TDmonthly: Toy Fair 2010 Coverage - Feb 14th to 17th - Special Live Coverage
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  Day 1 – Feature Article

Read Day 1's Feature Article below.

Also read the other days' Feature Articles:
Day 2's Feature Article: Green Expansions Call for Eco-Creativity
Day 3's Feature Article: Games Come Home to the Family
Day 4's Feature Article: Science Kits and More Keep Kids Learning



Arts & Crafts Paint a Promising Picture
Manufacturers Create More and Give Back


From first finger paints to more sophisticated art kits for older children, the appeal of self-expression continues to drive arts and crafts sales. Toy Fair exhibitors interviewed by TDmonthly Magazine anticipate 2010 will bring plenty of opportunity.

ROLLING OUT NEW RELEASES


“The craft industry is just booming right now,” said Damien Crocker, U.S. specialty sales manager at The Orb Factory.  “People are spending more money on crafts. [They want] to do something productive, and play together.”

Crocker, who said the Orb Factory saw a substantial increase in 2009, told TDmonthly one its strengths was continuing to come out with top-quality new releases. The Orb Factory has released approximately 54 SKUs this year, and is unveiling other products here at the show. 

Artisands, creator of colorful sand art kits, is rolling out never-before-seen items. Representative Kyna Pearson said the new items were a surprise, but the company has seen increased demand for U.S.-made product like its own over the last year.

“People are going more practical,” Pearson told TDmonthly. “Items that are practical for kids, more wholesome, safe.” 

SUPPORTING GOOD CAUSES

In addition, Artisands is expanding its focus toward kids with special needs. “We just joined with Pacer, a nonprofit for children with disabilities,” Pearson added. “We're representing our product as a learning tool for children with varying abilities, [because] it works with cognitive skills and motor skills. It can be a simple project, or much more advanced.”

Marci Braunstein, owner of Bead the Message and inventor of its signature product that debuted last fall, underscored the importance of charity involvement to her business. All profits from sales of Bead the Message's Charity Bracelet, which is white with four color-coded beads spelling GKTW, goes to the Give Kids the World Charity.

CRAFTING ALL IN ONE

First-time exhibitor Braunstein stressed the importance of the base kit being all inclusive, based on feedback she's received from local leaders of children's groups. “They all love it because it's easy,” she said, “and everything you need to have a party or group activity is right there.”

Donna Martinez, administrative coordinator at The Little Experience, also stated that same appeal of their complete craft kits that include all the necessary supplies. Another facet of their line that customers appreciate, she added, is its earth-friendly, recycled packaging.

The ecological theme, which has become common in all areas of the toy industry over the last few years, is also helping to guide the creative items at Hi-Tec Art. Hi-Tec Art's Sketch Art kit allows kids to create beautiful patterns by sticking brilliant LED lights into a specialized rubber surface. LEDs draw very little current, and the kit can be used thousands of times without needing replenishment, outside of the occasional change of batteries.

“[Customers] are looking for freedom. The less rules and restrictions, the happier they are,” CEO Roy Smith told TDmonthly.  “What they're also looking for is eco-friendly [products] that don't use a lot of resources.”

Sticky Mosaics® Dear Diary by THE ORB FACTORY LIMITED

Girls simply peel, stick, and follow the numbered pattern to create their own shimmering Diary, which features a heart-shaped lock, a lipstick pen and reflective cover. "Of course, our top-quality designs always set our kits apart, but even more than that is the added value involved when fitting a craft activity and a completely functional Diary into one package. When you combine top-quality design with amazing value, you get a truly incredible product," Damien Crocker, U.S. Specialty Sales Manager, The Orb Factory Limited, told TDmonthly. Launch date: March 15, 2010. 2/4/2010 (Price: $14.99; Age: 5 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Stitch-It Chick Keyring by The Little Experience

Stitch-It Chick Keyring by The Little Experience
A funky character in bright colored felt, the Stitch-It Chick Keyring is designed to be easy to make from start to finish. The felt shape of the chick is pre-cut, and patterned appliqués are included for his feet, hair, face, and clothing. The kit has everything needed to do the project, including the keyring, metal needle, stuffing, and two colors of embroidery floss. Watch Stitch-It Chick: Top-5 Video, Toy Fair 2010 2/10/2010 (Price: $6.99; Age: 6 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Masterpiece Art by HI-TEC ART LLC

Masterpiece Art by HI-TEC ART LLC
A larger version of Hi-Tec Art's Sketch Art kit, Masterpiece Art is a high-tech creative tool with a simple premise. Users easily stick LED lights into the self-healing rubber surface and watch them light up, bringing a child's design to glowing life. Masterpiece Art includes 1,600 LEDs in eight colors, nine pieces of luminescent Artwire in varying lengths, six printed background images, power adapters, and the tools a child needs to build their creations again and again. Two smaller versions of the kit are available from Hi-Tec Art. 2/10/2010 (Price: $79.99; Age: 8 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Classic Art Caddy by ORGANIZED KIDS

Classic Art Caddy by ORGANIZED KIDS
This is a classic old-school wood caddy made to help kids keep their art supplies organized. Each caddy can be customized with the name of the child in the color of their choosing. It is offered in a clear finish or stained Mahogany and comes fully stocked with crayons, markers, pencils, finger paints, scissors, glue, water color paints, modeling clay, construction paper and a doodle pad. A tool box version is also offered, and includes a hammer, pliers, screwdrivers and more. Launch date: February 14, 2010. 2/4/2010 (Price: $55.00; Age: 3 to 11) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Fashion Angels Design a Heavenly Wedding Wardrobe by FASHION ANGELS

Fashion Angels Design a Heavenly Wedding Wardrobe by FASHION ANGELS
Girls get to design their dream wedding wardrobe for four Fashion Angels paper dolls. The kit includes clothing patterns, fabric, glitter, gems, buttons, appliques, and more to make fabulous wedding attire. "Most young girls dream about their wedding they will have some day — this kit will help them have control and think outside the box of what wedding dresses and tuxedos can look like. They can just have fun and even be silly with it. The best part is, on all of our Design a Heavenly Wardrobes, we are able to lower the wholesale cost in 2010!" Sarah Koth, PR Coordinator, Fahion Angels Enterprises, told TDmonthly. Note: This product has been discontinued. 1/14/2010 (Price: $16.99; Age: 8 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Bugs by 1-2-3 PRESCHOOL PROJECTS LLC
Bugs are pretty common to find around the house, so the children should be able to quickly identify the ladybug, caterpillar and dragonfly. Children can decorate the bugs with colored tissue paper, black sticky dots and colored pom-poms to bring them to life. 2/8/2010 [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


ArtLab Itty Bitty Pizzeria by SMARTLAB TOYS

ArtLab Itty Bitty Pizzeria by SMARTLAB TOYS
These miniature kits are packed full of creativity. All components are food grade and dishwasher safe. Launch date: April 2010. 12/28/2009 (Price: $9.99; Age: 8 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Marble Racers by SKULLDUGGERY

Marble Racers by SKULLDUGGERY
Each Marble Racer includes a plastic chassis, racing decals, 1 inch marble, wheels and axles. Marble Racers are designed to run on 1:64 Hot Wheels tracks. 4 different Marble Racers to choose from. 12/9/2009 [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Stitch-It Squirrel Keyring by The Little Experience

Stitch-It Squirrel Keyring by The Little Experience
From start to finish, kids can have fun creating this stuffed key chain animal. Beginning with pieces of pre-cut felt to eliminate struggling with tricky patterns, it's designed to be easy to stitch together the bright-colored squirrel character using a needle and embroidery floss in two colors.  Everything required to complete this min kit from The Little Experience is included in the box. 2/10/2010 (Price: $6.99; Age: 6 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Sticky Mosaics® Singles - Butterfly Tiara by THE ORB FACTORY LIMITED

Sticky Mosaics® Singles - Butterfly Tiara by THE ORB FACTORY LIMITED
Girls can create a spectacular Tiara with sparkling jewels and foam stickers. They simply peel, stick, and follow the numbered template for perfect results every time. "Not only is our Butterfly Tiara a craft project, but it also has added play value, allowing any girl to make believe she is a Princess!" Damien Crocker, U.S. Specialty Sales Manager, The Orb Factory Limited, told TDmonthly. Launch date: March 15, 2010. 2/4/2010 (Price: $4.99; Age: 4 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Sketch Art by HI-TEC ART LLC

Sketch Art by HI-TEC ART LLC
Using a distinctive, self-healing rubber surface and brilliantly glowing LED lights, kids can create luminescent works of art over and over with Hi-Tec Art's Sketch Art kit.  With no tools or plugs to worry about, they just stick the LEDs into the rubber and they light. The pad is powered by batteries, USB or an AC adapter, making it versatile for home or travel use. Children can create designs using only their imagination, or embellish the included background designs. The kit includes 800 LEDs in eight colors, a 2' length of glowing Artwire, power adapters, and the necessary tools. A smaller and larger version are available from Hi-Tec Art.  2/10/2010 (Price: $49.99; Age: 8 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Fashion Angels Interior Design Sketch Portfolio by FASHION ANGELS

The Fashion Angels Interior Design Sketch Portfolio is created to teach tween girls about designing their dream bedroom, furniture and more. They can use the removable stencils with the sketch pages, along with the tips at the front of the book to make a remarkable room. The kit has more than 100 stencils to help get the sketches started, plus tons of sketch pages for fun on the go. "The Fashion Angels Sketch Portfolio series debuted in 2009 with the Fashion Design and the Hair and Make Up Design portfolios. They were such a runaway success because they are a great value for retailers and consumers. Fashion Angels has passed along other areas of the design world so girls can learn about other facets like interior design, and it makes it so easy," Sarah Koth, PR Coordinator, Fashion Angels Enterprises, told TDmonthly. Launch date: 2010. 1/14/2010 (Price: $8.99; Age: 8 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Daisy Crayon by CRAZYOLEEZ

Daisy Crayon by CRAZYOLEEZ
Crazyoleez blend various colors of crayon into a single decorative shape, for a distinctive artistic experience while coloring. Other shapes and sizes are available. 11/24/2009 (Price: $3.00) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Jacquard Products - Jewel Tone Tie Dye Kits by JACQUARD PRODUCTS
Jewel Tone Tie Dye kits offer an assortment of two-tone color combinations colors with easy-to-follow instructions that allow anyone to create sophisticated variations on 3 tie dye patterns popular in today’s fashion world. Each kit includes enough products for two shirts: two applicator bottles with coordinating Procion MX dye colors, soda ash dye fixer, gloves and rubber bands. Jewel Tones are available in 7 beautiful color combinations: Amber, Amethyst, Emerald, Onyx, Ruby, Sapphire, and Topaz. Awards: Parent's Choice Award 2010. Launch date: February 2010. 11/19/2009 (Price: $7.99; Age: 8 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Secret Message Bead Kit by BEAD THE MESSAGE

This patent-pending kit of nearly 1,000 beads features various colors that each represent a letter, number and space, so that kids can create bracelets and other accessories with their own secret messages to be decoded. The kit includes 20 decoder cards, 15 feet of lacing with closures, labels, and instructions.
Awards: 2010 WTS "What The Stuff" Five Star; A TDmonthly Classics Award for being an all-time favorite toy.

Past videos: Product Demonstration 10/30/2009 (Price: $19.99; Age: 4 to 14) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Dogs Activity Pack by 1-2-3 PRESCHOOL PROJECTS LLC
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes: big, small, fuzzy and hairy. Children can take the crinkly paper, the soft snow, and the fuzzy brown yarn to create their own furry friend. 2/5/2010 (Price: $7.95) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Stick 'N Style™ Blinglets by THE ORB FACTORY LIMITED

With Stick 'N Style craft kits, girls can use a wide variety of jewels to create their own shimmering bracelets. "Aside from being incredibly easy to use, this new kit offers over 700 jewel tiles and 12 bracelets of varied thickness. Not only are there more than 700 jewels, but there are 17 varieties, making the combinations endless. There is no numbered pattern in this kit, so each design is unique!" Damien Crocker, U.S. Specialty Sales Manager, The Orb Factory Limited, told TDmonthly. Launch date: March 15, 2010. 2/4/2010 (Price: $19.99; Age: 5 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Give Kids the World Charity Bracelet by BEAD THE MESSAGE

Give Kids the World Charity Bracelet by BEAD THE MESSAGE
All profits from the sale of the GKTW Charity Bracelet benefit Give Kids the World, a non-profit Florida resort that provides magical vacations for children with life-threatening sicknesses. The bracelet is mostly white, with a black BEADTHEMESSAGE "start" bead, plus four colored beads that spell GKTW. Each bracelet also features a mushroom charm to represent the giant mushroom at Give Kids the World Village. The jewelry comes with a decoder card and information about Give Kids the World. 1/8/2010 (Price: $5.00) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]






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