April 16, 2020
The Toy Association Looks Ahead to Reinvention for a Post-COVID-19 World

A new open letter penned by Steve Pasierb, president of The Toy Association, offers a look ahead to how the global toy and play industry may evolve in a post-COVID-19 world, and how The Association will support it. Read more…
Nominations Open for ASTRA Excellence Awards

The awards recognize leading retailers, manufacturers, sales representatives, and young professionals who represent the best of the specialty toy industry, as nominated by the ASTRA membership. Read more…
Wonder Works’ Christine Osborne Talks Retail on the ‘Power Kid Podcast’

In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Christine Osborne, owner of Wonder Works — an independent toy store with three locations in South Carolina. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Osborne worked quickly to assemble several programs, including a virtual toy store experience, to ensure that she was putting toys in the hands of families at a time when play is needed most. Listen here...

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MGA Entertainment Readies L.O.L. Surprise! PhD B.B. to Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts

MGAE revealed plans to release a limited-edition L.O.L. Surprise! PhD B.B. doll that will both honor healthcare workers and raise funds. MGAE says that $1 from each doll sold will benefit Operation: Pac-Man, which is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals and other facilities where it’s needed. Read more…

Additionally, MGAE launched the first live-action L.O.L. Surprise! Music video this week.
Magformers to Sponsor Young Inventor Challenge

This year, Magformers will sponsor the 14th annual Chicago Toy & Game Group's Young Inventor Challenge. Designed to be a platform for creative kids, the Young Inventor Challenge gives kids ages 6-18 a chance to produce and pitch original inventions to major toy companies and industry professionals, members of the media, general public, and more.  Read more...
Brandstätter Group Launches Reusable Playmobil Nose and Mouth Mask

Designers at the Brandstätter Group created the Playmobil Nose and Mouth Mask in an effort to reduce the risk of droplet-based infections. The initial production run was shipped to the company’s employees around the world, and the masks are now available for sale to the public. Read more…
Sesame Street Provides Calming Meditations for Kids, Reminds Parents to Take Time for Themselves

It’s not just the humans who are struggling through quarantine. The Muppets have had it, too. Sesame Street has teamed up with Headspace to create “Monster Meditations,” six animated shorts to help kids learn the basics of mindfulness, meditation, and social and emotional learning — all very important to combat stress and anxiety as families are staying at home. Read more...
CreateOn Honors Healthcare Heroes with Magna-Tiles Luminary Collection

CreateOn rapidly developed two new “Healthcare Heroes” Luminary Magna-Tiles sets that are specifically designed to encourage play while honoring those who are battling the coronavirus. Read more…
Roybi Launches Companion Character to Coach Kids on Health, Self-Care Practices

Using artificially intelligent technology, the Docbi character will be integrated into various lessons and interactive games on the original Roybi Robot to help kids practice good hygiene. Read more…
Diaframma Evolves to Get #CreativeAtHome During Quarantine

Diaframma, the Italian studio that has been serving the toy industry for more than 40 years, is showing off how it can be #CreativeAtHome as the company evolves to serve its clients during changing times. In a new test shoot, Diaframma uses a LEGO Batman set to show what it’s capable of pulling off when the studio becomes a work-from-home affair. Read more…
SDCC Update: California Gov. Says Prospect of Mass Gatherings Is “Negligible”

International Comic-Con: San Diego (SDCC) is one step closer to being canceled. California Governor Gavin Newsom said yesterday in a press briefing that there is no expectation that large gatherings will take place in the state. Read more…
Goliath Games Uses ‘Virus’ Success to Give Back

Goliath Games will give all proceeds from all sales of its Virus card game during the month of April to the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization. Read more…
Nickelodeon, Scooter Braun Set to Bring The BeatBuds to TV

The BeatBuds (working title) will follow the adventures of Jonny, Matty, and rest of their ‘Buds. Each episode will feature an original song. Evan Sinclair ( Ryan’s Mystery Playdate, The Aquabats! Super Show! ) is writing the short-form series with production set to begin this summer on the 10-episode series. Read more…
Cobi Toys Launches Concorde Scale Model

Cobi Toys, maker of high-quality model kits, launched a new Concorde scale model. It is based on Concorde tail number G-BBDG, one of the original development aircraft, which is on display at Brooklands Museum in Surrey, England. Read more…
Toys “R” Us Launches Play@Home Theater

The new online destination includes activity ideas and projects designed to keep kids engaged and their imaginations active. The initiative, which will be updated every week with new activities, offers fun ways for families to spend time together at home, featuring activities and ideas from Toys “R” Us partners GoNoodle, BrainPOP, and Hasbro. Read more…
Genius Brands Inks New Distribution Deals for Rainbow Rangers

With the addition of Treehouse in Canada and Televisia in Mexico, Genius Brands International’s Rainbow Rangers is now airing in markets across the Western Hemisphere. Read more…
Talkin’ Toys: Create a Castle’s Kevin Lane Discusses Importance of Building Memories with Sandcastles

As a kid, Kevin Lane watched his mother and grandmother build elaborate cakes by stacking layers upon layers of confection using pans that could split apart. When he wasn’t in their bakery, he was learning how to draw different shapes with a book his mother had bought him. His favorite thing to design? Castles. Read more…
Hasbro Goes Virtual for Annual Meeting of Shareholders

The meeting, which would’ve been held at the toymaker’s Rhode Island headquarters, will now take place using remote communication. No shareholders or guests will be able to attend the Annual Meeting in person. The previously announced date and time of the meeting (May 14, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. EDT) will not change. Read more…
March Retail Sales Log Biggest Drop on Record Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

According to the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Census Bureau, overall retail sales in March logged their biggest monthly drop on record as stay-at-home orders and closures of all but “essential” businesses have been enacted in most states. Read more...
ChizComm Expands as Cristy Collins Joins as VP, Brand Marketing

ChizComm Ltd. officially planted a flag on the West Coast with the addition of Cristy Collins, who joins the company as vice president, brand marketing. In her new role, Collins — most recently at Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. — will manage and grow ChizComm’s Los Angeles team over the next year as the company continues to offer expanded resources to meet the ever-changing and evolving needs of its clients from coast to coast. Read more…
Cloudco Entertainment Promotes Key Executives for Licensing, Marketing

Los Angeles-based Cristina Villegas, who joined Cloudco last year following a 20-year run at The Walt Disney Co., has been promoted from director to vice president of North American Licensing. As vice president, Cleveland-based Kristeen Tibbets will now lead Cloudco’s marketing and social media efforts. Read more…
 
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