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Opinion News

A monthly guide dedicated to the biggest sector in toys

Fisher-Price innovates with Smart Stages

By Billy Langsworthy

FISHER-PRICE has welcomed Smart Stages technology to a line of its infant toys.

The content of Smart

Stages toys adjust to suit babies’ diff erent levels of development. Smart Stages technology

features three modes of play that change as baby grows and learns at their own natural pace. Working like an app,

parents can input their baby’s age for content updates, giving them the ability to personally select the stage they feel is best for their child. Level one, ‘Explore’, is suitable for six months and above and focuses on

fi rst words with sounds designed to spark a baby’s curiosity. Level two, ‘Encourage’, is

for babies aged 12 months and above, with toys that prompt a baby through questions and simple directions. The third and fi nal

level, ‘Pretend’, is designed for infants aged 18 months and above and promotes imaginative fun and early role-play. All levels and age

groups are dependent upon each individual product within the Laugh & Learn Smart Stages range. Combining this technology with the existing Laugh & Learn

Puppy’s Smart Train

range of toys, the Smart Stages off ering includes the Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car, Smart Stages Chair and Puppy’s Smart Train.

features over 50 songs for babies to enjoy, the Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car includes over 75 sung songs, tunes and phrases, while the Laugh & Learn

Smart Stages Chair boasts a light-up remote with shape and number buttons, a story book, a magic ABC seat and a lift- up seat cushion. Mattel: 01628 500 000

Wonderblox to answer parental ‘tensions’

New off ering is both ‘fun and educational’, and blends tech of an iPad with traditional wooden blocks By Billy Langsworthy

APP AND children’s toy developer Stui believes its fi rst toy, Wonderblox, can help ease parent’s tensions around balancing fun with education when it comes to pre-school toys. Wonderblox is an app and a set of wooden blocks that uses an iPad screen as the play area. The play-set uses an embedded mirror to direct the iPad’s front-facing camera to the play area, allowing children to position the blocks on the iPad screen to spell out words. The toy then detects the play pieces in real-time,

of both worlds and create something totally new with these two mediums. “Kids aged three, four,

fi ve year olds love the iPad so I think Wonderblox is an interesting way for them to play with stuff that they wouldn’t have played with. “Parents know that toys

while the app’s spelling and letter recognition mechanism recognises patterns, geometric shapes and letters from every existing language. “We think playing with physical stuff is

really important for kids’ development, and enhancing their motor skills and co-ordination,” Stui CEO Yoav Dori told T

oyNews. “Digital technology isn’t

going away, so we thought how can we take the best

are fun but I think there is a tension there between getting something that their kids love but also getting something that has a benefi t to them. We try to answer that tension.” Dori believes now is the right time to launch a toy like Wonderblox into the

market, with parents more open to digital toys than a few years back. “The fi rst wave of tech

toys hit the market two or three years ago and the market wasn’t ready,” added Dori. “Right now, we’re seeing the second wave and it might be this wave that will catch on because people are much more open to it. Next for the fi rm is to see the results of the Wonderblox Kickstarter campaign, but whether successful or not, Stui will be bringing the toy to market in the UK next year. Stui:

August 27 Events

New technology sees toys adjust to suit three diff erent levels of development, ‘Explore’, ‘Encourage’ and ‘Pretend’

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