After ruling supreme as the most popular toy for girls during the holidays, Barbie is losing her crown for the first time ever to the plucky gang from the movie Frozen. You know, the one with that snowman and the hilarious reindeer? Also there’s an ice queen and a princess.
Tesco is a supermarket/superstore based in the United Kingdom. They sell just about everything, including toys. However, one member of the toy-buying public was not thrilled with their holiday marketing. A 7-year-old girl noticed a “Fun gifts for boys” sign on a photo of an alarm clock featuring Marvel superheroes. Wait a minute: she likes superheroes. Why is that only a gift for boys? [More]
LEGO is one toy that is, in theory, gender-neutral. They’re just blocks, decals, and figurines. Yet toys today tend to be highly gender-segregated, even when they’re items that don’t necessarily have to be. Usually, we don’t think of the past as more enlightened, but in the case of LEGO, it’s striking how different their marketing in the ’70s was compared to today. [More]
Many readers will recognize the product at the top of this page: It’s Puppy Surprise, a toy originally introduced in 1991. The gimmick: inside you will find three, four, or five puppies with different markings and personalities. Puppy Surprise came back on the market this fall, and has been so popular that the company had to pull its ads off TV. [More]
Earlier today, we wondered why the communications people over at Mattel hadn’t answered any questions about a book starring Barbie as a computer engineer. Barbie’s “engineering” job consisted of designing puppies while having male colleagues code the game and reboot her computer. This isn’t just sexist, but an inaccurate representation of what computer engineers do. Good news: Steven and Brian managed to get the virus off PR Barbie’s computer, and the book’s author has spoken up as well. UPDATE: Amazon also appears to have pulled the e-book version of this title. [More]
Like it or not, holiday shopping season is upon us. That means it’s time for sales, decorations, crowds, stress, and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s annual list of the year’s worst toys. [More]
Are you looking forward to spending Thanksgiving Day standing in line and fighting with fellow shoppers over the last remote-controlled dinosaur? No? It doesn’t really matter whether you plan to show up or not: opening at 5 P.M. on Thanksgiving Day worked out for Toys ‘R’ Us last year, and they’re planning to do the same again this year. [More]
There were no buttons to tap, screens to swipe or badges to be won. But although kids today might not recognize something as humble as bubbles, a little green army man or a colorful puzzle called the Rubik’s Cube as sources of fun, those three classic toys have found a spot in the annals of entertainment history, as the 2014 inductees into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
We’ve been cataloging the spread of Christmas Creep, the debut of Christmas merchandise and decorations earlier in the season, for some years now, but it’s important to remember that aggressive Christmas marketing before Thanksgiving and even before Halloween is not a new phenomenon. Don’t believe us? Let’s take a trip back in time to 1989, when video game consoles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, and Transformers ruled the line drawings of the Kay-Bee Toys ad. Wait, this is really 25 years old? [More]
With John Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright) as its creator and President Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home as inspiration, Lincoln Logs are about as American as they come. It’s fitting, then, that the toy will once again be made in the United States after a stint in China.
Walmart started a new holiday tradition last year. It starts in the summer: the company invites a test panel of 1,000 children of all ages to play with a variety of toys, then rate how fun they are. About a quarter of the toys make the chain’s annual list of the 20 hottest toys, which Walmart then stocks up on, and Walmart shoppers might pick up after their Black Friday towel-grabbing frenzy. Maybe. [More]
Last year, we brought you the exciting news that there was a new line of fashion dolls with fashion pets available for kids who like that kind of thing. We were concerned and amused that the toy portrays pet ownership in a very inaccurate way: namely, that rabbits eat and poop glitter, and unicorns not only exist but also poop rainbows. Exciting news: there are more Poopsy Pets. [More]
It would seem that all is possible in the mix-and-match world of LEGO, but if anyone wanted to have a female scientist LEGO minifig, you had to build it from the base of a male scientist character. But as a result of widespread support for a proposal from a female geochemist/LEGO fan, the company has come to the realization that a Y chromosome — even a plastic one — is not needed to do science stuff. [More]
Though a handful of kids’ dolls have been known to become possessed by the souls of deceased serial killers — not to mention the occasional murderous, self-aware ventriloquist dummy — it’s generally accepted that dolls are not supposed to hurt the children who play with them. That’s why Walmart has issued a recall on 174,000 dolls that can overheat and cause burns or blisters. [More]
What should you do when the bank is closed, you need some cash, and there’s no ATM handy that doesn’t charge piles of fees? Sure, you could join a bank with no local branches that refunds ATM fees, like USAA, Schwab, or Ally. Some local banks do this, too, but if the branch isn’t open, you can’t go open a new account. That’s when you open an account at the Bank of Hot Wheels. [More]
Smartphones have changed modern life, from our inability to disconnect from our jobs to making commutes more fun to making it possible to order items online from inside a store. There are some applications of smart technology, though, that are just plain stupid. Like the Porkfolio, an Internet-enabled piggy bank. [More]
MCDonald’s recently unveiled their new lineup of Happy Meal toys, slated to start appearing at a drive-through near you on Friday. Fans of Cartoon Network’s series Adventure Time are thrilled to find their favorite animated characters available for purchase along with their burgers and fries. Except something seems to be missing.
As much as an old trunk or hope chest can look nice in your living room, it can also be a potential hazard for children if there is no way to open it from the inside. Yesterday, a young brother and sister in Massachusetts died at their home after becoming trapped inside a hope chest in their home. [More]