I wanted to take a look back at our time at our first Toy Fair, as well as do a bit of a link dump and quick info on some of the people I met and companies that I visited that I did not mention in my earlier coverage. Plus, I get to touch on some of the other things that did not come up during my coverage.
Well, my first toy fair came to an end, and I learned a lot of things. The first one is that even if the fair was seven straight days, you would not have enough time to see everything. We here at BSCkids have learned from our inexperience, and next time around we will be better prepared to tackle the best trade show that I have ever been to. Thumbs up to the people behind the scenes running the fair, as well; everything was perfect. It was easy to pick up our press passes, and the area for the press was stocked with helpful people who were more than happy to answer any question we had. The press room was stocked with Crayola pencils and other items, but the nice part was that it also had water, breakfast, and candy during the day, and leather seats and sofas with blankets and pillows. Yes, I did see people napping, and I think my wife, who is 7 months pregnant, was happy to have the pillows during her break times.
Our Sunday started off with Mattel, which I have already covered, but I wanted to hit on some things that I had not talked about before. I saw a lot of Cars and Toy Story 3 items, and that makes me happy, as they are both great movies. Cars has the color changers, which when they were introduced to the Hot Wheels line they were a hit for my kids. It will be nice to have them with the characters of the Cars movie. Speaking of Cars, they are also introducting the monster truck versions. I believe that there is also going to be a Cars short that will be released that will showcase this monster truck action. The Prehistoric Pets Cruncher and Terrordactyl were very cool and lifelike; they also did a lot of different things which make them even more realistic. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and as Rapunzel items were also a big highlight from Mattel. It is tough for me to speak much on them, until our new baby girl is born and I get a bit more involved in the girl end of the toys. The Toy Story 3 characters in the Buddy line will be collected by my boys, of that I am sure. Also the Buzz Lightyear Deluxe Action Wing Pack was awesome, your kids can really feel like Buzz with that. The Toy Story action sets, which all connect together, made for some really nice domino action playtime. While my boys are not there yet, the WWE ring, with action figures that can perform signature moves, presented really well; they are called FlexForce Figures. The person running the demo was very into it, as well, which helped. From the gaming end, Bezzerwizzer presented a new take on trivia games, and my wife was ready to start playing right there. Red Rover looks like an interesting game for the younger children. The Radica: Puppy Tweets accessory was amazing, and Mattel even had the cutest puppy at the demo.
With Puppy Tweets™, an electronic dog accessory, owners can now follow their dog’s everyday activities via Twitter™. Owners simply have to attach the Puppy Tweets™ tag to their dog, connect the included USB receiver, download easy-to-use software then create a Twitter account for the dog. Puppy Tweets™ captures the dog’s level of activity and barking and translates that to a humorous or poignant tweet that’s sure to make the owner smile.
On the Fischer Price end, We have the Fisher Price Friends, which included Dora, Handy Manny, Diego and Kai-lan among the things that I already spoke about. What was interesting is that Thomas & Friends now joins Mattel. (You can find the picture of the special Thomas we received when we left the Mattel area at the end of the article.) Thomas and Friends Follow Me Thomas was great; he comes with a special train flashlight, and the train follows where you shine the flashlight. Darn, I wish they had these when my first boy was into Thomas. BigFoot acted just like a real Bigfoot should–he was funny and had a lot of different actions. Mattel describes him as
a remote controlled monster with lots of personality! The remote control has a directional button and seven feature buttons. The directional button enables BIGFOOT to walk forward and backwards and the seven feature buttons can make him happy, angry, sleep, throw a ball, exercise and even do a back flip!
I am curious to see how the iXL does,as it seems like it fills a gap between a leapster and a Nintendo DS. Trio building blocks had the Batman license, but Lego is just tough to defeat when it comes to building blocks. The Little People Wheelies Stand ’n’ Play Rampway was another toy I wish I had the chance to own when my boys were a bit younger, as I like the footprint of the device. Normally these type of ramp devices are so wide that you cannot store them well. Not so with the Stand ’n’ Play Rampway. The Imaginext Sky Racers Carrier just screams cool; it is that perfect step before those big boy action figures.
Next we are going to sort through the press releases and business cards to give you some highlights on people we spoke to at the show.
Manhattan Toy was kind enough to send me a media kit after the show, as they did not have anything on site when I went to visit. They have some great toy lines, but the thing that really caught my eye was that they will hopefully be releasing Fraggle Rock plush toys and puppets. They also handle Automoblox, which had some really new and fun designs. They have a great line of baby toys and plush animals, among other things, and be sure to check out the Fuzzlenation Teapup and OMG Purses if you have a daughter. I hope to work with them in the future, as they have some quality items.
Bruder had some really intricate trucks and service vehicles, and you would hope so, since they have printed right on the front of their catalog “just like the real thing.” Sure is as close as I have seen a toy come. Norman PhartEphant is a fun stuffed elephant that farts. You should go check out the site; it is pretty funny. They also were also at their booth, giving us the backstory of Norman, and we were laughing the whole time. Infantino peaked my baby-rearing interests with their FireFly Soother; they also had a bunch of other baby toys like rattles and teethers. Education Outdoors, Inc., had an interesting Camp game that has questions that grow with the child, or allow younger kids to play with their parentsw and older siblings at the same time. What really got me worked up is the Snipe game that they should be introducing soon. I would love to play that with the boys. I am going to try to touch base with them and see if we can review that product. PlanToys was touting being a leader in the Green Manufacturing of their wooden toys with eco-friendly materials. Having a nice quality wooden toy and greening the world seems like a good combination to me. My Ami was a plush animal that doubles as a media device holder, which may work well if you are using your portable video player with the children.
Phew! Let’s take a quick break before bringing you back to some more companies that we visited with at the Toy Fair.
Back with the action–we also got a chance to visit with Maclaren and their line of toy strollers and also their plush line. Let me tell you, the marketing and booth people they had working the show were awesome; they were fun and friendly and ran us through the products. We had a great time at their booth. Kiddi moto was also in attendance, and we know people on the inside of the company through my wife’s father. They make balance bikes that help improve kids’ motor skills and are also very safe. It allows your 3-year-old to start learning how to bike without the pedals, chains or gears to start. I told the bellybuds guy that I would give him a shout out, so here it is: bellybuds are wearable speakers for expectant mothers so that your developing child in the womb can hear music while you still go about your normal routine. While I did get a chance to see the Playmobil booth, I really did not talk to anyone. The products talk for themselves, and I just love the knights and castles. Playmobils have so many more playsets than I originally thought; there is even a wedding playset coming out!
We got to speak with the president of FamilyTimeFun, who ran us through the games that they have, including the new Restaurant Dinner Games. We are really looking forward to trying some of these out, so expect a review soon. HSP Nature Toys had some really cool items, like the Root Vue Farm, which allows you to see roots, and the Grow & Gobble, but my favorite was the Worm-Vue Wonders, an underground worm farm. Pedestal Pets were a very cool topper to your pencil, and the detail is real nice. Plus they are real easy to put on and off. They sent us a sample, and my 4-year-old loves it. The Geomate.jr was very interesting; it allows a younger generation to get in on Geocaching. What I am looking for is to be able to add a site just for my kids in the family’s backyard, and they say that it is coming in the update kit. Now that will be cool–burying thing in my backyard and or my parents’, and sending the kids on a treasure hunt. The Thinkfun booth was packed, which is a good thing, as they make some cool toys and games. My son loves his Rush Hour Jr., while Zingo!1-2-3 and Zingo! To Go both looked like they would be fun games. Taggies are a superb baby and infant idea, as both of my boys loved satin edges to their toys. Well, Taggies is based on that idea and offer printed and textured tags that kids love. Check out the website for their new products. The Ideal and Slinky Brand booth was awesome, and the booth lady took her time walking me through all of the new products, as well as the Toy Story 3 tie-in slinky toys. You do not realize how many different kinds of toys they make until you get to see them all in one place.
Gund had a guard at their booth, and the reason was this super blinged out One-Of-A-Kind Signature Snuffles valued at $10,000. It was pretty neat, and it was crazy to think that Snuffles has been around for 30 years. Gund also had some fun holiday Dancing Hats! Abby Cadabby and Jingle Bell Elmo also made an appearance at the booth.
Since we had gotten the boys a lot of toys from Alex for the past Christmas, we stopped at the booth to see what they had in store for 2010. Two of my favorite baby toys were I Can Cook and Stack-a-Cake. They also had the Color A Bag collection with some new styles; I think they are real neat and unique for the tote-carrying child.
Oh, before I forget, I saved Rokenbok for last, as it is one of the coolest toys I have seen; the only issue is that the pricetag is a bit steep. You get a remote control that controls multiple vechicles, depending on which one you point it at. Let that sink in for a second, because that pretty much means you can control a full construction crew of vehicles with one remote. It even has two settings, so the little kids can get in on it. If you have the money, I impolore you to check out their site, it is awesome.
So you think that is it? Those are just the media kits that I have! Now it’s time to go through the business cards I have. I think I told you, but Toy Fair is HUGE! Hopefully some of these are repeats from the media kits, because I am already getting tired of typing, so you must be getting tired of reading. When I wrap up an event, I make sure I wrap it up.
I got to meet the Director of Sales, Special Markets for Macmillan; while we deal with Tor and Starscape already, we will be reaching out to the parent company for some kids’ books for this site. We spoke to, I believe, Mr. Pressman himself over at the Pressman Toy booth. They have some real cool toys that have television licensing like Ben 10, Hello Kitty, and Scooby Doo!, among others. The Zipfy people were there, as well. If you live in a sleighriding area, the Zipfy is a freestyle mini-luge. I wouldn’t mind trying one out on that hill behind the indoor basektball courts we used after the last snowstorm. The Princess Paradise booth had all sorts of costumes for your girl. They are not just for Halloween but rather to play make-believe with. You ever have an internet site you buy all your kids’ cool toys from and want to thank them for being so awesome? I got that chance with two stores. First, I went up and spoke to the people who run Fat Brain Toys; they have pretty much been my store of choice for finding cool and educational toys for my kids for Christmas. My favorite online store for the kids, next to Amazon. I had to just go up and thank them for being such a great store, and I think I took them a bit off guard with that. Toys for the adults? Think Geek is one of the best places–they have the sort of toys you dream about. Jamie was great and took the time out to run me through the line of glorious items.
Eebee’s adventures is something that everyone who has had a baby in the past few years would be familiar with.
Inspired by every baby and informed by the latest research on how babies learn and grow, eebee’s adventures products are designed to help you and your baby transform everyday play into learning that lasts.
We really only got turned on to eebee at the end of our current youngest child’s baby time. Now that we have another one on the way, eebee is going to be a show that we watch, books that we read, toys that we play with, and DVDs that we own. If you are having a baby or just had one, make sure you check out the website and get acquainted with eebee.
It is a wrap.