Entries in Toys (9)


Toy-Filled Chocolate Eggs Legal in US

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LEBANON, N.J.) -- Kinder Surprise eggs — the chocolate delicacy filled with a (surprise!) toy — have had a big impact on people’s lives. Consider the Winnipeg woman who nearly paid a $300 fine when she tried to cross the Canadian-U.S. border with one (the candy is illegal in the U.S., but more on that later).  Or the highly creative man who used one to propose to his girlfriend.

Or the New Jersey businessman who loved them so much he wanted to make sure future generations of American children could enjoy them as much as he does.

That would be Kevin Gass, the co-founder of Candy Treasure LLC, a Lebanon, N.J., candy company. About a week ago, Gass unrolled Choco Treasure, a Kinder-inspired chocolate egg with a toy inside. This is a big deal, because this type of  product hasn’t been legal in this country since 1938, when the Food and Drug Administration passed the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which prohibits any “non-nutritive component” (for example, a toy) from being embedded in a confectionary product, as the Foodbeast reported.

Gass figured out a way to legalize his new product.

“This is the biggest kids’ candy in the world, and we think it tastes great. It’s fun, and we spent quite a bit of time to make it safer and also as much fun as the original,” Gass told ABC News, adding that he worked with the FDA and a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission certified lab to make sure the product was safe for children of all ages. To wit: Submerged inside each egg is a capsule that separates the two halves of the chocolate. The capsule also has ridges around the side, so even a young child can tell there’s something there.

Other than safety, one of Gass’s biggest challenges was finding a toy that would appeal to adults and kids alike, even though children are the target audience.

“Young kids love stickers. Adults don’t want stickers,” said Gass. So he and his team have come up with gizmos that offer something for everyone: A mini deck of cards–all 52 of them!  A tiny 3-D puzzle. A teensy little rubber squirty toy.

So far, the Choco Treasure, which costs between $1 and $1.49, can be found on the company website, at Target and SuperValu stores, and at Economy Candy, in Lower Manhattan.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Kids Will Do Almost Anything for Holiday Toys

Kraig Scarbinsky/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Children are apparently willing to work hard and do almost anything -- including cleaning their rooms -- to get the toys they want for Christmas.

According to Walmart’s Talking Holiday Toys Survey, 68 percent of kids say they would clean their rooms every day for an entire year to get their most desirable toys.  Eighty-four percent say they would work hard and give up playtime.  

But even kids have limits.  Just 23 percent of the kids surveyed would eat spinach for a year to get their holiday toys.

The survey also found:

  • 78 percent of parents plan to buy the same amount of toys for their children regardless of how naughty or nice they’ve been throughout the year.
  • The top toy gifts parents want to give their kids this Christmas are “toys that teach.”  The top toys on kids’ wish lists are dolls and action figures.
  • Many parents are apparently in the dark when it comes to knowing whether or not their kids find their gifts ahead of the big day.  Twenty-three percent of kids say they have found their gifts before Christmas.  Just 14 percent of parents say their kids have uncovered their hidden gifts.  The top hiding place in a home is a closet.
  • Persistence works.  When asked about the most persuasive technique their kid uses to get the toy he/she wants for Christmas, the top response for parents is their child asks them repeatedly for the gift.  Kids agree.  Their most popular method for ensuring they get the gift they want is to keep telling Mom or Dad over and over again.

Walmart’s Talking Holiday Toys Survey was conducted by GFK Public Affairs and involved 1,009 children between the ages of 3 and 11 and their parents.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Holiday Gifts: Building Sets for Girls Take Off

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- One of the hot holiday trends for toys this year is construction sets for girls.

Lego Friends, for example, is a line of pastel construction toys and it’s been a hit so far.

“We were very skeptical to begin with,” says Stephanie Oppenheim of the ratings and testing site,  Most building sets for girls involve shopping malls or beauty shops, but this line is different, she says.

“What it did was wonderful: it had girls interested in building,” Oppenheim says. 

Meanwhile, for the first time in its history, Mattel has introduced a Barbie line of construction sets.

“That underscores a huge shift in the marketplace,” declares Tuesday’s New York Times.  “Fathers are doing more of the family shopping just as girls are being encouraged more than ever by hyper vigilant parents to play with toys (as boys already do) that develop math and science skills early on.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Furry 1990s Toy Furby Makes a High-Tech Comeback

Hasbro(NEW YORK) -- Fifteen years ago, a little furry toy called Furby became all the rage.  Toys "R" Us couldn't restock its shelves quickly enough.

Now, Hasbro, the maker of the toy, believes Furby is ready for the 21st century and has redesigned it with some high-tech traits.

"It was a confluence of technology that made us want to bring the Furby back," Kenny Davis, marketing director for Hasbro, told ABC News.  "The original Furby was more than an anamatronic toy; it was the first toy that appeared to have a brain.  We have been thinking about the ways to give Furby a real personality."

Technology inside the new Furby, which will be covered in a series of different colored furs, will work together to give it an even bigger personality than it had years ago.

The new Furby is packed with parts you might associate with your smartphone: LEDs, an accelerometer and sensors.  It's through its LED eyes that the new fuzzy creature is able to express most of its emotion.  

Within the digital eyes appear graphics that show the Furby's true feelings; tickle it and hearts will appear, feed it a hot pepper and you will see fire in its eyes.  And, of course, like the original, it can close its eyes when its time to go to sleep.

The new Furby is also more in touch with its feelings than ever before, thanks to sensors on its stomach, head and back, and an acceromerter inside.  Flip the toy upside down or shake it, and it will babble and move its eyes appropriately.  Tickle its back, stomach, or head and it will laugh.

But there's more inside Furby that helps it develop a personality.

"We did a lot to make sure Furby learned and grew too.  It starts out sweet and naïve, but it can develop more richly than the first one did," Davis said.

Another way the Furby grows is by learning English.  Furby, as you might remember, speaks in its own native tongue, called Furbish.  Furby still speaks Furbish, but can learn English words along the way.  And it's now much easier for you to know what Furby is saying if you use the Furby iPad app.

ABC News got a look at an early version of the app and it successfully translated Furbish to English.  The app, which will be available for the iPhone and iPad when Furby hits shelves in September, communicates with the toy through a high frequency audio signal.  The iPad app picks up the tone, which we humans cannot hear.

The app also allows you to feed Furby.  Select the food icon and you can flick different digital foods -- chicken, sushi, a mini-hot dog -- into Furby's mouth.

But like the original Furby, the new Furby lacks an on/off switch.  It only turns off when it goes to sleep or when it is left unattended.  There's also no volume switch to turn down Furby's high-pitched voice.

And that's intentional, says Hasbro.

"Part of that is figuring out what your Furby needs and what to do about it," Davis said.

Hasbro says Furby helps teach children responsibility.  But there's a higher price to be paid for that.  The new Furby will cost $60 (batteries not included) when it goes on sale in September; almost double the price of the original $35 Furby.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


McDonald’s Skirts Ban; Charges 10 Cents Per Happy Meal Toy

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A ban against toy giveaways with high-fat meals doesn’t seem to have fazed San Francisco McDonald’s franchise owners. They’ve found a way to circumvent it.

Instead of doing away with the small Happy Meal toys that usually come free with each Happy Meal purchased as activists wanted, San Francisco McDonald’s owners will now charge 10 cents for the trinket. They say the extra money will go toward the Ronald McDonald House, a McDonald’s charity that supports sick children and their families.

Last fall, the city passed the Healthy Food Incentives Ordinance, which prohibits chain restaurants from giving away toys with high-fat, high-sugar food orders that do not meet San Francisco’s nutrition standards.  The ruling takes effect Thursday.

Scott Rodrick, owner of 10 of the 19 McDonald’s in San Francisco, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the 10 cent cost “complies with the letter of the law."

“This law is not what my customers wanted or asked for, but the law’s the law,” he told the newspaper.

Keith Ayoob, associate professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, criticized the city government for focusing on the wrong parts of childhood obesity, saying that the ordinance is really about politics, not nutrition.

“It’s misguided to think that this is going to combat childhood obesity,” said Ayoob, who grew up in San Francisco.  “We should be focusing on school lunches, where there are a lot more calories and fat than Happy Meals, and what kids are eating at home.”

Ayoob pointed out that a Happy Meal isn’t a supersize meal, and has much fewer calories than most other items on McDonald’s menu.

“These politicians want to be seen as childhood advocates, and they were probably feeling the pressure to do something,” said Ayoob. “But their efforts are misguided. If they really want to be seen as that, they should be doing something like mandating physical education for all grades in the school system.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Dangerous Toys on Store Shelves, Consumer Group Warns

File photo. (Digital Vision/ValueLine)(WASHINGTON) -- Consumer advocates are out with a holiday-season warning for parents. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group says in a new report that it found more than a dozen toys on store shelves in violation of federal safety standards for lead and other chemicals, as well as toys that could present a choking hazard to small children.

Nasima Hossain, a public health advocate for US PIRG, says toys marketed to children aged three and under are not allowed to contain small, removable parts, and calls on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to “revise the small parts standard to better protect children from choking hazards.”

“Over the last twenty years, more than 400 children have died playing with toys. More than half of them choked to death,” Hossain said.

Along with toys that contain high levels of lead and small parts, Hossain says that excessively loud toys can also put young people at risk.

“We found one toy on store shelves that exceeded the recommended continuous exposure to 85 decibel limits, and two close-to-the-ear toys that exceeded the 65 decibel limit when measured with a digital sound level meter,” she said.

Click here for more on this report.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Toys Are Getting Safer: Report

Digital Vision/ValueLine(WASHINGTON) -- Toys recalls have been falling since a tough new product-safety law was enacted in 2008, USA Today reports. The paper revealed there were 34 toy recalls in the 2011 fiscal year, ended Sept. 30, down from 172 three years earlier.

Respected toy testing expert Stephanie Oppenheim tells ABC News Radio, “things are better in toy land in terms of safety, but you still need to look at toys carefully before you give them to your kids.”

Magnets in children’s toys are a growing hazard.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission says an increasing number of incident reports indicate that high-powered magnets continue to be a safety risk to children. From toddlers to teens, consumers are swallowing these magnets and the consequences are severe, the group says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Toys R Us Announces Holiday 'Hot Toy' List

Toys R Us(WAYNE, N.J.) -- Toys R Us on Tuesday released its annual list of the products it hopes will inspire parents -- and children's wishlists -- nationwide this holiday season.

With the holidays just months away, the list aims to provide parents with a starting point for holiday shopping. It features 36 new toys, available both in stores and online.

The following is what the toy giant calls its “Fabulous 15,” or the best new toys of the holiday season, as selected by Toys R Us (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Air Hogs Hyper Actives from Spin Master
  • Air Swimmers eXtreme from Animal Planet
  • Lalaloopsy Silly Hair dolls from MGA Entertainment
  • LeapPad Explorer from LeapFrog
  • Monster High Fearleading 3-Pack from Mattel
  • Moshi Monsters Moshling 3-Pack Mini-Figures from Spin Master
  • My Keepon from Wow! Stuff
  • NERF Vortex Vigilon from Hasbro
  • Ninjago Lightning Dragon Battle from LEGO Systems, Inc.
  • Poppin’ Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper from Playskool
  • Power Wheels Dune Racer from Fisher-Price
  • Radica Fijit Friends from Mattel    
  • Sesame Street Let’s Rock! Elmo from Hasbro
  • Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure from Activision
  • The Trash Pack Garbage Truck from Moose Toys

Here is the full Toys R Us 2011 Holiday Hot Toy List:

Baby’s First Christmas

  • Poppin' Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper from Playskool
  • Topzy Tumblers Twirlin’ Tumblin’ Fun Park from Fisher-Price

13 months to 2 years

  • Sesame Street Let’s Rock! Elmo from Hasbro
  • You & Me Hide and Seek Friends from Toys“R”Us

2 to 4 years

  • Angry Birds 5-Inch Plush from Commonwealth
  • Cabbage Patch Kids Limited Vintage Edition from JAKKS Pacific
  • Disney Rock Star Mickey from Fisher-Price
  • Fast Lane Stunt City from Toys“R”Us
  • Imaginarium City Central Train Table from Toys“R”Us
  • Lalaloopsy Silly Hair dolls from MGA Entertainment
  • Power Rangers Samurai Samurai Megazord from Bandai
  • Power Wheels Dune Racer from Fisher-Price

5 to 7 years

  • Bizu Style Studio from Spin Master
  • Disney-Pixar “Cars 2” The Real Lightning McQueen Interactive Air Hogs R/C Vehicle from Spin Master
  • Hot Wheels Wall Tracks Starter Set from Mattel
  • iMarker digital stylus + Crayola ColorStudio HD App from Crayola
  • InnoTab from VTech
  • LeapPad Explorer from LeapFrog
  • Monster High Fearleading 3-Pack from Mattel
  • Mario Kart Wii Bowser’s Castle Ultimate Building Set™ from K’NEX
  • Moshi Monsters Moshling Mini-Figures 3-pack from Spin Master
  • Radica Fijit Friends from Mattel
  • Redakai X-Reader Starter Pack from Spin Master
  • TRANSFORMERS Dark of the Moon Ultimate OPTIMUS PRIME from Hasbro
  • The Trash Pack Garbage Truck from Moose Toys
  • Xia-Xia from Cepia, LLC

8 – 11 years

  • Air Swimmers eXtreme from Animal Planet
  • Fast Lane JLX Matrix from Toys“R”Us
  • HEROICA Castle Fortaan from LEGO Systems, Inc
  • I Am T-Pain Mic from CDI, a division of JAKKS Pacific
  • My Keepon from Wow! Stuff
  • NERF Vortex Vigilon from Hasbro
  • Ninjago Lightning Dragon Battle from LEGO Systems, Inc
  • Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure from Activision

Big Kids

  • Air Hogs Hyper Actives from Spin Master
  • HALO Anniversary Edition: UNSC Warthog from MEGA Bloks

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Easy Bake Oven Redesigned for the 11th Time

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News(PAWTUCKET, R.I.) -- Hasbro’s classic 50-year-old Easy-Bake oven is losing its light bulb in its 11th re-design. The new, bigger, sleeker, purple Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven costs $49.99, up from $29.99, just in time for the holiday shopping season.

Hasbro, based in Pawtucket, R.I., says the temperature in the new model can reach about 375 degrees while the exterior is warm when touched.

First launched in 1963, the Easy-Bake oven formerly relied on a 100-watt light bulb to bake goodies. As efficient LED lamps and fluorescent lamps push aside traditional incandescent light bulbs, Hasbro decided to makeover the classic toy.

The company said the new oven meets all safety regulations. Almost 1 million ovens were recalled when Hasbro initiated a voluntary recall in 2007 after reports of children getting their fingers stuck and burned.

The new oven no longer has the iconic stove-top pink look, but baked goods still go in one side and out the other when ready. The Ultimate model includes a baking pan, cupcake pan, pan pusher, chocolate chip cookie mix, red velvet cake mix, pink frosting mix, rainbow sugar crystals package, and paper cupcake wraps.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio