Tag Archives: Lekotek

Toy Fair 2013: Toy of the Year Awards

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Cocktail dress + snow boots, good thing NY Fashion Week is over!

After a monster pre-Toy Fair snow storm (fittingly named Nemo!) threatened to derail months of careful planning, the ThinkFun team braved the elements, the train gods smiled upon the DC-NY route, and we successfully made our way to New York for the show… and what a show it was!

Things kicked off on Saturday night with the Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards celebration at The Plaza hotel!  While probably not a ThinkFun-worthy puzzle, my first challenge of the show was a race against time to get ready for the TOTY Awards en route to the city, meaning a Superwoman-style change into a cocktail dress on board the Acela train… not my finest hour but it got the job done!

1TOTY 2013 194x109px Toy Fair 2013: Toy of the Year AwardsThe event was a wonderful celebration of some truly remarkable products – and we were thrilled to have three of our games (Roll & Play, Zingo Sight Words, and Swish) nominated for a record FOUR awards!

While we didn’t leave with any statues, it truly is an honor just to be nominated, and we were thrilled to have our games recognized in great company among this year’s winning games and toys.  Here are some highlights from the evening:

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Zingo! Sight Words and Roll & Play pose with their fellow nominees for Educational Toy of the Year!

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The ThinkFun team awaits the start of the show!

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Sweet! Hosts passed around popcorn and cotton candy to up the excitement

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ThinkFun CEO Andrea Barthello presents a TOTY Award

But wait! We didn’t leave entirely empty-handed! ThinkFun was recognized with a Play Connects Award for our nomination of The National Lekotek Center, a  non-profit that supports children with special needs, for a $10,000 grant! We are thrilled to support the wonderful work they do, and this award represents much-needed funding that will go to a very worthy cause.

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Andrea Barthello accepts the Play Connects Award

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The Play Connects Award – fittingly constructed of Tinker Toys!

The TOTY Awards were a fabulous way to kick off a great show – a big congrats to this year’s deserving winners!

Roll & Play (bottom right) is featured in the new Toys R Us Guide

Toys R Us Differently-Abled Kids Guide features Roll & Play

Toys R Us has just published the newest Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids!  For over 20 years, this guide has served as a fantastic resources for parents, teachers, and therapists who work with children with a range of different learning needs.

 

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Roll & Play (bottom right) is featured in the new Toys R Us Guide

The toys featured in the guide are assessed by the National Lekotek Center.  Experts screen hundreds of toys to make their selection, looking for specific skill-building traits to assign to each toy that appears in the guide.  The skills include auditory, creativity, fine motor, gross motor, language, self-esteem, social skills, tactile, thinking, and visual.

We are honored to have our newest toddler game Roll & Play featured in this new Guide!  The experts at Lekotek celebrate this new game for supporting 5 important learning skills, including Thinking, Visual, Social Skills, Language, and Gross Motor.

Browse the complete guide here:

Quick Tips: Successful Game Play for Children with Special Needs

The following post is by Ellen Metrick of the National Lekotek Center, the country’s central source on toys and play for children with special needs.

bluebanner Quick Tips: Successful Game Play for Children with Special Needs

Games have a way to bring families together. There are games that cater to big groups, small gatherings, different ages and yes, different abilities. Children who have disabilities may face many obstacles, but with a little help, games can encourage interaction, development and fun for all involved. And, individual games are helpful for children who may become over-stimulated and need a quiet time activity. Here are a couple tips when choosing the right game for your child/family.

1.      Levels of difficulty Choose games that have different levels of difficulty. This helps children who learn at different rates and can speak to different skills levels. Qwirkle is a domino-like game that can be played simply by matching colors or shapes, but can also incorporate strategic thinking for more advanced players.

SMatc 7911 lores Quick Tips: Successful Game Play for Children with Special Needs2.      Large pieces Choose games that have large components or play pieces like the spinner of S’Match. They are easier to grasp with a whole hand and eliminate the frustration of required refined manipulation.

3.      Play duration Look for games where duration can be altered. Children who have attention difficulties often face the frustration of not being able to complete a game. By altering the game, children can enjoy the game but for the time they are able to commit. Zingo to Go accomplishes this with snap-together pieces. Snap together enough to challenge without overwhelming.Choco 1530 lores Quick Tips: Successful Game Play for Children with Special Needs

4.      Segmented compartments Games that have individual compartments for the play pieces work well for children who may have involuntary movements. The compartments keep the game pieces in the desired spaces. Chocolate Fix is an example of this.

5.      Attached pieces Pick games that have attached pieces, like Amaze. Children who have physical limitations can easily retrieve the attached stylus if it is inadvertently dropped.

Toys R Us Differently-Abled Kids Guide Features Several ThinkFun Favorites!

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2010 Toy guide for Differently Abled Kids

Toys “R” Us, Inc. has released the 2010 edition of the Toys “R” Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, featuring actress Holly Robinson Peete, mother of a son with autism, and 6-year-old Tommy Austing on the cover. Released annually, the guide helps parents of children with special needs select toys that will help their child develop skills. This year’s guide is the largest edition ever in the publication’s nearly 20-year history, spanning 60 pages.

The toys featured in the guide are assessed by the National Lekotek Center. The association assesses the value of hundreds of toys and at least two skill-building traits are assigned to each toy that appears in the guide. The skills include auditory, creativity, fine motor, gross motor, language, self-esteem, social skills, tactile, thinking, and visual. Additionally, the guide includes “Top Ten Tips for Buying Toys” from the National Lekotek Center and “Safe Play Tips for Children with Special Needs.”

This year’s Guide recognizes four outstanding ThinkFun products: Zingo!, S’Match, What’s GNU?, and Rush Hour.  Download the full guide here and check out pages 47-50!