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Zuru Toys is a curious outfit. On one hand, they have fantastic, original lines like their global hit Bunch O Balloons, this year's successful Smashers (now in Series Two) and one of my current Holiday Wish Guide™ picks - Rainbocorns Sequin Surprise (my girls LOVE theirs). But then they tread really close to other popular brands, releasing toys that there's no denying are at least inspired-by some heavy-hitters, perhaps stopping just short of being called something more unsavory... knockoffs. There's 5 Surprise, which as the name implies places five toys inside a round orb, no doubt taking some cues from MGA Entertainment's L.O.L. Surprise line, but packing-in toys akin to what you'd find in a 50¢ vending machine. Then you've got X-Shot, which is a straight-up competitor to Hasbro's NERF line; METAL MACHINES which is a value-priced diecast line that's clearly inspired by Mattel's Hot Wheels; Oosh which is essentially Educational Insights' Floam; you get the idea. Now they're chasing LEGO with MAX BUILD MORE, a new collection of "compatible" building bricks that's just launched as a Walmart exclusive. In a press release, Zuru touts them as "a premium quality, value-priced toy brick line -- compatible with all major toy brick brands and offering unbeatable value for budget with hundreds of high-quality bricks in each set for a fraction of the current price."

At Sweet Suite '17, otherwise known as "The Biggest Night of Play," I had the opportunity to host a segment on The Toy Insider's live stream - straight from Chelsea Piers in New York City. The task at hand? Unboxing a few of the newest toys from K'NEX. Expected to be among 2017's hottest holiday toys, I took a live look at the Budding Builders Tub from Kid K'NEX, along with the Power & Play Motorized Building Set, and the all-new Web Weaver Roller Coaster Building Set from the K'NEX Thrill Rides Collection. Captured during the livestream, the full video can now be viewed below!

I'm currently typing this from a hotel room in Manhattan, as I'm in New York City with The Toy Insider for the industry's "biggest night of play" - Sweet Suite 2017! As toymakers prep to unveil some of 2017's hottest holiday toys, things are already shaping up to be a little bit different this time around, and one big addition to the festivities is a live stream studio. I'll be hopping in front of the camera for a special Sweet Suite Live Broadcast in which I'll be unboxing some new toys from K'NEX, and the action begins at 5:10pm ET on July 12, 2017. To see the livestream, simply visit The Rock Father™ on YouTube or Facebook!

This fall, the world of Equestria transforms into a whole new realm of play as K’NEX Brands introduces TINKERTOY building sets inspired by the popular animated series MY LITTLE PONY : Friendship is Magic. Announced ahead of Toy Fair International in New York, these new sets are created under license to K'NEX by Hasbro, and will bring the main characters and locations from My Little Pony into the Tinkertoy building system. Check out details on the new My Little Pony Tinkertoy collection, hitting retail this fall...

With so many new toys vying for the attention of kids and parents each and every year, it's always interesting to take note of some true classics that have been able to stand the test of time.  100 years ago, John Lloyd Wright (son of noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright) created what would eventually be known as Lincoln Logs - a toy that I had as a child, and one that The Rock Daughters™ play with now. In fact, I still have my Lincoln Logs from the 70s, and that was the door-opener for what I'd call "The Original STEM Toy." Officially, K'NEX (current maker of Lincoln Logs) calls them "America's National Toy," and that's cool, too - especially since they're once again MADE IN THE USA, and for 2016 they've secured a spot in my annual Holiday Wish Guide™ here on THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine...

You know what? Despite having building sets from several other makers, we have no K'NEX products here at Rock Father HQ. That might have to change soon, as the toymaker has announced new licensed sets involving KISS and THE BEATLES' YELLOW SUBMARINE. Personally, I'm really digging the KISS Tour Semi (the "Rock Stage Big Rig") that I'm about to show you below. The following new items will debut at Toy Fair in New York this weekend...