CNN: Small toy stores are worried they won’t stay in business after this year. “While small toy stores like Pufferbellies are struggling to stay afloat in the pandemic, Amazon and big box chains’ sales have surged as shoppers head online and consolidate their visits to stores. Analysts predict a bumper holiday season for these companies. In contrast, the situation is particularly dire for independent toy retailers. Sales at toy, hobby and game stores dipped 26% between mid-March, when shutdowns first began, and late October compared with the same time last year, according to data from Womply, a company that provides software platforms for small businesses and tracks sales through credit and debit card transactions.”
BBC: Toymakers expect strong Christmas sales despite coronavirus. “Toymakers are expecting strong global sales during the critical end-of-year festive season, after a surge of pandemic-fuelled demand for items such as Barbies and board games.”
USA Today: Fisher-Price opens a virtual museum on Instagram to celebrate 90 years of its toys. “Fisher-Price has created a virtual museum on Instagram to celebrate its toy stories. The toymaker, founded in 1930, has created an explorable online archive with more than 90 exhibits organized by decade, including the rolling Snoopy Sniffer from 1938 and wearable Roller Skates, first introduced in 1983.”
Brick Fanatics: New LEGO Star Wars fan website launches. “There’s a new website for LEGO Star Wars fans, with The Holo-Brick Archive now online and fully functional. Driven by fans for fans, it promises regular news and a product database packed with sets, books and all manner of branded merchandise.” That database? Has over A THOUSAND sets in it.
KRDO: Toymaker Hasbro is making thousands of face shields for health care workers. “Hasbro, known for its popular boards games such as Monopoly and Scrabble, is shifting its efforts from creating games and toys for kids to making plastic face shields for health care workers. On Saturday, the company announced its plan to partner with Cartamundi, a card and board game manufacturer, to produce 50,000 face shields per week for front line health care workers.”
Ubergizmo: This 3D Printer Lets Preschoolers 3D Print Their Own Toys. “If 3D printing has always come across as being more of an “adult” hobby, think again because the folks at 3Doodler have recently announced the launch of a new 3D printer that is being aimed at preschoolers. This will allow kids to 3D print their own little toys in a fun and safer way, while encouraging the development of motor skills.”
Mozilla Blog: Can Your Holiday Gift Spy on You?. “Mozilla today launches the third-annual *Privacy Not Included, a report and shopping guide identifying which connected gadgets and toys are secure and trustworthy — and which aren’t. The goal is two-fold: arm shoppers with the information they need to choose gifts that protect the privacy of their friends and family. And, spur the tech industry to do more to safeguard consumers.”
Mashable: This digital Etch-A-Sketch is just as frustrating as the real thing. “Want to relive a frustrating yet addictive childhood experience? Now you can! A Google Chrome Labs developer has built a web version of the classic Etch-A-Sketch. It’s called Web-A-Skeb, which is a name that rocks. And I am happy to report that attempting to create anything with it is just as maddening as the original.”
New-to-me, from SYFY WIRE: Searching For Your Favorite Childhood Toy? A Rare Collectible? Look No Further, It’s Here.. “When Christian Braun was a kid growing up in Germany in the ’70s, he was an obsessive collector of Timpo Toys. By the time he was 10 years old, he had 8,000 Timpo Toys, neatly organized in cases in his bedroom.Sometimes people grow out of a childhood hobby. Braun made it his life. He financed his education by buying and selling toys that he acquired on hitchhiking trips through Europe, then spent years writing a reference guide to Timpo Toys. He has spent his life cataloging and organizing different toys and collectibles, and now… he’s focusing on putting every single one of them in a single database.”
TechCrunch: Google’s search data shows YouTube’s influence over this season’s hottest toys. “If there was any doubt about YouTube’s power to influence children, look no further than this year’s list of the hottest holiday toys, based on Google shopping search data. According to the search giant, at least four of the top 10 most searched toys were among those heavily featured in YouTube unboxing videos — subsequently turning them into the most in-demand and best-selling toys of the holiday season. Plus, another top toy is the JoJo Siwa Singing doll — a product from the YouTube star of the same name.”
Adafruit pointed me toward a database of paper airplane designs. It looks like there are about 40 designs, from easy to expert. Each one I looked at had extensive folding instructions with pictures, a link to a YouTube video, and downloadable instructions. Now I want to fold airplanes.
Brickset: Archive of adverts added to our library. “You may recall that last month LEGO sent us a load of digital material related to the 40th anniversary of the minifigure. Among it was a collection of scans of LEGO adverts from 1972 to 2000, some 280 of them, which I’ve now had a chance to add to our document library.”
New York Times: A Cute Toy Just Brought a Hacker Into Your Home. “My Friend Cayla, a doll with nearly waist-length golden hair that talks and responds to children’s questions, was designed to bring delight to households. But there’s something else that Cayla might bring into homes as well: hackers and identity thieves.”
Digital Trends: FBI Warns Parents About The Risks Of Using Internet-Connected Toys. “Taking a cautious approach to the upcoming deluge of smart toys hitting store shelves for the holiday shopping season, the FBI has issued a public service announcement warning parents about the risks of bringing an internet-connected toy into the household. Specifically, the FBI is concerned about the amount of personal information that could be ‘unwittingly disclosed’ during normal use of the toy.”
New-to-me: a digital archive of Micro Machines toy cars. “Micro Machines collector Tim Smith has turned his obsession with the 80s miniature toy cars into an online showroom for the enjoyment of other fans and collectors. The labour of love, called Micro But Many, is based on Smith’s own collection of some 1,000-plus Micro Machines toys, with each one lovingly photographed to show off their intricate detailing.”