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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.

Last Wednesday, as members of the media descended upon NYC to take part in the Sweet Suite portion of Blogger Bash for a preview of what's on-deck for the holidays, the folks at JAKKS Pacific took the opportunity to unwrap their new Gift ‘ems™ line of dolls. "Gift ‘ems™ is the only collectible mini-doll line which features the universally known gift box to delight and surprise girls with a 'friend' from different cities around the world." Officially on-shelves with a street date of August 1st (you can already find them at retailers like Amazon and Toys "R" Us), kids will be introduced to 84 Gift ‘ems™ mini-dolls from different cities across the globe, along with a collection of playsets and multipacks.

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