TDmonthly: Toy Fair 2010 Coverage - Feb 14th to 17th - Special Live Coverage
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  Day 4 – Feature Article

Read Day 4's Feature Article below.

Also read the other days' Feature Articles:
Day 1's Feature Article: Arts & Crafts Paint a Promising Picture
Day 2's Feature Article: Green Expansions Call for Eco-Creativity
Day 3's Feature Article: Games Come Home to the Family



Science Kits and More Keep Kids Learning
Vendors Add Value Offerings to Educate and Entertain


Renee Whitney, vice president of sales for Be Amazing!, believes “science is on a real upswing because of the emphasis of schools on science and math, and parents want to reinforce that,” she told TDmonthly Magazine.

GROWING WITH THE AUDIENCE

As the category’s getting bigger, so is some of the company’s product. Be Amazing! is debuting its largest ever Lab In A Bag at Toy Fair 2010. With 30 activities, Come to Your Senses uses the five senses to teach kids science while they have fun. Kids can even discover why they might hate vegetables, for example, by testing their reaction to a piece of PTC paper on their tongue.

Gearing science toys to younger children is another growing trend — one Mary Potter Green, co-founder of Ever Wonder Records, has seen coming for several years.

“Science has been rebranded, redefined to something that’s more about … teaching kids how to wonder and ask questions,” she told TDmonthly.

Ever Wonder Records integrates science with music for “science you can sing to.” Its first kit, featuring its “Swamp Stomp Boogie” CD and companion Zoo Adventure science kit, is launching at Toy Fair. The line also offers lab coats starting at size 2T.

DAZZLING WITH STARS


Uncle Milton is unveiling its redesigned home planetarium, Star Theater 3, the T-Rexcavator and the R/C Snake with a new design and light-up eyes. It’s also introducing new items to its Star Wars Science line, including lightsaber construction kits and a special edition Clone Wars Ant Farm.

“The Star Wars brand has long been associated with fun and creative toys,” Frank Adler, president of Uncle Milton, stated in a news release. “We’ve taken that a step further by incorporating scientific applications from the Star Wars universe into the play pattern of our toys to create products that are uniquely entertaining and educational.”

BALANCING COST

Several of Uncle Milton’s new kits are between $12 and $17 retail — a good range according to Whitney, who said anything under $20 is a good seller year-round.

This may also be true for other educational products, which is why Aimee Symington, founder of Successful Kids Inc., is introducing $9.99 Manner Mats — a companion and alternative to her more expensive game, Blunders. The pad of 38 disposable placemats includes games, puzzles and activities similar to those found on kids’ placemats in restaurants. The difference is, these activities relate to table manners and social skills.

“They’re fun and they teach kids to do many things, like say ‘thank you’ in several different languages or give them funny tidbits about manners,” Symington explained.

“There really is a trend towards people wanting to teach children etiquette and social skills,” she added. “But I’ve noticed that because of the economy we needed to bring out a lower priced item because some people may not be able to buy the game at $24.95.”

Come to Your Senses by BE AMAZING!

Come to Your Senses by BE AMAZING!
The largest Lab In A Bag ever is available with 30 activities. It contains popular experiments touching on everything from chemistry and physics to biology and geology. 2/11/2010 (Price: $39.99) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


The Greatest Dot-to-Dot Super Challenge – Book 8 by MONKEYING AROUND

These are definitely not your father's dot-to-dots. With no clues given to the final image, numbers into the thousands, and amazing detailed pictures, The Greatest Dot-to-Dot Super Challenge provides a whole new level of challenge and intrigue. Author and artist David Kalvitis continues his Dot-to-Dot revolution by introducing a variety of brand new puzzle inventions such as "Arrows", "Compass" and "Alpha Dots" as well as double page spreads with over 1,400 dots.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.2 out of 5stars from 4 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: One user said that it was too challenging. 3/1/2010 (Age: 8 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Manner Mats by SUCCESSFUL KIDS INC.

This pad of 38 placemats gives kids and parents games, activities and puzzles to improve manners and social skills. Placemats can be removed for use. 2/9/2010 (Price: $9.99) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


Star Theater 3 by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.

Star Theater 3 by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.
Star Theater 3 is an updated design of the No. 1 selling home planetarium in the world. Kids watch as hundreds of stars and constellations are projected onto the ceiling and walls. It features a CD with a guided audio tour of the night sky and Stellarium interactive astronomy software. It's designed to feel like being in a real planetarium. Launch date: Summer 2010. 2/14/2010 [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


T-Rexcavator™ by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.

T-Rexcavator™ by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.
The skeleton of an extinct T-Rex has been discovered and kids can carefully remove each bone from the dig site while learning facts about dinosaurs. When users touch the sides of the pit, the T-Rex will roar, forcing the loss of a turn. The goal is to collect the most bones and win. Launch date: Summer 2010. 2/14/2010 [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


R/C Snake® by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.

R/C Snake® by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.
R/C Snake is more than 20” long and slithers along any hard smooth surface. It has light-up eyes and a segmented body. Launch date: Summer 2010. 2/14/2010 [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


STAR WARS Science: Remote Controlled Lightsaber™ Room Light by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.

The final challenge in becoming a Jedi Knight is to build one’s own lightsaber. With the Remote Controlled Lightsaber Room Light, young Padawans can construct their own Jedi lightsaber and mount their creation as a room light on the wall. Eight color effects let kids personalize their lightsaber, and a wireless remote control turns the light on and off. During construction, kids learn about the electronics that make a lightsaber work. 2/14/2010 (Price: $24.99; Age: 6 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


STAR WARS Science: Mini Lightsaber™ Tech Lab by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.

Children discover the science of light and optics as they build their own miniature, 8.25”-long version of the lightsaber used by Anakin Skywalker. A choice of four different colored crystals customizes the lightsaber. There are two lenses (focusing and wide-angle) to demonstrate the principles of optics. 2/14/2010 (Price: $12.99; Age: 6 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


STAR WARS Science: Clone Trooper™ Recon Kit by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.

The Clone Trooper Recon Kit helps kids find bugs and more, using the included tools — a soil sifter, a magnifier and a special reconnaissance tool. They can even explore in the dark with the built-in searchlight. Once an interesting life form has been found, the kit transforms to an insect viewer to examine the specimen. 2/14/2010 (Price: $12.99; Age: 5 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


STAR WARS Science: Holographic Animation Lab by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.

STAR WARS Science: Holographic Animation Lab by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.
“The Clone Wars” characters come to life with the Holographic Animation Lab. Kids can learn about animation, persistence of vision, and the principles of a zoetrope, an invention that is nearly 2,000 years old. The Animation Lab comes with 10 animation disks — one side has characters from “The Clone Wars” and the other side is blank to create unique moving pictures. 2/14/2010 (Price: $16.99; Age: 6 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


STAR WARS Science: Death Star™ Planetarium by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.

STAR WARS Science: Death Star™ Planetarium by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.
“That’s no moon; it’s the Death Star Planetarium.” This tabletop Death Star opens up into a planetary projector to display the cosmos on a bedroom ceiling. Kids can choose to view a map of the worlds that make up the Star Wars galaxy, or view the Earth’s own night sky. 2/14/2010 (Price: $24.99; Age: 8 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]


STAR WARS Science: The Clone Wars™ Ant Farm® Habitat by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.

STAR WARS Science: The Clone Wars™ Ant Farm® Habitat by UNCLE MILTON INDUSTRIES INC.
The classic Ant Farm gets an update from a galaxy far, far away. Kids can watch live ants dig and tunnel beneath two Star Wars planet landscapes from Season 2 of “The Clone Wars,” Geonosis and Felucia. The Ant Farms are connectable, break-resistant and escape-proof. Clean tunneling sand and clear connector tubing are included; just mail in the coupon for live harvester ants and let the digging begin. 2/14/2010 (Price: $14.99; Age: 6 and Up) [Add to my Inquiry Basket][?]






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