We all knew it was coming, and as I pointed out earlier this month, we know who's largely to blame: Iconic toy retailer Toys "R" Us has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, and will soon take similar steps (CCAA) in Canada. In the later hours of September 18, 2017, Toys "R" Us made it official, voluntarily filing for relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond, and sharing the news via press release. It's important to note that while this news is serious, companies restructure and emerge from Chapter 11 all the time, though the companies with ownership stake in Toys "R" Us - particularly Bain Capital - leave much to be desired.
The Rock Father™ is a MEGA™Ambassador and Beyonder
MEGA Bloks® have been a part of our family since day one. In fact, I think it was at the baby shower for the first of The Rock Daughters™ when we received our first set - a Big Building Bag filled with those classic blocks that preschoolers have been building with for decades. Fast-forward a few years, and just as our kids have grown up, so has MEGA™ - recently making a nod to the past as they look toward the future with their ever-expanding line of MEGA Construx™ building sets for the entire family. From developing builders to kids ages 4+, from tweens to adult collectors, MEGA™ has something for everyone, and there’s no better time than the present to spend some time with the family, getting together to “Build Beyond.”
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!
"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...
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.