Tag: Girls Toys

Did you see it? That viral video of the cute little three-year old Riley cutting to the chase regarding the way toy manufacturers steer girls down one street and boys another?

 

If you didn’t or, just want to catch it again, here it is :

She doesn’t get it. Why does all of the girl stuff have to be pink?

For as long as I can remember girls have had the ‘pink stuff’ and the boys have had the ‘other colored stuff’ to play with. Why? Well..because! It’s always been that way!

This debate is really starting to heat up too- combine this with the recent Lego Friends controversy – and get ready to buckle in. My thoughts are that this gender debate isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Adding to this debate is the question of whether or not gender stripping of toys is even a good idea.

Traditionally, toys were intended to communicate parental values and expectations, to train children for their future adult roles. Today’s boys and girls will eventually be one another’s professional peers, employers, employees, romantic partners, co-parents. How can they develop skills for such collaborations from toys that increasingly emphasize, reinforce, or even create, gender differences? What do girls learn about who they should be from Lego kits with beauty parlors or the flood of “girl friendly” science kits that run the gamut from “beauty spa lab” to “perfume factory”?

Word is that kids are environmentally influenced to play with these toys- and in essence are being exploited to play with the gender role definitions that are given to them.

What are your thoughts? Do you ever think about gender with regard to the toys you buy your children?

Image courtesy of lownote

Ed threw this news tidbit my way–how’d he know?! I love it!

The LEGO Group, the world’s leading construction toy brand, today announced LEGO® Friends, a new play theme that tailors the iconic LEGO construction experience especially to girls ages five and up. LEGO Friends delivers on a girl’s desire for realistic role-play, creativity, and a highly-detailed, character-based world with the core values of LEGO building.

“We felt it was time to test assumptions that girls aren’t interested in building and to breathe fresh air into a toy category filled mostly with per-fabricated play experiences for girls,” said Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO, LEGO Group.

“We focused on creating a play experience centered on the joy of creation, while heeding the way girls naturally build and play. We are incredibly proud of the solution we deliver with LEGO Friends, and are resolved to build this platform for years to come.”

What a great addition to the Lego family! Not that there’s anything wrong with girls playing with Legos as they are, but this just makes them even more appealing. My only hope is that they avoid the ‘pink princess theme’ as it has been done again and again. Girls love things that aren’t always pink and princess-y too! How about a CEO in her office building?

“What LEGO Friends does differently is deliver the beauty, details, accessories, real world themes and need for strong interior play that the research revealed would make all the difference for girls ages 5 and up.”

Need to know more about what is coming?  The LEGO Friends collection 2012 consists of 23 products.  The first 14 will be available for sale in select toy, discount merchandise, specialty and online stores beginning December 26, 2011 in the United Kingdom and January 1, 2012 in the United States.  A total of 29 different mini-doll figures will be introduced in 2012.

See the Lego Friends website to get started and check back on December 26th to see more!

Quoted material from Lego.com press release.

UPDATE: Apparentely this is not a popular addition with many of the Lego Facebook fans.

 

The other day my mom’s group was talking about an ant farm for Christmas. Apparently one of the kids is obsessed with the ant farm in her preschool class- so mom was thinking that it might be something different to get her. I know an ant farm would NEVER work in our house- as cool as an idea that it is— I just worry. Worry that one of the three will do SOMETHING and ‘CRRRAAASSHHHHH- ants everywhere!’. Even if that didn’t happen, I bet you I would still have nightmares about it.

I started browsing around and stumbled across educational toys by DuneCraft. Specifically the DuneCraft Outer Space Biodome has caught my eye and it has me wishing my guys were older so that we could make one!

Grow your own Galactic Space Terrarium! This collection of alien invader plants sprout antennas, turn into rocket ships, move when spoken to or touched, and were thought to have come from space by European explorers upon arriving to America. Create your own unique space scape with the included Glow in the Dark Asteroids, color decals and stakes. Add a lunar lagoon with Space Sand and watch water turn into Mercury! Finish the scene with your own alien landing. All the space specimens in this celestial set are quick to sprout and fast to grow.

 

"These clever dome planters, about the size of a bowling ball, won raves from kids who loved "planting with friends" and "could not wait to see it grow." These terrariums have seeds to sprout four or five small exotic plants that create a futuristic or prehistoric-looking landscape. The kids also loved decorating the domes with stickers, gravel and creatures."

 

This review is courtesy of The Washington Post and Washington area third graders. I was looking for something not the norm,  and I am so excited that I ran across it. I ended up checking out the other products that they sell on their site and was really impressed.

First, there is this- I mean, seriously- how cool would an Eric Carle Themed Terrarium be???? Or, for that Curious George fanatic in your life- you could share a Curious George Themed Terrarium with Curious George’s Outrageous Farm! With prices in the neighborhood of $24.99, that is pretty affordable.

The child in your life doesn’t have to be a budding scientist or nature geek either. I personally remember being absolutely fascinated by terrariums in the third grade, and am sadly neither a scientist nor a nature geek. I did- and still do- possess an inherent love for terrariums and ‘growing things’ which so many kids do. A Hydroponic Fly Trap terrarium? AWESOME!!  Looking for something unique? I vote these- DuneCraft scores with the perfect non-toy-toy!

 

Xia-Xia, also known to those that simply utter the words from the commercial (and those that properly pronounce the toy) as Sha-Sha are taking over this holiday season!  And, as your collection grows, you will find that you need a place for the crabs to roam.  Have a look at the Rio de Trio Village with us to see if it will give your crabs the home they have been looking for.

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Xia-Xia Rio de Trio Village Playset by Cepia

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Known for their wacky walk, Xia-Xia™ will entertain children for hours in the Rio de Trio Village Playset. With fun, colorful décor and a bonus of three rooms, Xia-Xia can skitter scatter back and forth through the set!

  • 4 years and up
  • Average Price: $21.99
  • Xia Xia’s sold separately

 

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Xia-Xia Rio de Trio Village Playset Highlights

  • This playset is reminiscent of the Zhu Zhu Pet Habitats and Funhouses that were so popular the last few years.
  • There are 3 separate “living” areas for your Xia Xia crabs – 1 large area and 2 smaller ones. One room has three shelves to hold the extra shells.
  • The set takes no time to put together or take apart for easy storage.
  • Great place to store your Xia Xia’s

What you should know before you buy

  • The Xia Xia’s have a hard time navigating through the door ways. For the most part they just move back and forth.

 

The Verdict

  • Lucy had fun playing with her Rio de Trio Village but got frustrated when the Xia Xia’s couldn’t make there way through the village on their own. As far as the price goes, for me it’s a bit high, but if your child loves Xia Xia’s this might be the perfect accessory.

 

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Buy It At Toys R’ Us!

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*Xia Xia’s sold separately

I know, I know. What am I saying!? Don’t I understand what that actually means for us parents? NOISE!?!?! Yes, yes, I know. But I’ll tell you what- I’d rather hear some clanging tambourines or drums a bangin’ than the addictive ear worm music I hear coming out of some of the toys we have!

For the twins’ first birthday, I was looking for (my favorite) the original Fisher Price Marching Band kit from the 1980’s.

The FP 'vintage' edition...

It of course makes me sad to call this ‘vintage’ as that means I am vintage- and I realized that I would probably only find it on ebay for an ungodly amount of money..Fortunately for me, I was telling this lady in a waiting room my woes when she mentioned an entire line from B.toys . Turns out it was  pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

First up is the item we own and  know well. It’s th B. toys Parum Pum Pum Drum (under $24 at Target).  The drum kit that includes shakers (really awesome ones I might add), a  tambourine, and a maraca with a clacker that all fit inside the drum.

As well as the Parum drum kit- B.toys also offers Meowsic the keyboard (be sure to check out the long list of awards this toy has received on the right of the picture!) and what is probably the cutest guitar I have ever seen in my life- with Woofer.  And how can you possibly have a band without the mic? Check out the Okideoke while you’re at it. For now we just have the drum kit- but you can bet that those last few items will be on a birthday wish list coming up for my toddler in the near future. How cool! I can see my Boys 3 in their own rockin’ indie band!

If you get a second, check out all of the fabulous toys. We have the Zany Zoo– which is STILL a hit with my oldest even though he got it on his first Christmas. All of their toys are brightly colored, well made, and reasonably priced. They link straight to Target’s B. toys section so what could be easier than that?

I love it when I find these lists. Not the lists the toy companies compile, or Amazon, or Toys R Us – but the ones where the toys are ranked by how much the KIDS like them. Granted, a cardboard box might as well classify as the ‘favorite toy of the moment’ (as I type this mine are ripping up a coloring book with great enthusiasm), but I really like to see articles where hands on kid research is the main focus.

So this list is compiled by the Canadian Toy Testing Council. Sure some of these toys may be Canadian, but so what? Canadians are cool and kids are kids! How does this list compare to their American counterparts you think??

Nathan Favreau, 14 months, goes for a ride on the Little Tikes Play 'n' Scoot Pirate Ship on Tuesday. Photograph by: Wayne Cuddington, Postmedia News, Postmedia News

1.5-3 years: Play ‘n’ Scoot Pirate Ship (Little Tikes Company)

3+ yrs.: Dr. Seuss What’s in the Cat’s Hat Game (I Can Do That Games)

3+ yrs.: Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game (Educational Insights)

4-9 yrs.: Leap Pad Explorer (Leap Frog)

6+ yrs.: Saila Maplelea Girl (Avonlea Traditions Inc.)

6+ yrs.:Jewelry Boutique (Crayola Canada)

6+ yrs.: Glow Book (Crayola Canada)

8+ yrs.: Snap Circuits Jr. (Elenco)

8+ yrs.: Nerf Dart Tag Swarmfire (Hasbro Canada)

10+ yrs.: Mythbusters Hit The Target Game (Zimzala Games)

 

So yesterday I packed up the fam and we headed about 2 hours north to the Charlotte, NC Ikea. I have to admit, I have only been to Ikea once or twice. They aren’t exactly convenient for me to get to, and my options are Atlanta or Charlotte. Atlanta was probably a little closer, but these days traffic and I don’t get along very well so Charlotte it was.

 First of all, we went to get my toddler a bed. That was it. I think a rule of Ikea is to set a clearly defined list of what you want there and try to stick to it. We ended up buying a myriad of things, none of which we planned upon in the first place- but were absolutely delighted once we found them. Which brings me to the point of this post- and that’s how Ikea can be an alternative to Target, Walmart, etc when it comes to holiday shopping for toys. You aren’t going to find toys with the lights and sounds. You are going to find some pretty sweet deals on wooden and plush ‘unique’ toys though-as well as kid bedroom decor (including a small slide my toddler beelined to) which would be PERFECT for the holidays.

Their prices also CANNOT be beat. seriously -it makes the cost of gas in your car worth it just to grab up some of these finds. The crowd…meh. I am not a fan, so my advice is to get there when they open- preferably on a weekday, and take along help with you if you have to bring the kid(s). My son LOVED ‘I KEEEEEEEY AH!!!’ and said it all.day.long. We are still hearing about the magical store where he could jump on the furniture and run through the aisles. And the toys. Please do not forget the toys!

A  couple of the things we picked up: Mula Shape Sorter ($4.99), and The  Klappar Lantlig Glove plush cow hand puppet ($3.99). They also have some FABULOUS mini kitchen items, as well as their wooden train- the Lillabo 20 piece set, for $9.99! Not to mention chalk, markers, and a bunch of other things that could be stocking stuffers. Think outside of the (traditional) box this year and give some really unique gifts- if all else fails you might have fun trying to pronounce name of whatever the item is you gave. Haha!

 

Bizu is a new collectable bracelet accessory for girls that love to to create and play.  But, what makes it unique?  It takes beading to a new level by letting you play with the jewelry you make.  And not in a pretend way, but, in a balloon animal way!  Confused?  See our hands on video and it will all make sense.

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Bizu Style Studio by Spin Master

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Experience a whole new twist on accessory design with the Umagine Bizu Bead Style Studio. From fashion to friend, Bizu is the exclusive must-have bead activity that lets girls magically transform accessories into hot collectibles. With over 15,000+ combinations the Style Studio allows you to inventory your Bizu collection and create new fashionable accessories. As your own fashion director use the rotating tower to choose each piece individually. Start the season with Glam, Rock, Wild, or Funky styles, and then mix’n’match to make your own. Create 4 stylish bracelets, link 3 together to make a necklace, or start a backpack and cell phone accessory trend. With the Ultimate Bizu Style Studio, fashion IS your friend!

AVRP : $19.99

Recommended Age: 6 – 15 years

 

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Bizu Style Studio

  • Includes Style Studio rotating tower, 40 beads (includes 4 animal character heads), 4 elastic bands with toggle clasps, 1 beading tool, 2 clips, 4 character template cards and 1 instruction guide
  • Create pets or bracelets with just a little twist! The Style Studio comes equipped to make 4 bracelets or you can link them together to make a necklace!
  • There are over 15,000 combinations to make! Endless possibilities!
  • You can collect more beads and store them in the tower!

 

Bizu Style Studio Gotchas

 

  • The first time we tried to make a bracelet a few of the beads popped off.  But once we got the first one done it was easy! You can see from the video our 7 year old Toy Tester, Emily had no problem doing it herself and she loved it!
  • Ages 5 + only! Some of the beads are pretty small and are a definite choking hazard.

 

Bizu Style Studio Verdict

Overall we loved it! The tower keeps the beads all in one place and makes it fun to create new friends and funky accessories!

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Buy It At Amazon!

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Yes, we are giving one away! Head over to the Bizu Style Studio Giveaway!

Giveaway starts 12:01AM 10/11/11 and ends 12:01AM 10/19/11!

The more entries you do, the more chances you have to win!

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I can remember back to being about 5 or 6 when my oldest sister got what would soon be my hand me down Easy Bake Oven! We’d mix the batter, slide it into the oven and not so patiently wait for our heart shaped treat to emerge! It was like magic….until the bulb burned out!

But thanks to Hasbro’s redesign Easy Bake Oven’s now will have a heating element similar to real ovens! Check out the article below for details!

[amazon_image id=”B004P9591C” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Easy Bake Easy Bake Ultimate Oven – New 2011[/amazon_image]

Easy-Bake loses its bulb with 100-watt phase-out
This is not the Easy-Bake Oven you remember.

The latest version of the famous toy oven first marketed in 1963 with a carrying handle and a fake stove top is now all curves and purple and snazzy graphics. And – perhaps most shocking of all – it comes with a new instruction: No light bulb necessary.

Chalk it up as an unintended consequence of the federal government’s move to phase out the incandescent light bulb. The compact fluorescents that are becoming the new standard for household use are so energy efficient that they’re useless in baking a brownie – or any of the other miniature treats the Easy-Bake has been cooking up for nearly 50 years.

Initially, news of the death of the 100-watt bulb prompted rumors that the Easy-Bake might be going the same way. Instead, the toy got its 11th redesign, at the heart of which is a new heating element much like that of a traditional oven.

The forced re-engineering also handed Hasbro ( HAS – news – people ) an excuse to give the Easy-Bake – which in the 1960s and 1970s came in the era’s popular kitchen decor colors – its most modern makeover yet.

“This gave us a reason to do it completely differently,” said Michelle Paolino, a vice president of global brand strategy and marketing at Hasbro.

“We wanted it to look more like a real appliance, not a plastic toy,” she said.

About the size of a big bread box, the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven is clearly designed to fit on any kitchen counter, assuming a parent is willing to shell out $49.99, a steep hike from the last model’s price tag of $29.99.

“It looks sort of like an Art Deco toaster with wings – a purple one,” said Patricia Hogan, curator at The Strong, which includes the National Museum of Play and the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, N.Y. “It’s just so cool.”

The oven targets girls between 8 and 12. The beauty of the oven, the company and users say, is that children can mix and bake mostly themselves – the food gets pushed in one end of the oven, cooks, then comes out the other side. Still, Hasbro says parental supervision is required.

The company says the cooking chamber temperature of the new model can reach approximately 375 degrees; the outside of the oven remains only warm to the touch.

Hasbro says the product, voluntarily recalled in 2007 because of reports of burns, meets all safety regulations. Nearly a million ovens were recalled after reports of children getting their fingers or hands stuck in its opening and suffering sometimes serious burns; a 5-year-old girl was injured so badly she had to have part of her finger amputated.

Inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame in 2006, the Easy-Bake Oven has become something of an icon, spawning at least one “gourmet” cookbook that includes recipes from Food Network chef Bobby Flay. Some families, to be frugal, would use regular, less expensive cake mixes than the Easy-Bake ones, or create their own.

Jenn Romig, 31, of Denver, got an Easy-Bake for Christmas in the 1980s and loved it. Her favorite was the heart-shaped pan, which she used to make little cakes that she served to her two brothers.

“I think they wanted to” use the oven themselves, she said, “but it seemed girly. So they just would eat whatever I made.”

She didn’t know at first what was behind the oven’s magic – until one day the bulb needed changing.

“It was kind of sad for me,” she said.

Joe Cacciola, president of Fuzion Design Inc., the Pawtucket-based firm that worked with Hasbro on the Easy-Bake’s redesign over the last two years, says having to eliminate the light bulb has been something of a blessing.

He says the new heating element allows for more consistent heat – no hotspots near the bulb – and an overall better bake. There’s also no need for parents to open the insides to screw in a bulb.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the redesign has also brought an up-sizing of portions. Cacciola says the heating chamber is about 50 percent larger, and the new rectangular cooking pan, a departure from the traditional round one, can hold more and bigger snacks.

Cacciola knows a thing or two about the Easy-Bake, having worked for Hasbro himself, including on that toy line. (He also helped launch the Queasy Bake Cookerator, an ill-fated attempt to get boys in on the fun by allowing them to bake grossly named edibles like Chocolate Crud Cake and Dip ‘N Drool Dog Bones.) He says the approach designers took on the new Ultimate Oven was a blend of evolution with revolution.

The first Easy-Bake, manufactured by Kenner, now a division of Hasbro, came on the market in 1963. It was turquoise, boxy and cost $15.95; parents bought 500,000 in the first year alone. The oven has always reflected the times, at least in part: In 1965, Hasbro introduced TV-dinner-like trays that were split into three sections. The kid-cooked mini-meal consisted of beef and macaroni, peas and carrots.

By the 1980s, the oven was white and had a high-low setting switch. By 1993, it had gone pink.

In 2003, Hasbro introduced a version of the oven without a light bulb, called the Real Meal Oven, which looked less like an oven and more like a microwave. But it opted to go back to the light bulb with the next redesign.

Along with the latest model comes a new line of Easy-Bake mixes; Paolino says they’re trendier snacks. There’s a pink-and-brown “checkerboard” cake, for instance, along with whoopie pies, party pretzel “dippers” and cinnamon twists.

The cook time is about the same with the new heating element, about 15 minutes on average.

“It’s just like a real oven,” says Paolino, before reflecting on the Easy-Bake the way it once was: “It’s pretty amazing what a 100-watt light bulb can do.”

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

My daughter Lucy absolutely LOVES her Teacup Piggies! They’re one of the few toys who’s fate hasn’t brought them to bottom of the toy box!  And now Toy Tek has come out with even more pint sized pals for your kids to fall in love with!

                    Teacup World Launches with New Teacup Doggies, Kitties, and Families

Los Angeles, CA – August 3 2011- The makers of last year’s holiday toy sensation, Teacup Piggies, welcome three adorable additions to the new Teacup World: Teacup Doggies, Teacup Kitties, and Teacup Families. Like their Piggy cousins, these lovable new pets have their own unique personalities and features that are sure to grab the attention of every child this holiday season.

“The introduction of new Teacup Doggies, Teacup Kitties, and Teacup Families brings a new level of excitement to the launch of Teacup world,” said Mitch August, President, Toy Teck.

“Last year, Teacup Piggies took the holiday season by storm and our research tells us Doggies, Kitties and Families will do the same this year combining both fashion and collectability with value driven price points.”

Teacup Piggies return this holiday season in a new winter wonderland. Whether taking a ride on their Piggy Snowmobile or twirling away on the Champions Ice Skating Rink Playset, these piggies know how to have fun in the snow with style. New winter themed piggy fashions and accessories are sure to turn heads at this fall’s Teacup Fashion show.

Teacup Doggies and Teacup Kitties are six-inch miniature versions of real life teacup dogs and cats. Each interactive Doggy and Kitty speaks over twenty-five phrases and comes with its own teacup, accessories, and birth certificate. New Doggy and Kitty fashions complement each pet’s unique personality and sense of style. The new Mommy and Lil’ Doggies Bedtime set brings mommy doggy and her pint–sized doggies together for even more magical fun.

While smaller than their Teacup counterparts in size, Teacup Families are larger than life

when it comes to fun. With twelve limited edition sets, a Cruisin’ family Van, and a fun-filled

Neighborhood Playground Playset, Teacup families are poised to be this year’s most coveted

collectible.

Starting mid August, new Teacup Piggies, Doggies, Kitties and Families will be found at major

retailers nationwide including Toys“R”Us, Walmart, Target, Kmart, Walgreens, QVC, and Radio

Shack.

About ToyTeck

Toy Teck Ltd. is dedicated to bringing new, exciting, innovative and safe toys to children everywhere. The makers of last year’s holiday sensation, Teacup Piggies, welcome three adorable additions to the new Teacup world: Teacup Doggies, Teacup Kitties, and Teacup Families. With changeable fashions, playsets, and responsive intelligence, these loveable toy pets bring hours of fun and interactive play to children of all ages. For more information please visit facebook.com/teacupworld