Voting is Now Open for ASTRA’s 2018 Best Toys of Kids List
Eighty-three specialty toys in 17 categories selected from hundreds of nominations have been named finalists for ASTRA’s 2018 Best Toys for Kids list.
From this group of finalists, ASTRA member retailers will vote online and at ASTRA’s upcoming Marketplace & Academy to select the winning toys.
Retailers can touch, feel, and play with the 2018 Best Toys for Kids finalists at a special display on the exhibit floor at ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy in New Orleans. Voting to select the winning products has begun and will continue online and on-site at Marketplace & Academy. Winners will be announced at a reception and game night on July 13 during the AmericasMart International Gift & Home Furnishings Market in Atlanta, Georgia. ASTRA retailers will also be able to order flyers featuring the winning products for use in their holiday marketing efforts.
To see the full list of finalists and for more information on the Best Toys for Kids award program, visit http://besttoys.astratoy.org/home.
Roblox Introduces Education Initiative, Rolls Out Jurassic World-Inspired Creator Challenge
Roblox announced the debut of Roblox Education, an initiative aimed at inspiring imagination, creativity, and learning through access to educational tools. The initiative marks the first of many programs, including free curriculum for educators, international summer coding camps, and a free online Creator Challenge in partnership with Universal Brand Development.
Roblox Educational Curriculum
Roblox Educational Curriculum is free, configurable courseware that enables educators to teach first-time programmers coding fundamentals by building a Roblox virtual world. With the Roblox Educational Curriculum, teachers will have access to everything they need to customize and teach the fundamentals of coding. This includes:
- Step-by-step tutorials (approximately 12 hours worth of tutorials)
- Handouts, technical setup guides, and additional resources
- Outlines and lesson guides detailing how to use the modules to support a variety of teaching formats, such as classroom instruction, after-school programs, and summer camps
The curriculum is free for any educator to use and modify in their own programs. Available today, it will be shared under a Creative Commons license with plans to roll out additional subjects, such as Physics and Design, in the future. More information can be found at https://corp.roblox.com/education/.
Summer with Roblox
This summer, Roblox Studio, the building tool used to create Roblox virtual worlds, will be used in more than 500 coding camps and online programs in the U.S., UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, Spain, Brazil, and Portugal to teach young creators coding fundamentals, game design, digital citizenship, and entrepreneurial skills.
Within Roblox Studio, creators with skill levels ranging from novice to advanced have the chance to learn how to build, publish, and market their own titles. Roblox Studio is free to download, and Roblox offers free hosting for games built on the platform, making it an easily accessible tool for individual developers and schools alike. Each summer camp will have a customized course catering to a variety of different subject matter and skills, such as iD Tech’s Roblox Entrepreneur, a course that leverages the learnings from Roblox developers who have created runaway titles on the platform. The full list of camps that Roblox will have available can be found at https://corp.roblox.com/education/.
Roblox will also host 45 developers at the Roblox HQ to participate in the 4th annual Roblox Summer Accelerator internship program. The program lasts 12 weeks and gives young adults exploring a career in game development the opportunity to work alongside the Roblox product engineering and developer relations teams to create their own virtual world on Roblox. Breakaway hits such as MeepCity and Lumber Tycoon were created by developers who have participated in the Roblox Accelerator program in years past.
The company will also invite its top developers back to the annual Roblox Developer Conference, taking place in San Francisco July 13-15, 2018, and in Amsterdam August 17-19, 2018. Roblox is doubling the number of developer attendees at both of its events this summer.
Roblox Creator Challenge
In partnership with Universal Brand Development, Roblox will host its first-ever Creator Challenge, where fans can learn how to create their own games inspired by Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Available for free to kids all over the world from June 12—September 12, the self-paced program is designed for first-time developers who have not had previous coding experience. It will demystify programming by enabling kids to customize and build their own virtual Jurassic World-inspired creations. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom arrives in U.S. theaters June 22.
During the challenge, creators will embark on a quest to rescue Blue from an erupting volcano. Creators will follow a series of guided lessons to help lead Blue to safety, including how to modify the topography of the landscape and how to add various game mechanics to enhance gameplay using Roblox Studio. Each lesson is also accompanied by a quiz that participants must pass to show mastery of the skills they learned. Upon completion, they’ll earn an exclusive Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom virtual item (such as a Jurassic World hat, shirt, backpack, etc.) for their Roblox avatar. From there, creators have the opportunity to keep adding more advanced gameplay mechanics and share their game with friends or the entire Roblox community. The best creations will be shared via Roblox’s social channels. Details can be found at www.roblox.com/jwcreatorchallenge.
The rollout of Roblox Education advances the company’s efforts to inspire imagination and usher in the next generation of entertainment through play. Today marks the start of this ongoing initiative with plans to continue identifying new ways Roblox can support parents, teachers, and young creators.