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UN-ADULT-erated Fun: Toy Insider’s Sweet Suite 2017

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Orders of the day at Sweet Suite 2017, were fun and easy to follow.


If you’ve watched a television news or talk show segment about toy trends in the last couple of year’s it’s almost certain you’ve seen “Toy Insider Mom” Laurie Schacht doing the demonstrations. Laurie and the Toy Insider team have built a reputation as the go-to mavens for broadcast and online information about what’s hot on the horizon of play. Toy Insider’s pre-gifting season lists point to the best of what’s on the market. Their hashtag, #WeKnowPlay, is not a boast – it’s a fact.

Over the last several years Toy Insider has hosted summer and fall gatherings (Sweet Suite and Holiday of Play, respectively) for press outlets. Reporters are afforded direct contact with dozens of toy vendors and experience their newest products first hand. Andy and I, along with our metal-mongering compadre Ken Pierce, just returned from Sweet Suite 2017 and have plenty to report.

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DC Superhero Girls were a highlight of Jakks Pacific’s display.


The toy/play market is overflowing with merchandise for all tastes and age levels. J.C. Penny has just announced an expansion of both their brick and mortar and online toy and game departments in anticipation of the 2017 gifting season.

While augmented reality and S.T.E.A.M. tech has been quickly adopted into t’ween aimed products, there are also dozens of beautifully produced choices for juveniles building their gross and fine motor skills. Then there are those plush companions that simply require a cuddle.

Board games are once again burgeoning with themes aimed at sharpening cognition and family bonding in the guise of friendly competition. Collector’s of all age groups have never had more options to fill their display shelves with items from the most popular to the most obscure film, television, and gaming franchises.

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Have London Landmarks on your desk with this Lego Architecture kit.


Andy and I will be sharing our favorites with you over the next few weeks. You can expect exclusive photo galleries brimming with visual goodies and up to the minute details about product features and release dates.

In the meantime please enjoy the eye-popping array of Sweet Suite sights below.

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Classic Storytelling Companion Teddy Ruxpin gets a digital update with expressive eyes and story content.


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Suite Emotion: Toy Insider Jump Starts 2017 Toy Season

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An impressive array of toy vendors will preview new goodies at Toy Insider’s 2017 Sweet Suite Event.

We’re happy to announce that we’ll be reporting from Toy Insider‘s Sweet Suite Event. The list of companies represented has grown immensely over the last 8 years. As you can see from the poster above an impressive array of toy makers will be exhibiting their products.

Toy Insider notes, “Top digital influencers and members of the press from the U.S. and Canada will gather for the biggest night of play, meeting face-to-face with the biggest companies in the toy industry.”

We’re excited to once again have the opportunity to be among the first to demo and share information on the latest toy trends for the 2017 holiday gifting season.

To get the most of our coverage, follow us on our social media accounts where we’ll be giving highlights as the event unfolds.

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Fab Gear: Toy Insider Names Best in Play for 2016

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Adventure Publication’s Laurie Schacht and the Toy Insider team gave Holiday of Play attendees the lowdown on the latest & greatest modes of play.

Andy and Pete Say…
Once again it was our pleasure to join The Toy Insider team for the annual reveal of their choices for best toys for the holiday season lists. The HoliDAY of Play event highlights products in three categories, Hot 20 Toys, 12 Best Tech Toys, and 10 Best S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Toys.

You probably know “Toy Insider Mom” Laurie Schacht from her numerous television appearances demonstrating the operation of those products. The Toy Insider 2016 Catalog can be found nested inside the current issue of Family Circle Magazine, and you can get comprehensive details on each item at the Toy Insider Website link above.

Things to Make and Do….
There is probably no greater satisfaction for youngsters, really for anyone, than building something that works. That appeared to be the major theme this year at The HoliDAY of Play event. As we’ve seen in the past, from Lincoln Logs to LEGOS, the honing of dexterity skills, deciphering of instructions, assimilation of concepts, peaking of imagination and recovering from missteps, all make the final product a very personal thrill. The accomplishment makes the object all the more valuable to the builder.
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Into The Woods: Folkmanis Hand Puppets

Wanna Talk Turkey? You can with this Folkmanis hand puppet.

Wanna Talk Turkey? You can with this Folkmanis hand puppet.


This past weekend CBS2 Sunday Morning News in New York featured Toy Insider Mom and Founder Laurie Schacht’s presentation of playthings of note for the 2014 holiday season. To keep Black Friday commandoes fore-warned and fore-armed with information Laurie spotlighted a cross-section of goodies from the electronic and ergonomic to the eco-friendly and economic.

Along with the ubiquitous singing Queen Elsa from Disney’s Frozen there were fun entries from Crayola, Dora The Explora, the new Flick-n-Stick Bungees game, Paw Patrol, the Nintendo Amiibo toy-based video game and the Kurio Xtreme Tablet especially curated for kids. I was especially happy to see she included some examples from one of my favorite toy producers Folkmanis Puppets.
Lend A Hand…
Puppets are a wonderful method to give the young entertainer in your house a voice for their imagination. Think of them as non-digital avatars. From behind the theater curtains, or more likely the living room couch, your kids can stage any number of creative scenarios.

Just a small sampling of the menagerie of friendly faced Folkmanis puppets.

Just a small sampling of the menagerie of friendly faced Folkmanis puppets.


Folkmanis has an expansive line of puppets that range from finger to dual hand styles with hyper-realistic to fantastic designs. The baby owl puppet featured on the CBS segment reminded me of how much fun it was to peruse the beautiful Folkmanis display booth at Toy Fair with its cornucopia of engaging creatures peering out from every nook and knothole in their fantasy forest setting. I’m always tempting to bring a sleeping bag and just move in. Take a peak at the images below and I think you’ll agree.

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