Quantcast

It's officially Chicago Toy & Game Week, the annual gathering of toy industry players here on the Third Coast. Toy & game designers, inventors and innovators will be meeting with acquisition executives from major toymakers as a variety of conferences take place leading up to the annual TAGIE Awards on Friday, followed by the main event on Saturday and Sunday - #ChiTAG: the public Chicago Toy & Game Fair. Happening at Navy Pier, November 17 & 18, 2018, ChiTAG has become a Chicago tradition to usher in the holiday shopping season by allowing families to go hands-on with some of the hottest toys of the season, along with some under-the-radar picks from major manufacturers and independent toymakers alike. There's fun for the whole family, and this year there's some new additions on opposite ends of the spectrum... like the baby and toddler play area and a beer garden (with games!) for the "big kids" (21+).

A Special Veterans Day Feature to Kick-off the 2018 Holiday Season...

At Toy Fair in New York earlier this year, I finally had the opportunity to meet Tom Murdough, founder and CEO of The Simplay3 Company. Launched in 2016 and based in Ohio, the name reflects the power of simple play, but the "3" is indicative of the fact that this is the third toy company from Murdough, who famously founded both Little Tikes (1969) and The Step2 Company (1991) before taking a detour into "retirement" (at least from toys) for a portion of the past decade. While Simplay3 is a rare example of of an American toymaker that actually produces American-made toys (along with "grownup" items like mailboxes and wheelbarrows), it's also unique in that it's a privately-held, Veteran-owned business. Mr. Murdough was a member of the United States Marine Corps, having served from 1961-1964.

Ready to infuse your family game night with explosive, incredible action with some play money at stake? The folks at Wonder Forge have something for everyone this holiday season, and now they've teamed-up with The Rock Father™ to showcase a trio of games that are all Holiday Wish Guide™ picks! Big Money (Only at Walmart, ages 8+), Ya Blew It! (ages 8+) and Disney•Pixar The Incredibles Save The Day! (ages 6+) each offer a distinctly different gameplay experience, and we're not only highlighting them for the holidays - but two (2) lucky readers will receive a prize pack featuring all three games! Check 'em out...

When our kids were smaller, some favorite learning toys here came from LeapFrog. Classics like the learning table and My Pal Scout come to mind, and now as we give gifts to others with a new generation of little ones, it's always fun to see the new stuff that's been coming out. Two Holiday Wish Guide Picks this year are the LeapFrog Scout's Get Up and Go Walker (ages 3-36 months) and the Target-exclusive Water & Count Veggie Garden (ages 9-36 months). Now, The Rock Father™ and LeapFrog have teamed-up not only to showcase these great new toys as holiday gift ideas, but we're also giving you a chance to win the pair! One (1) lucky reader will receive both!

Ready to up your game by experiencing the true power of gravity? With the GraviTrax interactive track system, you can design and build your own marble runs and experiment with gravity, magnetism, and kinetics to propel your marble to the finish. With a variety of tiles, levels, tracks and elements, you can control the speed of the marble. A Holiday Wish Guide™ Pick, The Rock Father™ and Ravensburger have teamed-up to showcase the GraviTrax System and give you a chance to win a GraviTrax Starter Set!

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...

American kids, teens, and adults love playing video games. Long gone are the days of Frogger and Pong. Nowadays, video games are so complex and realistic, it can seem as if you're not even playing a game at all -- especially when it comes to sports games.

As of 2017, the value of the video game market across the United States was worth approximately $18.4 billion. Globally, as eSports grows in popularity and more countries (like the U.S.) welcome soccer  into their lives, the sports video game market will likely enjoy unprecedented success.

One of my favorite new toys of 2018 was something that The Rock Daughters™ and I first experienced at The Toy Insider's Sweet Suite in NYC this summer... Pop-Oh-Ver! It's an innovative new collection of toys that foster imaginative role-play in a remarkably space-saving design the completely solves one big issue for space-challenged families: no place to put a play kitchen. These are high-quality canvas and fabric slipcovers that can transform a standard chair into a play kitchen or counter top. As they say, kids can play all day, then put it away! There's also plenty of accessories like food and dishes - all of which make great gifts and land Pop-Oh-Ver a spot on the 2018 Holiday Wish Guide™. Now, The Rock Father™ & Kangaroo Manufacturing have teamed-up to showcase Pop-Oh-Ver and give you a shot at winning a set! Check out the video and details below...

The holiday season is a great time to gather with friends and break out the board games! While the old classics are great, there's a lot of new fun to be had this year, including some new games from SmartGames USA. Among their new titles are Sleeping Beauty (ages 3+), Cube Puzzler GO (8+) and the Cube Puzzler PRO (10+). These Holiday Wish Guide™ picks make for great gift ideas, and now The Rock Father™ and SmartGames have teamed-up to highlight these fun new games while also giving you a chance to win your choice! Check out the videos and details below...

When it comes to classic play, you just can't beat a great wooden train set. While there's a number of companies producing similar sets with interconnecting tracks, BRIO has been leading the charge by moving beyond the track with BRIO WORLD. While the trains are still at the center of the action, BRIO WORLD includes six themes that feature vehicles, figures and playsets as part of a "a playful interactive system so that you can ride, drive, run or fly between them!" Geared toward kids ages 3-99 (sorry to the older folks), BRIO WORLD now has Smart Tech, which adds interactive smart technology to select trains and accessories. The BRIO WORLD Smart Engine Set with Action Tunnels is a 2018 Holiday Wish Guide™ Pick, and now BRIO and The Rock Father™ have teamed-up to showcase this great new set and give you a chance to win one! Two (2) lucky readers will receive a set, perfect for holiday giving! Welcome to BRIO WORLD...

There's no disputing that there's a lot of bricks and blocks on the market, "compatible" brands that all essentially do the same thing. So how do you build upon that without doing the same old thing? With E-Blox, that means bringing some real tech into a system of bricks and modules that are indeed compatible with many major brands of bricks and blocks, but with the additional plug-and-play ability to add lights, sounds, motion and more to their creations. An independent company based in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, this father and sons operation has gained major ground in just two years, and for 2018 their Story Blox sets are a Holiday Wish Guide™ pick. These new sets let kids learn by building as they build creations that are featured in a series of original books. The Rock Father™ and E-Blox have teamed-up to showcase these new sets and give you a chance to win the Story Blox set of your choice - a perfect holiday gift 

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...

Page 3 of 111