This weekend, audiences everywhere have begun discovering Walt Disney Animation Studios' 56th animated feature, MOANA, turning out in record numbers for a big adventure unlike any other. With buzz that began long before the film's release, items from Moana have quickly become must-have gifts for the holiday season, and for kids and collectors alike, a variety of new figures from Funko have taken a spot in my 2016 Holiday Wish Guide, sponsored by Entertainment Earth

It's been 26 years since Home Alone first hit theaters, and with the holiday season entering full-swing once more, families around the world will soon be catching up with Kevin McCallister and The Wet Bandits. Following last year's excellent Ultimate Collector's Edition of the five films in the Home Alone series, this year we spin back to where it all started, thanks to a new collection of bobbleheads released by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee. Designed and created by the team at NECA under license from 20th Century Fox, this trio of "Head Knockers" is one of the instances where the real product looks even better in person than it does in marketing materials - these are fantastic.

PJ MasksI've been singing the praises of PJ Masks for quite some time, and with the Holiday Season upon us, it's time to take a look at more great gift ideas for the little superheroes in your life. 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. But there's more than just toys when it comes to keeping kids engaged in the world of PJ Masks, and today we'll look at a few of those...

As we near the release of Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story next month, the folks at Funko have taken the opportunity to load their latest Smuggler's Bounty Box with products set in that world - one where The Empire has risen to a point of near unstoppable power. Leading the Rebellion into battle is Jyn Erso - a new hero whose father has ties to the creation of The Death Star, and here we find her ready to fight as a Pop! Vinyl exclusive to the box - joined by one of The Empire's elite Death Troopers in an exclusive pose.

Friday, November 18 2016 09:40

Holiday Wish Guide: Disney Junior's The Lion Guard

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It's been exactly one year since The Lion Guard made its debut on Disney Junior, and in that time a whole new generation has been introduced to the characters and world first explored in Disney's 1994 classic, The Lion King. Appropriately, The Lion Guard focuses on a new generation as well, with Kion, the son of King Simba and Queen Nala, tasked with leading a team that serves to protect the Pride Lands and the Circle of Life. Together these youngsters, including Bunga (honey badger), Fuli (cheetah), Beshte (hippopotamus) and Ono (egret), must work to solve problems and learn respect and compassion for the diverse inhabitants of the Pride Lands. Families wishing to make their own adventures off-screen now have several options, including a few that have become among 2016's hottest holiday toys - easily securing a slot in my annual Holiday Wish Guide. What should you get for your little Lion Guard fan this season? The Rock Father has some suggestions!

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...

Earlier this Fall, I shared with you my review of the PAW Patrol Lookout Climber from The Step2 Company. Living in a house where the Pups of Adventure Bay tend to dominate play, I was pretty excited to learn that Step2 had partnered with Spin Master for this piece. No doubt the biggest PAW Patrol toy made thus far, and one in which kids can put themselves directly into the famed Lookout - the base of operations for Ryder and the Pups, this climber is recommended for kids ages 1½-5, and is available now as a Toys "R" Us Exclusive. I'd pegged this as an early pick for my 2016 Holiday Wish Guide back in September, and now I'm excited to give you a chance to win one! The Step2 Company and THE ROCK FATHER Magazine have teamed-up for a Holiday Wish Guide Giveaway in which one lucky family will receive the PAW Patrol Lookout Climber!

Please note: Before submitting a crowdfunding project for coverage, read this.

Is it newsworthy that 5-Minute Dungeon has already raised over $155K against a $30K goal and still has 16 days left to fund? Perhaps, since a lot of people love card games, including many readers of this site. In recent days, I've had people continue to tell me about this game (peers and all), but it's just not my bag, despite the fact that the makers of the game are currently pitching 5-Minute Dungeon as a "Family Game Night" option. Take a look and see what you think...

#ChiTAGIt's Chicago Toy & Game Week, and that means we're once again counting down the days until the annual Chicago Toy & Game Fair (ChiTAG) once again takes over Navy Pier.  Kids and families can go hands-on with some of this year's hottest holiday toys, get a jump on shopping, or simply come out to play! Tickets are on-sale now (Click here to register with a $3 Off Coupon) for Saturday & Sunday, November 19 & 20, and as we look toward what aims to be the biggest year yet, I'm throwing down some "Rock Father Picks" for what to check out. I've done this in the past, but this year is the first that we've made it official - I'm a 2016 "Play Influencer!"

Monday, November 14 2016 22:13

Holiday Wish Guide: Welcome to Monster High

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MattelPresented in partnership with Mattel’s Monster High

After recently sharing some thoughts as to whether or not our children can learn from monsters (Spoiler: Yes, they can!) - the students of Monster High have secured a spot in my 2016 Holiday Wish Guide with some toys hand-picked by my resident experts, The Rock Daughters™.

It should be no secret that I'm a huge fan of Just Play Toys. Over the past few years, they've quietly built a reputation for making exceptional toys based on some fantastic licenses - many of which perfectly fit The Rock Daughters' interests (Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, PJ Masks, Kate and Mim-Mim, etc). One of their big hits of 2016 comes from Disney Junior's THE LION GUARD, and this Friday, from 11am-12pm ET, I'm co-hosting the #JustPlayToys Twitter Party with The Toy Insider, where you'll have a shot at winning some of the hottest Lion Guard toys! RSVP here!

This past weekend was an interesting time for us, as I had the unique opportunity to take the oldest of The Rock Daughters™ for a visit to the North American Headquarters of Nintendo (more on that later) . While we were there, my daughter and some friends had a chance to go hands-on with some games that aren't even out yet - two of which hit the streets this Friday, the much-anticipated Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon for the Nintendo DS family of systems. Today comes the official reveal of some new Pokémon along with some Ultra Beasts and starter Z-Moves for the new games. Take a look...

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