May 6, 2021
ASTRA Reveals 2021 Best Toys for Kids Finalists

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) unveiled the finalists for its 2021 Best Toys for Kids list. This year’s nominees were submitted by ASTRA members beginning in January and were narrowed down to a field of finalists that includes a total of 52 products spanning 10 categories. Read more…
American Girl Commemorates 35 Years with Throwback Dolls

The American Girl brand is kicking off its 35th anniversary celebration festivities with a host of new products, events, and experiences for kids and collectors alike. For the anniversary, the original historical cast — Addy Walker, Felicity Merriman, Josefina Montoya, Kirsten Larson, Molly McIntire, and Samantha Parkington — will be reissued. Read more…
PlayMonster’s Snap Ships Enter Korea as Toymaker Eyes Further International Growth

Wisconsin-based PlayMonster LLC teamed up with HEM — a third-party distributor — to expand its Snap Ships brand into the Korean market. The space-themed construction line launched at retail in South Korea as part of an overarching international expansion plan for PlayMonster this year. Read more…
Lucasfilm, Hasbro Celebrate Star Wars Day with The Bad Batch Black Series Action Figures

This year, Lucasfilm is ushering in a new era of Star Wars storytelling with the Disney+ debut of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, an all-new original animated spin-off from The Clone Wars. Hasbro added new characters from the series to its Star Wars: The Black Series range of 6-inch scale action figures for kids and collectors ages 4 and up. Read more…

Additionally, Hasbro teamed up with Franklin Sports to relaunch the NERF Sports line.
Funko Has a New Figure Line on the Way: Gold

Funko may be best known for its Pop! vinyl figures, but that isn’t the only collectible line in its repertoire. Funko has previously launched 3-inch Dorbz figures, Funko 5 Star figures, Vinyl Soda collectibles, and more. Now, the company is introducing an all-new form factor called Gold which features collectible vinyl figures of iconic musicians and star athletes from the NFL and the NBA. Read more...
Mattel Debuts Action Figures Inspired by Disney•Pixar’s Luca

Luca is a coming-of-age film that takes place in the Italian Riviera and follows Luca as he shares a summer of adventures with his new friend Alberto. Their unforgettable fun is only threatened by one thing: They’re both sea monsters from another world just below the water’s surface. Kids can collect a number of different figure packs inspired by the film. Read more...
Spin Master Entertainment, Paramount Deliver First Look at PAW Patrol: The Movie

On August 20, PAW Patrol is headed to theaters everywhere in the first big-screen adventure from Spin Master Entertainment. In PAW Patrol: The Movie, the pups’ biggest rival — Humdinger — becomes Mayor of nearby Adventure City and starts wreaking havoc, prompting Ryder and the pups to kick into high gear to face the challenge head-on. Ahead of next week’s trailer debut, seven stills have been released. Read more…

Additionally, Spin Master served up a first look at its new toys inspired by the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Genius Brands International Scores a Hit with Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten

Following years of development, the animated series Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten is finally available for streaming via Genius Brands Kartoon Channel! According to the company, the first two episodes have already racked up more than 4 million views as series star and executive producer Arnold Schwarzenegger makes the rounds on a press tour in support of the show. Read more…
Maisto Relaunches Muscle Machines
Die-cast Brand

A familiar brand from the past is racing back into the die-cast aisle this year: Muscle Machines. Maisto is relaunching the brand of beefed-up and tooned-out muscle cars with a fresh approach aimed at connecting with a new generation of kids and collectors. The 1:64-scale vehicles with all-new tooling will be available at select retailers beginning this summer. Read more…
The Insights Family, Starlight Enter Charity Partnership

Data provided by The Insights Family enabled Starlight — a charitable organization that focuses on improving play experiences for kids in hospitals — to better understand consumption patterns, behaviors, and attitudes when it comes to kids and technology. Read more…
Eolo Launches ToyZone Lab with Kites Ready 2 Fly

Eolo is expanding its ToyZone design studio with the launch of ToyZone Lab, a “creators and inventors hub for developing toys and ideas around the toy industry.” The company says that it hopes to enter new categories while supporting independent inventors. The first project is Kites Ready 2 Fly, a quick-to-assemble range of kites paired with a Kite School app to get kids flying in minutes. Read more…
Steve Rosen, Aaron Singer Talk CreateOn x Magna-Tiles on the ‘Power Kid Podcast’

In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes CreateOn‘s Steve Rosen and Aaron Singer to the show. CreateOn’s partnership with Magna-Tiles is rapidly expanding to include licensed building sets from iconic brands, including Sesame Street, Dr. Seuss, The World of Eric Carle, Build-a-Bear Workshop, and The Beatles. Listen here...

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Kids Russia Welcomes 10,000 Visitors to Restart Expo Season in Eastern Europe

While in-person events are still struggling to restart in North America, international trade shows are back in action. Kids Russia, organized by Grand Expo, CJSC — a Russian joint-stock company in which Spielwarenmesse eG holds a majority stake — welcomed 10,000 attendees and 91 exhibitors from 22 countries last week. Read more…
First Season’s Sports-Themed Baby Swings Are a Homerun

Parents can share their love of sports with the babies of the family with a new idea for sports-themed baby swings from First Season. Mike and Lisa Putnam partnered with Brett Klisch, owner of Peru Meridan Studios, to develop this new line of sports-themed baby swings in five designs: baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, and golf. Read more…
Heykube Is a Rubik’s-Inspired Programmable Puzzle

Technology meets nostalgia with the new Heykube. The smart cube is available now, following a successful Kickstarter campaign. Everyone from beginners to expert programmers can experience a brand new way to solve puzzles. Inspired by the Rubik’s cube, the programmable smart cube doesn’t require an app. Read more…
Freight Fiasco: Tips to Manage Merchandise and Backorders

The global shipping industry is in a state of upheaval and Erin Gagne, logistics coordinator at Grand Prix International (GPI), has some helpful tips on how the toy industry can better manage their merchandise flow to get products onto retail shelves and into consumers’ hands. Read more…
The Power of Going Live: Tips From a Top Industry Content Creator

Video has proven to be a powerful sales tool across all industries — and the toy industry is no exception. Amy Opheim speaks with Educational Insights’ Lee Parkhurst to gather insight on how toymakers can best harness the power of live video to reach consumers. Read more…
The U.S. Video Game Industry Grew 30% in Q1, NPD Says

Gamers are continuing to fuel massive growth for the U.S. video game industry. The NPD Group‘s Q1 2021 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report reflects a 30% spike in overall consumer spending from January through March versus last year. Gamers leveled up with $14.92 billion spent across console, PC, and mobile gaming, including hardware, software, accessories, and subscriptions. Read more…
U.S. Economy Could See Its Fastest Growth Since the ’80s, NRF Says

The May issue of the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Monthly Economic Review paints a picture filled with optimism for the months ahead. Armed with current data, the NRF expects the U.S. economy to spike 6.6% this year, the biggest boom in growth since the 7.2% rise of 1984. Read more…
Hollie Holmes Joins PlayMonster as Global Head of Licensing

In her newly created role, Holmes will lead the development and expansion of PlayMonster’s growing global licensing business while leveraging its intellectual property (IP) across new categories. Holmes joins the company from Mattel where she most recently served as senior director of strategic development: global licensing acquisitions and partnerships. Read more…
Simba Dickie Group Names Florian Sieber CEO

The Simba Dickie Group is entering a new generation of leadership. The family-owned company that began as Simba Toys is now being led by a third-generation toymaker, as CEO Michael Sieber passed the torch to his son Florian on May 1. Michael Sieber and his father, Fritz Sieber, founded the company in 1982. Read more…
 
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