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If you watch the news, it's easy to feel down about a lot of things, and that's why I like to highlight some good news - like the occasions when an organization that I respect is making waves by doing good. The folks at Mattel are in the business of making children happy, and that extends well beyond simply making toys. One such initiative has been the UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, and this week, Mattel announced a $50 million gift to UCLA Health that will fund an expansion of the facility, and "help establish a world-class pediatric care center and research hub focused on improving children's health."

One of the hottest new toys of 2017 here at Rock Father HQ is the latest American Girl - Girl of the Year (GOTY), Gabriella McBride. For the first time ever, the folks at Mattel revealed that their GOTY would remain available for the foreseeable future, and that change in routine was just the first move in what's shaping up to be a very big year. Ahead of Toy Fair getting started in New York this weekend, news has come down that American Girl will be introducing "a new series of contemporary characters and stories designed to speak to even more girls' interests, backgrounds, and experiences." It begins very soon - February 16 with the release of Tenney Grant, "a rising star in the Nashville music scene," and her drummer - American Girl's first-ever boy character, Logan Everett.

Mega ConstruxIt was probably 1983 or '84, and at some point my parents bought me a set of Fisher-Price Construx. The cool new building set used grey beams with colorful accent pieces, connectors and plates that allowed kids like myself to create some interesting structures and vehicles. I distinctly remember creating "Doozer" towers at one point. While the line didn't really last long, the name has been used off-and-on, but not for awhile. Now, Mattel has resurrected the name as a new sub-brand to help better distinguish between the two main divisions of the MEGA Brands umbrella - now known as Mega Bloks and Mega Construx. The launch is in-progress, and I'm digging the new campaign - particularly, "The Beyonders." 

Yesterday morning, little Finley and I had some time to spare in the morning, and she wanted to open a few blind bags before heading off to school. We decided to crack open a trio of Fisher-Price Imaginext blind bags - two from the new DC Super Friends Series 2, and one from the standard Series 7. Check out our latest video below, and don't forget to subscribe to The Rock Father™ on YouTube for the latest videos, delivered direct to you as soon as they're posted!

Updated 1/23/2017 with the official commercial for the Dads Who Play Barbie campaign. This goes bigger than just "play kits": I didn't know it until becoming The Rock Father™, but there's few things better than father-daughter playtime. While our girls have many interests, the classics are always a part of things, and Barbie dolls have been a part of the mix for a few years now. I used to play Barbie with my sister as kids back in the 80s, so getting into it again as a dad wasn't a big stretch. A few years back, I even tracked-down a "new old stock" Barbie and the Rockers "Hot Rockin' Stage" to really bridge the generations (read about that here). Now comes news that for other dads like myself, Mattel just launched a collection of #DadsWhoPlayBarbie Play Kits - "curated to celebrate the special bond between a girl and her dad."

The folks at InRoad Toys have been making PlayTape for a few years now - innovative peel-and-stick road pieces and train tracks that allow kids to use their imagination for creating new layouts to use with their favorite toy cars or train sets. Last year, they partnered with Mattel for a licensed assortment of Hot Wheels Playtape Track, bringing the iconic "Orange Track" to the PlayTape realm for the very first time. Touting hours of open-ended play that kids can "unroll, stick & race," the folks at InRoad sent some samples to the Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ™, and The Rock Daughters™ were more than happy to go hands-on! Check out the video below...

Published in Rock Father Rides
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