Wednesday, February 26, 2014

American International Toy Fair Features Must-See Companies for 2014

The Toy Industry Association's 111th annual American International Toy Fair that took place February 16-19 in New York showcased 1,153 companies. The largest toy marketplace in the country kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring singer/songwriter Alicia Keys. Among the vendors from 94 countries present at the massive show, hundreds were unveiling children playthings for the first time. Thousands of retailers also attended the show to see what the upcoming year has to offer in plush, costume, building and electronic toys, among other categories. Baby & Kids has highlighted some of the must-see companies for 2014. 

This felt-covered briefcase holds art supplies so little Picassos can draw at home or on the go.

KidKraft's teepee playhouse is perfect for adventurous campers.

Play dreamy dress-up with Douglas Toys many costume selections, from the makers of the soft Lil Snugglers plush toys.

Aurora displayed classic plush toys that have been favorites for years.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Top Toy Trends of 2014 Announced by Toy Industry Association (TIA), the Official Voice of Toy Fair

The Toy Industry Association unveiled this year's hottest playthings during a packed seminar for media and buyers at their 111th American International Toy Fair. The toys, games and youth entertainment products revealed at the "Toy Trends Tea" seminar will be appearing in stores now through the Holiday 2014 shopping season.

A summary of the six top trends follows:
    Large-sized toys are becoming increasingly common in just about every category, from plush and play sets to RCs and building toys. As a counter-balance to the micro-sized trend seen in years past, these toys engage kids in imaginative role-play activities and make impressive gifts for special occasions. They don't all come with hefty price tags, either – the value-conscious shopper will find many "BIG" toys at affordable prices.

    Playtime will shift into high gear thanks to an influx of innovative remote-controlled vehicles for various ages and at varying price points. Older kids with a 'need for speed' will have plenty of options to choose from, including helicopter RCs and vehicles that launch projectiles. Animal-themed and licensed RCs based on popular entertainment properties will engage younger children and promote active and imaginative play.

    Educational toys, games and crafts that teach kids STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) are heating up in the toy aisle and getting kids of all ages, interests and abilities excited about learning. Toymakers are increasingly incorporating storytelling and other artistic components into science, engineering and building toys to get more kids than ever on board with STEAM.

    Vampires were hot … but now zombies and monsters are all the rage, thanks to a rise in popularity of zombie-themed movies, TV shows and video games. Ghoulish action figures and dolls with relatable characters and back-stories are less frightening for younger kids, while older boys and girls will get a kick out of 'gross out' toys. These toys not only have the ability to transport children to mysterious worlds – they also teach them that it's OK to be different and stand out from the crowd.

    First identified by TIA in 2013, the retro and back-to-basics trend is alive and well this year thanks to a huge abundance of classic toys and games slated to hit store shelves. Today's parents and grandparents fondly remember these playthings from their own childhoods and are excited to share them with the little ones in their lives.

    2014 will take building to a whole new level. In addition to building and construction toys, this trend extends across several toy categories – from arts and crafts to action figures – and encompasses playthings that allow kids to create, customize and personalize to reflect their unique tastes, styles and imaginations.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Children's Sun Protection Brand Launches Accessory for Everyday Wear and Play

Sun Angels, maker of sun protection gear for kids, introduces a new accessory with their UPF 50+ arm sleeves. Designed with kids and parents in mind, Sun Angels arm sleeves are fashionable and offer UPF 50+ protection. These easy-to-slip-on arm sleeves offer parents an instant, chemical-free alternative to the often challenging task of lathering on sunblock to a wiggly child. No mess. No fuss. Sun Angels arm sleeves are made using a lightweight fabric blend. Simply wear these stylish arm sleeves with a regular short-sleeved shirt when heading outdoors, then slip them off when back inside. It doesn't get much easier than that. Both kids and parents love these sleeves for their ease, and because unlike long-sleeved shirts, they allow airflow to the under arm area and keep skin cool.

UPF clothing and accessories provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays and offer an excellent option for children with skin sensitivities. Sun Angels arm sleeves will be available for purchase at and at local retailers nationwide beginning April 1, 2013. The sleeves come in 4 sizes: extra-small (newborn – 12 months), small (1-2 years), medium (3-4 years), and large (5-6 years) and retail for $19.99 per pair.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Five Baby and Child Best New Product Awards Presented at NY NOW

Five companies were named Baby + Child Best New Product Award winners, in connection with Winter 2014 edition of NY NOW, the Market for Home + Lifestyle. These five honorees are also eligible for NY NOW's "Best of Lifestyle" Award, which will be determined by online balloting at during the show.

Vici Enterprises received "Bloggers' Choice" top honors for Spherovelo. In addition, winners were recognized for excellence in four categories: toy, décor, gear and apparel. A panel of ten editors from trade media, kid-centric blogs and websites selected products which exemplified innovation, design and style.
The winter 2014 winners and finalists are: 
Vici Enterprises (New York, NY) for its Spherovelo, the first, and only, ride-on in the world that is able to help children aged 1-2 years make early connections between their senses (vision, pressure, equilibrium) and their motor system.

Winner: Nhocchi (New York, NY) for its Doorway Puppet Theater, which is portable, easy to set-up and packs into an attached pouch, or hangs to one side for easy storage. 
Finalist: eco-kids (Portland, OR) for its eco-easel. 
Finalist: Uncle Goose (Grand Rapids, MI) for its Stack and Scare Set 4.

Winner: Little Giraffe (Van Nuys, CA) for its Little G Money Bank, a ceramic bank with hand-painted dots. 
Finalist: Baby baazaar Inc. (New York, NY) for its Quilted Baby Blanket-Patches. 
Finalist: Anais & I (New York, NY) for its Blanket + Pillow Set.

Winner: Elements Accessories (New York, NY) for its Lava Lunch, a bag which keeps food hot up to 6 hours and has a Neoprene outer shell with proprietary super-insulation for maximum heat retention and exterior pockets for utensils, snacks, and drinks. It also comes with two organic reusable and unleakable Lava Rocks which maintain warmth. 
Finalist: PERADI INC (Brooklyn, NY) for its carriage bunting.Finalist: Free Like Birdie (Westfield, MA) for its Free Like Birdie Travel System.

Winner: Winter Water Factory LLC (Brooklyn, NY) for its Outer Space Charcoal Romper, a 100% organic cotton baby romper, with original print. Made in the USA. 
Finalist: Magnificent Baby (New York, NY) for its Smart Close Magnetic Raincoat. 
Finalist: JoJo Maman Bébé (London, UK) for its Polarfleece All In One.

"Baby + Child is a juried neighborhood within the NY NOW LIFESTYLE Collection, so the product caliber and quality is already very high," said Melissa Engongoro, Baby + Child Sales Manager. "However, these resources have been singled out for their superlative design qualities."