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It was 33 years ago that crazed shoppers went nutty during "Cabbage Patch Mania." The originally hand-crafted creation of young Xavier Roberts had been licensed for the mass market, and parents and kids just couldn't get enough of the CABBAGE PATCH KIDS... with original manufacturer, Coleco, having a hard time meeting demand. The madness of people tackling one another, dolls flying through the air, and store managers fending off what looked like a zombie hoard with sticks (yes, it happened) went on to be the stuff of Black Friday legend, and helped to inspire movies like the perennial classic, JINGLE ALL THE WAY. In the more than three decades since, the Cabbage Patch Kids have gone through many iterations, never going away, but always riding the waves of pop culture flavors-of-the-moment as truly timeless fixtures of play for generations. For 2016, Wicked Cool Toys has issued CABBAGE PATCH KIDS Baby So Real, the first-ever truly interactive CPK experience, infusing a CPK doll with innovative technology to compliment traditional play patterns. While I first got an in-person look at the doll during the Sweet Suite '16 portion of Blogger Bash in NYC this summer, the folks at Wicked Cool Toys sent us one for review in the Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ™. As a parent that loves Cabbage Patch Kids (I still have my original!) but tends to be cautious of too much tech, I was eager to take an in-depth look...

THE ROCK FATHER Magazine has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Since the beginning, Fisher-Price has led the charge in getting kids started right with great toys that teach important skills -- always evolving with the times, making sure that their latest offerings have been able to provide the tools that kids and parents are looking for. With STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) being so important, the new Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar is an exciting new toy recommended for kids ages 3-6, and available now at Best Buy. Moving beyond the simple ABCs and 123s, the Code-a-pillar encourages little ones to practice critical thinking, problem solving, sequencing and planning - all in an easy-to-use, vibrant toy that's a lot of fun.

If there's one place I should be right now, it's in New York for the 113th North American International Toy Fair. Instead, I'm covering virtually from Rock Father HQ in snowy Northern Illinois, and tonight comes news that the Toy Industry Association (TIA) has released their list of the Top Toy Trends for 2016. Working with toys (toymakers) year-round myself, I'm in complete agreement with this year's list - one compiled in the weeks leading up to Toy Fair, as global toy companies identify what families will be playing with in the year ahead, leading into the all-important holiday season - something I watch with great interest as I compile my annual Holiday Wish Guide. Check out what's hot this year...

Wednesday, February 03 2016 07:26

A Fun-Tastic Year for TALKING ANGELA...

Yesterday, TALKING ANGELA celebrated her birthday, though the fashion-forward feline declined to let anyone know exactly how old she is. Her star is rising, with her own dedicated YouTube channel logging over 159 million views so far, and Talking Angela has taken the digital world by storm; cat-apulting into the apps record books with her series of apps including Talking Angela, My Talking Angela and more.  Reaching new viewers each week in Talking Tom and Friends: The Animated Series (an adventure that follows the crew as they make their own reality show), let's take a quick look at Angela by the numbers...

Published in Tech
Saturday, December 12 2015 21:47

Holiday Wish Guide: Flipsies by VTech

One of the biggest surprises of 2015 when it comes to toys has been Flipsies by VTech. Launched during the transition for summer to fall, Flipsies are figures of little girls that interact with their playsets using MagicPoint technology. Pressing a charm on their neck while at a MagicPoint will activate sound FX, speech, and even lights in certain areas. Different Flipsies can engage in MagicChat with one another - but the key to the fun is in the name itself... Flipsies. Each doll can "flip" from a the "every day look" of a little girl into what they aspire to be. The Sandy's House & Ocean Cruiser 2-in-1 playset quickly became one of the most-loved toys of the year for The Rock Daughters, particularly little Finley. In House Mode, it's a fun doll house with all the cool accessories you could want - and in Ocean Cruiser Mode, Sandy can don a special wig and costume to join her Dolphin friend on some aquatic adventures as she takes on the role of a Marine Biologist. As a parent, what I really dig is that while these might look like just another doll line at a glance, each Flipsies set has a connection to a real-life career. While Sandy wishes to be a Marine Biologist, there's Carina who'd like to be a Doctor, Lexi who dreams of being a Teacher, Eva who hopes to become a Veterinarian and more.

When it comes to high-quality, innovative technology-based play for kids, I can't think of anyone that's released as much cool stuff over the past few years as VTech. Real-world functionality and durability is the hallmark of their Kidizoom line, and for 2015 the Kidizoom Action Cam makes my annual Holiday Wish Guide, a fitting follow-up to last year's excellent Kidizoom Smartwatch. We received a review sample back in August, and The Rock Daughters have been using it regularly to document the big world around them. It's the exact thing that I would've absolutely LOVED to have growing up - back in a time when I made movies with Super 8mm film and audio cassette tapes. Having a working video camera at a young age can inspire later pursuits (I speak first-hand on this), and in an age where grownups have their GoPro's, the Kidizoom Action Cam is the perfect thing for budding action filmmakers. In the spirit of the Holiday Season, VTech and THE ROCK FATHER Magazine are giving you a shot at winning one of these for your own little Director! Wanna see how it works? Check out some footage shot by six-year-old Addie...

Published in Tech
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