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Split Personalties: LearnPlay’s HalfToy Dinosaurs

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Better By Half…
I first saw the wonderful HalfToys creatures at The Toy Association‘s New York ToyFair back in 2017 and instantly fell in love with the look as well as the concept. So I was especially pleased when early in October this year LearnPlay (the exclusive United States distributor of HalfToys) reached out to solicit the first wave of the product line.

Halftoys Dinosaurs line currently presents six of the most well known saurians molded in plastic with a streamlined mellow continence. Each has a special surprise inside. The creatures can be split in half to reveal their skeletal structure. That removable skeleton is further enhanced by being divided into puzzle like sections. Aimed at ages 3+ the toys make for good gross – to – fine motor skills training. The two halves of the toys lock together with a satisfying magnetic snap. The outer shell and skeleton can be played with separately.

The toys’ minimalist design and single matte color of their molded “skin” lends itself to customization. We suggest finding an easily removable art product so that your child can change designs at will with a minimum of scrubbing. A good place to start would be Crayola’s line of washable kid’s paints.

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HalfToys Dinosaurs interior skeleton is also a puzzle.

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HalfToys packaging design makes for an impressive gift.

The Box Rocks…
Andy and I don’t normally obsess about packaging but we are impressed with the lovely design of the HalfToys boxes. Attention to clean lines and simple but effective details, like embossing, spot varnishing, and stickers corresponding to the figure inside give the toys a high end first impression and a very classy feel as a gift.

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HalfToys come complete with card stock diorama constructs.

Into the Fold…
Normally I build my own backdrops to photograph toys, but in this case each HalfToy includes a portion of their “world.” These origami style constructs, printed on card stock, give your toys an appropriate playground when completed. The T-Rex came with a tree, a rock, some terra firma terracing, and even a Flintstones style meaty bone to placate his carnivorous appetite. They also offer an additional level of creative value to the toys. That said, please note that youngsters will need an assist in the building of these dioramas.

Parents with crafting skills will find the task rewarding and not overly taxing. The pieces are well perforated for removal from the backing cards. Slots and scoring are accurate even for the finer connections. The less crafty may have to put on their “patient parent pants” and follow the wordless instructions which offer an order from simplest to hardest task. There is no gluing involved, and tape would be cheating. Take your time, let your kids watch you fail a little bit. Maybe even stretch the completion of the diorama pieces over a couple of sessions.

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Future HalfToys “Worlds” will include land and sea animals, as well as creatures of myth and fable like these 2017 prototypes seen at New York Toy Fair.

Worlds Beyond…
The Halftoys Dinos currently available are  Tricera, T-Rex, Diplo, Ankylo, Stego and Para. Please hit their website for a look at the complete line, and some fun animations.

The HalftToy  biosphere will soon expand with the addition of forestaquatic animals. Expect a spring 2019 release.  A selection of mythical creatures is also in the company’s long range sights. We glimpsed a streamlined design for a club wielding Cyclops and mighty Minotaur amidst the prototypes shown at The Toy Association’s Toy Fair. The majestic Griffin will be a wonderful add to the collection.

SkeletonPete Says…
Dinosaurs and skeletons, kind of a no-brainer for attention around here, but HalfToys/LearnPlay go the extra mile with a really well thought out and beautifully produced set of toys. Which is why we can whole heartedly recommend them.

The T-Rex diorama photos represent my set-ups of the production version of the toy taken just this week. The far background is a painting I did of a Sedona, Arizona landscape several decades ago. I thought the color palettes matched well.

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Checking It Twice: Toy Association Lists 2019 Toy of the Year Awards Finalists

We know that the turkey is still hasn’t thawed out and there’s plenty of cooking to be done but with Black Friday fast approaching you may be in a bit of a panic to know what exactly to tell Santa Claus is a priority on your child’s wishlist. Fortunately The Toy Association, Inc. has just released its list of top toys in the running for their Annual Toy of the Year Award.

The list makes a great tool to find those products that most reflect your child’s interests, fit their proper age range, and hit your price point. Though the winners won’t be announced until the night before Toy Fair in February 2019, these goodies are on the shelves now. Based on our own interests Andy and I popped the Tech, Creative, and Innovative divisions up top.

Detailed information about each nominee is on The Toy Association’s Official TOTY19 Consumer Voting Site. You can browse by category, see images, make a shopping list, enter a sweepstakes for one of 17 unique prizes, and even cast your own vote.

THE TOY ASSOCIATION
2019 TOY OF THE YEAR AWARD FINALISTS

TECH TOY OF THE YEAR
Physical toys that are electronic or interact with a smartphone, tablet or gaming device.

• Arcade1Up (Tastemakers LLC)
• Creative Coder (Tech Will Save Us)
• Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit (Kano)
• Kids First Coding & Robotics (Thames & Kosmos)
• LeapStart® 3D Learning System (LeapFrog)
• Really Rad Robots: MiBro (Moose Toys)
• VEX Balancing Boxing Bot 2-Pack (HEXBUG)

INNOVATIVE TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that utilize innovative design, technology, or manufacturing processes to enhance play value.

• Botley™ the Coding Robot Activity Set (Learning Resources)
• Harry Potter™ Wizard Training™ (JAKKS Pacific)
• K’NEX Thrill Rides Bionic Blast™ Roller Coaster Building Set (K’NEX, a division of Basic Fun!)
• Legend Kit (Infento)
• Marvel Legends Series Infinity Gauntlet Articulated Electronic Fist (Hasbro, Inc.)
• Mystery Flying Snitch (Wow! Stuff)
• Sensors Alive: Bring Physics to Life! (Thames & Kosmos)

CREATIVE TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that allow kids to build an/or make items that are unique to them.

• Antsy Pants Build & Play Kit (Beach House Group)
• Avengers Hero Inventor Kit (littleBits)
• Building Bricks Play N Store Table (KidKraft)
• Cool Maker KumiKreator (Spin Master)
• Rock And Roll It Spectrum Drum (MukikiM LLC)
• Sew + Glow (Tech Will Save Us)
• The Big Engineering Makerspace (Thames & Kosmos)

ACTION FIGURE OF THE YEAR
Toys that include action figures.

• DJ Bumblebee (Hasbro, Inc.)
• Mattel Jurassic World™ Dinosaur Action Figures (Mattel, Inc.)
• Pokémon 4.5″ Battle Feature Figures (Wicked Cool Toys)
• Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Deluxe Ninja Action Figure Assortment (Playmates Toys)
• Stikbot Monsters (Zing)
• Treasure X (Moose Toys)
• WWE® Sound Slammers™ Figures (Mattel, Inc.)

COLLECTIBLE OF THE YEAR
Toys that compose a set and can be collected in multiples; can include novelty playthings, miniature versions of existing lines, licensed collectibles, etc.

• Beaker Creatures™ (Learning Resources)
• Disney Doorables (Moose Toys)
• LEGO® Harry Potter™ and Fantastic Beasts™ Minifigure Series (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
• L.O.L. Surprise! Eye Spy Series (MGA Entertainment)
• Lost Kitties Blind Box Multipack Assortment (Hasbro, Inc.)
• Pikmi Pops: Pikmi Flips (Moose Toys)
• Polly Pocket (Mattel, Inc.)
• Twisty Petz (Spin Master)

PLAYSET TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that are designed to work together to enact some action or event.

• Disney Pixar Cars Super Track Mack Playset (Mattel, Inc.)
• Farm To Table Play Kitchen With EZ Kraft Assembly™ (KidKraft)
• Hidden Temple with T-Rex (PLAYMOBIL)
• L.O.L. Surprise! House (MGA Entertainment)
• LEGO® Creator Expert Roller Coaster (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
• LEGO® Jurassic World™ Indoraptor Rampage at Lockwood Estate (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
• Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 43″ Epic Sewer Lair Playset (Playmates Toys)

DOLL OF THE YEAR
Toys that include baby, toddler, and fashion dolls.

• Barbie® Ibtihaj Muhammad Doll (Mattel, Inc.)
• Barbie® Robotics Engineer Doll (Mattel, Inc.)
• Cry Babies (IMC Toys)
• DreamWorks Spirit Riding Free Deluxe Spirit Walking Horse (Just Play/Universal Brand Development)
• Hairdorables (Just Play)
• L.O.L. Surprise! Eye Spy Under Wraps (MGA Entertainment)
• Marvel Rising Secret Warriors Doll Assortment (Hasbro, Inc.)
• My Friend Fancy Nancy™ Doll (JAKKS Pacific)

CONSTRUCTION TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that include building and engineering sets.

• Gears! Gears! Gears! Machines in Motion (Learning Resources)
• GeoSmart Flip Bot (SMART Toys and Games, Inc.)
• GraviTrax Starter Set (Ravensburger)
• Kessel Run Millennium Falcon™ (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
• LEGO® Harry Potter™ Great Hall™ (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
• Marbleocity Triple Play Archimedes Screw (PlayMonster)
• Snap Circuits BRIC: Structures (Elenco)

LICENSE OF THE YEAR
Character or property that has had success spreading its brand throughout the industry.

• Hatchimals (Spin Master)
• Hot Wheels (Mattel, Inc.)
• Jurassic World™ Fallen Kingdom (Universal Brand Development)
• L.O.L. Surprise! (MGA Entertainment)
• Marvel Black Panther™ (The Walt Disney Company)
• Peppa Pig (Entertainment One)
• PJ Masks (Entertainment One)

GAME OF THE YEAR
Children’s board, card, electronic, or other physical game formats or puzzles.

• Disney Villainous™ Game by Wonder Forge (Ravensburger)
• Dr. Biscuits’ Radical Road Trip (Barry and Jason Games & Entertainment)
• Fryin Flyin Donuts (Maya Toys)
• Monster Match (North Star Games)
• Relative Insanity (PlayMonster)
• Unstable Unicorns (TeeTurtle, LLC)
• Voice Originals: When in Rome (Sensible Object)

INFANT/TODDLER TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that are developed for ages 0-3.

• Dolce Baby Aardvark (Magformers LLC)
• Fisher-Price® Laugh & Learn® Smart Learning Home™ (Mattel, Inc.)
• Grippies® Shakers – 30 Piece Set (Guidecraft)
• HEXBUG Cuddlebots Garden Carousel (HEXBUG)
• Kid O Hudson Glow Rattle (PlayMonster)
• Learning Friends 100 Words Book™ (LeapFrog)
• Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog (Learning Resources)

OUTDOOR TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that are designed for outdoor play, including ride-ons.

• Glove-A-Bubbles (Zing)
• MorfBoard™ (JAKKS Pacific)
• Nickelodeon Automatic Slime Drencher (JAKKS Pacific)
• Razor Turbo Jetts Electric Heel Wheels (Razor USA, LLC)
• Rollplay Nighthawk Ride-On (Rollplay)
• Watermelon Smash (Yulu)
• X-Shot™ Flying Bug Attack (ZURU)

PLUSH OF THE YEAR
Toys that are made of fabric and stuffed with cotton or similar filling.

• Dolce Afghan Hound (Magformers LLC)
• Fingerlings HUGS (WowWee)
• GUND Flora Bunny Animated Plush (Spin Master)
• Pomsies™ (Skyrocket)
• Rainbocorns (ZURU)
• Rescue Runts (KD Kids)
• Scruff-A-Luvs (Moose Toys)
• Star Wars Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie (Hasbro, Inc.)

PRESCHOOL TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that are developed for ages 3-5.

• Design & Drill® See Through Creative Workshop (Educational Insights)
• Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Pet Rescue Mobile (Just Play)
• Fisher-Price® Think & Learn Rocktopus™ (Mattel, Inc.)
• Kid Trax Rideamals Scout (Kid Trax)
• LEGO® DUPLO Steam Train (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
• Little Tikes STEM Jr. Wonder Lab (MGA Entertainment)
• Pop Oh Ver Stove Set (Kangaroo Manufacturing Inc.)

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
A new company (created within the last 2 years) that has brought to market an outstanding toy.

• Massive Monster Mayhem Bash Weapons (Alpha Group US)
• Match the Baby Puzzles (Banana Panda, Inc.)
• Monsters Lock Box (Tender Leaf Toys)
• Ollyball – The Ultimate Indoor Play Ball! (VICTURY Sports)
• Tic Tac Tongue (Yulu)
• Turing Tumble (Turing Tumble LLC)
• What The Film?! (Lethal Chicken Games)

SPECIALTY TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys primarily distributed through specialty retailers and are not sold at mass.

• Betrayal at Cloud City™ (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
• Chickapig (Buffalo Games, LLC)
• GeoSafari® Jr. Talking Telescope™ (Educational Insights)
• GUND Super Pusheenicorn (Spin Master)
• HEXBUG Ring Racer (HEXBUG)
• LEGO® Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Castle (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
• Marbles Otrio (Spin Master)
• Pepper Mint in the Great Treehouse Engineering Adventure (Thames & Kosmos)

VEHICLE OF THE YEAR
Toys that are powered or non-powered vehicles, and their playsets/accessories.

• Automoblox BR100 Hercules (PlayMonster)
• LEGO® Technic® Bugatti Chiron (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
• Nerf Nitro Doubleclutch Inferno Blaster (Hasbro, Inc.)
• PAW Patrol Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck (Spin Master & Nickelodeon)
• Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Turtle Tank (Playmates Toys)
• TerraSect RC (Alpha Group US)
• VEX Robotics OffRoad Truck (HEXBUG)

Jack in a Box: Diamond Select Toys Xmas Nightmare Minimates 25 Year Set

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Diamond Select Toys Celebrates 25 Years of The Nightmare Before Christmas with a special Minimates Box Set.


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Un-Veiled in Black: Andy Biersack Reveals Z2 Comics Collab The Ghost of Ohio

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Eryk Donovan and Andy Biersack reveal cover for upcoming Z2 Comics release The Ghost of Ohio.


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Bite Night: Diamond Select Toys Announces Castlevania Collectibles and More Xmas Nightmares

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Castlevania returns to Netflix on October 26.


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