Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2014 Toy Trends to Watch

We went to toy shows in Dallas and Las Vegas this year, as well as researched the news releases, award-winning toys and releases issued at the New York Toy Fair.  It's an interesting industry.  While different individual kids toys and games come and go, the trends last for a few years, so some of the trends are the same as last year and some are new and different.  "Open-ended, personalized, classic toys, pink toys and STEM toys were generating conversation this year.  Here are the 2014 top toy trends we spotted:

Pink is THE Color for Girls Versions of Toys - We saw this trend start last year with toys, such as building blocks, emerging in pink to compliment those in traditional primary colors.  This year, we saw pink tool boxes, trains, sand pails and shovels and more.  Apparently, the toy industry thinks toys need to be in pink to appeal to girls.  While we know girls enjoy many colors - not just pink - we'll be carrying some of the new pink toys to make this additional color choice available for our customers.

STEM Toys (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) are Hot - We continue to see a rise in toys associated with STEM and toys becoming more interactive through technology.  There are lots of new toys on the market and popular existing toys grounded in these core subjects.  We saw lots of science experiments for kids, robotic toys, and toys using science or technology concepts in how kids would play with them.  The technical and physical worlds are joining together more than ever in kids toys.  Even plush toys, such as Gund's Peek-A-Boo bear, have become somewhat interactive.  We even saw a teddy bear that works with your iPhone or tablet so this stuffed animal could interact using the Internet as a resource. Math games such as Double Shutter, Yam Slam, the Allowance Game, and Presto-Change-O Game are good choices.

Kids Arts and Crafts Get Personal - Art and crafts allowing children to be creative and personalize their The Orb Factory has a Plushcraft Personalized Pillow on which kids can put their initial.  Look for "do-it yourself" kids crafts, such as jewelry-making or other fashion-oriented kits.  Also, the Rainbow Loom, from Choon's Design LLC, won the Girl Toy of the Year, the Activity Toy of the Year, and the Specialty Toy of the Year.
projects were popular at this year's shows.  For example,

Classic Toys Appeal to Young and Old -Purchased by parents and grandparents with fond memories of their childhood play time, classic toys continue to be in demand.  Many of these are wooden toys, for pretend play, and construction toys that promote open-ended play.  Children can play with them in more than one way or differently as child development occurs.  The 2014 Preschool Toy of the Year was won by Just Play for its Doc McStuffins Get Better Check-up Center.

Custom Built for Creativity - These kids toys and games cross several categories - from building toys to children's arts and crafts to action figures - and allow kids to use their imaginations as they play.  According to the Toy Industry Association, this trend includes "mash up toys, which incorporate many uses or ways to play in a single toy or game, giving kids the freedom to choose how they play."  Blue Orange has several educational games that fit this trend, such as Trigger, Tell Tale, Speedeebee and Spot it Jr.! Animals.

To shop our wide selection of toys that fit into these trends and more, visit www.jumpstarttoys.com today!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2014 Top 10 List of Tips and Valentine’s Day Gifts for Kids

“Top 10” List Provides Valentine’s Day Ideas for Kids

Gund Message Bears I Love You
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and JumpStart Toys wants to make Valentine’s Day 2014 happy, healthy and affordable for kids and adults.  It is a big day for children as they learn to express their affection and friendship to others and receive it in return.  View our Top 10 tips and gift ideas for children to make this holiday affordable and fun.

Top 10 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Kids

      Trade Candy for Small Gifts – Give the child in your life a small, inexpensive gift instead of sweets for a healthier treat.  Consider a sticker pad, coloring book or movie gift certificate instead.

Gund Pink Snuffles Large 10 inch

Reduce or Eliminate the Sugar – Substitute sugar-free or natural treats for those laden with corn syrup, artificial dyes and sugars and reduce the quantity given.

Give A Teddy Bear – Not original enough for you?  Name one person who does not fondly remember a special bear stuffed animal or a person who gave them a teddy bear in their life.  Gund bears are   affordable and of high quality, bringing extra value for the dollars spent. Some Folkmanis puppets double as stuffed animals as well.

Claire Stripes & Dots Baby Doll With Bear

Cuddle Toys for Valentine’s Day Gifts for Babies – Give a baby snuggle toy to the little one in your life.  It’s never too soon to offer comfort and love to babies! Douglas snugglers, sshlumpies, plush toys and soft dolls make great gifts for babies.

Start a tradition – Holidays are for making memories and building bonds with kids.  Choose an activity you both enjoy and make it a point to do it every year together.

Try a heart theme – For more unique gifts, try craft kits for kids that include heart shapes or that tie into a particular interest for a child.  Talk to children while they make the craft to share some special time together.

Go with a color theme – Valentine’s Day gifts for tweens and teens can be challenging.  Choose a red, pink or white item of interest and go with it. Better yet, take them shopping and let them pick it out! 

Stick with Fashion – Valentine’s Day ideas for girls that are fashion-focused are a sure way to win her heart this holiday.  Go for the bling and duct tape items that are so popular.  We like The Orb Factory’s Funky Notes Notebook and Imaginista Tape Style for bling and fashion for girls.

Race Cars for Boys and Girls – Finding a good Valentine’s Day gift for boys ages 8 and older is tough, but the Soda Geyser Car is a good option because it combines fun, racing and science into one.  Even better, it's an activity both girls and boys can enjoy for some family fun on this special day.  Find a parking lot and watch this car go!

To view more Valentine's Day Gifts for Kids, visit our website.  View our special offer, available for a limited time on our home page at www.jumpstarttoys.com.

Monday, January 27, 2014

JumpStart Toys Teacher Learning Toy Picks of the Month

Patricia Jordan, LISD Science Teacher
So soon after the holiday season, it can be tough to think about toys for most of us.  Yet, as winter gets colder and the days get darker, school resumes and we need to keep our kids excited and motivated about learning. So, we asked Patricia Jordan, a teacher of 23 years in the Lewisville Independent School District, to review a couple of our educational toys for kids from an experienced teacher's perspective.

Q:  Which toys did you review?
A:  I evaluated the Big Bag of Science.  As a fifth grade science teacher, I was curious to see what was in it and whether it would be a good addition to the classroom.  I also reviewed a math game.

Q:  What did you think of the Big Bag of Science?
A:  I was very impressed with the variety of experiments that this bag contains.  I loved the vivid colors that will entice the students to want to pick it up and explore it.  I really liked how many of the experiments can lead the students to want to investigate another avenue of science.

Q:  Can items in this kit be reused?  Will the parts get lost?
A:  I liked that the equipment in this bag is made of plastic and can be reused for several experiments and would be easy to clean.  I also liked the zippered, reusable plastic bag that makes it easy to tote the ingredients for the science experiments and the science equipment.  It reduces the opportunity to lose items.

Q:  What did you like about the Double Shutter educational game?
A:  This would be a great game for teachers to use in the classroom or for home-schooled children because the students can roll the number cubes (die) and count the value of them.  It seems to be enticing for kids because of the game element.

Q:  How do you think this math game might enhance learning and development?
A:  To play this game, students have to make tactical choices and process information in front of them to make a move.   This would help enhance student's abilities to think quickly when placed in a situation.  I also like the fact that this game helps teach probability and strategy.  In today's world, some students are not learning to make decisions on their own or thinking for themselves.  However, this game encourages them to think on their own, do mental math, and make decisions quickly.

Q:  You mentioned that this would be a great travel toy.  Why?
A:  It isn't too bulky, so it would fit easily in a kid's backpack or other carry-on bag.  The pieces are also attached except for the die, so parents and kids don't have too worry about losing the pieces of this educational game.  It is also light in weight and the tin keeps everything inside and protected.

To view more science experiments and learning games, visit www.jumpstarttoys.com.