that kids ages 8 and up can squish and squeeze. They will be available this spring. Stranger Things Soft’n Slo Squishies ULTRA are slow-rising squishies for kids ages 8 and up that feature characters from Stranger Things, including Eleven, Hopper, Dustin, Barb, Steve, Mike, Will, and Lucas. They will be available in the spring.


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

MAYA TOYS Maya Toys introduces the second series of Orbeez Wow World Wowzer Surprise, Orbeez Wow World Wowzer Surprise Garden of Wonder. Wonder Kids add water to the globe, which is filled with clear Orbeez, to reveal which Garden of Wonder Wowzer is inside. There are 20 different Wowzers to collect. Foodie Roos are collectible characters that each look, smell, and feel like its favorite food. Each Foodie includes a Peek a Roo window that gives kids a hint as to which character is inside. Kids can squeeze the Foodie Roo’s belly to feel a surprise and open up its container, which also transforms into the Foodie’s room. There are 20 Foodies to collect, including two rares.

LEGO

LEGO introduces LEGO Minifigures: The LEGO Movie 2, launching this month. The collection includes limited-edition minifigure characters from the movie, along with costumes and accessories, such as Emmet’s headphone wig, Lucy’s hood, and President Business’ golf club. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the mystery bag line includes 20 different characters. Each character includes at least one accessory and a display baseplate.

JAZWARES

Jazwares expands its Feisty Pets line with Feisty Pets Mini Misfits. These 2-inch, blind-bag figures come inside a pet carrier. The pets look cute, but their faces transform into a feisty expression when kids push the back of their heads. Kids can collect cars from the video game Rocket League with the Rocket League Battle-Car Mystery Garages: Series 1, available this spring. Each pack includes a 1:43-scale Battle-Car hidden inside a connectable garage display case. Kids can equip their Battle-Car with the included antenna and rims, or mix and match accessories. Series one includes eight Battle-Cars to collect. The Rocket League Custom Mega Pack includes three cars—Octane, Aftershock, and Animus GP. Kids can customize the cars with six toppers, six antennaes, and four sets of rims, all included in the set. The pack also includes a redeemable code for downloadable content in the Rocket League video game.

Feisty Pets Mini Misfits

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PLAYMATES TOYS

Playmates Toys launches Pop Tops this spring, an assortment of miniature characters from movies and TV shows. The detailed, stylized collectibles stand 2.5 inches tall. The figure pops open into a full-bodied figure when kids press the button on the figure’s head. Kids can collect several popular characters, which will release in two waves. Wave one includes Spider-Man, Iron Man, Batman, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Wave two includes the Hulk, Captain America, Black Panther, and TMNT’s Donatello.


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

EPOCH EVERLASTING PLAY With Aquabeads, kids ages 4 and up can make designs with the included beads and spray the finished creation with water to fuse the beads together. Epoch Everlasting Play expands its Aquabeads line with the Beginners Studio. Kids can create Aquabead designs faster than before with the new flip tray, in which one creation can dry while kids create another. The kit includes more than 840 jewels and solid beads in 16 colors. Kids can create safari-themed bead designs with the Box of Fun-Safari set. The box includes two flip trays, stands, play mats, and more than 3,000 jewels and beads in 24 colors. The bead pen is sold separately. Aquabeads Beginners Studio

LEGO LEGO introduces LEGO Overwatch Watchpoint: Gibraltar, a 730-piece set designed for kids ages 9 and up. Kids can build the rocket and tower from the Watchpoint: Gibraltar map from Overwatch out of LEGO bricks. The set includes Mercy, Pharah, Reaper, and Winston figures. The LEGO Overwatch Bastion Model E54 set includes 602 pieces for kids to build their own Overwatch hero Bastion and its companion, Ganymede. The detailed figure features Bastion in recon mode with a gun and light brick in its head for kids to press and activate. Kids can also reconfigure the build into sentry mode with a long-range cannon. The figure is designed for kids ages 10 and up. Kids can help Emmet and Lucy save the day from Sweet Mayem with The LEGO Movie 2 Sweet Mayhem’s Systar Starship set. The 502-piece set is designed for kids and collectors ages 9 and up. LEGO Friends Andrea’s Talent Show Kids can also join Disco Kitty, Tempo, Melody, and Zebe on The LEGO Movie 2 Pop Up Party Bus. Kids can place Zebe in the cockpit, open the bus’ roof and sides, fold out loudspeakers and a disco ball, and more. The 1,024-piece set is designed for kids ages 9 and up. LEGO expands its Friends line with LEGO Friends Andrea’s Talent Show. Kids can combine and swap the separate stage sets to see Andrea perform magic tricks, sing, or play the drums. Kids can build Andrea’s dressing room or dress her in a magician’s cape. Chloe judges the talent show, and her voting button reveals what she thinks of each act. The 492-piece set is designed for builders ages 7 and up. The LEGO Friends Mia’s Foal Stable is a 118-piece set designed for kids ages 4 and up. The set includes a Mia figure, two horses, and accessories. Kids can build a tractor, a stable, and a paddock with the set. The LEGO City Sky Police Air Base is a 529-piece set that kids ages 6 and up can build a base with a control tower, an airplane, a car, and more. The set includes both police and criminal LEGO figures, a parachute, and other accessories. Kids can create three different models with the LEGO Creator Shuttle Transporter, including a flatbed truck and a shuttle, a helicopter transporter, or a car with a caravan. The 341-piece set is designed for kids ages 7 and up. The LEGO Speed Champions 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and 1970 Dodge Charger set includes everything kids need to build miniature versions of two Dodge cars. Kids can place the race driver figures in the cars’ cockpits and have their own new car versus classic car race. The 478-piece set is designed for kids ages 7 and up. The LEGO Star Wars Escape Pod vs. Dewback Microfighters set features C-3PO and R2-D2, who crash-landed in their escape pod. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, the set includes 177 pieces.

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FLYCATCHER Kids can design and build 2-D and 3-D projects with Flycatcher’s smART Pixelator using Bluetooth connectivity, easy-to-follow lights, and a variety of creativity tools. It includes 50 step-by-step designs that kids can use to create a masterpiece, along with smART Pixel beads, pegs, or sequins. Kids can engineer their own projects using the smART Pixelator App and any mobile device (not included), encouraging customization and experimentation. smART Pixelator is made for kids ages 7 and up.

TOMY With Goomon, from TOMY, kids can use mix-and-match parts, accessories, and slimy, sparkly gel to create their own creatures, then share them with friends. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, Goomon will be available this fall.

PLAYMONSTER PlayMonster brings the UK toy line Fuzzikins to the U.S. this spring. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, Fuzzikins are 3-D fuzzy animals that are covered in white flocking and come with special washable markers that kids can use to design, color, and decorate the bunnies, puppies, and kittens. The color rinses off when kids place the characters under running water. Once the figures dry, kids can start over. Fab Lab is a line of activity kits including Glitter Tattoos, Bath Bombs, Hairlights, Nail Art, and Tie Dye kits. All of the non-toxic kits are designed for kids ages 8 and up. Fab Lab launched in the UK in 2015 and will make its U.S. debut this spring. PlayMonster expands its My Fairy Garden line with new play patterns and price points this spring, all designed for kids ages 4 and up. The new Garden Fairies include a scented fairy, a scented flower, and a butterfly clip that becomes a hair clip. There are three different fairies and scents available—Rosie, Jasmine, and Sweet Pea. Kids can play with the new fairies alone, or add them to their My Fairy Garden play sets. My Fairy Garden Nature Cottage, the newest set in the line, features a flowerpot fairy home with a balcony, a moat, a bug house, and a wind chime. With a focus on the importance of conservation, Nature Cottage has a mushroom drain spout that trickles water into a barrel. The back of the cottage swings open for more space. As with all My Fairy Garden sets, Nature Cottage has open areas to hold the included soil for kids to grow the included seeds. A new fairy, a woodland friend, and accessories are also included. Nature Cottage will be available this fall. PlayMonster expands its Marbleocity line this summer with 4-Bar Link in the Triple Play series, featuring smaller models with a lower price point. Designed for kids ages 9 and up, Triple Play also features new plastic components that add color to the wood model. Kids can connect 4-Bar Link to the existing models, Chaos Mountain and Archimedes Screw, so marbles can run through all of the models. They can also attach motors (sold separately) for more power.

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EASTCOLIGHT Kids can explore augmented reality technology and scientific theories with the AR Volcano Eruption Experimental Kit, from Eastcolight. It comes with everything for kids to build a specially designed volcano, create chemical reactions, and use augmented reality to watch the scientific reaction with the realistic-looking volcano.

JAKKS PACIFIC Jakks Pacific introduces the Chocolate Poop Maker, a toilet-shaped chocolate dispenser kids can use to make edible chocolate poops. Kids can melt the chocolate, “flush” it down the toilet and into the included molds, refrigerate it, and add their own touches. The Chocolate Poop Maker, designed for kids ages 6 and up and available this fall, comes in pink or white and includes a packet of pink or brown chocolate, a toilet plunger, and a chocolate poop mold.

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HORIZON GROUP USA Horizon Group USA introduces Squishy Soaps, a line of kits kids ages 6 and up can use to create colorful, sparkling soaps that are squishy to the touch. The kits are available in a variety of themes, including Mermaid Magic, Unicorn Dream, Sweet Treat, Cute Kawaii, Tropical Paradise, and Glitter Galaxy. With Sparkle Magic, kids ages 6 and up can use gems to make their art sparkle. Kids can remove a clear sheet to reveal adhesive areas on the image, then decorate with gems. The kits are available in themes including Mermazing, Ruff Life, Hangry, and Unicone. Kids can create themed 3-D squishy paint pets with Gloopers. Designed for ages 6 and up, Gloopers come in themes such as Food Friends, Unicorn Cuties, and Dino Dudes. Kids can use the included slimy paints to decorate the Gloopers. Jumbo Squoosh-O’s are jumbo balloons kids ages 6 and up can fill with instant snow or water beads. Then kids can hug, squish, squeeze, or stretch them. Kids can grow their own crystal sculpture with the YOUniverse Crystal Growing Unicorn. Once they cover the unicorn with crystals, kids can decorate it with colors and glitter. The It’s So Me! Squishy Unicorn Diary features a squishy cover with a unicorn design. In addition to squishing the cover, kids can write and draw in the pages using a decorative pen and two sticker sheets. Kids can make a slime sandwich with SlimyGloop Squeezwiches. Each set includes play food pieces, pre-made slime, and mix-in embellishments. Kids ages 6 and up can make sandwiches in a variety of themes, including Rainbow Waffle, Galaxy PB&J, Sneeze Burger, Unicorn Pizza, Diamond Doughnut, and Confetti Ice Cream Sandwich. Horizon Group USA also expands its line of SlimyGloop Mix’Ems with new themes, including Tropical Punch, Sweet Shoppe, Cotton Candy, Birthday Cake, Cupcake Celebration, and Shark Attack. Each SlimyGloop Mix’Ems kit includes pre-made slime with mix-in embellishments.


Ultimate Under the Sea Baking Party Set

HANDSTAND KITCHEN Young bakers can use Handstand Kitchen’s Ultimate Under the Sea Baking Party Set to decorate cookies and baked goods. This set includes mermaid and shell cookie cutters, ocean-themed mini cookie cutters, cupcake molds, a spatula, a frosting bag and tips, a sticker sheet, and recipes to make sea-themed cookies, cupcakes, and frosting. Also part of the Under the Sea baking collection, the Mermaid Cake Making Set includes the supplies kids need to create mermaid tail cakes and frosting. The kit includes a large silicone cake mold, a frosting bottle and tips, and a recipe book. Kids can use the Out of This World Cake Making Set to create rocket-shaped treats. The set includes a rocket cake mold, a frosting bottle and tips, and recipes to bake a rocket cake and frosting. Kids ages 4 to 10 can use the Rainbows and Unicorns Ultimate Unicorn Baking Party set to make majestic-themed cookies, cupcakes, and cakes. The set includes a variety of cookie cutters in different sizes, a silicone cupcake mold, a spatula, a frosting bag with tips, a sticker sheet, and recipes to make themed sugar cookies, cake, and icing.

QUERCETTI New from Quercetti, Peg Brite is a lamp toy that features a trendy design, a at screen, and rounded edges. Kids can place pegs into the light-up screen to create colorful designs.


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

MAGFORMERS Magformers introduces the Amazing Construction 50-Piece Set, which kids can use to create construction vehicles. The set includes 23 magnetic pieces, two figures, and 25 construction accessories, such as a propellor siren, a container grabber, and wheels. Kids can build rescue vehicles with Magformers’ Amazing Police and Rescue 26-Piece Set. Set The set includes a police figure and a fire rescue figure, 17 magnetic pieces, an emergency light bar, and more. The Amazing Police 50-Piece Set includes 24 magnetic pieces, an emergency vehicle siren, and more accessories. It also includes an idea booklet with 50 building ideas. Kids can build a fire station and fire truck with the Magformers Amazing Rescue 50-Piece Set. Set The set includes 24 magnetic pieces, two characters, accessories, and more. With the Magformers Amazing Construction 50-Piece Set, kids can create construction vehicles using the 23 magnetic pieces, two figures, and 25 construction accessories. The Magformers Animal Jumble 60-Piece Set includes clip-on animal faces that kids can combine with the magnetic pieces to create different jungle animals. All of these Magformers sets are designed for kids ages 3 and up.

THAMES & KOSMOS Thames & Kosmos will launch the Gumball Machine Maker: Super Stunts and Tricks this summer. Kids ages 6 and up can build their own gumball machines while learning physics lessons. The gumball will dispense out of the clear storage globe and race down the track when kids turn the handle. Kids can also move the track segments around the base to create different gumball machines. The included gumballs perform stunts as they roll down, such as going through a pulley lift, funnel, and trampoline. Ooze Labs will expand to include UFO Alien Slime Lab and Soap & Bath Bomb Lab, both designed for kids ages 6 and up. Kids can identify various unidentified alien slimes or create different cosmetics products, such as bath bombs and soaps, using experiments and lab techniques. With Air-Walker, available this spring, kids ages 8 and up can build a robot that walks up windows and smooth surfaces. The robot uses suction cups and pumps to crawl along vertical surfaces using air pressure. Kids can learn engineering and physics concepts with this STEM kit as they build the robot and conduct experiments. Thames and Kosmos will launch the new Rainbow Gummy Candy Lab this spring. Kids ages 6 and up can cook up their own gummy candy using a gelatin mixture, a mold, and several flavors and colors. The kit teaches the scientific properties of natural polymers as kids make sweet and sour treats. This spring, Thames & Kosmos will add Robot Safari–Introduction to Motorized Machines to its Kids First series. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, this kit guides kids to build a series of motorized robotic animals to learn mechanical engineering. It comes with an illustrated 32-page storybook that focuses on the adventures of the Omegas, a family of engineers. The family’s robotic dog Remus embarks on a safari adventure when he is separated from the group. Kids will build models of the animal robots Remus finds and conduct experiments with them, learning basic engineering concepts and gaining STEM-related comprehension and motor skills. Thames and Kosmos introduces the Kids First Coding & Robotics: Challenge Pack 1 this summer. Kids ages 4 and up can use this add-on pack to build eight mechanical robots and devices and perform engineering challenges. The models include a forklift, a claw arm, a catapult, and more. Kids will need the Kids First Coding & Robotics robotic base unit, code cards, and map cards to build the models included in the Challenge Pack.

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ORB ORB introduces Ryan’s World Sticky Mosaics this spring. Kids ages 5 and up can follow the numbered template to place foam stickers and decorate four characters—Moe, Baby T-rex, Ryan, and Gus. Each set includes four scenes. Available this spring, Ryan’s Sticki Mix-Upz are sticker squares that kids ages 5 and up can mix and match until they complete the mystery puzzle. There is a numbered template for guidance. Ryan’s Red Titan Adventure Pad features Ryan-themed stickers that kids can place in their pad and reposition to create new scenes. There are 10 different worlds for kids to explore, including outer space, underwater, and the beach. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the Ryan’s World Sticky Mosaics pad will be available this spring.

BANDAI AMERICA Pretty Pixels Eraser Maker, from Bandai America, includes everything kids need to create their own erasers from scratch. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, each kit comes with materials to make up to 10 erasers to use, share, or collect. Available this spring, the kit comes in four themes—animals, sweets, fruits, and fashion. Hyper Cluster is a line of yo-yos kids can customize to match their personal style and performance needs. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, the Hyper Cluster Starter Kit includes skins and a core kids can assemble to create their yo-yo.

CRAYOLA Crayola introduces the Spin and Spiral Art Station, which kids can use for both spiral and spin art. Kids ages 6 and up can use both sides of the station together or individually to create art. The station works with any Pips Squeak or Super Tip marker and includes three spiro gears, six markers, three ink bottles, and 15 paper disks. With the Crayola Sprinkle Art Shaker, kids can create colorful sprinkle artwork using school glue. Kids ages 5 and up can draw with glue, then shake the included sprinkles over the glue to create artwork with less mess and no waste. The shaker comes with six sprinkle tubes, and refill sprinkle tubes are sold separately. Crayola Glitter Dots offer a less messy way to create with glitter—the glitter is contained within each dot. With Glitter Dots Stencil Stickers, kids can press and spread glitter dots through the stencils and onto the sticker paper. They can then peel off the design and stick it for display. With Glitter Dots Keychains, kids can press glitter dots into the included key chain charms to add color and sparkle. They can add these creations to an existing key ring or use one of the included rings. The kit includes three keychain characters. With Glitter Dots Glitter Fills, kids can press dots into the included mosaic frames to add color and sparkle, then display their completed art. The kit includes three mosaic frames. All Crayola Glitter Dot kits are designed for kids ages 5 and up.

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ANN WILLIAMS GROUP Kids ages 5 and up can create their own pom pom creatures with Craft-tastic DIY Mythical Pom Animals and DIY Ferocious Pom Creatures, from Ann Williams Group. Available this spring, each kit includes three pre-sewn and pre-printed shapes for kids to stuff and decorate, enough to make three pom pets. Kids can make a pandacorn, meowmaid, and narwhal with the Mythical Pom Animals kit, or dinosaurs, yetis, and dragons with the no-sew Ferocious Pom Creatures kit. Craft-tastic Jr’s Wall Sticker Playhouse line expands with the Animal Village Wall Stickers.. Kids ages 3 and up can play on the wall with a series of repositionable wall stickers. The set features a 3-foot modular play space for kids to decorate with themed stickers for plenty of imaginative play. Create trendy charm bracelets with Craft-tastic’s DIY Sparkly Charm Bracelets jewelrymaking kit. Kids can stick the 70 puffy stickers on the charms, and then link onto bracelet chains in a variety of trendy and glittery designs. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, the kit includes materials to create four bracelets. The sparkly, puffy stickers come in themes such as wild animals, space, breakfast, and magical animals.

CRA-Z-ART Cra-Z-Art’s lineup of new activity kits includes the new Real 5 in 1 Friendship Bracelet Studio. Kids ages 8 and up can string, bead, and spin more than 25 friendship bracelets in five different styles. Launching this spring, the kit features metallic beads, threads, and charms. Cra-Z-Art also debuts new additions to the Nickelodeon slime collection in the spring. With the Nickelodeon Slimy Cupcakes kit, kids ages 6 and up can mix the included glue, activator, and colorant to make slime that looks like cupcakes. The Nickelodeon Extreme Slime Creations comes with sprinkles, foils, and crunchy pieces for textured slime creations. Kids can also make slime that’s super sour scented.

EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS Educational Insights launches Artie 3000, a new coding and drawing robot. Kids ages 7 and up can use drag-and-drop programing on a computer or tablet to tell Artie what to draw. Kids can create colorful designs while practicing programming, geometry, and math. Artie is WiFi-enabled, features four play modes, and comes with four washable, colored markers. The Design & Drill Tech Space Circuits kit combines imaginative play with construction. Kids can pretend to be an astronaut as they build and repair a mission control panel. The set includes 20 different space-themed missions in which kids create working circuits that light up, have spinning motors, buttons kids can push, and more. The kit is made for kids ages 6 and up, and includes connectors, bolts, and a kid-safe power drill.

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KAHOOTZ TOYS Kahootz Toys introduces new Colorforms Character Play Sets, featuring characters from shows such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Paw Patrol, and Sunny Days. The travel sets feature a foldable, double-sided play surface that kids can take on the go. The larger boxed sets include two play scenes and three sheets of re-stickable Colorforms pieces. The Original Colorforms Picture Play Sets include six sheets of re-stickable Colorforms pieces. Available this summer, each set includes two play scenes featuring themes such as Pets and Market. Bath Time Colorforms are soft foam shapes that kids can stick to the tub during bathtime. The set includes pieces and a mesh bag with suction cups for storage. Bath Time Colorforms feature characters from shows such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Paw Patrol. Colorforms Classics Retro Replay Editions: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Care Bears update classic character Colorforms play sets. Available this spring, each set includes restickable vinyl pieces and a play board. All of the above Colorforms sets are designed for kids ages 3 and up. Kahootz Toys also introduces the Spirograph Mini Gift Tin. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, the pocketsized tin includes a snap-in storage tray and 10 pieces, which all fit inside the tin.

HASBRO Hasbro introduces the Kitchen Creations Sprinkle Cookie Surprise Play Food Set. Preschoolers can use this Play-Doh cookie set to create and decorate with charm-shaped sprinkles. Kids can make pretend cookies in more than 15 different ways with the cookie cutters; a rolling stamper; and molds featuring circles, stars, and emoji faces.

SPIN MASTER Spin Master launches the Cool Maker Go Glam Nail Stamper this fall, designed for kids ages 8 and up. It includes a nail printer, base coat colors, a top coat, a makeup bag with a nail file, and design cartridges for kids to mix and match their manicures. Kids can stamp to style any size nail, and choose from five different patterns to decorate up to 125 nails. Kids can spin art into animated GIFs this fall with GIFEEZ, designed for kids ages 6 and up. GIFEEZ features two animation modes to make more than 40 different animations. Kids can mix discs and customize them with stickers for multiple storytelling possibilities.

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LEARNING RESOURCES Learning Resources expands its Beaker Creatures line this summer with several products. Beaker Creatures Series 3 Bubbling Volcano Reactor triggers an eruption when kids place the Reactor Pod within the volcano and add water. The set includes a volcano play set, a Reactor Pod with a mystery creature, a mini poster with science facts, and an experiment guide. Kids can make their own Reactor Pods, soak the creatures in slime, and more with Beaker Creatures Series 3 Alien Experiment Lab. Lab This 18-piece set includes two Reactor Pods with mystery creatures, a full-color experiment booklet with science facts, and hands-on science tools. Beaker Creatures Series 3 Reactor Pods feature more than 30 new collectible science creatures, including limited-edition, glow-in-the-dark figures. These individual blind boxes include a figure in a Reactor Pod, a mini poster with science facts, and more. Beaker Creature products are designed for kids ages 5 and up.

MINDWARE MindWare launches Q-BA-MAZE 2.0: Colossal Set, a marble run with more than 270 Q-BA-MAZE cubes, rails, and stunt pieces, including cubes that light up as the marbles move through them. There are unlimited configuration possibilities for builders ages 6 and up. Kids ages 8 and up can get creative with Paint Your Own Stepping Stone: Dinosaur Footprint, which they can decorate and then use to create tracks in the ground or display as a custom-painted garden accent. Paint Your Own Stone: Unicorn and Fairy Gardens are painting sets made for kids ages 8 and up. Each set features pre-molded, allweather cement figurines. Once painted, kids can bake the stones in an oven for a long-lasting, weather-resistant finish, and display the finished pieces in their yard, garden, flowerpot, or indoors. Kids can create 12 wooden pendant jewelry pieces with Make Your Own: Cross Stitch Wood Jewelry. The kit includes everything kids need to make necklaces, bracelets, and tassel accents featuring cross-stitched monograms and trendy designs and patterns. Kids can make felt patches, a canvas pouch with tassels, and framed art with Make Your Own: Embroidery Crafts. Crafters will learn seven basic stitches on an embroidery hoop to create projects with their own custom designs. Both new Make Your Own kits are designed for kids ages 8 and up. Dig It Up! Dragons come with 3-inch golden eggs that kids soak in water, and then chisel away the shell to reveal the dragon inside. Dig It Up! Dinosaur Skeletons are excavation kits with 12 different discoveries, including skeleton figurines of a Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, and T. rex. Kids soak each 3-inch egg in water and then chisel away the shell to excavate the dinosaur inside. Both Dig It Up! kits are designed for kids ages 4 and up and come with individually wrapped eggs, a chiseling tool and instructions, and an excavation guidebook for kids to learn more about their dragon and dinosaur discoveries. Science Academy: Squishy Ball Lab is a set of science projects that guide kids to create four squishy slime stress balls, two stress balls, and a mini relaxation jar using the mix-ins such as glitter, pom poms, and beads to add sensory stimulation. As kids learn about the chemical properties of oobleck, the non-Newtonian fluid that becomes a solid, they’ll also discover the chemistry behind ooze. Science Academy: Robot Lab is a kit for kids to build a robot. Kids customize their robot with googly eyes, feathers, and other craft supplies, then program the bot to execute missions, such as drawing with a pen and bulldozing objects through an obstacle course. Both Science Academy kits are designed for kids ages 8 and up.

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COBI The COBI Small Army World of Tanks, from COBI, is a collection of buildable tanks based on the online game World of Tanks, including those from the British, German, American, and Soviet armies. In addition to building blocks, each box includes codes to help kids progress further in the video game, improve their battle skills, or ďŹ x a damaged tank. The COBI Maserati models are 1:35-scale recreations of Italian luxury cars. Kids assemble approximately 100 building blocks to create the model cars, which feature rubber tires, movable wheels, and durable construction. COBI Toys will also introduce a line of Super Wings Construction Block Sets. Super Wings is a preschool show that follows a plane named Jett as he travels the world to deliver packages. The new COBI series will feature characters from the show and will include sets ranging from 60 to 500 pieces.

ISCREAM Kids can sculpt their own llama with the Make Your Own Llama Dough Kit, Kit from Iscream. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the kit includes different colored dough and a modeling tool to create and sculpt a llama. This kit will be available in the spring.

ALEX BRANDS ALEX Brands adds Hair Color Gel to its ALEX SPA line this spring. It features two shades of hair gel that kids ages 8 and up can use to temporarily color and style their hair, then wash it out with water.

MAKE IT REAL Kids can create dozens of beaded bracelets with the Ultimate Bead Studio, from Make It Real. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, the jewelry-making kit includes more than 2,600 beads, spools of thread, and a 72-compartment storage container. Make It Real also partners with Goldiebox to launch a range of DIY STEM kits. With the Essential Oil Aroma Diffuser Kit, kids can blend essential oils and customize a color-changing diffuser. Kids ages 8 and up can use the included mixing station and essential oils to mix together unique scents and decorate the fan-powered diffuser.

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RELEVANT PLAY Relevant Play introduces Mad Mattr Dark Mattr and Anti-Mattr Quantum Pods,, designed for kids ages 3 and up. Kids can mold shapes into imaginative creations with the soft, non-toxic building compound. Each 2-ounce Quantum Pod provides open-ended play and on-the-go fun. With Mad Mattr Unicorn Sparkle Mattr,, kids can use the unicorn mold and tool to add glitter to the soft compound, which comes in either blue, pink, or white.

WICKED COOL TOYS Wicked Cool Toys introduces Blinger, which kids can use to add sparkle and gems to their hair, clothes, accessories, stationery, and more. Designed for kids ages 7 and up, Blinger kits and refill packs include long-lasting rhinestones in multiple colors and will be available this fall.

THINKFUN ThinkFun introduces Hypnograph,, a drawing machine that helps kids ages 8 and up create complex epicycloid drawings. Kids can configure the fully adjustable parts and create drawings using 13 gears of varying sizes and guided steps, or they can rearrange the gears to make something completely unique.

FAR OUT TOYS With the Spin Blast Fashion Studio, from Far Out Toys, kids ages 8 and up can customize clothing with spin art designs. Using the Spin Station, kids insert a stamp, pour in different colors of their choice, and spin. Then, they can pop out the decorated stamps and apply them to clothes, backpacks, shoes, and more. The craft set includes the Spin Station, Splat Blaster, fabric paints, stamping plates in various shapes, and an alphabet stencil sheet. New this fall, the Spin Blast range will also expand to include the Spin Blast Splat ‘n Stamp kit and the Spin Blast Letter Press kit with unique stamps for kids to decorate.

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PLUS-PLUS

Plus-Plus introduces Plus-Plus Mystery Makers, a blind bag construction toy designed for kids ages 5 and up. Once kids choose their Mystery Maker box, they can scan the QR code for a swipe-to-build online experience, or they can use the included instructions. The first series includes six different models for kids to collect. Plus-Plus adds four new items to its construction line in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. The Astronaut, Lunar Lander, Saturn V Rocket, Apollo 11 Series and Lunar Landing Baseplate Builder are designed for kids ages 5 and up. New Plus-Plus Super Tubes contain more than 500 pieces for creative, portable play. Kids can construct tacos, sushi, watermelon, snow cones, and more with the 70 pieces included in the Plus-Plus Food Tubes.

GUAVA TOYS Guava Toys introduces the Gold Galore Bucket, designed for kids ages 8 and up. Kids can decorate the included butterscotch-scented slime with gold glitter and nuggets, just like YouTube creator Guava Juice himself.

KLUTZ Kids can customize their own spa days with the Make Your Own Glitter Face Masks kit, from Klutz. Kids ages 8 and up can make five face masks using the specially formulated peel-off gooey face mask mix or the included sheet masks. Once the mask dries, kids can reuse the included containers and silicone brush to create other at-home face mask recipes using natural ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes. Kids can sew a soft, sparkly decorative pillow with the Sew Your Own Unicorn Cake Pillow, available this summer. Kids ages 10 and up can learn how to sew a pillow using different techniques of stitches. With faux fur, metallic gold lamé, pom poms, and felt pieces, kids can decorate the cake-shaped pillow with different accents, such as a unicorn. Once kids finish the pillow, they can display it on the included cake stand. Klutz introduces a new line of Klutz Mini Kits: Make Mini Erasers. Designed for kids 8 and up, each kit comes in different themes, including cuties, animals, sweets, and aliens. Each kit includes eraser clay, molded eyes, papercraft scenes, and a shaping tool to help kids make 15 shaped mini erasers. With My Squishy Soap Dough, kids can mix the included glycerin and soap powder together, and then mold dough like clay into unique shapes, such as a unicorn, a dinosaur, or a narwhal. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, the craft kit includes everything needed to make these squishy soaps. Kids ages 8 and up can engineer a real, working FM radio with the Maker Lab: Radio Boombox kit. Kids can connect electronic components to a receiver to create a working boombox, complete with an antenna and tuning buttons. Kids will learn about the electromagnetic spectrum, wireless communications, and the transmission of radio waves while they build.

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THE LEARNING JOURNEY

With Techno Kids: Stack A Peg,, from The Learning Journey, kids can piece together puzzle-shaped base plates in different conďŹ gurations to sort and stack the pegs. Kids ages 2 and up can explore simple mechanics with this sorting and stacking toy. Techno Kids: Stack & Spin Gears guides kids to design gears and then play with their built designs. Kids can connect the base plates in a variety of conďŹ gurations and then add the different spinning gears. The Learning Journey launches the Stack & Spin Pull-Along Train and the Stack & Spin Playland sets in this line for kids to use the included pieces of gears to create vehicles and play sets. With Techno Kids: Crazy Train,, kids can construct a train with motorized gears. The kit includes more than 60 construction pieces and a power motor for kids ages 6 and up to build a train that actually moves. Techno Gears: Marble Mania Slingshot is a multi-piece construction set for kids ages 6 and up to build their own working and moving creations, such as a marble launcher. The building set teaches mechanics and engineering skills and inTechno Kids: Crazy Train cludes more than 80 pieces.

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Toy Story 4 Ducky and Bunny

KELLYTOY Kellytoy expands its Squishmallows line this year with more than 50 new styles and multiple sizes. New additions include a scented Squishmallows line and the Squishmallows Mystery Squad, which features miniature Squishmallows in marshmallow-shaped blind canisters. Kellytoy will expand its everyday and seasonal Squishmallow lines with new sea life characters; including a turtle, a shark, an octopus, a walrus, and a clownfish; and an insect assortment, including a butterfly, a bee, and a ladybug. The domestic farm and jungle assortments will also expand with a squirrel, a hamster, and a lion. The expanded range will also include a Triceratops dinosaur.

PILLOW PETS Pillow Pets expands its line of pillow-plush hybrids with Toy Story 4 Pillow Pets. The Pillow Pets are available as classic Toy Story characters Slinky Dog and Alien, as well as new characters Ducky and Bunny. Pillow Pets also introduces a Spirit Riding Free Pillow Pet and Spirit Riding Free Sleeptime Lite. Both products are designed after the titular character in Dreamworks’ Spirit Riding Free. The Sleeptime Lite features a glowing light cover that projects rainbows and stars onto the ceiling. It has three color modes and a 20-minute timer.

Squishmallow Triceratops

IMC TOYS IMC Toys introduces Cry Babies Magic Tears,, miniature versions of the Cry Babies dolls. Each doll comes with seven accessories, including a bottle, pacifier, bow, and mini chair. The dolls cry when kids fill them with water and squeeze their tummies. Series one launches this year, with an animated series and blind-box additions to follow. The Cry Babies line will also expand with Cry Babies Wave 2.. The dolls make baby sounds, cry realistic tears, and wear animal-print onesies. The new dolls include flamingo, Dalmatian, and ladybug styles. IMC also launches the Cry Babies Get Sick doll named Kristal. Kids can give the dolls medicine and cuddles to make her feel better when she is sick. The doll comes with six different accessories. All Cry Babies dolls are designed for kids ages 3 and up, and will be available this fall. Bloopies are dolls designed for kids to play with in the bath. There are five different dolls in the line, each with water functions and dressed in a swimsuit, diving fins, and a snorkel. The dolls are designed for kids ages 2 and up, and will be available this summer. IMC expands its Club Petz line with Mini Tickles and Betsy.. Mini Tickles are six plush toys, including three kittens and three puppies, that laugh and make cute noises when kids stroke their tummies. Betsy is a stuffed bunny that makes sounds, flops her ears, and hops around like a real rabbit. Kids can stroke Betsy’s back, and she will come when somebody calls her name. All Club Petz plush are designed for babies ages 18 months and up, and will be available this spring. Cry Babies Wave 2 Ladybug

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NSI INTERNATIONAL NSI International expands its Fuzzy Wubbles line, which are plush animals on the outside and Wubbles on the inside. New characters include Spike the Shark, Lola the German Shepherd, Squiddly the Octopus, Rocky the T. rex, Faye the Rainbow Unicorn, Pearl the Puppycorn, Kara the Kittycorn, and Nelson the Narwhal. Each set includes a Fuzzy Wubble and an inflation nozzle, so kids can inflate it to play and deflate it to store. The new Fuzzy Wubble Babies are mini Fuzzy Wubbles measuring about 4 inches long. The babies are available in four characters—Cuddles the Kitten, Twinkles the Unicorn, Pal the Puppy, and Penny the Piglet. The Fuzzy Wubble Jigglers are Wubbles on the inside and plush animals on the outside, but they can also jiggle. Kids can squish, hug, throw, and catch them. Measuring about 4 inches high, the Jigglers are available as Twinkles the Unicorn, Pippon the Piglet, Misty the Kitty, and Pal the Puppy. All three Fuzzy Wubble products are designed for kids ages 4 and up.

SKYROCKET Skyrocket’s Pomsies are interactive plush pets with two modes of play—virtual pet mode and freeze dance mode. They have light-up eyes that change colors to indicate when they are happy, sleepy, or hungry. Pomsies make up to 50 different sounds and reactions when kids pet three touch points on its head, nose, and mouth. Kids ages 3 and up can play together with friends using the freeze dance mode. Pomsies have a wraparound tail for kids to wear or attach to other objects. Pomsies Wave 2 features new animal characters, including Luna the unicorn, Lulu the puppy, Sydney the koala, and Zoey the dragon. Pomsies Wave 3 is available now and includes Bubblegum, Winter, and Kiwi characters. Pomsie Poos are miniature versions of Pomsies without the electronic features, but they still have the long, wraparound tails for kids to wear them anywhere. They also have a heart-shaped clasp to attach onto backpacks, clothing, and more. The first wave of Pomsie Poos features 12 collectible animal characters, including cats, dogs, pandas, foxes, koalas, bats, raccoons, and more. Pomsie Poos are designed for kids ages 3 and up. Grumblies are interactive plush creatures that kids can poke, shake, and flip upside down. They make more than 40 different sounds and reactions, and will have a meltdown when kids push them far enough. There are different characters, including Tremor, Scorch, Bolt, and Hyrdo. New for spring is the character Mojo Grumblie, a Walmart exclusive, with blue and yellow hair. Grumblies Miniacs are miniature versions of the Grumblies characters with detailed facial expressions and colorful, shapeable hair. Kids can attach Miniacs to the end of pencils or backpacks, or display them on shelves with stackable packaging. Grumblies Miniacs come in individual blind packs, featuring 12 different styles to collect. Both Grumblies products are made for kids ages 5 and up. Pomsies Wave 2 Luna

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WOWWEE

Bianca City Life Dollhouse

WowWee’s Pinkfong Baby Shark Official Dancing Doll dances along to the popular “Baby Shark” song. Kids can tap its head or clap to see it move and make sounds. The plush also reacts when kids call its name, “Baby Shark.”

MADAME ALEXANDER DOLL CO. Madame Alexander Doll Co. expands its line of Newborn Nursery Dolls, 19-inch dolls designed to look and feel like real babies, to include more diverse skin tones and hair colors. The new dolls include an adoption certificate and are shipped in a window box. The dolls are designed for kids ages 3 and up, and will be available this spring. My First Dolls feature a soft fabric body, appropriate for kids of all ages. The 12-inch baby doll is available in either pink or mint colors. Madame Alexander introduces the Splash and Play Mermaid, a doll designed for kids to play with in the tub. The doll features a fully submersible body and comes dressed in a mermaid swim set with a hooded towel “tail.” The doll also comes with a bottle and fish bath toy. Kids ages 2 and up can hang the mermaid up to drip dry. The Babble Baby is a 14-inch doll with a soft body and cozy clothing. The doll makes a gentle baby sound and comes in three styles, including gender-neutral options. The doll is designed for babies ages 18 months and up. Birthday Joy Wendy is an 8-inch doll in a bubble-skirted party dress, Mary Jane shoes, and styled hair. She features a poseable body and sleep eyes, and is available in multiple skin tones and hair colors. Designed for kids ages 14 and up, the doll is made to commemorate special occasions.

Newborn Nursery Dolls

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KIDKRAFT KidKraft introduces the Bianca City Life Dollhouse, a slim, four-story dollhouse kids can play with from all sides. The street level includes a boutique, a café, a gym, and a pet salon. The house features working string lights, a movable staircase, an elevator, and 25 accessories. The Emily Dollhouse is a compact house designed for 18-inch dolls. It features modern furniture, a rooftop patio, and more. Kids can give their dolls a day on the farm with the Sweet Meadow Horse Stable. The farmhouse has space for both dolls and horses, featuring a loft area for the dolls to relax and two horse stalls. The house includes a snap-together fence, country decorations, and accessories. The KidKraft dollhouses are designed for kids ages 3 and up, and will be available in the summer.


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

GUND Panda Plummie

DOUGLAS CO. Douglas Co. debuts the plush Princess Noa Doll, available this spring. Designed for kids ages 1 and up, the princess doll wears a full peach-colored tutu, sparkly gold shoes, and a crown. The doll also features intricate embroidery to define her features. Kids can snuggle with the Unicorn Light Up Projection with Sound plush. The all-white plush features a pink mane and tail, as well as glittery gold hooves and angel wings. The unicorn plush also features an LED light that projects an image of the moon and stars onto the ceiling. Panda Plummie joins Douglas’ Newborn line. The panda bear is super soft for newborns to cuddle.

GUND introduces the Baby Toothpick collection of babies’ first plush friends, inspired by one of its personality bears, Toothpick. Baby Toothpick 16-inch Fox is made from soft baby plush in light orange and cream colors with embroidered accents. Baby Toothpick 16-inch Owl iss made from soft baby plush in light purple, orange, and cream with embroidered accents. The Baby Toothpick collection is machine washable for easy cleaning and is appropriate for all ages. Sesame Street 50th Anniversary Blind Boxes GUND’s Sesame Street 50th Anniversary Blind Boxes feature miniature characters from the show, including Elmo, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Prairie Dawn, Snuffy, Baby Bear, and a mystery character for kids to collect. The GUND Sesame Street Gonger Plush is the fuzzy pink star of Cookie Monster’s Foodie Truck. Kids can cuddle the new plush addition to the Sesame Street collection.

MATTEL Mattel introduces the Barbie 60th Anniversary Doll to celebrate Barbie’s 60th year. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, the doll features a sparkly design that pays homage to Barbie’s heritage. Mattel also expands its Barbie Fashionista Doll Assortment, an inclusive doll line with more than 100 looks. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the dolls feature a variety of skin tones, eye colors, hair colors and textures, body types, and fashions. The Barbie Career 60th Anniversary Doll Assortment celebrates some of Barbie’s iconic careers. Each doll wears a career-themed outfit and includes a themed accessory. Kids can choose from a pilot, an astronaut, a news anchor, a politician, a soccer player, and a firefighter. The dolls feature different body types, skin tones, eye colors, and hairstyles. The Barbie House with Doll is a fully furnished and decorated dollhouse. The house folds out to 2 feet wide and has four areas of play. The roof doubles as a handle when it’s folded up. The house features an outdoor space with a pool; a kitchen with a sink, a stovetop, and an island; a bedroom with a flip-down bed; and a bathroom. The house comes with accessories and a Barbie doll. Kids can explore babysitting with Barbie and her friends with the Barbie Skipper Babysitters INC Dolls & Playset Assortment. Each set comes with a babysitter doll, a child to babysit, and themed accessories. The Feeding and Naptime set includes a doll whose mouth changes color when kids feed it. The Potty Training set includes a potty seat that flushes when kids flip the inside. The Stroller Walk set features a stroller that bounces its occupant when pushed forward. All products will be available this spring.

Barbie 60th Anniversary Doll

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Snow Leopard Cub

SOPHIA’S Sophia’s partners with Smithsonian for the Shoot for the Moon Career Collection, a series of STEM play sets for 18-inch dolls. Each set includes accessories and outfits corresponding to five different career choices—astronaut, biologist, horticulturist, paleontologist, and veterinarian. These new play sets are designed for kids ages 5 and up.

FOLKMANIS

KD GROUP

Folkmanis expands its range of animal puppets, designed for kids ages 3 and up. Puppet Pet Friends are available in Labradoodle, Pomeranian Puppy, and Shih Tzu Puppy versions. Kids can animate the mouths, legs, tails, and wings of the Baby Animals and Wildlife puppets. The puppets come in Lambkin, Snow Leopard Cub, Owlet, and Barn Swallow animals. Folkmanis also introduces new Finger Puppets, including Mini White Mouse and Mini Shark.

Shimmer Stars, from KD Kids, are plush animals that kids can decorate with the included Shimmerizer tool. The Shimmerizer stores more than 200 shimmers in different shapes and colors. To Shimmerize, kids place a shimmer on the star, use the Shimmerizer to pick it up, and press the button to add shimmer to a patch of fur. The Shimmerizer tool also works in kids’ hair. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, Shimmer Stars come with a “Twinsie Headband” and accessories so kids can match their plush. The plush will be available in the fall. KD Kids also expands its Rescue Runts line with Rescue Runts Series 2: Help Me Heal in the fall. Kids need to give this series of Rescue Runts extra love to nurse the plush back to health. Each Rescue Runt comes with matted fur full of fleas, dirty paws, boo-boos, tears in its eyes, and downturned ears. The pets come with new accessories, such as a cone, a cast, and reusable bandages. Kids ages 3 and up can nurse their pets back to health with the included grooming kit. They can also choose a name and add it to the collar and adoption certificate to make the adoption official. Also new to the Rescue Runts line is Rescue Runts Babies, which are 4-inch plush pets that arrive in plastic Babies crates and need love and care. Kids ages 3 and up can pick out their fleas, brush their messy fur, and tie a ribbon collar to transform them into the perfect pets. The crate also features interlocking walls and can transform into a bed, cubby, carrier, or house for the Rescue Runt Baby. There are more than 20 pets to collect, including cats, dogs, wild animals, and mythical creatures.

Rescue Runts Babies

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TOMY

ISCREAM Kids can cuddle and play with the soft Swirl Cone Furry Reversible Sequin Pillow, from Iscream. The super soft pillow features fur and reversible sequins for kids to swipe and change its colors. The ice cream-shaped pillow is designed for kids ages 5 and up, and will be available in the spring. The plush Rocket Bubble Gum Scented Pillow features a colorful, soft fleece fabric and metallic and embroidered details. The rocket-shaped pillow is bubble gum-scented and is designed for kids ages 5 and up.

TOMY will bring back the original Doodle Bear this fall, reimagined for modern play. The 14-inch bear is available in either a fashion or chef style and comes with three washable markers. Kids ages 3 and up can color on the Doodle Bear with the markers, then wash it to start over. Doodle Bear also introduces a digital play component with a compatible app for kids to animate and share their Doodle Bear creations. The Super Mario Club Mocchi-Mocchi series features squishy, collectible Mario characters designed for kids ages 3 and up. The Club Mocchi-Mocchi Mega Collectible Mario Hat is the latest plush in the line. Doodle Bear

Swirl Cone Furry Reversible Sequin Pillow

SPIN MASTER Spin Master launches Off The Hook this spring, a new line of dolls made for kids ages 5 and up. The Off The Hook Style Dolls feature six levels of customization, so kids can mix and match their hairstyles, tops, bottoms, and shoes with the hook-together fashions. The dolls come with mystery shopping bags with accessories, such as hats, sunglasses, headbands, and handbags. The Concert, Summer Vacay, and Spring Dance Collections are available. The Off The Hook Style BFFs include two dolls and four mystery accessories in every package, including two shopping bags, a shoebox, and a hat box—each with a tissue-wrapped surprise inside. There are three BFF sets from which kids can choose. The Off The Hook Style Studio features double hanging rods that hold up to five tops and five bottoms for kids to display Off The Hook outfits. There are four posts at the top of the clothing rack for kids to hang hairpieces and hats, as well as display shelves to showcase handbags, sunglasses, shoes, and more. The studio includes 17 pieces and a small doll. Candylocks is a new doll line coming this fall. The Basic Dolls feature an assortment of 3-inch dolls with scented, cotton candy hair. Each doll includes hidden reveals and six accessories. There are 15 unique dolls for kids to collect. The Candylocks BFF Pack contains two 3-inch dolls hidden in cotton candy. The dolls feature scented hair, and the pack includes a hair extension, two deluxe BFF accessories, one hair coloring chalk, and three additional accessories. There are four packs for kids to collect, with eight unique dolls in the assortment. The Deluxe Dolls are 7 inches tall with long, cotton candy hair and removable fashions. Each doll includes hair chalk and deluxe accessories. There are two dolls in the assortment.

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CUDDLE BARN Cuddle Barn introduces Octavius the Storytelling Owl, which recites five classic fairytales with light-up eyes. The plush’s feet have pause and play buttons, and Octavius ends each story with a critical thinking question about the story. The back of Octavius’ book lists the fairytales in order—“Hansel and Gretel,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel,” “The Ugly Duckling,” and “Sleeping Beauty.” The plush is made for babibes ages 18 months and up and will be available in the spring. Astro the Monkey is an 8-inch astronaut monkey adorned with the official NASA logo on his spacesuit. He twirls to a countdown and space-themed music. The plush is designed for babies ages 18 months and up. Enchanted Pets are available as Starlight the Unicorn or Luna the Llama, designed for toddlers ages 2 and up. Each plush includes a leash to activate its walking and tail wagging features. They also say phrases as kids take them on walks. Designed for kids ages 2 and up, Frutti Freddie is a 14-inch toucan dressed in a colorful, fruit-themed bandana. He flaps his wings and dances to the song “Tutti Fruitti.”

Astro the Monkey

JAKKS PACIFIC The My Friend Bree doll, from Jakks Pacific, comes dressed in her signature outfit from the Disney Junior show Fancy Nancy. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the Bree doll stands 18 inches tall and features fully poseable arms and legs. The tiara, dress, and shoes are removable for fashion play. The doll will be available this fall. Jakks Pacific introduces the Make Nancy Fancy assortment, available this fall. These Fancy Nancy dolls come with a “bag of fancy” that kids can use to decorate her outfit. The line includes Parisian, Tea Time, and Rainbow Ballet dolls. Each doll features three points of articulation and stands 10 inches tall. The Make Nancy Fancy Fashions assortment are additional packs kids can use to dress their Make Nancy Fancy dolls. The assortment includes Hollywood Glamour, Summer Splash, and Glamour Party fashions. Each set includes a fashion piece and multiple fashion accessories. Kids can get additional fashion items for their dolls with the Make Nancy Fancy Accessories assortment. Available in Fashionista, Garden Fairy, Sleepover, and Papillion Pointe themes, each pack includes accessories from Nancy’s world. All Make Nancy Fancy dolls and accessories are designed for kids ages 3 and up. Kids can use the new Fantastique assortment with their My Friend Fancy Nancy dolls. The line includes the Fantastique Tea, Vanity, and Picnic Sets. Each set includes a variety of accessories kids can use for roleplay, such as a tea set, a hair dryer, and a picnic basket. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, these sets will be available this fall. When kids press its stomach, the Perfectly Cute Baby 14-Inch Giggle Fun Baby Doll giggles, wiggles, and kicks up her legs. The doll also makes suckling sounds when kids place a pacifier in her mouth. Designed for kids ages 2 and up, the doll is available now in three different skin tones. Kids can hear the Becca’s Bunch theme song and iconic phrases from the show with the Becca’s Bunch Becca Feature Plush. Kids ages 3 and up can press Becca’s wing to hear five phrases and a song. The plush stands approximately 12 inches tall. Kids of all ages can play with the Becca’s Bunch Mini Plush Assortment. The assortment includes all four main characters—Becca, Russell, Sylvia, and Pedro—and stand at about 6 inches tall. Both Becca’s Bunch products will be available this fall. Perfectly Cute Baby 14-Inch Giggle Fun Baby Doll

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BEVERLY HILLS TEDDY BEAR CO. Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. introduces Micro Squeezamals, a collectible micro-sized version of Squeezamals, the squishy, soft, slow-rise plush. They are sold in packs of three, with one hidden for a surprise reveal. There are more than 21 collectible characters in each series, each with a sweet scent for an additional surprise. They are made for kids ages 3 and up, and will be available in the spring. Micro Zoo is a collectible assortment of micro plush modeled after real zoo animals. Each character comes in blind packaging and includes a collector booklet with fun facts about the animal. Micro Zoo is recommended for kids ages 3 and up, and will be available in the spring. World’s Softest Plush are soft and cuddly plush characters, including puppies, bears, and unicorns, designed for kids of all ages. They will be available in the fall. World’s Softest Plush Puppy

YULU YULU launches #SNAPSTAR, a fashion doll line for kids ages 5 to 11. Kids can open the box to reveal a doll, a full outfit, accessories, a removable hairstyle, a green screen, a stand, and a doll-sized cell phone. There are six social influencer dolls, each with different interests, such as fashion, beauty, music, travel, photography, and design. The dolls are fully poseable with 15 points of articulation. Kids can download the free #SNAPSTAR Studio app (available on iOS and Android) to upload photos of their doll, and then use the customizing tools to add makeup, change hairstyles, add backdrops, and more. Kids can save photos to their smartphones and share with friends or post to social media.

WICKED COOL TOYS Wicked Cool Toys expands the Cabbage Patch Kids line with a new collection of 9-Inch Cuties dolls. The 9-inch Cabbage Patch collection includes Check Up Time Newborn and Splash ‘n Float Newborn, which features a removable swimsuit and an inflatable swim float. Kids can experience a gender reveal and see if they’re going to have a little brother or sister with the 9-Inch Lil’ Surprise Reveal doll. The 11-Inch Sing ‘n Snuggle doll sings and coos when kids feed her a bottle. The 11-Inch Squeeze ‘n Bubbles doll includes real bubbles designed for bath time. These dolls, along with other new Cabbage Patch Kids and Adoptimals, will be available this fall. All dolls are designed for babies ages 18 months and up. Splash ‘n Float Newborn

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MOOSE TOYS Moose Toys expands Little Live Wrapples with series two, featuring three new Wrapples designed for kids ages 5 and up. Kids can wrap them on their wrists and interact with more than 50 sounds and reactions. The Wrapples’ eyes light up to match their moods, and they will sing together when in close proximity to other Wrapples. Moose also adds to its Little Live Scruff-a-Luvs line with Blossom Bunnies and a new color. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the adoptable surprise pets—either a puppy, kitty, or bunny—are now available in lilac. Scruff-a-Luvs each arrive as a matted fur ball that kids can bathe, dry, and brush. Blossom Bunnies plush come in three characters—Lemon Drizzle, Posie, and Peppermint—and will be available in March.

Little Live Scruff-a-Luvs

SMART ZONE Smart Zone introduces Diversity into its ethnic doll range. New doll Diversity launches this year as the best friend to Smart Zone’s Kenya doll. Diversity is available in four skin tones, six hair colors, five eye colors, and six fashion options.

BULLS-I TOYS Designed for kids age 3 and up, Bulls-i Toys launches the Cutie Cuffs Unicorn Series. Kids can attach the plush unicorn to their wrist and take the cuddly creature with them on the go. There are eight plush pals for kids to collect, available this spring. Bulls-i Toys adds to the Squish’Ums Pet Boutique line of Squish’Ums Pet Boutique Series 3 slow-rising, soft, and squishy pets. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, kids can collect four unicorns, sloths, pandas, and monkeys. Launching this spring, Lil’ Flockers blind bags have a fuzzy unicorn plush hidden inside. Kids ages 6 and up can collect 18 figures in total, and each bag features a 3-inch Lil’ Flocker, a sticker, and a checklist. Coming this spring, Cutie Beans Hello Kitty & Friends features a plush inside the mini collectible bean clip-on toy. There are nine assorted plush figures for kids ages 3 and up to collect. Kids can also collect the Cutie Beans Gudetama clip cases. Each blind clip case contains a bean-filled mini plush. Cutie Cuffs Unicorn Series

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STEPHEN JOSEPH

CELESTIAL BUDDIES Celestial Buddies expands its Galactic Gang line with Our Precious Planet. The plush Earth features a detailed picture of Earth to facilitate a conversation about climate change and global warming. The plush globe includes a supplemental tag that illustrates the causes and effects of global warming and ways kids can help the planet.

With Magnetic Dress Up Dolls, from Stephen Joseph, kids can dress up the mermaid on the play board with different magnetic outfit and accessories stickers. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the magnetic board folds up to take on the go.

THE MANHATTAN TOY CO.

ONE ANIMATION One Animation introduces Oddbods Buddies,, snuggable and huggable plush characters. Each character features iconic sounds and phrases, and unique facial expressions to reflect its personality. Kids can shake, squeeze, hug, or drop their plush to activate the effect. Styles include Fuse, Bubbles, Newt, and Pogo, all of which play special sound effects when near each other.

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Kids can carry around Baby Stella in the Stella Collection Buggy, from The Manhattan Toy Co. The collapsible, sturdy stroller can fit a 15-inch Baby Stella or a 12-inch Wee Baby Stella doll inside, atop an included pillow cushion that matches the buggy. Kids ages 1 and up can remove the buggy’s carrier to transport their doll. The stroller will be available in the spring. The Baby Stella Beige with Brown Hair now features brown-haired pigtails and is dressed in a striped blue dress. The doll comes with bloomers, a cloth diaper, and a magnetic pacifier. The Groovy Girls collection expands to include Groovy Girls Primrose. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, Primrose is one of four new dolls launching this spring, featuring soft yarn hair and a matching outfit. The yarn hair is tied into pigtails under a plaid headband that matches her shirt and overalls. Kids can double the fun with the Wee Baby Stella Twins Beige with Brown Hair doll duo. The doll set includes two Wee Baby Stella soft dolls with a beige skin tone, removable outfits, and magnetic pacifiers. The Wee Baby Stella twins are one of three new doll sets in the Wee Baby Stella collection.

Baby Stella Beige with Brown Hair


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

HABA

Little Friends Liam

New to HABA’s Little Friends line of dolls is Little Friends— Liam. The bendable doll is outfitted in jeans and a hoodie. The Little Friends—Lara doll comes outfitted with pigtails and a pink skirt. Also joining the Little Friends product assortment is the Little Friends—Playset Playground, Playground which kids can use to play with their dolls in a park setting. The wooden playground play set includes a meadow, a seesaw, a swing, and two baby dolls. All of the Little Friends products are made for kids ages 3 and up.

CREATIVE EDUCATION OF CANADA This spring, Creative Education of Canada releases a new assortment of the Great Pretenders Soft Doll Collection. Each of the five new dolls comes with her own activity, such as Melody the Mermaid, Bella the Ballerina, Sara the Pink Fairy, Lulu the Unicorn, and Charlotte the Pearl White Fairy.

HEADSTART Headstart introduces Hair Dooz, a line of mystery collectible dolls, which will be available this spring. Kids ages 4 and up can peel the wrapper off the shampoo-shaped bottle and twist off the lid to find one of six mini dolls with vibrant hair. Kids can remove the doll’s smock and hair drier to reveal its outfit and hairdo. There are 24 hairdos for kids to collect. Series two of Best Furry Friends launches in the spring. Kids ages 4 and up can open the mystery packs to find a furry friend and a bag. Each collectible BFF has its own unique personality and interests. Baby Secrets Series 3 Mystery Tubs and Merbabies Series 2 Shells will debut in the spring. When kids dip the babies’ diapers in the water-filled bathtub, the diapers change colors to either pink or blue, revealing its gender. Then, kids ages 4 and up can name the babies on their birth certificates. Series three of Baby Secrets features 50 new babies, and series two of the Merbabies features 24 new babies for kids to collect.

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YooHoo Plush Doll

AURORA WORLD Aurora World expands its YooHoo & Friends line with the 8-inch Yoohoo Plush Doll. This plush version of the YooHoo & Friends character features soft fur, a fuzzy tail, and colored YooHoo eyes. Aurora World also introduces Sea Sparkles: Sequin Sparkles, an 18-inch mermaid doll named Isla. The doll has styled blonde hair, a pink outďŹ t, and a tail decorated with reversible rainbow sequins. The 12-inch Sparkle Tails Astra Unicorn features a shining horn; soft, pink plush; and sparkling eyes. The Llama Drama 11-inch plush stands on all fours. Available as Kiwi, Coconut, and Lychee characters, each comes in a different color and features a pom pom collar and sparkly eyes. Wristimals are 9-inch plush that snap and hug kids’ wrists. There are eight Wristimals animals for kids to choose from. All of the Aurora World plush are designed for kids ages 3 and up.

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COROLLE

SCENTCO Scentco introduces the Spring Scented Bunny, a soft and scented plush rabbit. The plush is made from super soft Velboa material with a polka-dotted accent fabric behind its ears. The scented bunny is designed for kids ages 3 and up, and is available in three colors.

The Calin Madeleine doll is dressed to celebrate Corolle’s 40th anniversary. Designed for kids 18 months and up, the baby doll’s ensemble nods to the company’s French heritage and founding in 1979. The 12-inch doll can wear any clothes from the Mon Premier Poupon collection and will be available in the spring. Corolle also introduces Leonie,, a commemorative baby doll for the company’s 40th anniversary. Sized like a 3-month-old infant, the doll is dressed in a festive pink corduroy dress and is designed for kids ages 3 and up. The 20-inch doll features a soft body that kids can move easily and dress in real baby clothes. Calin Madeleine doll

JC TOYS JC Toys launches the newest assortment of Berenguer Boutique dolls this year. The 15-inch, soft body dolls are dressed in pink or blue embroidered onesies with elephant ears and include a multicolored plush elephant, a pacifier, and a bottle. The dolls have lifelike features, including a button nose, eyes that open and close, and a puckered mouth that can fit the pacifier. The Berenguer Baby doll is a 17-inch vinyl doll with lifelike features, such as teeth, eyes, fingernails, toenails, and wrinkles. The baby doll wears a gray, animal-themed hooded towel and holds an animal wrapped in a matching towel. Lil’ Cutesies Bug Buggies are designed with their own expressions, personalities, and looks. The 5.5-inch vinyl dolls are handwashable and come with unique accessories and colorful plastic vehicles. The doll’s unscented body is poseable and jointed for easy clean up and dress up. Berenguer Baby dolls

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STEIFF Steiff introduces Soft Cuddly Friends: Happy Farm Mini Cowaloo to its dolls and plush collection this winter. This hand-sewn cow plush features airbrushed details, a soft body, and a plaid scarf. Soft Cuddly Friends: Happy Farm Mini Piggilee Pig is a hand-sewn pink plush that is softly stuffed so kids can hug it. Both plush animals are available in both 7- and 14inch sizes.

ANIMOODLES Animoodles expands its collection of soft, magnetic building toys with Storytale Forest. The second collection adds six new animal characters for kids to mix and match—Odin Dragon, Jada Panda, Hannah Owl, Sweetie Bee, Sammy Fox, and Rosie Deer. Kids ages 3 and up can combine the interchangeable and rotatable magnetic plush limbs to make their own imaginative species.

Happy Farm Mini Cowaloo Odin Dragon

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IMPERIAL TOY

Imperial Toy introduces the Blitz Light-Up Bubble Blaster, a motorized blaster that shoots streams of bubbles and features multi-colored LED lights. Powered by Blitz, the bubbles float higher and last longer. Kids ages 5 and up can create flavored bubbles with the Lick-A-Bubble 2-Pack, the first proprietary bubble solution for kids to make their own flavored bubbles. Kids can add a beverage of their choice to the Lick-A-Bubble bottle, then blow lickable flavored bubbles. The 2-Pack includes two bottles, each with a bubble wand. Invented by a pediatric allergist, Lick-ABubble is safety tested and made in the U.S.

YVOLUTION

YVolution introduces My Buddy Wheels, a combination balance bike and soft cuddly friend. Kids ages 2 and up can learn balance, coordination, strength, and gross motor skills with the ride-ons. The buddies are available in unicorn, dinosaur, and horse characters, and each acts as a companion for kids as they gain confidence to ride a bicycle. Adults can take the characters off the wheels to wash them. My Buddy Wheels hold a maximum weight of 44 pounds and will be available in the spring.

Blitz Light-Up Bubble Blaster

DYNACRAFT

Dynacraft introduces the 24V Realtree UTV, an outdoor ride-on designed for kids ages 3 and up. The ride-on features Realtree camouflage decals, rugged wheels, and two seats so that a driver and passenger can ride together. Suspension springs make for a smooth ride on any surface, and a front rack provides extra storage so kids can take their gear on the go. The Realtree 24V UTV will be available in the fall.

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TOMY Kids can battle for the WWE Championship as John Cena or AJ Styles with TOMY’s WWE Blitz Brawlers. Kids can put their hands inside the character’s gloves to control the wrestler, and then try to grab their opponent’s title while guarding their own. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, the Blitz Brawlers will be available this fall.


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

HASBRO

Kids ages 8 and up can load and fire fast with the Nerf N-Strike Elite Rukkus ICS-8 Blaster, featuring an eight-dart clip that automatically indexes to the next dart. The clip Blaster stays attached to the blaster, making it faster and easier for players to reload with more darts. Kids can load eight darts into the front of the indexing clip, pump to prime, and pull the trigger to fire. This blue-and-orange blaster includes eight Elite darts designed for distance. From its new NERF Fortnite line, Hasbro introduces the NERF Blaster, inspired by the weapon used in the Fortnite Fortnite AR-L Blaster game. The blaster boasts rapid-fire motorized blasting and flip-up sights that help players focus their aim as they fire. The NERF Fortnite AR-L blaster features a 10-dart clip and includes 20 Elite darts. NERF Fortnite AR-L Blaster

SWIMWAYS

SwimWays expands its Swim Steps program with the Baby Spring Float Splash Station, designed to provide a secure first-time water experience for babies ages 9 to 24 months. The baby float includes whale and starfish interactive water toys that squirt and spray water. Additional features include a patented inner spring around the outside edge for added stability, a removable sun canopy with UPF 50+ sun protection, see-through mesh sides, a soft mesh seat with secure leg holes, a wide base, child safety valves, and dual air chambers for enhanced water security. The baby float also has a convenient mesh sippy cup holder and includes a reusable carry bag for easy portability. AquaLinx are sit-up style pool floats with connecting cup holders. Teens ages 15 and up can line up the cup holders to connect each float together. Each float features large cup holders, a mesh seat that allows water to flow through, durable fabric covered flotation, and a supportive backrest. The floats are available in an assortment of colors. Huggables are oversized, animal-themed pool floats that “hug” the person sitting on them. Recommended for kids ages 5 and up, Huggables include a built-in cup holder and are available in three variations—Teddy Bear, Panda, and Sloth. The floats measure 50 inches by 36 inches by 40 inches. Blow Up Blasters are water blasters that inflate to 2 feet long, while still being lightweight enough to carry. Each Blow Up Blaster has an endless water supply feature when used in the pool. Kids ages 5 and up can cap it off and take their water battle beyond the pool. Blow Up Blasters are available in three styles—Monkey, Space Blaster, and Shark. COOP Homerun Squirt and Smash includes one foam bat and one foam ball. Kids ages 5 and up can squirt water to launch the ball to where they are standing, and then use the bat to hit it. It is available in a variety of colorful beach graphics. The Aquaria Tropicali Saddle Seat is a cushion-soft floating seat that teens ages 15 and up can use as a ride-on, a floating pool chair, or a poolside seat. The pool seats are made of durable Aqua Cell foam that resists chipping, peeling, and fading, and can be used in salt water or chlorine pools. Each seat features an integrated carry handle for easy portability. Toypedo Hydro is now available in its new, largest size at 16 inches long. It is hydro-inflatable, giving it neutral buoyancy. Kids ages 5 and up can fill it with water from the garden hose and watch it glide underwater more than 30 feet. It is available in two comic book styles with bright graphics. Candy Twist Swim Noodles are pool noodles with brightly colored, twisted stripes. They can float in the pool, or kids ages 5 and up can use them for arts and crafts. They are available in red, blue, purple, and green. The Rainbow Reef Aquarium Pool Light projects colored fish and a shark on the walls and floor of the pool. It has three different light modes, including soft, tranquil, and party time.

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Teddy Bear Huggable


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ZING

3 CHEERS FOR GIRLS

3 Cheers for Girls introduces 3D Character Glitter Confetti Beach Balls this spring, designed for kids ages 6 and up. These jumbo-sized beach balls feature colorful, sparkling confetti and 3-D character designs. The inflated 24-inch beach balls are available in five designs, including a unicorn, a shark, and a narwhal.

LITTLE KIDS INC.

PAW Patrol Sea Patrol Water Rescue Pack

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Zing introduces HyperStrike,, the bow and arrow set for teens ages 14 and up. Available this fall, HyperStrike features low-profile bungee cords to launch arrows up to 250 feet. To use it, kids hook the soft foam Zonic Whistle Arrow into the fast-load loops, aim, and fire. HyperStrike bows are available in two patterns—camouflage HyperStrike and carbon fiber. A protective facemask is sold separately. Z-Axe is a game in which kids ages 4 and up compete to see who can land the Z-Axe onto any flat surface, such as walls or glass. The soft foam Z-Axe measures 12 inches long, is designed for indoor and outdoor use, and will be available this fall.

Little Kids Inc. launches PEEPS Chalk and Holders, PEEPS-themed holders for kids ages 3 and up to create chalk art. The set includes three colored chalk pieces and three chalk holders. The holders are designed to help kids draw smooth lines without breaking the chalk. The Paw Patrol Sea Patrol Water Rescue Pack Assortment is a water toy set designed for kids ages 3 and up. Each pack features adjustable straps and color graphics of the three Paw Patrol pups in their Sea Patrol suits. The packs hold up to 30 fluid ounces of water, and can shoot targets up to 30 feet away. Kids ages 3 and up can sketch the Paw Patrol pups with the Paw Patrol Chalk and Stencil Set. The set includes four stencils featuring the puppy crew in different poses, six small chalk pieces, six jumbo chalk pieces, and a chalk holder. The Wicked Big Sports Footbag is a 4.5-inch oversized bean bag that kids can kick, balance, bump, or pass. It comes in two color styles. The Wicked Big Sports Sports Ball Assortment is a set of oversized, lightweight, inflatable balls for kids to use in various sports matches. The pack includes soccer balls, volleyballs, footballs, and an 8-inch hand pump to inflate the balls. Wicked Big Sports Washer Toss includes two collapsible oversized targets that open 2 feet long, and six washers measuring 6 inches in diameter for kids to toss around. The Wicked Big Sports Paddle Battle is an oversized version of table tennis. Each set includes an oversized net with bases, two paddles, and a ball. The Wicked Big Sports Shuffle Toss is a beanbag toss game. Kids can unfold the shuffleboard and slide their beanbag pucks onto the board to score points based on where the pucks land in relation to the far edge. Sets include a foldable board and eight beanbag pucks.

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JAZWARES Jazwares introduces Nerf Ultimate Barricade Bunkers this spring, customizable bunker sets. Kids ages 8 and up can inflate their own bunker battlefield with the Nerf Ultimate Experience Pack. It comes with seven inflatable bunkers, each with a water base to keep it standing up; adjustable straps on the two bi-fold bunker walls, which kids can attach to the camouflage net to in order to hide from their opponents; a V-cut bunker to hold blasters in place; and a peephole panel to spy on opponents. Kids can use the three smaller bunker cubes to place around the field for extra protection. All inflatables are made with durable and easy-to-clean PVC material that inflates in minutes.

TOYSMITH

Toysmith introduces Warrior’s Mark Axe Throwing this spring. Kids ages 6 and up can take aim and hit their mark with each toss of the foam axe. The kit includes a 26-inch, easy-fold target, two foam axes, a storage bag, and more. Bobbin’ Buddies Narwhal-I-Cone is a 35-inch, inflatable float deWarrior's Mark Axe Throwing signed for kids ages 5 and up. It has a weighted bottom for stability. Get Outside, GO! Games Sling ’n Toss is a two-tofour player game in which players must twirl and throw the weighted slingers to score. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, the set includes two 16-inch ring targets, four slingers, a drawstring storage bag, and instructions.

ROLLPLAY

Rollplay updates the 6V BMW i8 with a new body shape and new details. This easy-to-assemble, battery-operated ride-on sports car is made for kids ages 3 and up and holds up to 77 lbs. It moves at speeds up to 2.5 mph in forward and reverse, and features a foot pedal and easy-to-use gearshift. Both butterfly doors open vertically. The ride-on features working LED headlights, cup holders, a dashboard, and horn and engine sounds. Rollplay launches the 24V Monster Truck featuring huge wheels, working shock absorbers, an elevated seat, working headlights, and truck noises. Operating at speeds of up to 4 mph in forward and 1.86 mph in reverse, the truck has a high-speed lock-out option. The four all-terrain wheels each have rubber traction strips, ensuring that the truck grips the ground at all times. The truck also has working headlights, makes truck sounds, and has an integrated side step. When it’s time for a recharge, kids or adults can plug the 24-volt battery with the included charger into any outlet. The Rollplay Nighthawk Ride-On reaches forward speeds of up to 6 mph. It features accelerator and brake pedals so kids ages 6 and up can control the speed, side handgrips, and a unique steering technique so that kids can lean left or right to make quick turns. Parents can keep an eye on riders with the included rear safety flag. The ride-on holds up to 110 lbs and includes a charger and a 12V battery. 6V BMW i8

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FAR OUT TOYS Far Out Toys partnered with YouTube star Ryan of Ryan ToysReview to create Ryan’s World versions of classic water challenge games. With Ryan’s World Head Splat, players are challenged to flip a water balloon into the wacky-looking hat and keep it away from the rough edges of the cup to avoid splashing. The game includes a Head Splat hat, an adjustable Head Splat cord, and 24 water balloons. In Ryan’s World Splash Out, kids ages 6 and up must answer questions quickly to stay dry as the ball is passed around. The goal is to keep passing the ball until the timer runs out, and the player left holding it is out. The game includes the Splash Out ball, water balloons, and challenge cards. Launching in the fall, Drone Slayer is a line of high-powered dart blaster sets for kids ages 8 and up to battle against drones. Each set includes a dart blaster, six foam darts, and a drone that explodes upon impact. After the drones explode with contact, kids can put them back together to blast again. A set of combo packs includes more tools to prepare for additional battles. The Drone Slayer—Air Assault, designed to play against high-flying drones, includes a self-flying drone and a premium dart blaster. With Drone Slayer—Ground Assault, players can practice blasting skills against a high-tech moving drone. The Drone Slayer—Sentinel allows kids to take aim against a stationary drone with a high-powered blaster.

Drone Slayer line

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ALPHA GROUP

Alpha Group launches WWE Airnormous, a line of oversized, WWEthemed inflatable bash props, belt banners, and more. Kids ages 4 and up can pretend to step into the ring with an oversized microphone or surprise a friend with a massive hammer. The Deluxe Championship Title Belt features LED flashing lights and sound effects. Cushioned for safety, WWE Airnormous inflatables are made for indoor or outdoor use.

NKOK

NKOK launches Polaris Sportsman,, a full functional R/C beast featuring working lights and an ATV rider. Polaris is the centerpiece for several expandable Realtree play sets. Each freewheel play set will feature a combination of vehicles, animals, figurines, 2-in-1 Archery/Flying Disc hunting accessories, and more. Five new Realtree outdoor games are coming out this spring featuring Realtree’s ultra high-definition camouflage. Ring Toss is a portable game in which players toss rings onto poles to earn points. The 2-in-1 Archery/Flying Disc game features a target tree with three different sized targets attached with magnets. Players must knock the targets off the tree with the included bow and arrow and/or flying discs. In the Pin Toss Set, players must hit the suspended bowling pins with the included bean bags so that pins flip onto the crossbar above it. Tic Tac Toss is a take on tic-tac-toe in which players must flip the pieces with a bean bag to line up three of their chosen letters. In the Bag Toss game, players must toss bags to score points.


FUNRISE

Funrise debuts Gazillion Bubblecycle for kids ages 3 and up. The Bubblecycle runs like a real motorcycle with a spinning motor and engine, and includes an 8-ounce bottle of Gazillion Premium Bubbles solution. Kids can push the Bubblecycle over the grass, sidewalk, or driveway to make bubbles. The bubble machine has a lightweight design and a no-leak bubble chamber to prevent spillovers. Gazillion Bubble Rush is a high-powered bubble machine for kids ages 3 and up. Its three-section modular design includes a removable washable top, a solution recycling tray, batteries, and a motor sealed inside the base. Kids can pour solution into the reservoir and push the button for a bubble explosion. The bubble machine comes with an 8-ounce bottle of Gazillion Premium Bubbles solution. Kids ages 3 and up can have bubble battles with Funrise’s Gazillion BubGazillion bles blasters. The Gazillion Battle Blaster blasts bubbles up to 10 feet. Bubblecycle The Giant Gazillion MegaBubble Blaster creates giant bubbles. The Gazillion Mini-Hurricane is a two-in-one bubble machine and hand-held blaster that creates a storm of colorful bubbles. Kids can also crank out bubbles on the go with the hand-powered Gazillion Turbo Bubbles. Each blaster comes with a 4-ounce bottle of Gazillion Premium Bubble Solution.

ZURU ZURU adds to its X-Shot collection with X-Shot Ninja Blasters, an arsenal of customized blasters and accessories based on the Fortnite player Ninja.

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JAZWARES Jazwares expands its Peppa Pig toy line with Peppa Pig’s Lights & Sounds Family Fun Car, available in the spring on Amazon and in the fall at additional mass retailers. The car plays Peppa-inspired tunes and phrases, and kids ages 2 and up can press the trunk of the car to make it move with its headlights on. The car comes with exclusive Peppa Pig and Daddy Pig figures and has enough space to fit four Peppa Pig figures. The Bob the Train Adventure Pack features Bob the Train, Lion, Panda, and Elephant. Kids can connect the cars and take them all for a ride.

Bob the Train Adventure Pack

LEGO LEGO expands its Duplo line with The LEGO Movie 2 Emmet and Lucy’s Visitors from the Duplo Planet set. The set includes Emmet and Lucy LEGO Duplo figures and four buildable aliens. Kids can also mix and match the 53-piece set to create aliens of their own. The LEGO Duplo Fire Station, part of the LEGO Duplo Town series, includes a fire truck with working lights, two Duplo firefighter figures, a dog figure, and blocks to build the station. Kids can build Mickey Mouse with the LEGO Duplo My First Mickey Build, a nine-piece 3-D puzzle set. Kids can build Mickey with two different outfits—daytime clothes or pajamas with a sleep hat. All Duplo sets are designed for kids ages 2 and up.

EPOCH EVERLASTING PLAY Epoch Everlasting Play expands its Calico Critters Town Series with the Elegant Town Manor Gift Set, a two-story manor where Stella Hopscotch Rabbit lives. The house features a terrace, a spiral staircase, and a detachable roof that fits on other town buildings. The set comes with a Stella character and connects to the Designer Studio (sold separately) to create Stella’s Grand Residence. The Cute Couple Set features Stella and her new boyfriend William. The figures come dressed up and are designed to hold hands. The set includes a bouquet of red roses for the Critters to carry. Both Town Village Pizzeria Series sets are designed for kids ages 6 and up. The Calico Critters Village also expands with the Village Pizzeria. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the pizzeria is furnished with a brick oven, a counter with toppings, a table, a chair, and cookware for Bernard Marshmallow Mouse. The Calico Critters Nursery Collection expands with the Blind Bags Baby Shopping Series. Kids can open each blind bag to see which Baby Shopping Critter is inside and discover a grocery accessory. The collection includes nine new collectible babies, including an exclusive secret style not listed on the packaging. Kids can take the Baby Critters for a ride on the Baby Ferris Wheel. The play set includes three gondola doors and toy poodle baby Milo. The Baby Airplane Ride is a spinning tower ride for the Baby Critters and includes maple cat baby Alfie. All Calico Critters Nursery Collection toys are designed for kids ages 3 and up.

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TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

Magical Unicorn Aria Ride-On

AURORA WORLD The Aurora World Cuddlers’ Play Mat is designed for tummy time play or for kids to take a nap. The soft mat features embroidered expressions. Aurora World also introduces the Magical Unicorn Aria Ride-On, a soft ride-on designed for infants. All of the unicorn’s features are embroidered, and the ride-on’s base is flat. Each Baby Talk animal makes a different sound, rattles, or squeaks. These interactive plush toys come as a set, with four stuffed household pets and a house to hold them. The Magical Dragon Jaxon Napping Pal features embroidered eyes, a loop for hanging, and a roll-up blanket that the dragon holds with its arms. The Sleepytime Cow sings a song designed to help kids and newborns fall asleep.

JAKKS PACIFIC This fall, Jakks Pacific will debut a new toy line for Becca’s Bunch, based on the Nick Jr. TV series. The Becca’s Bunch 4-Pack Figure Set includes Becca, Russell, Sylvia, and Pedro, and the Becca’s Bunch 2-Pack Figure Set includes either Becca and Sylvia or Russell and Pedro. Each 3.5-inch figure includes a removable base. The Becca’s Bunch Clubhouse Playset with Becca Figure features a slide, a tire swing, and a telescope, just like the clubhouse seen at the beginning of every episode. The play set closes and has a handle for on-the-go play. The included Becca figure and other Becca’s Bunch characters fit in a variety of spots around the clubhouse. Kids can play with a replica of Becca’s phone from the show with the Becca’s Bunch Adventure’s Calling Phone. Kids can press the orange button to hear phrases from the show’s four main characters, or press the green button to hear the show’s theme song. Becca’s Bunch Rockin’ the Wood Instrument Set includes Becca’s guitar, Sylvia’s keyboard, Russell’s drum, and Pedro’s tambourine for kids to play music. The Becca’s Bunch Sing-A-Long karaoke machine is shaped like Becca. Kids can sing along to four songs from Becca’s Bunch as the working microphone amplifies their voices. Jakks will also expand its line of Fancy Nancy toys this year. Kids can be fancy like Nancy with the Fancy Boa assortment. The boas are approximately 46 inches long and are made with four layers of butterflyshaped organza. New boa themes include Dazzle Girl, Mermaid, and Rainbow Ballet. Each boa comes with a pair of coordinated earrings. The Fancy Tiara and Necklace assortment includes a Classic Set and a Mermaid Glam Set, inspired by the Fancy Nancy series. The necklace in the set features an image of Fancy Nancy. Both products will be available this fall. The Perfectly Cute Home Let’s Get Baking 30-Piece Felt Cookie Set includes cookie mix boxes, cookie cutters, felt cookie cut-outs, felt cookies, and felt cookie toppings. Kids ages 3 and up can roll out the dough, cut out shapes, spread the frosting, and decorate the cookies. The 30-piece set will be available this spring. Jakks Pacific also expands its Black+Decker role-play toys, available now. The Backpack Tool Set includes 23 popular tools and accessories that fit inside the backpack. The pack features a clear back, so kids can see all of the tools inside. Let’s Get Baking 30-Piece Felt Cookie Set

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LEARNING RESOURCES Coding Critters, from Learning Resources, provides kids ages 4 and up with an an introduction to coding. These interactive pets teach critical thinking, problem solving, and other STEM skills with play sets, storybook coding adventures, and two interactive modes. A full-color, 20-page storybook includes multiple coding challenges. The available sets include Ranger and Zip, Scamper and Sneaker, and Rumble and Bumble. Each set includes two figures, a structure, a slide, and accessories to complete Hoot the Fine Motor Owl the coding challanges. Available this summer, Hoot the Fine Motor Owl is designed to help babies ages 18 months and up build strength, coordination, and scissor skills with five activities. Babies can drop the five included coins down the chute, rotate Hoot’s eyes, poke his squeaky nose, or flap his wings with the sliding front buttons.

My Very Own Market Cart

AMERICAN PLASTIC TOYS American Plastic Toys introduces My Very Own Market Cart, designed for kids ages 2 and up. The market cart features a push handle, wheels, and a colorful awning over display shelving for the included fruits and vegetables. The 21-piece set includes accessories, such as coins and a credit card. The Gigantic Pick-Up is the newest addition to American Plastic Toys’ line of 2-foot vehicles. Made for kids ages 2 and up, this two-seat vehicle features a flatbed with a removable cover.

JUST PLAY Just Play’s PJ Masks Super Moon Adventure Fortress Playset includes 3-inch articulated Catboy and Luna Girl figures. Kids can secure the figures in the zero gravity belts and pull the levers to engage in imaginative play. The set features a Moon Shooter and a Crystal Moon Trap, and kids can pull the lever at the top of the play set to reveal a secret Lunar Platform. The Puppy Dog Pals Stow ‘n Go Playset is designed to look like Bingo and Rolly’s house from the Disney Junior show. The set includes two exclusive Bingo and Rolly figures and features two levels of play. The puppies can slide down the slide, play on the seesaw, or bounce up and down on the chair cushion. Kids can store all the accessories inside the play set, which closes into a house with a builtin handle. The Spirit Sounds and Action Horse Assortment is based on DreamWorks Animation Television’s Spirit Riding Free.. Kids can pet Spirit or Hacheta on the muzzle to hear realistic horse sound effects, press the button on their backs to make them stamp their front legs, or pose the figures to rear up on their hind legs. The figures each feature a rooted mane kids can brush and style, and include two hair accessories, a grooming brush, a winner’s ribbon, and a championship trophy. All of these new products are designed for kids ages 3 and up. PJ Masks Super Moon Adventure Fortress Playset

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IMPERIAL TOY Imperial Toy introduces Kiddy Up 100 Count Pit Balls, a set of 2.5-inch plastic balls in five colors: red, blue, green, yellow, and purple. The pit balls enhance sensory learning with hands-on activities that stimulate kids’ senses, and can be used in a playroom, school, or backyard. The balls are designed for kids ages 3 and up.

FAT BRAIN TOYS Babies can flip over Fat Brain Toys’ WiggleStix and watch as the figurine inside wiggles its way from the top to the bottom. Babies can flip the WiggleStix again and watch the figure wiggle over and over. Dimpl Wobl features a silicone button on top for small fingers to push, Dimpl Wobl and a textured frame for an additional sensory experience. Babies can tilt, spin, and let the Dimpl Wobl go, then watch as it wobbles and waddles. The toy is available in blue, orange, and green. Both toys will be available this spring and are designed for babies ages 6 months and up.

EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS Educational Insights introduces Zoomingos, colorful animals kids can pump, place in a vehicle, and watch zoom away. Available in six styles, each Zoomingo features a different animal and vehicle, such as a fox in a box vehicle, an elephant in a bathtub vehicle, or a dog in a tennis ball-shaped vehicle. Made for kids ages 3 and up, Zoomingos have clear legs so kids can see how the pumping mechanism works.

MINDWARE MindWare introduces Builder Box,, a toolbox for kids ages 3 and up. Kids connect solid wood pieces using the wooden screwdriver and wrench, deciding where to position a front door, a fence, windows, flowers, and the family pets. All of the pieces fit inside a self-storing toolbox, which features a carrying handle for mobility. KaBlocks Blast is a redesigned version of the KaBlocks construction set, which uses kinetic force to blast soft foam blocks more than 6 feet into the air. Silly Street Character Builders feature three characters with mix-and-match magnetic pieces. Kids ages 4 and up can outfit each creature with fabric accessories— such as a scarf, a cape, or a canteen—and can change the pieces to let the characters express different emotions. The set also includes six different backdrops.

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Builder Box


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MAGFORMERS

HEXBUG HEXBUG introduces the HEXBUG Cuddlebots Garden-Go-Round Playset, available this fall for babies ages 18 months and up. This toy helps teach toddlers cause and effect as the Cuddlebot spins throughout the set.

Magformers expands its Dolce line with three new products for kids of all ages. The Dolce Safari Adventure is four toys in one—a baby monkey with a bell that fits inside a lion, which fits inside a hippopotamus, which fits inside an elephant. Kids can practice tying knots and using buttons, zippers, and more with the different animals. The toy doubles as a rattle and a teether. The Dolce Pull Along Snail features a shell that uncoils to reveal learning toys in individual pockets, including a mirror, a rattle, a crinkle, and a teether. Designed for any journey, the Dolce Mouse Back Pack with Neck Support features a removable mouse and a removable neck support pillow. The mouse has crinkle ears and tactile fabric. Dolce Pull Along Snail

KIDKRAFT KidKraft introduces the World of Eric Carle Shape Sorter,, designed for babies ages 9 months and up. The sorter includes 10 wooden blocks, each with a number on one side and symbols for counting on the other. Babies can fit the blocks through cutouts around the cylindrical base and squeeze them back out through the bungee cord barriers. The toy also rolls, creates a rattle sound, and features artwork inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Babies can follow a caterpillar’s journey through metamorphosis with the World of Eric Carle Bead Maze.. The apple-shaped toy sits on a wobbly base and features three tracks with wooden beads. Babies ages 9 months and up can slide the shaped bead—each representing a segment of the caterpillar—along the tracks. The World of Eric Carle Shape Activity Cube features five sides of activities babies can explore. The wooden cube’s sides have turnable gears, lift-up flaps, alphabet blocks, sliding disks, a bead maze, and more. The cube is designed for babies ages 9 months and up. Designed for kids ages 2 and up, the World of Eric Carle Toddler Activity Table is decorated with a caterpillar on his journey from cocoon to butterfly. The table includes beads, train cars, and puzzle pieces. The table also comes with a fabric storage bag to hold the table’s pieces. All products will be available this summer.

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World of Eric Carle Toddler Activity Table


SPIN MASTER Spin Master adds to its Paw Patrol line with the Paw Patrol Ultimate Rescue Construction Truck. Available this spring, the fully equipped dump truck includes a Rubble figure. Kids can press the Paw Patrol badge at the top of the truck to activate flashing lights and sounds, use the working wheels, knock down obstacles with the swinging wrecking ball, and pick up objects with the front scoop. There is space for all six pups aboard, and each pup is sold separately. The mini steam roller detaches, and kids can attach other Ultimate Rescue Mini Vehicles, each sold separately. Paw Patrol Mighty Pups Power Changing Vehicles transform into power-changing mode and feature disc launchers. The Paw Patrol Mighty Pups Supersonic Jet opens up into a mobile HQ featuring a vehicle launcher, lights and sounds, and a Ryder figure. The Paw Patrol Mighty Pups Lookout Tower features a vehicle launcher, lights and sounds, transforming elements, and a rotating elevator. These Mighty Pups products will be available this fall. PAW Patrol Ultimate Rescue Construction Truck

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TOMY

MAISTO Maisto’s BB Junior line expands with the Splash ‘n Play Submarine Projector bath toy, designed for babies ages 1 and up. The waterproof submarine features a light and can project images of underwater creatures onto the tub.

Kids can learn animal sounds with TOMY’s Parade Pals Sundae Funday. Each animal sings a song when kids match it to its car by picture or color. The set also connects to other Parade Pals sets. The John Deere 1st Farming Fun Apple Orchard set features an apple tree, a tractor, a farm worker, and more. Kids can “pick” the apples from the tree and press a button to watch them appear in the tractor wagon. The set is designed for babies ages 1 and up. Babies ages 18 months and up can practice buttons, zips, snaps, and more with the Lamaze Freddie’s Activity Bus.. The bus also helps babies enhance motor and problem solving skills, identify colors, and boost other school readiness skills. The Lamaze Grab & Hide Ball is a soft, colorful ball designed for babies ages 6 months and up. Each section of the ball features a different sound or texture, and the ball makes a chime sound when babies roll it. Parade Pals Sundae Funday

MATTEL Mattel’s Fisher-Price Wonder Makers Design System Build Around Town Starter Kit features more than 75 reconfigurable play pieces. Kids ages 3 and up can create buildings and towns or create tracks for vehicles. The set includes track pieces, links, characters, vehicles, and accessories. The Fisher-Price Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth focuses on motor skill development through music and motion. Babies ages 9 months and up can push buttons on the sloth’s feet to access music, games, and phrases. The sloth plays music, bobs its head, and claps its hands together. The LED light on the sloth’s belly can create synchronized light shows with other Linkimals toys. The Fisher-Price Thomas Super Cruiser includes track pieces and a cruiser character that works with or without the track system. The set features a helipad, a winch, accessories, mini Percy and Nia engines, and a die-cast Thomas engine. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, the set includes a storage compartment that holds engines. Kids of any age can use the Fisher-Price Soothing Bedtime Otter for help falling asleep. It features a rhythmic breathing action, soft lights, and a satin tail for tactile stimulation. The otter is machine washable with a removable electronics module. Mattel introduces the Fisher-Price Bounce & Spin Puppy, a stationary, musical ride-on that plays songs, sounds, and phrases as babies bounce or spin 360 degrees. Designed for babies ages 1 and up, the puppy features a sturdy base, easy-grip handles, interactive buttons, and lights. The Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Pull & Play Learning Wagon is an activity station on wheels. Babies ages 6 months and up can sit and play with the wagon to start, and later progress to walking and pulling it along. The wagon features a variety of activities, light-up buttons, xylophone keys, songs, phrases, and a storage compartment. There is also a motion sensor that rewards kids as they pull the wagon.

Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth

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Antsy Pants Flamingo Kite

ANTSY PANTS Antsy Pants introduces the Antsy Pants Flamingo Kite, a 53-inch-wide kite that includes a handle and 196 feet of line. Coming this spring, other new kite designs include a shark, a butterfly, a jellyfish, and other patterns. Kids can test their balance with Five-Piece Stepping Stones. The colorful, durable stepping stones are designed to increase durability and flexibility as kids hop between them, and to easily stack for storage.

ENTERTAINMENT ONE Entertainment One’s licensees will introduce new products for both Peppa Pig and PJ Masks this year. The Peppa Pig Let’s Chat Learning Phone, from VTech, includes four interactive math games for kids ages 2 and up, and features Peppa and her family. The PJ Masks Super Learning Phone, also from VTech, features educational games for kids ages 3 and up. Kids can have voice-activated conversations with the PJ Masks heroes and hear voice messages from the characters. Both phones will be available this spring. The PJ Masks Seeker and Mystery Mountain Playsets, from Just Play, will be available this fall. Galerie Inc. expands its Finders Keepers Peppa Pig candy and toy combinations for kids ages 3 and up, each featuring a milk chocolate candy egg and one of 10 collectible Peppa Pig toys inside. PEZ Candy Inc. launches two new PJ Masks items, the PEZ PJ Masks Assortments and the PJ Masks Gift Set. The Gift Set features all three PJ Masks characters—Gekko, Catboy, and Owlette— as PEZ Dispensers and includes a six-pack of PEZ Candy refills. The assortments come with a candy pack and a character dispenser. Peppa Pig Let’s Chat Learning Phone


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BEVERLY HILLS TEDDY BEAR CO.

WICKED COOL TOYS Wicked Cool Toys introduces its first game, Hank’s Twisted Challenge. Players must twist their bodies into crazy positions as they try to move a ball from their mouthpiece to the end of a twisted wire. The game is designed for kids ages 8 and up, and will be available this fall.

Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. introduces Squeezamals Freeze ’n Squeeze Game, licensed and published by Big G Creative. The game is a twist on the classic game of hot potato, in which players take turns making a yummy treat for their Squeezamal to enjoy. The player caught holding the plush when it’s time to eat must pay for the treat. The game is designed for kids ages 6 and up and includes an exclusive Squeezamal.

HASBRO Hasbro Gaming launches the Monopoly Cash Grab game. To play, users load the Monopoly Money into the Money Blaster (aka the bank) and spin the spinner to blast Monopoly cash and Chance cards into the air. Players rush to grab as much cash as they can to win. Chance cards add more strategy to the game and give players the opportunity to swap money stacks, take half of any one player’s money stack, or make all players pass their money stack to the left. Once the blaster is empty, the player with the most cash wins the game. Toilet Trouble is back, but this time it’s a two-player challenge. In Toilet Trouble Flushdown, players go head to head in a fast-paced race to avoid the spray. Players must race to spin their rolls of toilet paper the fastest to avoid getting sprayed by the plastic throne. In Connect 4 Shots, players compete in a rapid-fire race to get four shots in a row. Players must simultaneously bounce the lightweight, colorful balls off the table and into the grid. Whoever gets four of their balls in a row first wins the game.

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GEORGE & CO. George & Co.’s LCR Left Center Right dice game goes big. The BIG LCR Left Center Right dice are made of high-quality EVA foam, making them safe for any surface, and the larger chips are made of durable plastic. The game is made for players ages 5 and up and can be played indoors or outdoors.


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

ART’S IDEAS Art’s Ideas updates Jenga Throw ’n Go with six colors and new packaging. Players roll the die and move the corresponding colored blocks. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, this game features 54 hardwood colored blocks and will only be available to specialty retailers. With Jenga Giant, players stack blocks while standing and moving around the Jenga tower. Designed for kids ages 6 and up, Jenga Giant Family starts with an 18-inch tower and can safely stack to more than 3 feet high, while Jenga Giant Genuine is designed for players ages 8 and up and can stack up to 4 feet high. With the available Booster Pack, players can continue stacking up to 5 feet. Jenga Giant Premium is a gift set designed for players ages 10 and up and can be stacked up to 3 feet high. Jenga Premium is a limited-edition game designed for players ages 10 and up. This set features 54 blocks in a classically elegant design. The blocks stand on an acrylic base for added visual appeal, and the heavyweight box is bound with textured paper and stamped copper foil. Jenga Ocean is eco-friendly, made from 100-percent recycled fishnets, and features special Jenga Ocean “save the sea animals” rules. Art’s Ideas collects and recycles discarded fishing nets for the game, helping to protect sea life and ecosystems. Each game features 54 Classic Jenga-sized blocks made from more than 25 square feet of nets. This game is designed for kids ages 6 and up.

MINDWARE MindWare introduces Gembatan, a strategy game designed for two to four players ages 8 and up. Players place tiles on the board, with a matching gem inside to create dual-colored amulets. Players score a point for every gem they play, with bonus points if they create a line of three or more gems with a matching color. New cooperative games from Peaceable Kingdom: A Mindware Brand include Sky Magic; Pick Me Up, Piggy!; Guess It, Get It, Gumballs; Topper Takes a Trip; and Button, Button Belly Button. In Sky Magic, kids ages 6 and up can help five enchanted friends get home in a powerful storm before they run out of magic spells. Players work as a team to navigate around storm clouds and avoid falling through the sky when the board shifts. Players must plan the paths carefully and use their magic wisely. Pick Me Up, Piggy! is a game for kids ages 3 and up that makes driving a toy truck educational. Kids can tell stories to improve language skills, remember where to find hidden farm friends, take turns, and work cooperatively to win the game. Guess It, Get It, Gumballs is a memory game that helps kids ages 4 and up learn about feelings. Players spin the spinner and use the gumball-grabbing mirror to choose a matching color gumball. Then they look in the mirror and make the face they think was grabbed. If they guess the feeling right, they add the gumball to the scoreboard. If not, they put it back in the machine. For everyone to win, players work together to collect a rainbow of gumballs before they find the stink faces. Topper Takes a Trip is a game for kids ages 2 and up, in which players pick one of the five destinations and pack the suitcase using the packing list. Topper's suitcase also doubles as the product packaging. Also for kids ages 2 and up is Button, Button Belly Button. In this game, players work to match a rainbow of button cards and Bear's belly button cards. The game includes a wooden button mover to pass at each turn. The game expands on the concepts of same and different, taking turns, body awareness, and language skills.

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UNIVERSITY GAMES University Games introduces Tip of the Tongue, a fast-paced party game for players ages 12 and up. In this game, players take turns answering two-second trivia questions and receive points for each correct answer. Sort It Out is a game in which players ages 12 and up race to put things in order, such as the biggest, fastest, loudest, smallest, and longest in different categories. University Games expands its line of Rubik’s games with Rubik’s Match, a thinking card game in which players work to replicate unique Rubik’s patterns with their cards to win each round. This game is designed for kids ages 7 and up. University Games also expands its BePuzzled line with Pocket Puzzlers, a collection of brain teaser puzzles with quirky themes geared toward kids ages 8 and up. The collection will launch with four titles, including Mouse, Dancers, Numbers, and Tangram.

FAT BRAIN TOYS Fat Brain Toys introduces Morphy, a game in which kids ages 6 and up compete to collect discs. Players start with the ball on one peg over one disc. Then, they try to find another disc that’s different by only one attribute—color, pattern, or center circle size—and continue collecting them. The player who collects the most discs wins the game. Morphy will be available this spring. Jixelz are puzzles that look like works of pixel art when assemJixelz bled. Kids can build two small designs with the 700-piece sets, or choose between four small designs or one giant design with the 1,500-piece sets. All Jixelz hold together without ironing or adhesives. Jixelz are designed for kids ages 6 and up.

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BRIARPATCH Briarpatch expands its line of Play ’n Learn games for preschoolers. Play ‘n Learn is the company’s leveled learning system designed to offer parents products matched to kid’s learning needs. The First 100 Words Activity Game, designed for kids ages 2 and up, is based on the First 100 Words book series. This active play game challenges kids to collect words and images that are linked to the world around them. Chowasaurus is a game for kids ages 3 and up in which each player is a hungry dinosaur racing to eat shapes and colors. This game helps kids learn numbers, shapes, and colors, and promotes social interactions and fine motor skill development. Briarpatch will also expand its Pete the Cat line of games with the Pete the Cat Wheels on the Bus Game. In this game, kids work cooperatively to build a puzzle bus while singing and acting out parts of the “Wheels on the Bus” song.


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THAMES & KOSMOS Thames & Kosmos will expand its EXIT: The Game collection this year. EXIT: The Catacombs of Horror, which is made for players ages 16 and up, will launch this summer. The game challenges players to solve the mysterious disappearance of a friend in the catacombs of Paris. Players must navigate through the puzzling underground labyrinth and try to escape the caverns. The double-sized game has two separate parts. Two new EXIT games for younger players will debut this fall. In EXIT: The Haunted Roller Coaster, players must solve a strange riddle to escape the haunted roller coaster after the ride’s gates are locked tight. In EXIT: The House of Riddles, players are summonded to an abandonded house and must crack the case of an unsolved mystery to escape. Both games are designed for players ages 10 and up. Players ages 10 and up can compete as builders in Thames & Kosmos’ Imhotep: The Duel. In this game, players take on the roles of Nefertiti and Akhenaten, one of Egypt’s most famous royal couples. Players must strategically place game pieces so that they can unload the most valuable tiles from the six boats. While this is happening, each player builds his or her own four monuments in order to gain as many fame points as possible.

PLAYMONSTER PlayMonster introduces Yeti Forgetti, a two- to four-player memory game in which the yetis are hiding under igloos. Players draw cards that tell them to find a certain yeti, then peek under igloos or move the igloos around to try to remember which yeti is where. Players lose points if they accidently lift up the wrong igloo and find the snow crab. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, the game will be available in the fall. Butts Up is a twist on musical chairs in which all players sit in chairs, but one player remains standing. The standing player reads one of the 400 prompts from the electronic device, such as “Butts Up if you have gone zip lining.” If the prompt applies to the players, they must get up and race to another chair. The player left without a chair becomes the new standing player. This game is made for kids ages 7 and up and will be available in the fall. Meltdown is an unpredictable stacking game for kids ages 6 and up. Players shape the included putty goop however they want, place it on top of the tower, and then stick the balancing platform on the goop. From there, they take turns stacking their cubes on the slippery, always-shifting plate without letting them fall. If any cubes fall, that player has to add them to his or her pile. The first player to get all of his or her cubes stacked wins. This two- to four-player game is coming out in the fall. PlayMonster recently gained the license for The Logo Game and will release a new version of the game. The Logo Game will have all new content featuring new and nostalgic brands, with trivia about popular logos, commercials, facts, and more. Recommended for players ages 12 and up, the new version features 3-D pewter pawns of items and characters. Designed for two to six players, the game will be at retail in the fall. Kiss My Bass, designed for players ages 10 and up, features a 3-D electronic talking fish that dares players to touch him in different areas and responds whether the player does it correctly or not. Players take turns touching his fin or back, or kissing his lips or his “bass.” If he farts on a player during a smooch, that player is out. This game is for two or more players, and will be available in the fall. Burping SpongeBob SquarePants is the newest addition to the Stinky Pig line, designed for two to four players ages 6 and up and set for release this summer. SpongeBob plays a tropical tune while players pass him around. Whoever is holding him when he farts must take a token. The player with the fewest tokens in the end wins.

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PLAYMATES TOYS Playmates Toys adds Alien Game Omnitrix to its collection of Ben 10 toys this fall. Kids can wear the Omnitrix on their wrists to transform into one of Ben 10’s aliens in the game. There are four different game play modes—Battle Game, Transforming Game, Memory Game, or Timing Game.

WINNING MOVES GAMES

ZING Zing introduces the Desktop sports series, a line of mini sportsbased games, including Flip ‘n Stack Monkeys, Chip Shotz Golder, and First Strike Fisherman. In Flip ‘n Stack Monkeys, kids compete to see who can launch and stack the most monkeys and earn the most points. In Chip Shotz Golder, players try to get a hole in one while watching out for the magnetized sand traps, trees, and water. In First Strike Fisherman, players cast using the lever on the back of the fisherman and try to land the magnetic lure in the mouth of each of the six bass. In Zing Pong, coming this fall for kids ages 6 and up, players bounce ping pong balls into the pockets on their side of the pyramid as quickly as possible. Once a player fills three pockets, he or she must try to bounce his or her fourth ball into the cup on top. The first player to get his or her ball into the cup on top is safe from having to drink the gross mixture. The remaining players continue until a loser is determined, with the winner of each round deemed safe. The loser then has to draw a card, mix the ingredients listed, and drink up. Each Zing Pong game comes with a game pyramid, 16 balls, one drink cup, and a variety of drink mixture cards.

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Winning Moves Games introduces 13 Dead End Drive, the board game in which players compete to see which one of Aunt Agatha’s friends and employees will inherit her loot. Players must guard their identities and beware of the smashing statue, the cranium-crushing chandelier, or the push into the fireplace as they travel through the mansion. There are three unique ways to win the game, which is designed for two to four players ages 8 and up. Apocalyptic Picnic is a card game designed for kids ages 8 and up, in which people at the family reunion picnic turn into zombies. Players must fend off zombie bites with special food cards and outfit family members with special equipment to help protect them from attack. The only cure for being a zombie is grandma’s homemade chicken noodle soup. The last player to survive this action-packed game is the winner. KOZO is a 3-D wooden stacking game in which players take turns adding a wooden polycube and balance cube to the structure. Polycubes must stay in the confines of the structure and cannot overlap the center chimney area. Players score for each piece they place. KOZO is designed for two or more players or teams ages 8 and up. Pretty Pretty Princess is a classic jewelry dress-up game from the ‘90s in which players ages 5 and up each collect a matching colored necklace, bracelet, ring, and a pair of earrings. The first player to collect all of his or her jewelry plus the crown is the Pretty Pretty Princess. Stink Bug is a card game in which players choose a leaf from the leaf pile and try to make a match, while keeping watch for the Stink Bug. Turning over a love bug or a butterfly adds to a player’s score. This game is for two to four players ages 4 and up. Rubik’s Junior Puppy is an easy-to-grip twistable puppy puzzle. With three levels of play, the puzzle grows with kids’ development skills. Rubik’s Junior Puppy is made for players ages 4 and up.


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

EPOCH EVERLASTING PLAY New to Epoch Everlasting Play’s Game Zone line is Gulpin’ Guppies, a game in which kids spin the wheel and eat each other’s guppies to make their fish grow, all while racing toward the finish line. Players must watch out for the waves, which can wipe out the guppies their fish gulped. The game promotes counting skills and features two play versions to accommodate different ages. Kids can practice their soccer moves with Action Soccer, a soccer goal that shifts from side to side as kids play. The goal features two different levels and cheering sounds for successful goals. Action Soccer is designed for both indoor and outdoor use. Both games are designed for kids ages 4 and up.

Gulpin' Guppies

The Red Keep Wrebbit 3D Puzzle

WREBBIT 3D Wrebbit 3D introduces two Game of Thrones 3-D puzzles, each depicting a building from the show. The Game of Thrones: The Red Keep Wrebbit 3D Puzzle is 845 pieces and will be available this month. The Game of Thrones: Winterfell Wrebbit 3D Puzzle is 910 pieces and will be available in March. Both puzzles are designed for kids ages 14 and up.

WILD & WOLF Wild & Wolf expands its Ridley’s Games line. In the color-matching card game Nope!, the last player with cards in his or her hand is the winner. Players take turns discarding cards that match the top card in the center, and use action cards to protect their own cards and strategically knock out other players. The game is designed for kids ages 6 and up and takes about 20 minutes to play. Peach Snaps is a fruit-themed take on Snap, packaged in a novelty peach case. Players snap down the cards from their hands onto the center piles each time they have a match by color, symbol, or number in a race to get rid of their cards the fastest. The game also includes action cards, such as “freeze,” “clear hand,” and “add a stack.” Gameplay takes about five minutes, and the game is designed for kids ages 6 and up. The 500-piece Gin Lover’s Jigsaw Puzzle depicts a collection of gins, botanicals, spices, and cocktails from around the world. The puzzle comes packaged in an illustrated tube box and includes a poster. The puzzle measures 19.7 inches by 12.8 inches when it’s assembled. The Gin Rummy Playing Cards are illustrated with gin-themed botanicals and come packaged in a gin bottle-shaped tin. The cards include directions for gin rummy but can be used for any card game. The 100 Cheesy Jokes pack has 100 jokes printed onto fake cheese slices, packaged in a novelty cheese slice. The Famous Women Quiz is the newest addition to the Games Room Trivia collection. Packaged in purple and white, the colors historically used by suffragette movements, the quiz features 140 questions about famous women from around the world. In Selfish: The Zombie Edition, only one player can survive the zombie apocalypse. Using supply cards and game cards, players advance through a wasteland and race toward the rescue helicopter. Play continues even as some players become zombies. Gameplay takes about 20 minutes, and the game is designed for kids ages 7 and up.

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NORTH STAR GAMES North Star Games adds Dirty Pig to its Happy Planet line of games. The object of the card game is to be the first player to dirty all your pigs, and while getting them dirty might be easy, keeing them dirty is a bigger challenge. Rain showers and pesky farmers can clean your pig, but seeking shelter in a barn may protect them. This game of strategy and luck is designed for two to six players ages 6 and up, and takes about 10 minutes to play.

YULU YULU launches King of the Ring this fall, made for kids ages 6 and up. The game features four sumo wrestler-themed rolling figures, and challenges players to launch figures into the ring and get it to land in the middle, which activates a countdown timer. Once a figure is resting in the middle of the ring, the other players rush to knock it out with their figures before time runs out. The middle of the ring pops open, raising up the last figure and declaring it the King of the Ring. Oops Scoops is a stacking game that challenges players ages 4 and up to take turns stacking the ice cream scoops on Oops the ice cream cone. Players compete to build the tallest ice cream tower. Oops will shake and shiver to make the stacking even more challenging and to cause the tower of scoops to topple. Players must spin the scoop spinner to see how many scoops to add. If the scoops fall on a player’s turn, he or she loses, and the last player left is the winner. Each Oops Scoops game comes with a vibrating ice cream cone, 12 colored ice cream scoops, two difficulty level base scoops, a cone stand, and a scooper with spinner.


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

CRA-Z-ART Cra-Z-Art’s Flying Pigs game will take flight this fall. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, players use the included scoop to catch as many ”flying” pigs as they can. The player who catches the most pigs wins. The toy pigs fly within an enclosed globe using a safe, motorized fan.

AKIBABUS Boxitale, from Akibabus, blends craft-based tasks with digital storytelling for an imaginative experience. The Boxitale games lead players into mystery adventures, in which they must build, design, and solve the challenges presented to them in the on-screen story. Players create a unique design on the included board, then upload a photo of it using the Boxitale app to see it in the story. Kids can choose from two Boxitale themes—Knights of Nature, which takes place in the secret animal kingdom; or Elite Explorers, which takes place in an unknown universe. Each Boxitale game is designed for one to four players ages 7 and up, and includes five 45-minute episodes. Available this spring, The Witches’ Annual Race is a real-time pen-racing game. Designed for two to six players ages 6 and up, the game features four race modes and takes 20 minutes to play. Players must maintain focus and dexterity and cope with unexpected events to finish the year as the fastest and most talented witch of all.

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REDWOODVENTURES This fall, RedwoodVentures will release Belly Bashimi Bashimi, the game in which players attempt to bounce their opponent out of the ring with a fake belly. Players must strap on the belly and drop the sushi tokens into the ring at random. The spinner determines which tokens each player gets to place his or her feet on to mark their place in the ring. The players then battle with their fake bellies to knock the other out of the ring, no hands allowed.

EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS Educational Insights introduces its latest Kanoodle game, Kanoodle Gravity. Made for kids ages 7 and up, the game works for one- or two-person play. In solo play, kids set up the vertical board according to the puzzle book, then try to fill in the rest of the board with other pieces. In a two-player game, kids take turns placing pieces on the vertical board until one player’s piece does not fit.


Sushi Scramble

TOMY TOMY introduces Pile Em Up Pirates, Pirates a stacking game in which kids take turns stacking pirates and planks to the deck. The last player to add to the tower without making it collapse wins the game. In Sushi Scramble, kids use chopsticks to create the sushi dishes on their menu. The food moves around on the chef’s table, and players must race to get the ingredients they need before their opponent. The player who collects the most sushi wins the game. Both games are designed for kids ages 4 and up and will be available this fall.

MATTEL Mattel introduces Pictionary Air, designed for players ages 8 and up. This new version of the classic game is similar to the original Pictionary, but it challenges players to illustrate their clues in the air using the included light-up pen. The guessing team uses the Pictionary Air companion app, points the inapp camera at the drawer, and captures the light drawing on screen. The app includes the option to record and replay each drawer’s turn. The game will be available this fall. In Uno Flip, players match a card in their hands to the top card on the discard pile in a race to get rid of their cards the fastest. This deck features double-sided cards, so when someone plays the “flip side” card, everyone must flip their hands over and play the other side of their cards. Designed for kids ages 7 and up, the game will be available this spring.

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MOOSE TOYS Moose Toys launches the Collection, Fortnite Battle Royale Collection a line of Fortnite figures, vehicles, and play sets designed for kids ages 8 and up. Each Solo Pack includes a poseable Fortnite mini figure with swappable weapons, accessories, and Back Bling. Each Squad Pack includes four mini action figures. The collection will launch in the spring and will grow to include more than 100 characters this year.

ALPHA GROUP Alpha Group releases Grrrumball, an R/C creature designed for kids ages 6 and up. Grrrumball features light-up eyes and sound effects. The R/C also has two attack modes—Spin Attack and Arm Smash—that kids activate with the remote.

JAM’N PRODUCTS Jam’n Products introduces Lock ‘n Roll Pals, a collectible line that transforms into both vehicles and figures. The line, available this fall, will include characters from DC Comics, Ryan’s World, and Care Bears, in addition to Jam’n Products’ original Lock ‘n Roll pets. Jam’n Products also expands its line of 2.4 GHz R/C Utility Vehicles with a taco truck, an ice cream truck, a school bus, and a fire rescue van. The vehicles all feature working lights. Jam’n Products will also add the Care Bears Cloudseeker to its R/C line. The company also introduces new accessories and play patterns for the Switch ‘Em Monster Maniacs friction-powered Ford and Chevrolet trucks. The Ford and Chevrolet 2.75- and 3.5-inch Race/ Rescue Junior Vehicle Sets are updated to include a launcher, a play mat, and new accessories. Jam’n Products also introduces Mighty Tuff Crew, a new line of construction vehicles with lights and sounds.

Lock ‘n Roll Pals

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SMART ZONE Smart Zone adds to its Mighty Wheels line this year with the free-rolling Mighty Wheels 16-inch Tow Truck with lights and sounds and the 20-inch Recycle Truck. Both are made from sturdy steel and plastic to endure hours of play. Smart Zone also expands its Mighty Wheels line with Hot Locks, pull-back friction vehicles with a clip-on key ring and a combination lock hidden on the underside.


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

PLAYMOBIL

MAISTO Maisto introduces the CyKlone Drift, a 10-inch R/C motorcycle that features 20 miniature wheels embedded in each of the two main wheels, so kids can handle and drift it easier. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the motorcycle offers 115 feet of range and a controller with proportional speed.

This spring, Playmobil updates its Ghostbusters Ecto-1A from Ghostbusters II with an updated logo and technical equipment. The vehicle features a functioning digital announcement board and a detachable roof, so kids can load proton packs and ghost traps into the car. The ghost trap projects a ghost into the clear hologram cone when synced with the free Playmobil app, and there are four different ghosts to capture. The set also includes Ghostbusters figures Ray Stantz, Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddemore in their official Ghostbusters II uniforms with two detachable slime blower packs and wands, two proton packs, a ghost trap, a PKE meter for measuring psychokinetic energy, and silicone slime splatters that stick to smooth surfaces.

TOMY TOMY introduces the WWE Smash Brawlers Starter Set,, which includes two WWE figures and two controllers. Kids ages 6 and up can place the figures on the controllers to fight each other. It will collapse in defeat if kids hit their opponent’s figure three times. Kids can also play with the figures without the controllers. There are 16 collectible characters in the Smash Brawlers Battle Figure line, each sold separately. The John Deere Johnny Tractor Big Loader: Apple Orchard Set features multiple loading areas and an automated engine that transfers from vehicle to vehicle as Johnny Tractor and his friends work in the apple orchard. The set is designed for kids ages 3 and up. Kids can collect Real Monster Treads,, a line of collectible vehicles packed in sludge. Kids ages 4 and up can dig through the sludge to see which character is inside and uncover additional surprises. Each vehicle features bouncy tires, a different personality, and unique tire treads. All products will be available this fall.

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WWE Smash Brawlers Starter Set


TOY FAIR NEW YORK 2019

PLAYMONSTER PlayMonster adds to its Automoblox line with Ultimate Series, a redesign of the large vehicle line, featuring four unique sets with 23 mixand-match components and additional vehicle styles. Kids can create one vehicle at a time, and up to eight different looks, using the included pieces. If kids have multiple Ultimate sets, they can mix and match them to create even more vehicles. The vehicles’ bodies are made of wood and include multiple interchangeable components, including tires and wheels. The Ultimate Series is recommended for kids ages 4 and up and will be available this fall.

All-Blue Mega Man Figure

JAKKS PACIFIC Jakks Pacific introduces a line of Mega Man products, available this spring. The Basic Figures line features an all-blue Mega Man and Robot Masters figures. The Deluxe Figures line features fully transformed versions of Mega Man. Each figure has a feature to highlight the character’s power, such as spinning drills, projectile launchers, or expanding bellies. Each figure comes with an arm cannon accessory for kids to swap onto the all-blue Mega Man in both lines. The Mega Buster Playset is a multi-tiered set shaped like Mega Buster and has 10 features, including a projectile launcher, trap doors, an elevator, and a slide. The set can hold up to six figures.

MATTEL Mattel introduces the Hot Wheels City Nemesis Attack Playset Assortment, Hot Wheels sets that encourage storytelling play. Kids use the included Hot Wheels car to battle an alligator in Gator Garage Attack, defeat a bat in Bat Manor Attack, escape the octopus in Octopus Pier Attack, or avoid the giant scorpion’s sting in Scorpion Drive-In Attack. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, these sets connect to other Hot Wheels City sets and are compatible with Hot Wheels orange track. The Hot Wheels Monster Trucks 1:24 Die Cast Assortment features die-cast metal cars with oversized bodies and giant monster wheels. Each package includes the truck’s statistics. The cars are designed for kids ages 3 and up. Hot Wheels City Nemesis Gator Garage Attack Playset

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NKOK

ZURU ZURU introduces the Robo Alive Dragon, featuring lifelike movements, roaring sound effects, and LED lights. Kids can choose from a Fire Breathing Dragon or an Ice Blasting Dragon.

NKOK introduces Supreme Machines, featuring nearly 30 new vehicles in a variety of shapes and sizes, including fire rescue trucks, school buses, monster trucks, and more. The T-Rex Chomper Supreme Machine is a monster truck with large motorized tires, a moving wheelie bar, roaring sounds, light-up eyes, and a mouth that opens and closes.

PLAYMATES TOYS Playmates Toys, master toy licensee for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT), expands its product line inspired by Nickelodeon’s animated series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which premiered last September. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Babble Heads Assortment are talking, interactive turtle characters that are ready to train, battle, or be kids’ Ninja Brothers. They feature head, eye, and mouth movements; interactive sensors that respond to kids’ strikes; and battle motion sensors in their shoulders, arms, and hands. Each turtle features a clip so kids can take them on the go. Kids can choose from Loud Mouth Leo or Motor Mouth Mikey, both available this fall. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Figure Assortment expands this year with fully articulated and uniquely sculpted figures, in heights ranging from 3.25 inches to 5 inches. The turtles are available in Battle Shell, Wrestling, and Oozesquito varieties, along with villains, such as Mystic Monk, Party Animal, and Bumbling Bull. Additional figures include the Deluxe Ninja Spin Attack Figures,, which stand 5.25 inches to 5.75 inches tall and feature spinning and ninja kick actions. Giant Battle Shell Figures,, available as Raphael and Leonardo, stand between 10.25 inches and 11 inches tall with full articulation and a back shell secret storage compartment full of battle weapons. New to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vehicle with Figure Assortment is the Bug Buster Vehicle with Donatello.. This transforming, two-in-one, cycle-to-hover machine comes with an exclusive Donnie figure and is equipped with a projectile to target mutants. The Giant Oozesquito Mutagen Blaster is a flying, mutant-maker bug that comes with a translucent green bottle kids can fill with water and use to squirt mutants. Kids can also pick up and carry the turtle figures using the spring-powered Oozequito legs. In addition to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line, Playmates introduces the Super G Wingsuit line. This collection of gliders features aerodynamic designs that fly high. Kids can fly the gliders in one of two modes—Quick Stream for short-range flights or Advanced Glide for longrange flights. The gliders are available in multiple licensed characters, including TMNT Wingsuit Raphael, Wingsuit Spiderman, and Wingsuit Batman. Playmates also expands the Ben 10 Basic Action Figure Assortment to feature characters from season three of the show, including Rustbuggy Ben, three new aliens, Kevin 11, and Hot Shot. Additionally, the 2-in-1 Alien World Micro Play Set will be available in the fall. Kids can open the play set to explore alien Raphael Battle worlds, then fold it up to wear as an Omnitrix. The set comes with two micro figures and accessories. Shell Figure

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JADA TOYS Jada Toys introduces a line of Ryan’s World products inspired by the YouTube channel Ryan ToysReview. The 6-inch Rescue Helicopter with Combo Panda features a retractable hook and a launching safety net. The 6-inch Recycle Truck with Gus features moveable parts and pullback action. Both are die-cast vehicles that include a removable 2.5-inch figure with articulating arms. Kids can spin, pop wheelies, and do tricks with the Skateboard Stunt R/C Combo Panda using the included controller. The R/C features a 9-inch character that can right itself when it falls over. The Combo Panda Airlines play set includes six plastic figures and accessories inspired by Ryan ToysReview.. Kids can open the planeshaped set to play, then close it for storage. The set features functional rolling wheels. Kids can collect the 3.5-inch Ryan’s Racer PDQ,, a line of die-cast vehicles featuring fully functional wheels and a non-removable Ryan’s World character.

BANDAI AMERICA Bandai America introduces the Dragon Ball Super 12- and 13-inch Figures. Based on characters from the series, the figures each include five points of articulation and will be available this fall. Armor-Up Baymax 2.0, based on the character from Big Hero 6: The Series, comes with a 6-inch white Baymax figure and more than 20 connecting pieces. Kids can use the attachable armor and weapons to get Baymax ready to save the day. Both action figures are designed for kids ages 4 and up.

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Skateboard Stunt R/C Combo Panda

SPIN MASTER Spin Master launches Monster Jam Diecast Trucks, designed for kids ages 3 and up. The new trucks feature BKT tires, stylized chrome rims, a chassis with chrome detailing, and a molded driver. With 100 Monster Jam trucks to collect—including Grave Digger, Max-D, Megalodon, Monster Mutt, and El Toro Loco—each 1:64-scale truck includes an exclusive collector’s poster. Monster Jam Monster Dirt Sets are designed for kids ages 3 and up. The sets feature engineered dirt that looks and feels like real dirt in the Monster Jam arena. Kids can use the included molds to build ramps out of Monster Dirt, which they can then demolish. Each set includes an exclusive 1:64-scale die-cast Monster Jam truck detailed with dirt-stained BKT tires. Monster Jam RC Vehicles feature BKT tires and a look-alike chassis. Kids ages 4 and up can race up to six Monster Jam trucks at a time with 2.4 GHz. The 1:24 trucks come in three styles—Megalodon, Grave Digger, and Monster Mutt. Kids can use the packaging as a ramp for the trucks. There are also 1:15 trucks and 1:10 trucks available, including El Toro Loco and Grave Monster Jam Monster Dirt Set Digger. Grave Digger features realistic lights and sounds. All Monster Jam items will be available this spring.


CES 2019

Reflecting Changing Times in the Toy Industry by REYNE RICE, CEO and founder, ToyTrends and ROBIN RASKIN, founder, Living in Digital Time BY NO MEANS DO KIDS’ TOYS DOMINATE

the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES)—the world’s largest tradeshow in Las Vegas for technology and innovation—landscape; but there are always some great harbingers of what’s next in kids’ technology-driven toys. This year’s lesson for the toy industry is to put the focus on play and off of tech for tech’s sake. Here are a few of the important trends we saw rising to the top. LOOK MA, NO SCREENS Parents are increasingly more aware—and distraught—about their kids’ screen time, and they are looking for alternatives. One of the biggest trends at CES this year was the preponderance of toys that don’t rely on screens. Sphero partnered with Specdrums to create app-enabled wearable rings in which users can tap out tunes using a colorful musical mat to bridge harmonies, compose songs, and create beats. Kids can master the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit to build a magic wand, and then use the wand to create spells and wizardry based on simple coding skills. Storytelling and role-playing are the themes behind Coding Critters, from Learning Resources, which engage the youngest kids with cute characters and magnetic manipulatives for early coding preparedness skills.

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TECH GETS MORE PHYSICAL Whether it’s a Razor scooter for navigating the outdoors or Storyball, a new physical ball that interacts with kids and builds custom stories in a mission-based world, this year’s new tech toys focus on the whole child. Both physical and outdoor play take the lead, and tech becomes more of an adjunct to the experience. Hasbro’s Nerf Laser Ops Pro also illustrates this concept. It’s a home laser tag system with tech that allows players to blast

an infrared beam as far as 300 feet. It encourages team or solo play with smart GPS tracking for high-tech fun. SOCIALLY-ABLE TOYS Perhaps the most controversial toys are the ones that connect to the internet and use voice or other input to enable kids to talk to other play pals. Take the furry Woobo, which has a small screen sewn into a Teletubby-like creature. Woobo is a tech-powered version of

Coding Critters, from Learning Resources


a kid’s imaginary friend. It helps instill good behavior (such as brushing teeth), answers questions, and plays games with kids. The new Amazon Echo Dot Kids listens and offers kids an age-appropriate Alexa experience. Kids can use their voices to access 300 audible children’s books, select from a playlist of thousands of songs, and play games. Parents appreciate the robust parental controls, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) compliance, and the device’s understanding of kid-speak. CODING RULES Over the last few years, games that teach kids how to code were deemed almost essential for preparing kids for future jobs. Pai Technologies launched PaiBots, with which kids can create and program robots, and then bring them to life with digital tools in the app, including augmented reality puzzles. Elenco’s Snap Circuits BRIC Structures combines manipulative blocks and circuit-connecting tech to encourage young kids to code. MicroDuino’s Itty Bitty Buggy offers five ways to build and program a buggy powered by an inexpensive Arduino chip. GT Wonderboy is a pint-sized robot companion with smartphone-like connectivity, facial recognition, and even translation skills. The robot engages in conversation, recognizes objects, dances, lets kids look up facts, and effortlessly translates 13 different languages. The pioneers at Wonder Workshop enhance their coding toys with a line of accessories and tools designed to extend the programming capabilities and the shelf life of these toys.

“This year’s lesson for the toy industry is to put the focus on play.” ADDING ART TO STEM WITH STEAM By adding Art to the STEM equation, STEAM toys promote artistic abilities and more right brain options to complement the left brain focus of STEM. A CES 2019 Award winner, Beyond Tablets adds a musical sequence of training tools to compose musical melodies. Language arts were also on display at the show with Square Panda’s tactile alphabet letters, combined with gaming to create fun ways for kids to learn words and identify linguistic sounds. Storytelling is the theme

PaiBots, from Pai Technologies

behind Lunii, My Fabulous Storyteller device, which empowers kids as young as age 3 to create stories by choosing characters, the location, the theme, and objects to populate their audio stories. THE PRICE MUST BE RIGHT Kids grow and change—so does technology. Parents are getting wise to the fact that tech toys don’t have the hand-me-down factor that traditional toys have. Tech toys are also a lot pricier than a board game or jigsaw puzzle. The upshot is that parents are now a bit wary of $500 robots or coding kits. We’re seeing more fiscally conservative parents happy to spend money on things that delight. Fingerlings Untamed dinosaurs, wolves, and other creatures evolved from an alliance between WowWee and HappyGiant. These interactive creatures are available at retail for $15 each and have additional features, such as the free augmented reality app, that offer a new level of play. Mattel announced a new version of Pictionary with its own high-tech touch that it’ll unveil at Toy Fair New York. INTERGENERATIONAL PLAY Now that people are living longer, there’s a new generation of kids wanting to play with their elders, and companies are noticing. Video game fans are reveling in the availability of retro gaming and old-school games that people can play on the Nintendo Switch hardware with new multi-player functions for the whole family to enjoy. Parents also like toys that give their kids a creative, hands-on

experience that also connects to the digital world. Nintendo’s new Nintendo Labo kits do exactly this. Kids can build physical life-size tools from sturdy cardboard, and then use them to make music, drive and race vehicles, and create life-size robotic arms and legs, pooling resources from the offline world and the video game world. With Toy Fair New York here, it will be interesting to see whether these trends scale, and who the innovators will be as we march into 2019. »

Reyne Rice serves as co-president of the International Toy Trade Magazine Association (ITMA). She is a global trend hunter, journalist, and contributing editor for multiple international publications, including The Toy Book and the Spirit of Play, from New York. She’s also a keynote speaker at more than 20 global industry conferences annually. She founded her own consultancy, Toy Trends, in 2003, and can be reached at reyne@reynerice.com. Robin Raskin is founder and CEO of Living in Digital Times, a conference and event company that looks at the intersection of technology and lifestyle. Her company partners with the CTA and CES to produce Kids and Family Tech programming, among others. The former editor of PC Magazine, FamilyPC, and other tech publications, including Yahoo!Tech, Raskin has spent her career exploring technology, published numerous books, and served as a broadcast commentator for major networks.

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TALKING SOCIAL MEDIA

SWIPING UP ON BRANDS’ SOCIAL MEDIA STORIES Social Media Stories Expected to Dominate This Year’s Digital Landscape by MELISSA HUNTER, founder, Family Video Network THE SOCIAL MEDIA LANDSCAPE changes fast enough to give anyone whiplash, but we all need to be ready to adapt. Going live was all the rage for most of last year, but this year, look for Stories to become the big buzz. What are Stories? Who has them? How do I use them? These are good questions, so let’s jump into the answers. Stories are snack-sized content that viewers love to watch. They vary from platform to platform, but in essence, they are the brainchild of Snapchat. Stories include video, still images, or blocks of text, and they vary in length from seven to 30 seconds. Depending on the platform, they stay visible on the social media account for 24 hours to seven days. The beauty of Stories is that they are quick and easy for the creator to make. There is little editing beyond filters, stickers, and text overlay for hashtags and tagging, which gives them a raw, authentic feel—the original lure of social media. Influencers use Stories to communicate quick updates, favorite things, behind-the-scenes updates, and sponsored messages to their followers. With the rollout of YouTube Stories to partners with more than 10,000 subscribers, the video platform is the latest social media site to add this type of feature. It is also the only one to allow Stories to stay visible for more than 24 hours, while every other platform has a day-long limit. Instagram added a Highlights feature, which allows an influencer to “save” a story and make it a permanent highlight at the top of his or her profile. They can delete Highlights on their own schedule, rather

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than being constrained by the 24-hour limit the site imposes. Facebook also has its own Stories feature with many of the same characteristics as Instagram, which makes sense since they share owners. At the moment, users view Facebook Stories far less than Instagram Stories, but the site is pushing them in front of audiences more to improve watch time and engagement. Instagram is the go-to platform for Stories right now with its new “swipe up” feature. Brand accounts—which most influencers now use—have the option to add a link to their Stories. If their viewers “swipe up” on the screen, they will be taken directly to that link. The previous lack of an outlinking feature made it difficult to measure engagement and drive actual conversations. Early data shows that viewers do indeed swipe up to view the attached link, especially if the influencer both verbally and visually encourages the consumer to do so. PARTNER WITH THE RIGHT INFLUENCER Choosing an influencer always begins with research. Before asking a creator to produce a branded campaign using Stories, observe how they create their own content and Stories. Do they post more than 10 random snippets throughout the day, or do they produce high quality, interesting, and engaging stories? Some use the feature to create one long, rambling series of 15-second clips. It is unlikely that their audience swipes through all of them to completion. The beauty of Stories is that they appeal to the short-attention-span generation. Look for someone who only posts a few Stories daily. Their viewers are going to be hungrier for those snacks-sized tidbits of content when published. Find an influencer who uses their Stories to share a combination of behind-the-scenes footage, slice-of-life moments, snapshots of

things they love, and an occasional promotion. Brands should be sure influencers conditioned their audience to “swipe up” on Stories, directing followers to other sites, including YouTube videos or their own websites or blogs. The rise of Stories creates many exciting opportunities for the social media sphere. It is a fun new playground, and the brands that are willing to experiment will see great returns in terms of engagement. Just think, it is much easier to convey a concise, targeted message in 15 seconds than in a 10-minute scripted YouTube video skit. Partner with influencers who are willing to play with both your brand and their followers to create experiences that will delight users and demonstrate more engagement. Of course, all FTC disclosures are required in Stories—just as they are required in all other sponsored content. And don’t forget to create your own Stories on your brand accounts. Have fun with your followers and reach the short-attention-span generation effectively. »

Melissa Hunter is better known in the YouTube world as Mommy, the co-host of Mommy’s World, a toy and doll unboxing channel. In 2014, she launched Family Video Network, an influencer network and consulting company that works with the top toy brands and social media personalities in the kids and family space.


OUTSIDE THE BOX

KID-SPEAKING BRAND PACKAGING

Creating a Visual Language that Appeals to Younger Generations by TED MININNI, president and creative director, Design Force HOW CAN WE REACH NEW GENERATions of consumers? Many marketers at mature consumer product companies ask themselves this question, as younger customers actively seek brands offering personalities and experiences that are relevant to them. You may think this is best left in the hands of disruptors—the brash brand startups and fearless entrepreneurs. While there are plenty of examples of these kinds of brands, there are also intriguing new launches from consumer product companies with deep heritages. Brands that market the most common products to millennials and their kids in a relevant manner are even more compelling. How do they achieve this? By creating brands that “kid speak.” In other words, they infuse brands with personality, quirkiness, and fresh appeal. Developing a unique visual and verbal language heightens the consumer’s experience with the brand based on its persona, which is integrated into every marketing platform. But no marketing vehicle can “kid speak” more persuasively than package design. POSITIVELY BUBLY WITH SUCCESS I liked the package design concept for bubly, PepsiCo’s sparkling water brand aimed at younger consumers, so I anticipated success for its launch last February. Remember, sparkling water is a commodity item and— as is the case in most beverage categories—there are endless choices. So how can you make this brand “kid speak?” Bold, new flavors, for one thing, and a unique delivery. bubly’s brightly colored cans, which feature a cool logo, carbonated bubbles, and smiles, clearly stand out among brands displayed in standard industry packaging. There are toothy smiles,

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smiles that sport mustaches, or tongues smacking smiling lips. Personality? Check. When consumers make eye contact with this packaging and step up to check it out, bubly literally greets them. The colorcoordinated pull tabs—part of the brand’s variety segmentation strategy—say “hiya,” “hey u,” and other colloquial greetings. While these custom pull tabs are an added expense for PepsiCo, they contribute to the customer experience with the brand. Consumers then read that all of the flavors are natural, which is very relevant to the younger demographic. Overall, the brand’s visual and verbal expressions clearly denote fun, but is this aligned with the company’s vision? PepsiCo’s press release on bubly’s launch reads, “PepsiCo today announced the launch of bubly, a new sparkling water that combines refreshing and delicious flavors with an upbeat and playful sense of humor to shake up the sparkling water category while keeping it real with no artificial flavors, no sweeteners, and no calories.” PepsiCo invites customers to #crackasmile, and that’s exactly what we do

when we see packaging smiling at us: We smile back. bubly’s brand, design, and experience came together to help PepsiCo beat its revenue forecasts. That isn’t bad for one of the world’s largest beverage companies, and one that doesn’t fit our contemporary image of a disruptor. NOT YOUR MOTHER’S MAKEUP When Sephora landed in New York City from France in 1998, the cosmetics retailer found the sweet spot to offer a new makeup buying experience for younger consumers. Sephora understood that millennials and younger consumers want to go into a store and try all of the products for themselves, reminiscent of the joy they experienced rummaging through their moms’ makeup bags as kids. Modern, upscale Sephora interiors beat drugstore makeup displays any day, and they’re far more accessible than the department store makeup counters staffed with labcoated makeup technicians. As you’d expect, Sephora’s stores are cool, but they also demonstrate how architectural branding can evolve to keep pace with young consumers, who are less inclined to hit the shopping malls. Just a year ago, the company opened a new store concept in Boston—Sephora Studio. At 2,000 square feet, this new beauty studio was the smallest Sephora store in the country. It began to offer consumers 45-minute makeovers and 15-minute facials on demand to foster a more intimate experience. But nothing is more central to the Sephora experience than its branded products. Last year’s launch of Sephora Collection’s #LIPSTORIES featured 40 shades of long-lasting lipsticks with a new, highly pigmented formula in


OUTSIDE THE BOX

cream, matte, and metallic finishes. It is the packaging for these lipsticks that shakes up everything else within the category. Each shade has a unique package design featuring an image of a place, experience, or object that is reminiscent of that shade of lipstick. It’s cool, it’s art, and it’s made of biodegradable cardboard, too. While high-end in appearance, the product sells for a cool $8. This is branding that hits on all cylinders for kids and young adults. In an interview with beautypackaging.com, Beth Hayes, vice president for Sephora Collection says, “We created Sephora Collection #LIPSTORIES, a new inspirational collection … that encourages our one-of-a-kind clientele to tell their unique story, as inspired by the colorful shade range and unique packaging.” Is it any wonder that Sephora is connecting with young consumers, or that it’s redefining the cosmetics business? TOYING AROUND What are the things that appeal most to kids? Toys that are funny, ugly, and gross. If you don’t believe me, look at the proliferation of hot toys in the marketplace these days, many of which touch on one or all of these attributes. Hasbro’s game, Don’t Step in It, is a great example. So are toys such as Mattel’s Monster High dolls, Skyrocket’s Grumblies, and Cra-Z-Art’s make-your-own Nickelodeon slime kits. There’s also a proliferation of plush introductions in the marketplace. Some of the hottest brands are funny, ugly, and gross—but also cuddly! It’s a conundrum, sure, but it makes perfect sense to kids. For example, Spin Master recently acquired the rights to UK property Fuggler, a unique line

of collectible plush dolls. A company press release from last July about the acquisition reads: “Having originated in the UK, the funny, ugly Fuggler monsters began to gain a cult following due to their quirky and off-beat nature. Each character features a unique toothy smile or grimace, eyes, and a signature butt-onhole. Their imperfectly perfect look and mischievous expressions are irresistible ... There are more than 50 unique Fuggler characters to collect, available in 9- or 12-inch sizes. Rare characters can be discovered by checking for glow-in-the dark teeth and eyes.” Speaking of eyes, there are Fugglers with shiny, glass eyes and Fugglers with kooky, mostly mismatched button eyes. Their mouths and other facial features have a handsewn appearance. These plush characters are reminiscent of sock puppets in many ways, but they’re contemporized versions for a new generation of kids ages 4 and up. Actually, I can envision this toy appealing to tweens, teens, and even adults who enjoy quirky pop culture products. In a wise move, Spin Master chose to package Fugglers in the most basic, brown packaging. Or is it basic? Consumers can see the Fuggler’s unique face peering out at the world through the die-cut window

surrounded by monster bite marks. Since the package design is purposely minimalistic, the total focus is on the monster with a toothy, slightly malicious grin. The brand identity, a black cartouche, also features bite marks on its upper left-hand corner. Bite marks also appear on the letter “F” and the letter “R” in the Fuggler logo, which allows the same brown carton color to show through its holding shape. Underneath the logo is a simple three-word descriptor of the toy— “Funny Ugly Monster.” The only other verbal brand communication on-pack features a “warning,” posted within a box in the lower right-hand corner. It tells kids to “Adopt at your own risk,” and advises them to sleep with their mouths closed and one eye open. This leverages “kid speak” in a highly relevant manner for children. In fact, it makes the brand irresistible. What Spin Master began on-pack, it fleshed out further on the Fugglers brand website, with storytelling that has the right tone, a bit of irreverence, and a whole lot of audacity that promises to create another pop culture following. You might observe that Fugglers are toys, and so, of course they “kid speak.” Let’s remember that a great deal of plush in the marketplace is cute and cuddly, so there’s an opportunity to go counter-culture to great effect. The packaging, as well as the product and its positioning, heightens the brand’s appeal to kids. Whether a brand is born of a heritage company or of a new one, developing unique visual and verbal language properly rooted in “kid speak” will be the determining factor in its success. Nothing matters more than its interpretation on pack, since that is where the brand meets the consumer in person. »

Ted Mininni is president and creative director at Design Force Inc., a package and licensing program design consultancy to the consumer product and entertainment industries. The goal of Design Force is to establish strong emotional connections with consumers and create powerful visual brand experiences that engage, excite, entertain, inspire, and influence consumers’ decision to buy. Mininni can be reached at (856) 810-2277. Visit designforceinc.com for more information.

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TOY ASSOCIATION UPDATE

THE TOY ASSOCIATION’S SMART PACKAGING TOOL Helping Manufacturers Produce More Eco-Friendly Packaging Designs by LAURIE CHARTORYNSKY, communications specialist and content developer, The Toy Association CONSUMERS ARE USUALLY SHOCKED when they see the amount of packaging left behind after opening their child’s toy. Often referred to as “wrap rage” or the “Christmas-morning effect,” packaging seems like a heap of frustrating trash to a consumer. But what many consumers don’t understand is that packaging plays many important roles in the toy industry. Packaging is crucial to tell a story on-shelf in a split second. It also facilitates the transport and display of products while helping to reduce breakage. Yet all consumers see is that pile of trash—which is what packaging eventually becomes. The Toy Association’s newest member benefit, Smart Packaging Tool, will help companies make simple packaging changes that can benefit the environment, even after they construct cutting-edge package designs. Working in partnership with The Walt Disney Co., The Toy Association launched the Smart Packaging Tool in the fall. The initiative allows toy companies to determine the environmental impact of their designs and see how they stack up against those of other manufacturers in the same product category to help improve their packaging. Disney spent five years developing this tool for internal use. During that time, Disney worked with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition to examine and implement the best practices. They then rolled out the tool to licensees. Grant funding from Disney allowed for a new stand-alone iteration of the tool created specifically for Toy Association members. “We are very excited that we’ve been able to work with Disney to adapt and imple-

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ment their sustainable packaging tool for our members,” says Alan Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs at The Toy Association. “We know this new Smart Packaging Tool will help lead companies to make more eco-friendly packaging choices.” HOW IT WORKS Users enter specific data, including product information, packaging dimensions, and material information. From there, they answer design for environment (DfE) questions and then receive a detailed score on their packaging’s environmental performance. Packages are assigned a numerical score from zero to 100, relative to similar product types. This assessment will take about 15 minutes, assuming all of the information is at a user’s fingertips at the start of the process. It is important to note that all information will be collected anonymously and is not shared, and companies will not see each other’s package designs, ideas, or concepts. The outcome is a benchmark figure of that specific package’s environmental impact. Because other companies will utilize the tool in real-time, the benchmark will constantly shift and rise for each specific product category and, eventually, for the industry as a whole. The next part of the process is evaluating what changes the companies can make to improve the packaging’s score. Scores can improve by applying the Smart Packaging Initiative’s Design Principles. The tool can show material choices that can reduce impact, allowing users to test-drive designs before spending any time or money on the package. “This tool will improve the environmental

performance of toy packaging in ways that are measurable, visual, and can optimize on-shelf and e-commerce performance,” Kaufman says. “This is a win for the industry, for consumers, and, of course, for the environment.” Kaufman adds, “Less packaging offers benefits on so many levels. It translates to lower costs, reduced regulatory fees, and more retail space for products. In addition, consumers have come to expect reduced packaging made with recyclable materials.” Want to know more about The Toy Association’s Smart Packaging Tool? Be sure to attend a special seminar at Toy Fair, The Smart Packaging Tool—What It Is and What It Does, on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Hall 1E, Room 1E11. During the session, presenters Christian Del Maestro, corporate citizenship manager at Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, and The Toy Association’s Alan Kaufman will walk attendees through the new tool and answer questions. The session is open to all Toy Fair attendees. For those that cannot attend Toy Fair, a recording of The Toy Association’s webinar, Understanding How to Use The Toy Association’s New Smart Packaging Initiative Tool, is available at toyassociation.org/webinars. For more information on how your company can make a positive environmental impact with this new tool, visit spi. toyassociation.org or contact Alan Kaufman (akaufman@toyassociation.org). »


WIT STORIES

GAME ON: DIGITAL GAMING IRL

WIT members help digital games surf into the licensed merchandise space. by GENNA ROSENBERG, CEO, GennComm; Women in Toys executive board member THERE ARE CURRENTLY 2.2 BILLION active gamers globally, according to NewsZoo’s 2017 annual global gaming report. One billion gamers generated more than $108.9 billion in revenue last year. Eighty-seven percent ($94.4 billion) of this revenue was from digital games, and Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment (WIT) members are pioneering this new economy. Arcade games started it all in the 1970s and 1980s, as kids and adults plowed quarters into machines to gobble up PacMan ghosts and Centipedes. Atari 2600 and computer games followed, enabling gamers to play from their own homes. Now, those kids are grown up and have spending power and kids of their own. Throughout the years, trends shifted from playing at home to playing at any time and place. Almost everyone, from 3-year-olds to senior citizens, is playing games on smartphones and tablets. Gaming is surpassing participation in team sports and meet-ups at the mall among tweens and young adults. Even my parents spend countless hours connecting digitally on Words with Friends on their iPad Minis instead of playing dominoes at get-togethers. Are we developing new skills and staying mentally sharp? Are we connecting with communities or disconnecting from them? Depends on whom you ask. But, with more than a quarter of the planet involved in digital gaming, it’s no surprise that monetizing digital gaming outside the mobile screen is big business. The opportunity for developers to connect their digital goldmines in real life is delicious. It starts with immersing engaged commuFortnite Llama nities of gamers

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Loot Plush, from Jazwares

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with products and gear that authentically connect to brands they love, making toys an obvious sweet spot. Classic toy brands, such as Tetris, are still en vogue. Tetris celebrates a milestone this year, with WIT board member Janice Ross bringing the beloved digital game into new licensed merchandise territory with collaborations in almost every category. On the opposite spectrum, the newer mega-hit Fortnite, from Epic Games—available on every gaming platform—has more than 200 million registered players and generated more than $1 billion in digital in-store app purchases. To optimize profits from its rabid fan base, IMG Director of Licensing Elizabeth Scarwid worked with partners to develop and launch Fortnite-licensed action figures, collectibles, and games to appeal to its huge fan base and bring the experience to the real world. WIT Wonder Women, including Jazwares Chief Commercial Officer Laura Zebersky, quickly jumped on the Fortnite train with collectible action figures and its famous piñata. Hasbro rushed a Fortnite mashup of its classic board game Monopoly based on the digital phenomenon. Others, such as Funko, Moose Toys, and McFarlane Toys, are also creating in the Fortnite toy box. WIT supporter Wicked Cool Toys (WCT) tapped the No. 1 Fortnite player in the world, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, to find a different angle for getting in on this megatrend. Ninja amasses more than 68,000 daily views on Twitch and is known for his trademark short, spiky blue hair and personal caricatures called “emotes.” WCT is set to release a Ninja range of toys, games, and accessories this year, which makes the gaming influencer the star of the toy line and ups the game. Walmart was first to market the line of Fortnite toys with huge displays in its toy aisles, toy demos, and sprays for shoppers timed to the release of Fornite Battle. SYBO Games’ Subway Surfers, the No. 1 most-downloaded mobile game in 2017 and the first to cross 1 billion downloads on Google Play, bets its game will have global

Subsurf Fat Cap SlipOn Vans

appeal. The game has more than 2.1 billion downloads across all platforms. “Subway Surfers is more than a game, but a lifestyle,” SYBO’s head of licensing and WIT Wonder Woman Naz Amarchi-Cuevas says. The team brought the brand’s essence into the physical world with Subsurf merchandise that is authentic to its audience and a series of IRL events, such as the Subsurf booth at Lisbon’s Rock in Rio festival, where fans hone parkour skills like Subway Surfers characters Jake and Tricky. The licensing strategy focuses on core themes that appeal to Subway Surfers’ global audience, which connects with culture over country and embraces skate, art, dance, and music in Subsurf merchandise. Things are coming full circle as gamers gather as they did in the arcade days. eSports gaming arenas are popping up worldwide, where gamers gear up, connect IRL, and share their experiences on social media. I can’t wait to see which titles top the leaderboards in this fast-paced game space. »

Genna Rosenberg is an executive board member of WIT and CEO of GennComm, a global marketing communications agency focused on the business of entertainment and play. She also founded the think tank GennComm/ImaGENNation to focus on brand and IP innovation. She and her team always keep an eye on trends, empowerment, and social responsibility.


THE CONVERGENCE OF SPECIALTY AND MASS How Toy Trends Affect the Retail Landscape by STEVE STAROBINSKY, chief marketing officer, Diverse Marketing; founder, Diverse Insights LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, I MADE NEW YEAR’S

resolutions for 2019. Some are personal, such as learning how to say “thank you” in every language, and some are business related, such as not using the words “mass” or “specialty” when describing a product or brand. The industry changed so much over the past 36 months—and especially in the last six—that those terms no longer tell the full story of an item. I believe it started back in November 2013 with the release of Disney Frozen. A product frenzy emerged due to everyone, including Disney, under-betting on the movie and its characters. The demand was through the roof, and sharp retailers—no matter classification—sourced licensed products often for the first time. It blurred channel lines and gave independent retailers a taste of the velocity of selling the right licensed goods at the right time. Flash-forward to 2018, the first Christmas without Toys “R” Us, and when L.O.L. Surprise! accounted for seven of the top 10 toys in the entire toy business, according to The NPD Group. Manufacturers such as Moose Toys, Spin Master, MGA Entertainment through KidFocus, and WowWee all had domestic distribution options that, for the first time, gave all retailers—big and small— accessibility to the top brands. This created a unique mix of products that consumers increasingly sought, including items that were highly specialized and educational. Merchants balanced exciting TV brands with classic and traditional toys for a mix never before seen in the industry. As a result, retailers curated an offering that truly represented them and reflected their values, instead of being held to traditional channel distribution lines of the past. From every retailer I spoke with this fourth quarter, that mix was driving major excitement and dollars to the bottom line. Besides MGA Entertainment, the only

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other toy company in the top 10 list that had cross-channel success and posted year-overyear growth was Funko. Before diving deep into the product, look up the consumer event that the company puts on at Comic-Con International: San Diego, called “Funko Fundays.” This celebration of fandom and the company’s consumer is what separates it from any other figure company in our industry. Funko offers the widest—and sometimes most obscure—range of licensed product options to retailers in every sector. It sells licensed products from video games, such as Overwatch; TV shows, such as Rick & Morty; and movies, such as Harry Potter. There are even surprising licenses, such as Bob Ross; ones that fill consumers with nostalgia, such as the Golden Girls; or products for remembrance, with idols like Prince. Fan toys are another opportunity for independent retailers to tell their stories with products that feature beloved characters and attract new consumers. Companies like Funko resonate with consumers because they speak to the kidat- heart-phenomena. The average age of a first-time mother in the 1970s was 21 years old, and the average age of a first-time mother in the 2010s is 27 years old. That’s six years of more income, time, and embracing the innocence and playfulness of being a kid— and intermingling it with our consumerist patterns. The millennial is different from the previous generation that abandoned its interest to work in a factory or white collar office—one that had, could, and wanted to grow up faster. Instead, these kidults still love video games, collectibles, and comic books, and find shopping at a neighborhood retailer fun and rewarding. They also buy all their necessities on Amazon and are fortunate enough to receive the byproduct of purchasing items off of the retail giant—time. They have more time to spend on fun things, and going to a

toy store is inherently fun—so mass and specialty retailers alike should take advantage. Finally, I see that the arts and crafts supercategory and automation in society connect. Call me a bit of a homer, but a quote from Mark Cuban from 2017 still stands out to me. When asked about what automation will do to society in relationship to unemployment and job training, he said, “I personally think there’s going to be a greater demand in 10 years for liberal arts majors.” Last year, the supercategory slightly rose less than 5 percent, which validates the need for all retailers to champion this category. The tactile trend proved that kids are over-digitized, and now retailers should embrace that creative development aligns with the future needs of companies and entrepreneurial opportunities. Let’s promote it and together find innovation. Trends today spread like wildfire and can become global in a matter of days, not months. With that in mind, my recommendation is simple: Try it! If you hear that something is trending from a trusted source, find a way to bring it into your store as fast as possible. The upside to being right heavily outweighs the financial loss of being wrong. A creative director friend once told me that trends are like the weather. At first I thought it referred to trends changing every day, but the more I research trends, the more I understand that it’s really about not getting caught in the rain without an umbrella. » Steve Starobinsky is a toy industry veteran. He started working in the toy business in high school for Funrise Toys in Los Angeles, and worked his way up from the warehouse to sales and marketing. Steve has been with Diverse Marketing, a leading toy and trend marketing firm in Dallas, for the past 10 years. He serves as chief marketing officer. Steve also publishes a trend blog based on his travels around the world called Diverse Insights.


EUROMONITOR

TOYS “R” US CONTINUES TO SPARK INDUSTRY CHANGE Toys Settle into New Groove in a Post-Toys “R” Us Landscape by MATTHEW HUDAK, consultant—toys and games, Euromonitor International THE LOSS OF TOYS “R” US HAD A ripple effect across the industry, with retailers pushing to fill the void and toy manufacturers working with reduced shelf space and robust competition in the U.S. Elsewhere in the world, emerging markets are poised to see family and middle-class income growth, which will increase toy sales. These trends will improve the global traditional toy market, which is expected to see an overall moderate growth at 2 percent in constant terms this year, according to Euromonitor International. RETAIL LANDSCAPE STARTS TO SOLIDIFY Despite plans to revive the Toys “R” Us brand in some capacity, consumers are already moving on to new retail outlets for their toy-buying needs. Some of the biggest benefactors of this are Target, Walmart, and Amazon—with numerous retailers also pushing heavily in the space. This year, the landscape will settle and consumers will adopt new shopping habits in Toys “R” Us’

absence. The historical norm of the traditional toys and games retail market will return. Store-based retailers will slowly bleed market share to online channels as consumers use online retailing for all toy and other shopping needs to grow access and comfort. EMERGING MARKETS REASSERT THEMSELVES AS GROWTH DRIVERS Recent economic and political issues, particularly within regions such as Latin America, stymied growth for developing and emerging countries after having a long streak of high growth in traditional toys. While some issues persist, this year is expected to bring many emerging markets back to more consistent economic gains, leading to middle class disposable income growth. The rise in child population in many key emerging markets, such as China, the Middle East, and Africa, give traditional toys a strong opportunity to capitalize on increased parental interest in these countries. This year, according to Eu-

romonitor International, traditional toys and games in developed markets are expected to experience nearly 1 percent growth in constant value, compared to nearly 5 percent for emerging markets. REMOTE CONTROL AND CONSTRUCTION TOYS ARE KEY GROWTH AREAS IN 2019 The highest growth areas of traditional toys and games will include R/C and construction toys this year, according to Euromonitor International. With more than 3 percent global retail value sales growth in constant value expected for each category, it signals the strength of technological and educational movements within the industry. Construction toys recently saw declines, largely due to the fall of LEGO. But the company has been weathering the loss of Toys “R” Us better than most other top companies, and it looks as though LEGO will find growth to rebound solidly next year. R/C toys have grown steadily for years as kids become adept with technology at a younger age and want toys that can integrate with smartphones—something R/C toys increasingly do. In addition, both categories have various toys that help kids develop STEM skills, in particular tech skills that many new parents feel are vital for their kids given the technical skills future careers will require. »

Matthew Hudak is a toys and games consultant at Euromonitor International. In his role, he researches and analyses the consumer trends, key markets, competitive landscape, and growth opportunities influencing the global toys and games industry to help organizations make strategic business decisions.

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RAISING THE BAR

SATURATED FACT Using Trademarks to Build Your Brand by HOWARD N. ARONSON, managing partner, Lackenbach Siegel LLC TOY COMPANIES, LIKE ALMOST ALL consumer-oriented businesses, face an oversaturated market—or is it just saturated? A market is saturated when it is no longer generating new demand for certain products, whether as a result of increased competition, decreased need, or obsolescence. Consider water blasters, for example, a product that anyone can buy anywhere and anytime. Or board games—in the U.S., the market for board games is saturated because almost all Americans own a board game. An oversaturated market occurs when these conditions become so extreme that sales cannot budge—or even stay the same —from year to year. Look at the total sales volume for your product compared to the total number of potential customers, and you’ll have an idea of how saturated your market is. For toy companies, those figures can add up to “oversaturated”—although toys, unlike household appliances, for example, are often discarded to make room for the newest toy, whether it’s movie-themed or features new technology. Does that mean few companies can survive, let alone increase sales? Everyone knows the big brands that enjoy increasing demand. How do they do it? IT’S ABOUT THE BRAND The most effective way to differentiate yourself from the competition is branding, and the key to branding is your trademark portfolio. Even if a potential customer could find an apparently identical product at a lower price, the customer often will seek—and pay more for—the promoted and protected brand. For example, iPhone customers are highly loyal, even though prices, margins, and profits keep rising. Smaller companies may see trademark protection as unnecessary when they face big competition, but that’s marketing mistake No. 1. Your trademarks will build an identity that adds value. A strong brand can be a company’s most valuable asset. Once you own it, nobody else can get it (as long as you keep

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using it). Again, look at the way trademarks set apart the biggest and most successful companies. Time, consistency, and vigorous enforcement create trademarks that not only help prevent customer confusion (the purpose of trademark law), but also can protect companies from knock-offs that threaten sales and profits. Competitors can offer a similar toy, but you can stop them from using your trademarks to compete with you. Brand loyalty, built with strong trademarks, can set your company apart in a saturated—and even an oversaturated—market. THE STRATEGY Choosing a Trademark It may be counterintuitive, but finding a strong trademark means resisting the temptation to choose a mark that is descriptive of your product. For example, “fast car” for a toy racer and “high bouncer” for a ball are weak trademarks. Instead, find a trademark that requires imagination and effort to build an identity with your product. Think Amazon, Apple, and Google, which have no descriptive qualities for the respective products to which they relate. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board found the trademark “smart sensor” merely descriptive of “interactive electric action toys.” Such a descriptive mark fails as a strong trademark and thus cannot be registered in the Patent and Trademark Office, and would likely be unenforceable as an unregistered mark. Creativity in choosing a mark that doesn’t describe your product will pay off when you attempt to register your trademark—and when it’s time to enforce your trademark rights against competitors. Searching Your Mark A comprehensive trademark availability search will ensure that another party is not using your chosen mark. Your IP lawyer can advise you on the results of the search, so you know whether to proceed with your ap-

plication or choose a new trademark before you invest resources. Registering Your Mark Obtaining protection for your trademark via federal registration is vital. Your IP attorney can guide you through the preparation and filing of your application, and help ensure that it reaches registration promptly. Using Your Brand Don’t be shy about using your trademark to promote your product. Your website, packaging, and advertising—including promotion on social media—are just a few of the ways you can help to make your trademark a household name. Your IP counsel can also advise you on the proper use of your mark and the most effective way to build brand recognition with your mark. Enforcement Federal trademark registration provides a host of benefits for trademark owners (see “Raising the Bar: Not So Fast! Trademark Protection that Keeps Pace with Fast-Track Toys,” in The Toy Book’s March/April 2018 issue of registration). Monitor the use of your mark so you catch infringers in the act, and leverage the benefits of registration. Ignoring or delaying enforcement will doom your brand’s power of exclusivity. With the help of your IP lawyer, you can make a plan to monitor use of your mark by others and to quickly take action to stop improper use, because brand recognition can challenge—and set you apart in—an oversaturated market. » Howard N. Aronson has provided legal counsel to toy industry companies for the past 30 years. He is the managing partner of Lackenbach Siegel LLP, an intellectual property law firm recognized for its nine decadees of handling toy company issues. Grateful acknowledgement is extended to Eileen DeVries, counsel to Lackenbach Siegel.


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SPECIALTY TOYS & GIFTS

HOW THE NEW GENERATION OF TOY ENTREPRENEURS IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE by CHRISTINE OSBORNE, owner, Wonder Works; principal, Christine S. Osborne LLC OVER THE YEARS, I HAD THE PLEASURE of working with numerous toy entrepreneurs. But, the entrepreneurs currently invading the toy industry are different than those who came before them—they have a drive that supersedes anything I saw in the past. Here is a look into the minds of four of the industry’s leading entrepreneurs, as I dive into who and what influenced and inspired them to take our industry to the next level. ROB BERTSCHY, INVENTOR, SWURFER Rob Bertschy, inventor of the Swurfer (now with Flybar), was quick to share that his creativity and resourcefulness allowed him to develop and market the Swurfer, but it was his passion and ambition that pushed him to take it to the next level and turn Swurfer into a real business. Rooted in Charleston, South Carolina, Swurfer is the next generation outdoor board sport—handcrafted wooden swings engineered for surfing the air. Bertschy’s drive and perseverance took him and his family of four on a RV tour of specialty toy stores across the country during his first year in business. This solidified relationships with retailers that far exceeded any trade show encounter for his product. Swurfer quickly made it onto the Today show, as well as numerous other national morning shows, making it the “must-have” swing nationwide. His mind is rarely quiet. When you speak with him, you realize he is living in the next decade. He is always looking forward, planning future industry business models, and developing 20 to 25 new product ideas all at once. Bertschy’s best advice for toy entrepreneurs is, “Don’t forget who you are and where you came from. Growing up in Bentonville, Arkansas, I experienced Walmart’s ascension first hand. From a young age, I was experienc-

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ing the Walmart way and the culture of exceptional customer service. I have always looked up to Sam Walton and embraced the culture he was so passionate about.” MARISSA LOUIE, INVENTOR, ANIMOODLES Marissa Louie finds her drive in staying grounded. Her background as a designer at Apple and Yahoo gave her the ability to be steadfast in her gut instincts of focusing on giving kids the toys they want. Animoodles are huggable, soft, fully magnetic, mix-and-make plush toys created by

“The entrepreneurs currently invading the toy industry are different than those who came before them—they have a drive that supersedes anything I saw in the past.” veteran artists from Apple, Disney, and Pixar. Animoodles have magnetic arms, limbs, bodies, and heads that kids can be rearranged into hundreds of combinations, or even stick to refrigerators. They are inspiring the next generation of compassionate makers around the world. Louie surrounded herself with industry experts, such as Caren Shalek, who marketed the original Tickle Me Elmo, and Jim Whims, who brought the original Teddy Ruxpin to store shelves. Tom Kalinske, the former CEO of Mattel, Sega, and LeapFrog, also provided her with guidance on product creation and toy company operations. Learning from industry veterans was key to Louie’s success with her product. The digital world of Kickstarter, Amazon, and social media (including influencers) has

been her sweet spot in marketing hands-on play. She is one of the leaders embracing this technology to move her business forward. However, she also states that good, old-fashioned play patterns without hightech apps moved her plush into the next decade of play. For Louie, the future looks like continued learning in all aspects of her business, staying true to herself, knowing her customer, and using her creativity for new characters, textures, and functionality. CAMERON LARIAN, HEAD, KIDFOCUS Cameron Larian has the daunting task of utilizing his energy and persistence to bring MGA products, such as L.O.L. Surprise!, Moj Moj, Little Tikes, Num Noms, Project Mc2, and Ready2 Robot, into the hands of specialty toy stores throughout the country. Larian is openly honest with his desire to learn, grow, and adapt to the changing toy environment. Somewhat of an old soul, he openly discusses his philosophy of taking full responsibility for everything in his life, being open minded, and rolling with the punches. Larian moves his business through stressful times quickly using his unique ability to own his beliefs, understandings, and patterns. His response to criticism, suggestions, and advice is thoughtful, and he recognizes the ability to learn from feedback. His proactivity empowers his business for better future outcomes, and he is extremely open to developing the bridge from mass to specialty in a way that benefits all. ADAM REED, CREATOR, REINDEER IN HERE Adam Reed is the creator of Reindeer in Here, a book and plush set sent by Santa as the first gift of the Christmas season to celebrate the differences in children and reinforce the concept that being different is normal.


SPECIALTY TOYS & GIFTS

Christine Osborne and the KidFocus team at ASTRA’s 2018 Marketplace & Academy.

Reed, a TV producer by trade, treats his product as he would one of his many TV shows. He provides a 360-degree experience for the consumer, including PR, marketing, celebrity involvement, special retail events, a massive social media push, and ancillary products to launch in tandem. He wants to make sure the consumer experiences Reindeer in Here and sees it on multiple levels. Reed embraces his background to introduce a new product into the marketplace. His instant sellout on Amazon last year of the 2,000 sets he manufactured provided him with the test market he needed to dive head-first into his next project. Reed’s high energy level radiates to anyone who speaks with him. Information on his ideas and products flow effervescently to those around him. He pinpointed the next new social norm: Things that are unique and differ-

ent are OK, and being different is normal. His delivery of this unique message to society is extremely timely. The message resonated with many groups, including parents, nonprofits, children, teachers, awards programs, retailers, independent gift and toy stores, and really anyone who reads or hears about the book. “The message seems to be spreading like wildfire at every level,” Reed says. When asked about his challenges, he stated that building a brand as a startup takes time, focus, dedication, and perseverance because every day presents a new challenge. Reed took a unique stand and chose to sell his product only to 1,200 independent gift/toy stores, such as ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailer Association)-affiliated stores and Hallmark locations, in the U.S. last year. He understands that messaging is everything, and feels local in-

dies are the best at sharing the “magic” of Reindeer in Here. All of these individuals are staying true to themselves, who they are, and what they believe in while creating their product lines. They are all risk-takers and out-of-the-box thinkers, even utilizing their spirituality to guide them into the future. We thank them— as this future is our future—in which the power of play will continue to thrive. » Christine Osborne is the owner of four award-winning and industry-leading toy stores, Wonder Works, and the principal of Christine S. Osborne LLC. Wonder Works aims to inspire creativity and wonder through hands-on play. The company’s passion lies within the growth and development of child entrepreneurs, entertainers, and charities.

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INDUSTRY MARKETPLACE

Playtime Sales & Marketing Co. LLC A Toy Manufacturers Sales Representative Corporate Office: 331 Piermont Road, Norwood, New Jersey 07648

TEL: 201-784-7727 FAX: 201-784-1912 E-MAIL: murraybass@playtimesales.com lensoyka@playtimesales.com carolleeman@playtimesales.com The Playtime Sales & Marketing Company, LLC. is a Toy and Electronics Manufacturers sales representative organization. Our prime focus is to represent Toy and Electronics Manufacturers to the Mass Market Retailers. The principals of our Company are Len Soyka and Murray Bass. Our only vocation has been in the Toy Industry. We are dedicated toy professionals. Our geographical areas of sales coverage and accounts include: • NEW ENGLAND…Connecticut North to Maine and Upstate N.Y. Accounts… CVS Drug, BJ’s Whle Club, and TJ Maxx, • NY METRO​ NY City and New Jersey. Accounts... dd’s Stores, Macy’s Backstage, Cititrends, Burlington Stores, Xmas Tree Shops, Shepher Distributors, Buy Buy Baby, Party City, National Whle., Bed Bath and Beyond, Stevens Intl., and NY area Supermarket chains. • MID-LANTIC…Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Western Ohio. Accounts…Rite Aid Drug, Group Sales, Boscov’s, 5 Below, Dollar Tree, Variety Wholesale and Big Lots. • K mart USA // JC Penney Catalog // Universal Studios Orlando // Target and Walmart • CANADA…Walmart, Toys R Us, Canadian Tire and Costco • CHINA…We maintain a full time Hong Kong sourcing Office We employ a staff of 5 toy sales specialists. Our contact information is listed on our above shown letterhead. We welcome your inquiries.

Toy Overstock Experts We are looking for manufactures and suppliers to help manage your closeouts and overstocks. With over 20 years of experience we can work with lots large, small and mixed. Distressed goods and need for rebranding. Call us for help with your inventory management needs! 600 Cummings Center Beverly, MA 01915 Phone: (978) 969-3734 Email: S.Rovendro@topnotchproducts.net ®

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To place a classified ad, please contact Bill Reese at 212-575-4510 x2322 or bill@toybook.com


INDUSTRY MARKETPLACE

3C4G............................................ 205

GUND................................... 173, 175

Preschool Collection..................... 217

American Plastic Toys................... 213

Hasbro...........................................1–2

Razor USA..................................... 197

Animaccord.................................. 211

HEXBUG......................................... 55

RedwoodVentures.....................16–17

Ann Williams Group....................... 81

Horizon Group.............................. 133

Regal Logistics................................ 85

Art’s Ideas..................................... 225

Hunter Products............................ 191

Relevant Play................................ 161

ASTRA.......................................... 239

IMC Toys............................44–45, 193

Rhode Island Novelty Co. ............ 195

Aurora World................................ 181

Imperial Toy...............................28–29

Rubie’s Costume Co. ................... 103

b4Adventure................................. 113

Iscream......................................... 121

Rubik’s Brand................................ 231

Bandai America Inc. ..................... 111

Jakks Pacific...............................22–23

Sakar International........................ 199

Basic Fun!......................................6–7

Jam’n Products..........................30–31

Schleich USA................................ 117

Beach House Group..................... 171

Jazwares......................................... 99

Scholastic Entertainment.............. 209

Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co......36–37

Kahootz Toys................................ 159

Smart Zone................................... 235

Bonkers Toy Co............................ 139

Kellytoy......................................... 185

Sophia’s........................................ 189

BoxiTale........................................ 229

KidKraft......................................40–41

Spin Master...............................10–11

Canspan BMG.............................. 243

KidStuff PR.................................... 119

Sunny Days Enterteinment........... 149

Carlin West Agency...................... 107

Learning Express Toys.................. 147

Sunrights Inc. ............................... 227

ChizComm.................................46–47

Learning Resources...................... 135

Super Impulse............................... 145

Circuit Scribe................................ 125

littleBits......................................... 115

Tastemakers LLC........................... 109

COBI Toys..................................... 169

Little Kids Inc. .............................. 203

Tech Will Save Us......................... 165

Cra-Z-Art....................................24–25

Madame Alexander Doll Co. ....... 179

Thames & Kosmos.....................12–13

Cuddle Barn................................. 183

Magformers.................................. 163

The Toy Association...................... 249

Diamant Toys................................ 167

Maisto/Bburago.............................8–9

Toysmith....................................... 127

Douglas Co. ................................. 187

Mattel..................................79, 89–96

Turner Media Group/CNE.............. 69

Dynacraft.............................18–19, 21

Maya Toys..................................... 137

VTech/LeapFrog............................. 57

Eastcolight.................................42–43

MindWare..................................... 219

WeCool Toys................................ 143

Educational Insights..................... 207

Minted Labs.................................. 259

Wicked Cool Toys......................... 105

Entertainment One Family........14–15

Moose Toys...................................3–4

Women in Toys............................. 247

Epoch Everlasting Play........32–33, 35

MukikiM Toys................................ 123

WOW! Stuff.................................. 141

Fat Brain Toys............................... 260

NKOK........................................26–27

WowWee...................................38–39

Fiwi Toys....................................... 215

Odyssey Toys................................ 233

Wrebbit 3D................................... 221

Flycatcher..................................... 157

ORB.............................. 151, 153, 155

Yulu............................................... 101

Folkmanis..................................... 177

Pacific Cycle................................. 201

Zing................................................ 73

Funrise Toys.......................... 129, 131

Pillow Pets...................................... 77

ZURU.............................................. 65

George & Co. .............................. 223

PlayMonster.................................... 83

The ad index is published as a courtesy. While every effort is made to be accurate, late additions and changes in layout may result in errors and omissions.

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FLASHBAC

February 1999

1

The Idea Factory partnered with Bravado » International Group to introduce licensed Spice Girls Beanbag Collectibles. Each doll features a special Girl Power hang-tag message and an autograph from Baby (Emma Bunton), Sporty (Mel C.), Posh (Victoria Adams), and Scary (Mel B.). These mini-divas are dressed in their iconic Spice Girl wardrobes.

2

VIACOM EXTENDS LICENSING PROGRAMS FOR KEY PROPERTY

»

Past toy licenses for the Sabrina property include Hasbro with fashion dolls, games, and puzzles; Broadway Toys with vanity sets, accessories sets, shoulder bags, and sunglasses; and Disguise Inc. with Halloween costumes. Tiger Electronics, Pastime, Archway Minstrel, and Simon and Schuster Interactive will represent Sabrina the Teenage Witch at Toy Fair this year.

UNITED MEDIA HAS A HOST OF PROPERTIES FOR 1999 PBS and the Kratt Brothers announced that United Media will represent the licensing of Zoboomafoo, including publishing, educational products, toys and games, apparel, and accessories. The announcement came during Licensing Show last June. The new preschool series debuted last month and will air daily on PBS.

NEW LINE CINEMA’S AUSTIN POWERS MAKES A SCENE AT TOY FAIR Several companies will unveil Austin Powers products at Toy Fair as the International Man of Mystery prepares for his next film installment, The Spy Who Shagged Me, on June 11. Mattel, Trendmasters, and McFarlane Toys hold the major toy licenses for products, including toy vehicles, collectible dolls, and talking action figures.

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3

Imagine sending electronic messages to friends without ever sitting down in front of a computer, and finding new friends without saying a word. Friends can program their Friend.Link, from Playmates Towys, with personal information based on interests, including sports, shopping, music, or dancing.

Highlights from Mattel, » Nickelodeon’s master toy licensee, include a line of CatDog products that reflect the zany character’s stretchable, transformable body. Some of the items include Pull and Pose Plush, a CatDog Adventures Play Set, and a CatDog Talking Feature Doll.


Profile for The Toy Book

February 2019