Wednesday, April 18 2018 22:55

The Toy Insider's 2018 Spring & Summer Gift Guide has Arrived...

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The Toy InsiderAs of this writing, we're closer to May than April and it's currently snowing where I sit here in Illinois. From what I've heard, it's not much better for my friends on the east coast, like my colleagues at The Toy Insider who've just launched their 2018 Spring & Summer Gift Guide. Technically, it's spring, and here at Rock Father™ HQ we have some of the items featured in The Toy Insider Gift Guide... we just haven't had the proper weather to use them just yet. Never separated by gender, the Toy Insider’s gift guide is broken down by age group and play category - with each category featuring a variety of products across a wide range of price points. Check out the links and details below!

  • OUTDOOR TOYS: These toys provide unplugged playtime that will get kids outside and away from those screens. When it’s time for some fun in the sun, these toys will help kids have a ball while getting some fresh air. Kids are sure to love Jakks Pacific’s Morf Board and Zing’s Glove-A-Bubbles.
  • WATER TOYS: Make a splash with these toys that will keep kids cool in the hot summer sun, from slime-filled water slides to super fun pool toys. Families will love Imperial Toy’s Kaos Splash Tank and YULU’s Watermelon Smash.
  • TRAVEL TOYS & GAMES: Summer is the season of travel! Avoid road trip monotony and “Are we there yet?!”s with this selection of awesome travel-friendly toys and games. Favorites include PlayMonster’s Moluk Oogi and ALEX Brands’ Breakaway Ballz.
  • PHYSICAL/ACTIVE TOYS: It’s important for kids to stay active, and there are lots of fun toys that encourage them to get up and moving. From outdoor games to exciting bikes and scooters, these toys will definitely keep kids on their feet. All-new bikes from Dynacraft are sure to get kids active.
  • NATURE & EDUCATIONAL TOYS: School may be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean kids have to stop learning. Kids can continue to explore the world around them with toys that teach STEM concepts and bring them closer to nature. These toys are so much fun, kids won’t even realize they’re learning! Check out the Nintendo Labo Kits and Thames & Kosmos’ Ooze Lab Slime Kits.
  • ENTERTAINMENT TOYS: Kids love to expand the worlds of their favorite characters from TV shows, video games, and movies away from the screens. From a family of superheroes, to an island full of dinosaurs, to classic Disney favorites; dolls, action figures and outdoor toys featuring characters kids love are abundant this summer. Some of the best toys in this category include the Fisher-Price Power Wheels Jurassic World Dino Racer and Jazwares’ line of Peppa Pig toys.

The Toy Insider team is composed of a panel of industry experts who review thousands of products throughout the year. The team reviews each product to evaluate its features and overall value, taking into consideration five main criteria: play value, originality, skill building, product integrity, and fun factor. In addition to the Spring & Summer Gift Guide, the Toy Insider reviews toys 365 days a year. You can check out reviews, find the latest in toy news, enter fun giveaways, and get the latest parenting tips... sometimes from yours truly! While you're over there checking out all the best toys that this season has to offer, be sure to check out my column as well! As a member of The Toy Insider's Parent Advisory Board, I share some thoughts on toys - exclusive to the TI site. #WeKnowPlay!

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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