aNb Media News, November 17, 2015

TOTY Nominees Announced

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced the finalists for its 2016 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY) this morning. Between now and January 17, 2016, consumers can visit to vote for their favorite toy picks in each of the 12 categories and enter to win exclusive prizes. The winners will be announced at the TOTY Awards ceremony held on Friday, February 12, 2016, as the kick-off to Toy Fair.

This year’s finalists were selected from more than 700 nominees submitted by over 200 companies. More than 40 mass and specialty retail buyers, youth experts, academics, and journalists staffed the nomination committees that narrowed the field to the slate of finalists. Votes from mass and specialty toy retailers, media, TIA members, and consumers will be weighted and used to determine each of the 12 category winners and the “Toy of the Year” award. The “People’s Choice” award winner will be selected solely by consumer votes.

Here are the nominees:

Activity Toy of the Year:

Arts and crafts, construction, and other indoor toys that inspire creative play through various forms of activity

• Bunchems by Spin Master
• Chocolate Pen by Skyrocket Toys
• Roominate Amusement Park by Roominate
• Shrinky Dinks Bake & Shape 3D Jewelry by Alex Brands
• Strand Bands Designer Set by The Bridge Direct
• Upcycling: Garbage to Glam by Fashion Angels
• Yummy Nummies by Blip Toys

Boy Toy of the Year

Toys developed for boys of any age

• Air Hogs Millennium Falcon Quad by Spin Master
• Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage by Mattel
• LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Millennium Falcon by The LEGO Group
• Nerf N-Strike Modulus ECS-10 Blaster by Hasbro
• Sky Viper Video Streaming Drone V950STR by Skyrocket Toys
• Star Wars Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber by Hasbro
• XPV Hulk Smash R/C by Jakks Pacific

E-Connected Toy of the Year

A physical toy or game that is app-enabled or otherwise interacts with a smartphone, tablet, or gaming device

• Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition by Disney
• Hello Barbie by Mattel
• Kidizoom Action Cam by VTech
• Skylanders SuperChargers by Activision Publishing
• Stikbot Studio by Zing
• View-Master Virtual Reality Viewer by Mattel
• Wonder Workshop Dash Robot by Wonder Workshop

Educational Toy of the Year

Toys that help children to develop special skills and knowledge through play

• Foundation Chemistry Kit by Yellow Scope
• Gears!Gears!Gears! Build & Bloom Building Set by Learning Resources
• Kids First Physics Lab by Thames and Kosmos
• Magnets in Motion 61-Piece Set by Magformers
• Mighty Makers Fun on the Ferris Wheel by K’NEX Brands
• Number Lovin’ Oven by LeapFrog Enterprises
• VEX Robotics Robotic Arm by Hexbug

Game of the Year

Children’s board, card, electronic, or other physical game formats and puzzles

(does not include video games or apps)

• Choice Words by MindWare
• Chrono Bomb by Patch Products
• LEGO Dimensions by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
• Pie Face Game by Hasbro
• Rush Hour Shift by ThinkFun
• Three Little Piggies by Smart Toys and Games
• WOO! By Fat Brain Toy Co.

Girl Toy of the Year

Toys developed for girls of any age

• Disney’s Frozen Sing-A-Long Elsa by Jakks Pacific
• Furreal Friends Starlily, My Magical Unicorn by Hasbro
• Girl Scouts Cookie Oven by Wicked Cool Toys
• Nancy B’s Science Club Black Light Illuminator & Nature’s Mysteries Journal by Educational Insights
• Nerf Rebelle Arrow Revolution Bow by Hasbro
• Shopkins Scoops Ice Cream Truck by Moose Toys
• Zoomer Kitty by Spin Master

Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year

Toys developed for infants and toddlers (ages up to 36 months)

• Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo by Fisher-Price
• Bright Beats Smart Touch Play Space by Fisher-Price
• Fold ‘N Go Elephant Toy by Playskool
• Lil Ocean Explorers 3-in-1 Adventure Course by Little Tikes
• Play All Day Elmo by Playskool
• Rolligo by Fat Brain Toy Co.
• Storytime Theater by Tech 4 Kids

Innovative Toy the Year

Toys that utilize innovative design, technology, or manufacturing processes to enhance play value

• Flipsies Sandy’s House & Ocean Cruiser by VTech
• i-loom by Wooky Entertainment
• Laser Maze Jr. by ThinkFun,
• Makey Makey Classic by JoyLabz
• Meccanoid G15 by Spin Master
• MiPosaur by WowWee
• Star Wars Science Jedi Force Levitator by Uncle Milton

Outdoor Toy of the Year

Toys designed for outdoor play

• Firetek Rocket by Zing
• Maisto Tech Rock Crawler 3XL by Maisto-Bburago
• Micro Mini2Go by Micro Kickboard
• Nerf Rebelle Super Soaker Tri Threat Crossbow by Hasbro
• Nerf Super Soaker Floodfire Water Blaster by Hasbro
• R2-D2 Bubble Machine by Imperial Toy
• Razor GFD Fury by Razor USA

Preschool Toy of the Year

Toys developed for preschool-aged children (ages 3–5)

• Design & Drill Brightworks by Educational Insights
• Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Checkup Center by Just Play
• Guidecraft IO Blocks 114-Piece Set by Guidecraft
• Miles from Tomorrowland Stellosphere by TOMY
• PlayTape by InRoad Toys
• Razor Jr. Lil’ Crazy by Razor USA
• Uptown Espresso Kitchen by KidKraft

Property of the Year

Property that had the greatest success spreading its brand throughout the industry

• Jurassic World (Universal Partnerships & Licensing)
• Minions (Universal Partnerships & Licensing)
• NERF (Hasbro)
• Paw Patrol (Spin Master)
• Shopkins (Moose Toys)
• Skylanders SuperChargers (Activision Publishing)
• Star Wars (Disney/Lucasfilm Licensing)

Specialty Toy of the Year

Toys primarily distributed through specialty retailers

• Boogie Board Play n’ Trace Doodle Pad by Kent Displays
• Nursery Time Elmo by Gund
• Sleepy Seas Sound & Lights Whale by Gund
• SpinAgain by Fat Brain Toy Co.
• SuperMax the Turtle by Cloud b
• Tumble Trax Magnetic Marble Run by Learning Resources
• Worry Eaters by The Haywire Group

Play Fair Plans Underway

The inaugural Play Fair is set to take place on Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14 in New York City’s Jacob Javits Center North. Hosted by the Toy Industry Association (TIA) and LeftField Media, this consumer event is for families and toy collectors. Play Fair is timed and co-located with Toy Fair, yet they remain two separate events.

The Play Fair exhibit space is expected to sell-out in the coming weeks. The lineup of sponsors already includes LEGO, Nickelodeon, Mattel, Hasbro, Crayola, and Toys “R” Us, as well as 25 additional brands.

Kids, parents, and toy collectors will experience toy reveals, photo ops, character interactions, stage performances, author readings, celebrity signings, live music and giveaways, along with special activities to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Retail areas will allow attendees to purchase show exclusives, limited-edition products, and rare variants of beloved toys and games.

For more information about the event, visit and follow Play Fair on Twitter (@playfairny) and Facebook (

TIA Advising Families that Toys Are Safe

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) is working this holiday season to advise families that toys are safe, especially as misleading reports are circulated by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) regarding allegedly “harmful” toys.

“Each holiday season, a small group of non-governmental organizations seek to generate publicity and donations for themselves by needlessly frightening parents during an otherwise joyful time of year,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the TIA. “Having spent more than two decades in public health, I see these groups time and again failing to support their claims with credible, scientific data that families can trust. What parents can rely on is knowing that all toys sold in the U.S. are highly regulated 365 days a year by the federal government and must meet more than 100 safety standard requirements. These are established facts in which parents can have faith.”

TIA has conducted a thorough analysis of U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s (PIRG) 2014 “Trouble in Toyland” report, W.A.T.C.H’s 2014 “10 Worst Toys” list, and Clean and Healthy New York’s 2015 “Toxic Toys in Monroe County” report. The analysis revealed that the data provided by these groups is unreliable and consistently fails to support their allegations that the listed toys present any danger to children at play.

Here Are the Facts, says TIA:

• None of the toys named in these reports have been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal agency charged with overseeing toy safety.

• W.A.T.C.H. doesn’t test the toys it claims are unsafe. Their allegations are based on pure conjecture and opinion.

• Clean and Healthy New York’s test results are incorrect. Instead of using a Consumer Product Safety Commission-accredited lab, Clean and Healthy New York used an unreliable XRF device to “test” the toys named in its report. When an independent, CPSC-accredited lab tested those same toys that were available at Monroe County retailers, every single toy complied with all federal toy safety standards and requirements.

• PIRG also failed to use proper toy-testing methods. Nearly 85 percent of the products named in PIRG’s report were tested at a lab that is not accredited by the CPSC to do that testing, seriously calling into question the validity of their methods and results.

• PIRG cited 29 percent of the toys in its report for having “near” small parts and “nearly” fitting into the CPSC-approved small parts tester to check for choking hazards. The fact remains that if an item passes the small parts test, it’s not a small part and not a hazard.

• Many “dangerous” toys named by PIRG and Clean and Healthy New York aren’t even toys. Including non-toy items—like backpacks, headbands, and towels—in a toy report is disingenuous and creates confusion about the safety of compliant toys. Non-toys are not subject to the same rigorous safety standards as toys.

TIA was a vigorous supporter of the CPSIA, the federal consumer product safety legislation adopted in 2008, and works year-round with medical experts, consumer groups, and government regulators to ensure the safety of children and maintain U.S. toy safety standards, which are among the strictest in the world.

Visit TIA’s, an online repository of toy safety facts, recall information, and tips for safe play.

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