Tag Archives: Roll & Play

Hello Sunshine Shines in Speech Therapy!

The following post is shared by expert Speech Therapist Sherry Artemenko of Play On Words.  Sherry recently awarded Hello Sunshine! the Play Advances Language (PAL) Award in recognition of its uses as a language learning tool!

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“Hello Sunshine,” New PAL Award winner, Shines In Preschool Speech Therapy

Toddlers can be a bit of a challenge in speech therapy because you have to keep them engaged and motivated with great toys and activities while building their language. Sunshine was quite a hit with my little ones as they warmed right up to her and delighted in hiding and finding the furry bit of radiance. 2 year-olds were following directions and learning prepositions, while 3 year-olds decided to play teacher and send me on the hunt. Use Sunshine to teach wh-questions, pronouns,  prepositions and vocabulary as you go on your search around the house.

Hello Sunshine was recently honored with a Play Advances Language (PAL) Award!

Here is my full review:

Say hello to Sunshine, who joins ThinkFun’s first toddler game, “Roll & Play” which was popular with toddlers and their moms last year. I am more frequently asked for toy suggestions by parents of toddlers than any other age, which might explain why these simple starter games provide more structure for parents and caregivers who appreciate some guidance on where to begin their play.

Hide the plush Sunshine according to picture cards depicting positions such as in a box, next to a chair or on top of your head! Ask your toddler, “Were is Sunshine, can you find her?” The game’s directions offer wonderful language learning tips for toddlers such as modeling questions, greetings, and positional words within the context of a child’s play.

Kids loved playing this game of hide and seek with their furry Sunshine. When my little friend spotted her “on top of a pillow,” he squealed with delight, grabbed her, and leaned in for a squeeze! Three year-olds upped the fun by trading places with me and being the “hider.” I had to follow directions, “Now me hide it, close your eyes” Playing just once, isn’t enough, “”I wanna hide it again!”

Toy Fair 2013: Behind the curtain…

Each year when I tell friends – especially those with kids – that I’m headed to Toy Fair, the first response is generally, “That sounds AWESOME, how do I get in?!”

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Unfortunately for my game-loving buddies, this event is not open to the public. Learning the doors are locked tends to conjure up visions of top-secret toy meetings, tinkering elves, a massive toy workshop inside the Javits Center… the imagination can run wild!

I hope I’m not spoiling the magic by sharing the experience inside the ThinkFun booth…

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Welcome to the ThinkFun Booth!

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Laser Maze, available in May!

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I thought you said no outside visitors?! This brainy bird couldn’t resist playing WordARound during show set-up!

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The ThinkFun team, ready to roll!

Sadly no game-making elves were spotted this year, but we were thrilled to visit with some amazing  inventors who have created many of our great games… kind of the same thing right?!

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A familiar face! ThinkFun co-founder Bill Ritchie poses with his two toddler inventions: Roll & Play and, new for 2013, Hello Sunshine!

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Luke Hooper, one of the inventors of Laser Khet, stopped by to pose with the amazing new game he created with ThinkFun – Laser Maze features a REAL (safe) laser, we can’t wait for it to arrive in May!

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The Hebert Brothers are the brainy duo who created WordARound, we’re addicted!

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A visit from the inventors of UnHinged!

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The Costers are the inventors of the iconic Zingo Zinger!

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Steve Hayton, Turnstile inventor, visited ThinkFun to say hello!

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Yackety Smack inventor Roberto Fraga stopped by to play!

Despite auspicious beginnings (ahem, Snowstorm Nemo, I mean YOU!), 2013 Toy Fair was a fantastic show – The Toy of the Year Awards were a wonderful celebration to begin the festivities, and our 5 new games were so well-received – and we are looking forward to a terrific year!

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!

The 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:

Photo: A fabulous event to kick off Toy Fair week! No statues tonight but so proud to celebrate our 4 Toy of the Year nominees, congrats to this year's deserving winners!

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!

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!

Hello Sunshine!

Guess whose shining face just showed up at ThinkFun HQ?

Meet Sunny!

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Isn’t this the cutest little face you’ve ever seen!?

Following the huge success of last year’s Roll & Play, the first-ever game for toddlers, Hello Sunshine joins this innovative early learning line – we couldn’t be happier to welcome Sunny to the ThinkFun family!

Hello Sunshine is a hide and seek game, a play pattern young children love and are familiar with, and game play is enhanced by the addition of positional words (terms like “on,” “under,” “inside”) which are reinforced through repetition and activity.  After extensive testing (which meant lots of very cute, very curious toddlers set loose in our offices), the game play was carefully designed to suit the developmental needs and learning goals of children age 18 months to 3 years – they had a blast!

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Perfectly soft and sized for hugs!

While Hello Sunshine play is cleverly-designed to promote thinking skills, family bonding, and social interaction for toddlers, the real appeal of Sunny, in my expert opinion and terminology, is that s/he is just so stinkin’ CUTE!  Our Design team worked very hard to get Sunny’s face just right, with careful attention to eyebrows and smile angles, and the results just make you go, “awwwwww!”

Here’s a quick how-to-play video, I can’t wait to introduce Hello Sunshine to the little ones in my life!

ThinkFun Celebrates FOUR Toy of the Year Nominations – Vote Now!

Yesterday was a VERY exciting day for ThinkFun!  I flew up to NY for the Toy Industry Association press conference to announce the nominees for the 2013 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards.

After being treated to a performance on the Bryant Park skating rink (by a professional, me on ice would not be a treat!), attendees gathered to hear the nominees revealed…

This year there were a record number of submissions (nearly 650!) for the 11 award categories… so you can imagine my delight to learn ThinkFun received a record FOUR nominations for Toy of the Year Awards!

The Nominees are (drum roll please…)

Roll & Play - Infant/Toddler Toy of theYear
Roll & Play – Educational Toy of the Year
Swish - Innovative Toy of the Year
Zingo! Sight Words – Educational Toy of the Year

After the nominees were announced (I refrained from inappropriate hooting and hollering!), I spent time checking out the competition, oogling the light-up Cinderella dress (so perfect for the TOTY Awards dinner!) and showing off my sub-par Nerf-catching skills

Hooray for Roll & Play! Celebrating the nomination with the wonderful Sherry Artemenko of www.playonwords.com

The best thing about the TOTY Awards is that they are decided to a large extent by YOU!  Vote now by clicking the games listed above or visiting www.toyawards.org and you could win a fabulous prize pack! (Voting ends Jan. 13th.)

THANK YOU for voting and for spreading the word, fingers crossed this will be ThinkFun’s year to take home the statue(s) at the TOTY Awards… I am reserving my fiber-optic Cinderella dress just in case :)

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.

 

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:

Halloween… ThinkFun-style!

Happy Halloween!  As you can imagine, a fun day filled with candy and dress-up is right up our alley here at ThinkFun!  We’ve set the costume bar pretty high in year’s past, and this year’s celebration did not disappoint!

Check out some of the amazing ThinkFun-inspired costume creations in our office today…

It’s Roll & Play! Kirsten and Josh act out ThinkFun’s first toddler game!
Alicia proves once and for all that the Zingo! Zinger is truly irresistible to children!

 

 

 

Juan gets into character as the Yackety Smack "Hi-YAH!" karate chop!

 

Jodi is stunning as the S'Match Spinner!

Greg gets so in-character as Swish he’s nearly transparent!

Ashley's got the Izzi color palette just right!

Tania models a Rush Hour-inspired ensemble!

Bill and Andrea get cozy as ThinkFun bagged games!

I came as a ThinkFun Pinterest board!

 

2013 Games Sneak Preview! Nic shows off the awesome superpower of the new Word-A-Round game, while Katie came as Sunny from our upcoming Hello Sunshine toddler game! Watch for these and more great games early 2013!

Happy Halloween from ThinkFun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll & Recover!

When a member of the ThinkFun family went in for a recent surgery, our design team put their creative brains to work.  While chicken soup and flowers make perfectly lovely get-well gifts, we got a bit carried away and created an entirely new game to aid in his recovery!

Following on the heels of our tremendously successful Roll & Play, Your Child’s First Game…. Meet Roll & Recover, Your First Get-Well Game!

While Roll & Play uses color-coded cards for different themed activities (i.e. orange = numbers, blue = colors…), Roll & Recover follows in the same tradition.

Roll & Recover cards face-down

Roll Orange, and you may pick up a card suggesting you “Take TWO asprin!”  A Blue card may direct you to “Have one RED apple a day!”

Roll & Recover challenges

While we’ve yet to have a doctor confirm the healing power of our new Roll & Recover, initial tests show that if laughter is indeed the best medicine, this game will certainly cure what ails you!

How Do You Say “Roll & Play” in…

Since its launch in February, our first-ever toddler game Roll & Play has been a fantastic success!  After it was introduced with a feature on The View during Toy Fair, parents, preschool teachers, therapists, and previously-stumped toddler gift-givers from all over the US have welcomed this soft plush cube with open arms!

(For more horn-tooting, check out what other reviewers are saying!)

Roll & Play in Spanish, Hungarian, and French!

This game was created to introduce young players to game play and strengthen developmental learning skills… but why should English-speakers have all the fun?!

In the past few months, Roll & Play has gone global, and I’m thrilled to announce that the game has been translated into 5 different languages (French, Spanish, Hungarian, Czech and German) and is being sold in 19 countries!

Whether you’re enjoying a game of “Guríts és Játssz” in Hungary or “Roule & Joue” in France, we are thrilled to know that toddlers worldwide are letting the good times roll!

Meet the brains behind the games!

This year’s Toy Fair was the best in ThinkFun’s 26 year history at the show – certainly the best of the 3 years I’ve been attending!  With 9 rocking new products and a fantastic message to spread to the world about the power of healthy, fun brain play, ThinkFun’s booth was mobbed from opening to close each day.  The entire team ended the week with raspy voices from countless game demos and sore wrists from writing so many orders – both excellent problems to have :)

Among the wonderful visitors we welcomed to our booth were several of the inventors behind our new games!

A few highlights:

Ron Dubren - Inventor of Stenzzles

Patrick Matthews - Inventor of Distraction

Bill Ritchie - Inventor of Roll & Play

Steve Hayton, inventor of Turnstile

Joyce Johnson - Inventor of Cartoon It!