January 21, 2021
Funko Fair Opens for Business During Absence of Toy Fair New York

The absence of The Toy Association‘s annual industry gathering at the Javits Center is forcing toy and game makers to get creative in how they’re connecting with buyers and revealing new products to consumers in 2021. Funko Fair opened this week as a nine-day virtual event hosted by Funko CEO Brian Mariotti and company Founder Mike Becker. Read more…
UK-Based Interplay Rebrands as PlayMonster

Nearly three years after acquiring Interplay UK Ltd., Wisconsin-based PlayMonster is rebranding its UK outpost as PlayMonster. The rebranding is effective immediately and will continue throughout the year as products are refreshed to reflect PlayMonster UK Ltd., which will remain a subsidiary of PlayMonster LLC. Read more…

Additionally, PlayMonster revealed new expansion sets for its growing Snap Ships construction line this week.
VTech, LeapFrog Debut Eco-friendly Toy Collection

The company revealed a new lineup of products that continues its push toward replacing fossil-based plastics with sustainable alternatives by 2030. The products include three eco-friendly vehicles in the Go! Go! Smart Wheels line made from plant-based plastic and the Sort & Recycle Ride-on Truck made from reclaimed plastic. LeapFrog is also getting into the sustainable mix with the Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot, which includes vegetables and accessories made from plant-based plastic. Read more…
Barbie’s Inspiring Women Series Welcomes Maya Angelou

Mattel invites kids to dream big with the latest doll in Barbie’s Inspiring Women Series. Dr. Maya Angelou held many accolades and awards throughout her life and was well known for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She inspired many through her work in activism and writing, and her doll will inspire kids through play. Read more…
The Toy Association Releases STEAM Toy Assessment Framework

The Toy Association officially released its long-awaited STEAM Toy Assessment Framework this month. Designed to aid toymakers in creating toys that truly fall into the STEAM category, the new Framework provides a three-step model and clearly defined rating criteria with learning goals for five distinct age groups. Read more…
Messe Frankfurt Debuts Digital Platform to Support Toy & Edu China

As the world continues to struggle with the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic, Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd has revealed plans to offer a new hybrid experience to support the Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China, and Licensing China trade fairs. E-connect 360 is a new digital platform designed to aid toymakers and those in the licensing and baby products industries in building business opportunities across China. Read more…
LEGO Ninjago Celebrates 10 Years

To mark the 10th anniversary of the LEGO Ninjago brand, the LEGO Group is releasing 23 Ninjago sets throughout the year, including 11 Legacy sets. Six of the sets include a limited-edition, gold ninja minifigure. As another tribute, on Feb. 1, LEGO retail stores will release an exclusive three-level LEGO Ninjago City Gardens set that showcases some of the main moments of the series. Read more…
What Do You Meme? Set to Make a Splash with SpongeBob SquarePants

What Do You Meme? is heading to Bikini Bottom. The growing game company inked a licensing deal with ViacomCBS to produce games and pool floats based on Nickelodeon‘s SpongeBob Squarepants. Read more…
MasterPieces Partners with Sesame Street for Craft Kits and Games

The toys will include the Sesame Street Garbage Truck, a DIY wood paint kit featuring Oscar the Grouch; the Sesame Street Best Friends Character Bank, a wooden kids’ bank paint kit with Elmo on one side and Cookie Monster on the other; and more. Read more…
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Entertainment Earth Debut Hamilton Pin Mates Collection

TeeRico by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Entertainment Earth inked a deal to launch the first officially licensed line of collectible figures inspired by the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Hamilton. The Hamilton Pin Mates collection of wooden collectibles presents Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and Eliza Schuyler in a throwback form that recalls the Fisher-Price Little People of the ’60s and ’70s. Read more…
Cloudco, Topps Combine Gross ’80s Brands for Madballs vs. Garbage Pail Kids Collab

It’s the battle of the (gross) brands as Cloudco Entertainment and The Topps Co. join forces for a collaboration that playfully pits Madballs against Garbage Pail Kids — two classic ’80s brands that embrace all things disgusting. Read more…
Playmates Takes Us Back with Retro TMNT 6-Pack Exclusives

Playmates Toys is releasing two tubular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles six-pack box sets featuring the favorite heroes in a half-shell. The Previews exclusive Retro Rotocast Sewer Lair and Mutant Module are jam-packed with action figures that have been recreated with original bodies and oversized Roto heads, along with other retro details based on the original 1988 toy line. Read more…
Talking Games with University Games’ Bob Moog on the ‘Power Kid Podcast’

In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes University Games founder Bob Moog to the show for a discussion on the state of the games industry. Since its founding in 1985, University Games has been a staple game company with hits like Murder Mystery Party and 20 Questions. Listen here…

The Toy Book Podcasts by Adventure Media & Events are available through all of your favorite streaming services, including Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and more.
The Muppet Show Is Coming to Disney+
It’s time to play the music; it’s time to light the lights: Jim Henson‘s variety series starting his famous Muppets, The Muppet Show, will start streaming on Friday,  Feb. 19, exclusively on Disney+. In addition to the first three seasons of the show, fans will also be able to watch seasons four and five, which have never previously been released on home entertainment. Read more…
Fortnite Partners With Global Football Clubs to Kick Off New Gameplay Experience

Epic Games has partnered with more than 20 top football (soccer) clubs through Fortnite licensing representative IMG to bring players a royale-sized roster of skins, emotes, and tournament gameplay. Read more…
Waterline Toys Introduces SkimBe Disc Toys

SkimBe is a patented polyurethane disc that skims, skips, slides, and jumps across water, snow, ice, and other slick surfaces when users throw it in a cross-body motion or with a flick of the wrist. SkimBe features a rocker bottom and comes in three color options. Read more…
Wow! Stuff Reveals Spring 2021 Toy Lineup

Target will launch Wow! Stuff’s Chibies in March. The “flash to the beat” collectibles are packed with sound sensors that react to any music that a kid plays. The Chibies characters react in real-time to the beat of the music and can sync with each other to create a colorful flashing light show. Read more…
Target Reveals 17.2% Holiday Sales Boom

The holiday season struck a bullseye for Minneapolis-based Target Corp. While Q4 and full-year reporting is still a ways off, Target offered its traditional holiday performance update this week. The retailer scored big with a 17.2% sales increase in November/December with a 4.2% increase in store-originated comparable sales. Digital sales grew 102%. Read more…
Kidults Rising: Teens, Adults Contribute to UK Toy Industry Growth

The UK toy industry grew 5% last year, according to the latest data provided by The NPD Group. Strict COVID-19 lockdowns — which are happening again right now — fueled 19% overall growth in games and puzzles, mirroring results in the U.S. Puzzles alone spiked 38% in 2020. Pandemic aside, the continued growth of the “kidult” market gained steam in the UK to account for 27% of total toy sales in the UK. Read more…
Inventor Adam Borton Throws Open the Doors to Toy and Game School

The inventor behind Mattel‘s Flushin’ Frenzy and YULU‘s Oops Scoops is opening a school for budding toymakers. Enrollment is open for the first class of the Toy and Game School. TAGIE-nominated Adam Borton of Creating Unique Toys will lead the digital program designed to teach students about the inner workings of the toy and game industry while preparing them to create new toys and games. Read more…
 
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