We were really blown away by the Hasbro Play-Doh 3-D Flash Art. It wasn’t until I tested it with two high school students (both having just finished AP Physics) that I fully appreciated how cool this toy is and how useful it would be in any science class. Watch the video and you’ll see how art is a beautiful display of science! Read our complete review.
Last year we’d have to say that Mattel’s Matchbox Rocky pretty much ran over Hasbro’s Tonka’s Talkin’ Chuck. Rocky just did so much more. (Watch the video of these two head to head.) This year we’ll have to see how the new Tonka Rumblin’ Chuck- who promises to do many more tricks (including moving side to side as if he’s ready to line dance)…will compare to the farting Stinky Garbage Truck from Mattel. We’ll be interested to test both of these interactive trucks when they arrive..for now you can check out their prototypes from Toy Fair. Click here to watch Rumblin’ Chuck.
Here’s Stinky…to watch him in action, click here to view our video.
If you’ve ever been at a big trade show, you know that after a day or two–you start craving real air, real food, real anything. Something about concrete floors (badly covered with carpeting), horrible concession food and the din of the crowds that makes you want to find a tree and hug it. So I was happy to have a little nature (albeit plastic) retreat in the miniature at Safari Ltd. - they are the masters of making really small animals.
We visited briefly with Safari’s President, Ramona Pariente- who was very gracious even though we were in the final hours of the show and by our own admission a little slap happy to be approaching the finish line.
You’ve probably seen their line in museum, gift and specialty stores. I’m not sure why but this collection of super small animals makes me so happy. What is it about miniature things that seem so fun?
Of course these small animals are just right as props for dramatic play whether it’s in combination with blocks or just on their own. The line is so extensive, that you’re bound to be able to find the animals, fish, bugs or birds that capture your child’s interest. Designed for kids 3 & up, these are wonderful to collect and play with!
Check out our video of Crayola’s new spinning chalk top…looks like fun and even more fun to say if you pretend you are Tina Turner in Mad Max…Spira-Chalk Blaster!!! Click here to watch our video. Our review will be posted on our website, http://www.toyportfolio.com. If you’re not in cold weather like we are here in New York City–and looking for a fun chalk set, we’d recommend their current 3D Chalk Sets. With all of the cold weather we’ve had recently, the thought of being in a warm enough climate for chalk…sounds really good!
Thanks to Susan and Stacy for demonstrating the spinning top!
If you are a big Star Wars LEGO fan, you’ll be really excited to see the new sets scheduled for 2010. We asked LEGO’s Julie Stern to take us through the new sets so that you could take a look. Watch the video. You’ll hear both my mother Joanne and brother James (noted Tech expert and founder of jamesgames.com) on this video. We’re a noisy bunch.
On this second video you can see James’ reenactment of Hans Solo being taken away after being frozen in carbonite. It’s this attention to detail that we really appreciate. If you watch this video, you will have a glimpse into my childhood! You can also hear my mother in the background laughing.
One of the best press releases I’ve read this week came from LEGO. It affirmed their commitment to open-ended sets. While it’s often their more elaborate model sets that get most of the press, the importance of providing kids with open-ended construction sets can not be underestimated.
This new blue bucket looks promising–it comes with a rainbow of LEGO bricks…and wheels (always fun). There is no right or wrong way here–just whatever you feel like building.
While some kids are more secure having a model to follow–having the freedom to create your own structures is something we should all experience. Chances are you probably have a bucket worth of LEGO bricks around the house…why not spill them out on the table and see what your family comes up with.
We started the day at LEGO – always fun. LEGO Duplo is the line designed as an entry point for older toddlers and preschoolers. New for 2010: a bigger bucket–we consider this basic gear for preschoolers.
The big new theme is a farm…
LEGO’s Julie Stern, always a pleasure to work with– took us through the showroom. Watch the video.
When they first brought us around the corner at the Mattel showroom to look at Barbie Video Camera, I looked around thinking perhaps we were being punked. No, it’s real. Barbie is a Video Camera.
Barbie’s video camera is in her chest. Maybe this was inspired by Ironman?
Now you don’t have to be a teenage boy to see the humor of this placement. While we had just been taken through all of Barbie’s careers-it seemed to be balanced by the location of this camera. While we tell men to look at a woman’s eyes, not her chest…here you really do want to look at the chest to get the best video.
Barbie has a LCD screen in her back and will plug into both PCs and MACs. I do think watching the world from Barbie’s point of view could be fun and kids will probably enjoy the $50 video camera interacting with their other dolls. I just wish I could have been a fly on the wall when they came up with this one and the Glitterizer. It does almost seem as if it’s an episode of Seinfeld…where one of them would suggest an outrageous idea – and some unsuspecting executive would say “yes!!”
Happily there are more multi-cultural choices in the world of Barbie. I have a sense that the Barbie Basic line is more for adult collectors (all shown in a little black dress) than for kids…but there are a whole range of dolls available in this line. The dolls were part of a fun ebay auction when real designers came up with their own version’s of LBD for Barbie.
Here’s another grouping…
One of favorite collections from last year, So In Style Barbie, is also continuing. Created by Mattel designer, Stacey McBride, these dolls celebrate our diversity by featuring dolls of color. You can see Ms. McBride talk about the series on this video. I love that she also made mentoring part of the line. The first sets all included a big doll and a little doll (big sister/little sister). Bravo to Ms. McBride! Below, some of this year’s new collection. I’ve been trying to interview Ms. McBride about the collection–I hope we get a chance to talk soon.