Toy Fair 2010: Crayola = Fun

February 18, 2010

Crayola's Model Magic!

Based on our visit at Crayola, there’s a lot of promisingly fun  products rolling out this year. Happily these toys will start arriving soon. For reviews, check our website www.toyportfolio.com.

Chalk News. You know I’m all a huge fan of their chalk. This year there are new super sets of 3D Chalk (one features Toy Story 3). I love this stuff. But what’s really new is a chalk making set.  Looks like our kind of craft kit- we’ll have to see how it works.  They also have a spiral top for chalk. My brothers will tell you, I really stink at the spining top thing but even I think I can make this one work. Watch the next post for a demo of the spiral chalk top.New Chalk Sets from Crayola

Model Magic. How cute is this new set where you can make little pieces to add to forms.

New Model Magic Sets

Also big, things that Glow in the Dark. During our visit to their showroom, the lights were being turned off repeatedly to show off more glow-in-the-dark sets.  I have a sense some will be more successful than others -but we’ll put them all to the test as they come out.  We gave their Glow Station an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award.

Glow Station...larger glow-in-dark toy!

New Crafts for Tweens. They have a new line called Pop Art Pixies,  featuring  four tweens (that look like they’re related to the Fashion Angels) – each has a theme.  One likes to recycle, one likes to decorate…you get the idea. Some of the kits looked like they would be great fun for 9-12 year old crafters. Stay tuned. I particularly liked the look of the recycle kits – and will be interested to see how our testers react.

Tween Craft Sets

Amazing On-line Program. You send in a picture of your child, they create a cartoon image based on that photo, you then customize your own coloring book adventure featuring your now “cartoon” child.  LOVE this.  You get the code for this site when you buy a certain size box of crayons (hey, who doesn’t need a new box of Crayola?).  This new platform will launch officially in the fall–but we’re working out details for making it available to our readers soon.


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Face of the Day: From Steiff

February 17, 2010

A bear to love from Steiff

Needed to share this face with you right away! So cute and amazingly soft. More to follow on this  classic handmade line of huggables from Steiff.


Toy Fair 2010: LEGO DUPLO

February 16, 2010

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.

DUPLO BUCKET

The big new theme is a farm…

LEGO DUPLO FARM

There’s also a new set that includes numbers as an added feature.

LEGO’s  Julie Stern, always a pleasure to work with– took us through the showroom. Watch the video.


Toy Fair Previews: Hasbro’s Talking Chuck Truck

February 14, 2010

Last year we had two talking trucks, Chuck and Matchbox Rocky. Take a look at this updated version of Chuck–he’s bigger and has more tricks. Look forward to trying this one with our testers.  Watch our video.


Free Game: How High Can You Go?

January 8, 2010

Yesterday I walked past a display of silverware that was in the form of the Empire State Building. It reminded me of a great game to play with your kids that will keep them busy on a cold winter’s day.

Challenge your kids to build the tallest building using their LEGO Bricks!  For younger kids this will be about adding more bricks until the structure falls down.  But for older kids this can also become a real hands-on experiment–how do you make the structure more stable?  What do we need to add to the base to make it less tippy.  If you’re really into the building why not make your own city of skyscrapers. What kind of buildings do they think should be in the city?  A sports arena, a shopping mall, a grocery store…always fun to hear what they want on their list.   Matchbox cars and trucks can also be used to populate the city.  Be sure to take pictures–you’ll be happy to chronicle the challenge.  You can also have them create a book with the pictures–something that can be sent to Grandparents or shared on-line.  Either way, I like encouraging kids to create their own structures from materials they have around the house.


Pick of the Day: Lisa LeLeu’s Super Star Theater

December 14, 2009

If you have kids that are into performing, here’s a big ticket item from Lisa LeLeu that is very special. Click here to read our complete review. My apologies to the company–this award winning toy got lost in the shuffle when we switched over to our new website!


toyportfolio.com: Top GREEN Toys for 2009

November 17, 2009

Green toys used to mean a recycling truck here or there…or a paper maker, but now there are many toys that are either manufactured with a green mandate or promote a positive green message to kids.  The biggest trend are dolls made from organic materials–not all created equal in our book.  Green shouldn’t have to mean scratchy or boring in design or color.  Happily we received many that found the right blend of green and whimsy!  The other big category — trucks…many made of recycled materials – were a real draw to our testers.  Then there are the throw back toys–my personal favorite, the wind-up FM Radio.

Here’s the list of our Top Green Toys for 2009. Complete reviews on our our site, www.toyportfolio.com. Click on the toy name to read our rating/review.

Trucks

Eco Trucks (Sprig Toys)

Dump Truck (Green Toys)

Playmobil Recycling Truck (Playmobil)

PushAlong Hybrid Car (ImagiPLAY)

Building Toys

Plan Toys Build ‘n Spin (Plan Toys)

Citiblocs (Citiblocs)

Dolls and Dollhouse

blabla Dolls (blablakids)

Organic Joobles (Fair Indigo)

Earth Mates (Mary Meyer)

Plan Toys Green Dollhouse (Plan Toys)

Other Green Toys of Interest

Crayola Crayon  Maker (Crayola)

Elia Mini Chair (eliafun.com)

Ecotronics Radio (International Playthings)

Ecotronics Mr. Robot Head (International Playthings)