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When it comes to having creative fun with color, nobody beats Crayola! If you've paid a visit to the Crayola Experience at any time, you may have seen first-hand just how much fun kids can have when those broken crayons get melted down to create entirely new creations. Over the years, Crayola has worked to bring that experience home in a few different forms, and for 2018 that's become the all-new Crayola Crayon Melter! Another one of the hot toys that The Rock Daughters™ and I first experienced hands-on at The Toy Insider's Sweet Suite this past summer, the Crayon Melter is the perfect gift that allows new creations from melted crayons, giving a whole new life to those boxes and bins of broken crayons. Now, The Rock Father™ & Crayola have teamed-up to highlight the Crayon Melter for Holiday Wish Guide, and we're also giving you a chance to win one! Check it out...

Do you have some curious creators in your house? We certainly do here at Rock Father HQ, and one of my Holiday Wish Guide™ picks is something that my oldest daughter first went hands-on with at The Toy Insider's Sweet Suite this past summer in New York City. Part of a new STEAM by Crayola Scientists collection, the Crayola Color Chemistry Lab Set is packed with 50 different color-riffic experiments and activities to test out, but the best part in my opinion is that it actually includes all the required supplies to do 16 of them... right out of the box! In the spirit of the season, Crayola and The Rock Father™ are giving you a shot at winning one for the little scientist at your lab, but first let's take a look at one of 2018's hottest holiday gift ideas...

As the liquidation of Toys "R" Us officially got underway last week, the saga has continued behind-the-scenes as shoppers began visiting stores in hopes of scoring a deal. For the locations that have just begun the wind-down, many felt disappointment when met with markdowns as low as 5% (game systems, LEGO) with most categories priced at just a 10% savings. While there were some higher discounts like 20% off on Easter items and bike accessories, other areas had no markdown at all - consumables like food and diapers. On the flipside, stores that began closing operations in February are nearly wiped-out, and I visited a few this past weekend. It was a sad scene at the Babies "R" Us in Vernon Hills, Illinois - set to close for good on March 31. My wife and I ordered baby furniture from that location back when our first daughter was born. Now, it's a mostly-empty building where almost everything is for sale, surprisingly stocked with a lot of non-baby toys that I suspect were dumped on the first wave of closing stores in a warehouse purge. We picked up a couple of Flip Zee Girls (Jay at Play) that our little ones had been asking for. My big score was a stockpile of LR44 batteries - the button-style that many toys consume very quickly. Deals aside, I'd rather pay full price and have 33K jobs still intact. Elsewhere the fallout is starting to be felt. 

The Toy InsiderWe've all been there - a smiling child looking up at you, basking in the pride that comes with a job well-done as they show off their latest masterpiece. Then you see how much of the paint has made it not onto the paper, but onto the table, the floor, the wall, their clothes... and perhaps the family pet. It's adorable, yet maddening, and in the past the reaction has been to just shake it off while heading for the Magic Eraser and whatever spray cleaner might be nearby. Crayola Color Wonder has been tackling some of that mess for a bit, particularly with their markers and travel kits, which we've used often. Now there's the Crayola Color Wonder Magic Light Brush & Drawing Pad - a painting set that refreshes an idea that painting doesn't have to be a huge mess. My colleagues at The Toy Insider sent us a set for review here at Rock Father HQ, and this is one of those things that I had to break into and try out before the girls even got a chance. 

Thursday, September 14 2017 21:45

Crayola has a "Bluetiful" New Crayon...

It's taken a few months of of fan deliberation, but now the decision is official - Crayola announced "Bluetiful" as the name of its new blue crayon. Bluetiful will be the nineteenth active blue color, replacing the previously retired Dandelion in the 24-count box and across the entire Crayola portfolio. Bluetiful received over 40% of fan votes to score the win and was officially unveiled this week at a blue-themed event in NYC. Additionally, there's a brand-new version of "Big Blue" - the world's largest crayon, which we previously visited when we road-tripped to the Crayola Experience back in 2014.

PJ Masks Ambassador'Tis the season for PJ Masks! With the Disney Junior hit picking up steam as we head toward Christmas, it's time for yet another look at some great potential gift items for your budding superheroes. I've already touched on some of the fantastic toys that my friends at Just Play have been releasing (and will have more on those soon), with the sought-after HQ playset becoming my Toy Insider Parent's Pick for the Best of 2016. Then, last month I featured some great books, games and activities,  but as the saying goes, "Wait! There's more!" Here's four more fun items for the little PJ Masks fans in the house...

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