Neighborhood Toy Store Day is Saturday, November 11, 2017, and for the second year, The Rock Father™ has teamed-up with ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailer Association) to help spread the word as we officially kick-off the holiday shopping season!
I've said it before, but in the age of the online retail and the big box, toy stores are more important than ever, and your independent neighborhood toy store is a place where families can get personalized customer service and go hands-on with many of the season's hottest holiday toys. Many store owners have even earned the ASTRA Certified Play Expert (CPE) designation after completing a rigorous training program that teaches the science behind the power of play in relation to a child's development stages and learning styles. Additionally, the Play Experts at ASTRA have named their picks for the 2017 Best Toys for Kids - and these are toys that might be a little off-the-radar of the mainstream, but absolutely worth checking out at a participating retailer near you!
They call it "the Oscars of the toy industry," and today the finalists have been revealed for the 2018 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards, presented by The Toy Association. Announced at Play Fair in NYC, the 122 finalists can be voted on by consumers between now and January 5 as their favorite picks in each of the 17 categories will compete for the top slot. As someone who writes about toys regularly both here at The Rock Father™ Magazine and at The Toy Insider, I have some pretty strong opinions about these toys... and it's gonna be a tough race - there's some fantastic toys going up against each other! Check out all the finalists below, along with my "Rock Father Pick" for select categories, along with some "Rock Father Approved" items that we just like a lot...
They say that "big boys love their big toys," and that's something I know very well here at Rock Father HQ. Another fine representation of that is ToyMakerz, which returns to Velocity for a second season this month. Presented in eight one-hour parts, the action will begin on November 10, 2017 at 8pm and 11pm ET with re-airs on Saturdays at 10am. Driven by the life and creations of David Ankin, owner of ToyMakerz, the series follows his team as they bring unrivaled ingenuity and a unique skill set to motorized builds. Check out a season 2 preview below!
My love of Playmobil runs deep - a toy line that I didn't personally have as a child, but one that I've long-admired as among the best toy brands in history. In the course of more than four decades of success, one thing Playmobil never really did until recently is enter the world of pop culture licensing. Launching into those waters among their hit Ghostbusters collection is one based on the world of DreamWorks DRAGONS - the hit Netflix Original Series spawned from the popular How to Train Your Dragon films. An Official Selection in my 2017 Holiday Wish Guide™, Playmobil DreamWorks DRAGONS Hiccup and Toothless brings the famous duo together in a classic style!
At the D23 Expo in Anaheim this summer, I was in the room when Jon Favreau walked on stage to present a first-look at early footage from his reimagining of THE LION KING. I truly wish that all of you could see it, because it's phenomenal. Still, it was unfinished, but an evolution of the photorealistic animation that Favreau did so well with on last year's THE JUNGLE BOOK. Today comes word from Disney that the cast for this new vision for the 1994 animated classic has been assembled. See the full lineup below!
During Game 7 of the 2017 World Series, fans watching the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Houston Astros were momentarily interrupted for a quick trip to a galaxy far, far away. In a new TV spot entitled "Awake," fans got a fresh look at new footage from STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, including Luke Skywalker's long-awaited return to the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, a nice look at the throne room of Supreme Leader Snoke, and a rainy lightsaber exchange. Check it out below!
A Holiday tradition continues with the release of the 2017 Hess Toy Truck! Officially launched at 10am ET on November 1, the 2017 Hess Dump Truck and Loader is available exclusively via HessToyTruck.com, continuing the pattern of the last few years following the sale of the Hess Express stores. With over 30 brilliant LED lights plus realistic sounds, the over-sized dump truck and 2-way motorized, track-driven loader are a versatile team, ready to tackle the toughest jobs! Check out all the details below!
There's certainly people who don't want to admit it, but the holiday season is upon us! Whether you choose to celebrate a holiday during the end of the year or not, my friends at ThinkGeek have an incredible selection of fantastic gifts for anyone on your list - even if that person is you! And maybe... just maybe, you're such a scrooge a lovable prankster that you wish to spread some mischievous joy among your family and co-workers? Or perhaps you'd like to carry the monstrous fun of Halloween throughout the rest of the festive season? No matter what you're into, ThinkGeek has some fun stuff, and they've teamed-up with The Rock Father™ to offer-up a Holiday Wish Guide™ Giveaway! One (1) lucky reader will take home a $25 ThinkGeek Gift Card, plus an Annoy-A-Tron Prankster Pack and more!
It's week six for the second season of ABC's THE TOY BOX and this coming Sunday we'll get a look at new batch of toys from a fresh crop of hopeful toy inventors. As we've seen before, not all of the toys being showcased are truly "new," and several of them have crossed my path here at Rock Father HQ in recent years. This week sees a game that launched at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair back in 2012 - Ninja Cards. Sound familiar? They might, as they already made a failed run at Shark Tank back in 2014. Five years in, how will this one fare against the judges on The Toy Box? We'll find out this Sunday, but first check out the full rundown on all eight toys competing this week...
The Rock Father™ is a MEGA™Ambassador and Beyonder
When the Halloween season rolls around, families always start thinking about their costumes. In a lot of ways, the spirited season manages to unlock creativity that stays otherwise locked-up throughout the year. For many, there’s a hero just waiting to break out - but there’s no need to keep those characters bottled-up throughout the year! We often combine cosplay (what was called “dress-up” back in the day) with regular play, allowing our kids to inhabit their favorite characters as they engage in imaginative play and world-building here at home. With MEGA Construx™, families can build new worlds based around some of their favorite character from popular franchises like Despicable Me®, Halo®, Pokémon™® and Saban’s Power Rangers™… coincidentally, ones that have become staples of Halloween.
The theatrical release of Rian Johnson's STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is fast-approaching, and of all the new characters and creatures that have been revealed, I don't think there's another with more buzz than the porgs. These little birdlike creatures are inhabitants of Ahch-To, the island where Luke Skywalker has been hanging out for a bit, and what we know of them so far is that Chewbacca seems to bond with the creatures. Already spawning some adorable merchandise and an upcoming book, Chewie and the Porgs, now comes news that they'll get the 6" action figure treatment from Hasbro this spring. The crew over at Hasbro just sent over an official photo of the porgs, announced this weekend at the MCM London Comic-Con.
This Friday night, FM Entertainment & Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey present MOTOGRATER, PRODUCT OF HATE and IMPERIAL FALL on the House of Harley-Davidson Stage at Route 20 in Sturtevant, Wisconsin (get tix). For PRODUCT OF HATE, it's hometown show, and it marks the end of the album cycle and touring for their full-length debut, BURIED IN VIOLENCE. While Napalm Records released that album on February 5, 2016, the band actually started touring it almost a year earlier, hitting the road with Allegaeon (Metal Blade Records) and The Agonist (Napalm) in 2015. Later tours with the likes of Mushroomhead (Megaforce), Hammer Fight (Napalm), Sumo Cyco and Madame Mayhem would follow, with the band most recently spending nearly 40 dates on the road with the reunited Skinlab and IKILLYA (Urban Yeti Records). Now, as the two year anniversary of Buried in Violence approaches, PRODUCT OF HATE will close the book on Buried and set sights on Album #2.
In 1984, the world was first introduced to two teams of heroes, both based out of New York City, and each comprised of four members with a distinct set of talents. Operating in two different dimensions (and under different rights holders), the odds of the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES working alongside the GHOSTBUSTERS seemed unlikely. Defying the odds, that's exactly what happened back in 2014, when IDW Publishing brought the whole crew together for an interdimensional adventure in comic book form, released as a 30th anniversary celebration for the two franchises. Now, in 2017, they've come back together for a comic book sequel, and for the first time ever... toys. From Playmates Toys comes NINJA GHOSTBUSTERS, a collection action figures that features the Turtles as their Ghostbusters counterparts! Sent to us for review, NINJA GHOSTBUSTERS land not only in my annual Halloween countdown, but also on the 2017 Holiday Wish Guide™!
As we roll toward Halloween, more "treats" have been arriving on a daily basis, and this weekend we have one from Bea Miller. From her latest release, Chapter Three: Yellow (out now on Hollywood Records) comes a lyric video for "To the Grave." "Halloween is my favorite day of the year, and because I have a song with a title we could play on, we made this for you. I hope you love it," said Miller about the new clip. Check it out below!
Halloween is almost here, and for 2017 my friends at DreamWorks Animation have served-up a fresh batch of free printable activities from some of their kid-favorite Netflix Original Series. There's printable pumpkin stencils for Spirit Riding Free and DinoTrux, and from Voltron: Legendary Defender there's patterns for creating masks, a sword, and The Cow of Voltron!
Ready for some Halloween action?