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Nickelodeon is inspiring kids to embrace the transformative power of play and lead active lifestyles with its annual Worldwide Day of Play (WWDoP) on Saturday, Sept. 29. As part of its ongoing health and wellness initiative, Nickelodeon will use its platforms—Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, TeenNick, and NickMusic— to empower kids and families to get up and play. On the ground, Nick will celebrate with over 4,000 events hosted by local and national partners including: Afterschool Alliance; Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Girl Scouts of the USA; Kiwanis International’s Builders Club and K-Kids; Laureus Sport for Good; National Fitness Foundation; NFL PLAY 60; Playworks; Police Athletic League; Special Olympics International; The Aspen Institute’s Project Play; The Association of Children’s Museums; US Play Coalition and USA BMX. Additionally, the network will launch two new grant programs in partnership with Laureus Sport for Good and National Fitness Foundation in honor of Worldwide Day of Play’s 15th anniversary.

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Back in February, I had the opportunity to get a first-hand look at some of Playmates Toys' Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles offerings at the 115th North American International Toy Fair. In a special presentation alongside members of the TMNT cast and crew, we were shown some radically-different takes on some familiar characters - and while the reimagined series had yet to be seen, one thing was certain: the toys were cool! Set for release on October 1, the toys are now available for pre-order via Amazon, Walmart and Target (all affiliates of this site). In addition to the basic action figures, the Turtles' ride has always been a must-have, and at the pinnacle of the collection has been the sewer lair - now presented in an all-new form. The Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Epic Sewer Lair Playset will be the envy of the neighborhood - bigger, sturdier, and packed with more features than ever!

The first season hasn't even premiered yet, but Nickelodeon is betting big on RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. News just hit Rock Father™ HQ that the reimagined 2D-animated series just got the greenlight for a second season of 26 episodes. Having seen a preview alongside the new action figures and playsets from Playmates Toys (which are fantastic) at New York Toy Fair earlier this year, I don't think that Nick is out of line by doubling-down on this new telling of the TMNT legend. The action-comedy follows the band of brothers, Raph, Leo, Donnie and Mikey, as they discover new powers and encounter a mystical world they never knew existed beneath the streets of New York City. Season two will begin production this fall at Nickelodeon’s headquarters in Burbank, Calif.

For a few years now, Paramount Pictures has been hard at work on a new animated film entitled AMUSEMENT PARK. Back in January, I made the announcement that the film would be getting a full line of toys from my friends at Funrise, but when I entered their showroom at the 115th North American International Toy Fair in New York, they had a large standee touting the future arrival of Amusement Park toys - but didn't want pictures of the sign taken, despite the logo having already been out there for a good year. Cue the title change and Amusement Park is now WONDER PARK, a magical tale about a defunct theme park called Wonderland, "where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June comes alive." They're betting big on this one, with a companion animated series for Nickelodeon already in-production, but little was known about the project until today. Check out the teaser trailer below!

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Cool Kickstarter Features are promoted/sponsored looks at crowdfunding campaigns of note...

Storyball, a revolutionary and award-winning, interactive smart ball that encourages children to keep active and playful, launches today. Using screen-free technology, sound cues, haptic feedback, and A.I. machine learning, Storyball engages a child in active, educational and stimulating play. The Kickstarter campaign, which is being managed by the Launchpad Agency, launches today and has a funding goal of $30,000 USD (it's halfway there as of this writing). 

In order to share this news, I have to go back to when I first reported on  SpongeBob SquarePants: The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom during the 2017 installment of my annual 31 Days of Halloween and what  I said then: "He may not know it, but SpongeBob Squarepants is my nemesis. Actually, if we're being honest, he's just one of my nemeses, but for years Mr. Squarepants has been on that shortlist of undesirables, and I can't pick a singular reason for it. I don't like his voice... his animation... in fact, I can't find a single redeeming quality in SpongeBob, and I know I've pointed that out before. Still, many of you enjoy his antics, and that's why I continue to keep tabs on what they're up to down in Bikini Bottom." Now, the one thing that did excite me about SpongeBob (aside from a David Hasselhoff appearance in his movie) is that they went stop-motion for a Halloween special, and that special is now coming home on DVD. 

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