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Thinking inside the box

One of my most memorable finds at Toy Fair isn’t going to be available for sale any time soon. It’s barely more than a fascinating prototype right now, but wow – it’s got potential. Isaac Bowman is a carpenter from Lexington, Kentucky. As a birthday gift for some niece or nephew, he made something he calls a Discovery Box. It ... Read More »

Cold Play

We’re back from Toy Fair and rested. Now if only they would coordinate Toy Fair with school vacation week. Instead, we take the kids out of school for a week, and then get back home only to have them out of school for another week. It doesn’t help matters that the entire city of Boston is covered in ice. There’s ... Read More »

Talk about open ended

We did a survey of our customers this month, and we asked for opinions about the kinds of products we should be looking for at Toy Fair. One phrase came up again and again – “open ended.” So we were on a mission, to find open-ended playthings – toys that can be used again and again, in many different ways, ... Read More »

Day 3, running out of steam

Don’t even look at the time stamp on this post. I haven’t been up this late since college. But Toy Fair is always an ordeal. Today was a great day. I covered the entire lower level of the show, which is where most of the small companies are located. I saw so many interesting new products, all of which deserve ... Read More »

Squid Soap for cleaner hands

One of my favorite finds on Day 3 of Toy Fair was Squid Soap. It’s not really a toy, but it’s fun and clever all the same. Basically, it’s a pump of liquid handsoap with a little ink pad on top of the pump dispenser. So when a child presses down, it transfers a small dot of red ink onto ... Read More »

MP3 101

Peapod Toys is showing an MP3 player designed for babies and toddlers. It’s a simple, durable design that will allow even very young babies to learn to control their music. The player holds about two hours worth of music and will play for more than 40 hours on a single AA battery. The speakers were nothing special (though it was ... Read More »

Uglydolls on the loose.

Day two at Toy Fair proved eventful, as I learned firsthand why children are wise to be frightened of jumbo costumed characters. Giant Uglydolls have become a fixture at Toy Fair, but they are getting mischievous. Today, I found myself the target of their antics on two separate occasions. And why not? If I were trapped all day inside a ... Read More »

K’nekting with K’nex

There are some toy brands that have always been at the forefront of my consciousness. As a kid I really enjoyed Lego, Brio, and Lincoln Logs and Erector sets, and I get a kick out of seeing these products in my store. Today at Toy Fair I meandered into a booth with a great brand that I was not so ... Read More »


Lately, it seems like everyone is talking about Webkinz. These stuffed virtual pets are all the rage among middle school kids all over the country (if you’ve never heard of them, read my previous entry about them here). So it’s not really a surprise that their success is spawning at least a handful of eager copycats. But the range of ... Read More »

Brick by Brickadoo

This is my 4th toy fair, and one of the categories that I have been seeking out are great, new building and construction toys. There seemed to be a plethora of items that match that description, many of them wooden, but my favorite product of the day were the Brickadoos. When I mentioned the Brickadoos to Sheri and Isaac, they ... Read More »