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Thursday, September 14 2017 21:45

Crayola has a "Bluetiful" New Crayon...

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It's taken a few months of of fan deliberation, but now the decision is official - Crayola announced "Bluetiful" as the name of its new blue crayon. Bluetiful will be the nineteenth active blue color, replacing the previously retired Dandelion in the 24-count box and across the entire Crayola portfolio. Bluetiful received over 40% of fan votes to score the win and was officially unveiled this week at a blue-themed event in NYC. Additionally, there's a brand-new version of "Big Blue" - the world's largest crayon, which we previously visited when we road-tripped to the Crayola Experience back in 2014.

Last year, I was very fortunate to be visiting Nintendo of America at their HQ in Redmond, Washington on the very day that the famed NES Classic was released. My oldest daughter and I were able to purchase the sought-after miniature system from the employee store for MSRP - $59.99. As time would soon show us, it was much more difficult (nearly impossible) for members of the general public to get their hands on a system without paying vastly inflated prices thanks to the secondary market. Adding insult to injury, it was announced earlier this year that the system was done, and that it's being followed-up by the SNES Classic, prompting many to believe that a repeat of last year was shaping up - especially after pre-orders for the SNES sold-out in minutes. Today comes news that Nintendo is planning to make things right.

The Rock Father™ is a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam

I was just thinking about how it's been over two years since The Rock Daughters™ and I filmed a video doing some in-home science experiments timed with the debut of Project Mc2 - an Emmy-nominated Netflix Original Series from MGA Entertainment. Time certainly does fly, and that's made clear by what hit my inbox this evening - news that Project Mc2 Part 5 is coming to Netflix on September 15, and that the cast and crew recently threw-down at The London Hotel in West Hollywood, California to unveil the new season alongside some of this fall's new additions to the growing toy line.

Ready to go into the night so you can save the day once more? Well, even if you aren't, I bet your kids are! Here at Rock Father HQ, we're always ready for some fun with PJ Masks, and with that I'm excited to tell you that I will once again be joining The Toy Insider for another #PJMasks Twitter Party! On Friday, September 15, 2017 from 11am-12pm EST we'll be talking about the latest PJ Masks toys from Just Play, many of which are rolling into stores right now - just in-time for Holiday 2017! It's important to note that you must RSVP to be eligible for prizes!

Thursday, September 07 2017 09:42

Enter the BATMAN: THE ENEMY WITHIN Sweepstakes!

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"How deep into the darkness will you let Bruce Wayne descend?" That's just one of the questions posited in BATMAN: THE ENEMY WITHIN, the latest chapter from the award-winning studio behind Batman - The Telltale Series. It's a new story in which both Bruce Wayne and Batman will be forced into precarious new roles. The Riddler has returned to terrorize Gotham City, but his gruesome puzzles merely foreshadow an even greater crisis. With the arrival of a ruthless federal agent and the return of a still nascent Joker, Batman must navigate uneasy alliances while Bruce Wayne undertakes a perilous series of deceptions. Now, The Rock Father™ andd EMG have teamed-up to hail this new game with a sweepstakes in which you could win big with a tricked-out new Alienware PC, or STEAM Codes for BATMAN: THE ENEMY WITHIN. Will you take a chance?

[Updated 9/18/2017 - 11pm CST - Toys "R" Us filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection]

There's a big problem at Geoffrey's house, and if you follow the toy industry or the retail sector in general, then you've no doubt seen it coming for years. Retail is a challenging space to begin with, and when you look at specialty retail, the landscape gets even bumpier. When it comes to toys, there's only one major toy store left in the United States, and that's New Jersey-based Toys "R" Us. While they've had their share of issues over the years, one thing that's really bothered me has been the involvement of Bain Capital Partners since 2005, at which time they, along with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Vornado Realty Trust took part in a leveraged buyout of of the iconic toy retailer. There's a lineage here in which Bain Capital has notoriously taken successful companies, saddled them with debt, and eventually flushed them down the toilet, all while the "partners" make out like bandits. One such victim was KB Toys, who Bain targeted as a profitable business with over $1.4B of annual sales. Strapped with debt, bankruptcy followed, and eventually KB was dead. History has been known to repeat itself, and it looks like Toys "R" Us could be the next victim. After all, Bain is playing the same game right now with another retailer - Gymboree, who was acquired in 2010 and filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

As we roll toward the holidays, the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) category will once again be one of the hottest, and this month Educational Insights celebrates five years of empowering young girls to embrace their passion for science through their Nancy B's Science Club line of S.T.E.M. toys. Launched via Facebook, a new music video champions "all of the smart, cool, curious, science-loving girls out there." Check it out below...

Wednesday, September 06 2017 10:00

UNO for the Colorblind? Mattel Just Made That Happen...

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When I was a little kid, there were always UNO games present around our house. We had a lot of them due to the game having some Illinois roots with International Games having sponsored UARA midget auto racing in nearby Joliet. In fact, I recall a bright red midget ripping around the track with UNO graphics painted-on. Fast-forward a few decades, and UNO is still one of the most popular card games in the world, produced by Mattel, who've owned the game since 1992. Today, on International Colorblind Awareness Day, Mattel announced the launch of its newest deck, UNO® ColorADD, the world's first card game for the colorblind.  Check out all the details below!

You might not want to hear it, but the holiday season is fast-approaching on the horizon, and families will soon be seeking the perfect gifts for the little ones in their lives. The folks at Lakeshore, a leading developer of innovative learning materials for schools and homes, has just unveiled their Gifts for Growing Minds collection - a product line that "invites kids to discover the wonder of learning through play." The new assortment features over 200 items for kids ages 0–11. Check out some highlights below!

Highlights Magazine is timeless, and many would consider HABA toys right up there with it. Starting next year, the two will come together as the iconic children's brands are coming together in HABA USA's new Highlights™ toy line, available in 2018. The aim is to provide "an affordable new line of toys blending the time-tested educational and developmental expertise of both brands." The initial collection will launch with 12 developmentally-appropriate toys for children ages 12 months and older, incorporating Highlights' popular "That's Silly" designs as well as animal and monster-themed toys. 

Hatchimals were the hottest toy for Holiday 2016, and now they're poised for another big run. As the franchise has grown well-beyond the original hatching electronic toys to include Hatchimals Colleggtibles, clothing and more, Spin Master has now revealed the next evolution of the original toys: Hatchimals Surprise. Hailing from the world of Hatchtopia, Hatchimals Surprise are are said to be "different from any Hatchimals seen before." There's a completely new hatching process, with new species to meet and what's being called "a BIG surprise" set to come on the Second Annual Hatchimals Day, Friday, October 6, 2017!

One of the biggest surprises this summer was that ahead of THE EMOJI MOVIE was an all-new HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA short. I had no idea that PUPPY was set in Dracula's world, and that's a good thing as the kids were really surprised when we screened it at the birthday party for our oldest "Rock Daughter." Now, with an animated series airing on Disney Channel and a new feature film headed for theaters next summer, news has come into Rock Father HQ that Sony Pictures Consumer Products has partnered with Jazwards to develop a Hotel Transylvania toy-line, while Simon & Schuster Children's Group, Papercutz Comics and Bendon Publishing, will create a range of books inspired by the film franchise and new television series. The goodies will begin hitting stores leading up to the release of Sony Pictures Animation's HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3, in which Mavis surprises Dracula with a family voyage on a luxury Monster Cruise Ship -- the first time the characters will venture outside of the hotel. 

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