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If there's kids in your home, there's a solid chance that you've found them tethered to a device at some point, and if that device led them to YouTube, there's also a good chance that they've discovered Ryan Toys Review. Despite the awkward phrasing (shouldn't it be "Ryan's Toy Reviews?"), the six-year-old toy reviewer is a global phenomenon, and with the guidance of his parents, his channel has become a benchmark that has spawned thousands of imitators, eager to pump-out colorful, kid-focused videos for the masses. Now things are getting really meta as Ryan himself has become a toy thanks to some crafty dealings by pocket.watch and the folks at Bonkers Toys. Previewed in New York City back in July during The Toy Insider's annual Sweet Suite, The Rock Daughters™ and I got an early, albeit brief look at the first wave of Ryan's World toys. Unfortunately, they were under embargo (not a fan) at the time and couldn't be shown officially, but now the toys are out there in the wild, having launched exclusively at Walmart (an affiliate) with more retailers set to jump on-board this October. So the big question... do the new Ryan's World toys live up to the hype? 

The unboxing phenomenon continues to grow and with no signs of slowing down, toymakers are becoming more innovative in finding new ways to bring the elements of surprise and discovery home. From Moose Toys, makers of Shopkins and The Grossery Gang, comes Treasure X, - "the ultimate unboxing experience!" Combining several play patterns into one all-new experience, Treasure X gives kids the opportunity to rip, dig and fizz their way through 10 layers to discover the secrets hidden within - and there's a chance to find real gold-dipped treasure! It's excavation, unboxing, sensory stimulation, action figures and surprise play all in one, and ahead of the national debut of Treasure X in the U.S., The Rock Father™ and Moose Toys have teamed-up to premiere the Treasure X movie trailer! A great toy lends itself to a great story, and today we've got your first-look!

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!

Who knew that Emojis were gonna become such a thing? Personally, it took me years to even start using the little icons of emotional response in my digital messaging, but today they're a part of every day life, just as they tend to be for most of those who find themselves living as part of a connected world. They're everywhere we look at this point (we saw "Poop Hats" at the Lake County Fair this summer), and one of the most interesting aspects of their pop culture saturation is that they've taken hold without a tv show or movie (though one is coming) to support it - they're just already naturally in your pocket... living in your smartphone or mobile device. Kids have been giving the Emoji (which I figure is both singular and plural, a la "Jedi") personalities to back up what they already represent, but now things are getting even more detailed with Fun 2 Play Toys' new collection of EMOJIEZ - fleshed-out characters available across a variety of sub-lines. Sent to us for review in our Toy Testing Facility here at Rock Father HQ, Finley (already an Emoji enthusiast) and I took a look at a big assortment, plus did some blind bag action...

Wednesday, July 20 2016 10:00

VTech's Go! Go! Smart Line gets Bigger...

From the "Why didn't these exist when our kids were younger?" department at Rock Father HQ...

Last week at Sweet Suite in New York City, the team from VTech were there in force, showing off a variety of their new toys for the 2016 Holiday season and beyond. For kids ages 1-5½, the Go! Go! Smart collection is expanding with the release of several new items from the award-winning Go! Go! Smart Friends®Go! Go! Smart Wheels® and Go! Go! Smart Animals® product lines, featuring innovative MagicPoint® and SmartPoint® technologies that "bring the toys to life" while teaching first words, letters and more as children explore cause and effect relationships. The Go! Go! Smart Friends line has evolved with an enchanting new theme around princesses and kingdoms, and offers a luxurious palace that expands to four feet wide. Go! Go! Smart Wheels features its first motorized train that can climb hills on its own and, for the first time, Go! Go! Smart Animals includes domestic animals and a sprawling three story pet playland.

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