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About Jim Silver

Jim Silver is recognized as one of the preeminent experts in the toy, licensing, and family entertainment industries.

Currently, Silver is editor-in-chief of www.TimetoPlayMag.com, a playful destination website which provides adults with information, entertainment, and services on what's fun for children and their families. The website is powered by aNb Media, TheToyGuy.com, and a team of leading, well-known toy, family entertainment, and parenting experts.

Silver is also editor in chief of trade publications Royaltie$: The Journal of the Licensing Industry and Toys & Family Entertainment at aNb Media.

Working within the publishing and toy industries for more than 25 years has enabled Silver to work with and glean knowledge from a wide array of manufacturers, retailers, licensors and licensing agents worldwide from the most prestigious to local mom and pop establishments

Here are my most recent posts

Time to Play’s Best gifts for Kids 2011

While it’s always great to get your kids the toys at the top of their wish lists, I’ve always look for gifts that allow my kids and I to share an experience together. Whether it’s games, activities or sports toys, I always enjoy that time where I can play with my kids and we’d both enjoy sharing the experience.
Toys have changed through the years, but the way kids play hasn’t. Although today’s kids are surrounded by iPads, iPods and cell phones, they still play in similar ways that we did growing up; the technology is just a little more advanced. Here’s a list of new toys that today’s kids and fathers will enjoy playing together.
Angry Birds Knock on Wood Game – The most popular app comes alive in an offline game. This hot seller allows you to set up the environment and play like the Angry Birds that exists on your smartphone, except here you really get to catapult the bird. 
Beyblade Metal Fusion – You create your own tops for battle, choose a battle ring, and Let it Rip. What’s not to love?
Connect 4 Launchers – A new twist on Connect 4. You still need 4 in a row, but now you get to launch the discs in order to win. It’s a lot of fun for kids of any age.
Crayola Jewelry Boutique – While this isn’t my favorite activity, as a father of three daughters, this toy is something I would have enjoyed with my girls. The journey to make the jewelry is a fun process and the end product is something girls will really like.
FyrFlyz – I call this the “modern day” yo-yo. FyrFlyz is a toy on a string, but with lights that allow you to perform amazing tricks. It’s VERY addicting and tough to put down once you start.
The Logo Board Game – As your kids get older, it’s tougher to find toys that everyone will like. Here’s a trivia game that tests your knowledge of the brands that you see every day, whether it’s Lucky Charms or FedEx. Fun for all, and the playing field is level. This game is best played with teenage children.
The Millennium Falcon by Lego – The new Millennium Falcon is one of the coolest construction toys ever made. With over 1,000 pieces, building this ship can be a great two-person activity, and who doesn’t love Star Wars?
Trivial Pursuit Disney for All Edition – Trivial Pursuit has been around for 25 years, but this edition has changed the types of questions that are asked, making it easier for younger kids to play. Families get to battle to see who knows their Disney Trivia best, whether it’s about movies, theme parks, shows or classic characters.

– By Jim Silver

Jim Silver is editor-in-chief of www.TimeToPlayMag.com, a playful family website which provides information, entertainment and services on what’s fun for children.

Sweet Easter Toys

Easter is right around the corner, and you what that means: it’s time to visit the candy aisle for your kids. Gift-giving at Easter has become so popular, this is now the third largest purchasing holiday for children behind Christmas and Halloween.

As a parent, I’m a believer of everything in moderation. Like me, many parents are concerned about the amount of candy and junk food their children are eating. With that in mind, we’ve seen a transformation over the last three years in the toy industry where parents are choosing to buy inexpensive toys and include them in Easter baskets as gift. This year, there are actually three times the number of Easter-themed toys available for the holiday compared with what existed just a couple of years ago.

It’s hard to choose what to throw in that Easter basket. I personally love the toys that come in eggs so you can plan a massive egg hunt as an Easter activity. Isn’t that what it’s all about – the joy of searching for eggs and the surprise of what’s inside?

I’m also a huge fan of the Hot Wheels Eggsclusives. Hide these around the house Easter morning, and a child can search for an egg and find a Hot Wheels Car or even hide the Easter-themed Play-Doh eggs. How cool is that? If your child collects Squinkies, there’s the special edition Easter Egg pack out this year. Another one of my favorites is the transforming Easter eggs from the Disney stores. These are soft Easter eggs that transform into stuffed animal characters from Bambi.

Whether you have a boy or a girl, there’s a plethora of toys to choose from that can make Easter a lot more fun (and last much longer) than just the candy. For a child, getting candy and a toy as a holiday treat –  does it get any better than that?

– By Jim Silver

Jim Silver is editor-in-chief of www.TimeToPlayMag.com, a playful family website which provides information, entertainment and services on what’s fun for children. Visit us at TimetoPlayMag.com to check out even more ‘eggs-cellent’ Easter toys.

The Holiday Season’s Most Wanted Toys

To kick off the holiday season, the team of toy experts at www.TimetoPlayMag.com recently announced their Most Wanted List of 16 hot holiday toys and games, guaranteed to be topping wish lists through the season. Wondering what makes these toys tops? Read on.

AIR HOGS MOTO FRENZY (Spin Master/Ages 8 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)

The R/C category is hot at retail, with the sweet spot being the $20-$40 price points with cool functionality. Spin Master, the leader of this category, has once again brought innovation at a great price point with a small motorcycle that really is cool to drive, and you can even pop those wheelies.

DISNEY PRINCESS & ME DOLLS
(JAKKS Pacific/Ages 6 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $49.99)

When Disney combined their princesses this past decade, they created princess power in the toy aisles. This toy takes the princesses to a new high in the large doll category, and they are the most beautiful dolls ever made of the Disney Princesses. With their glass eyes and high detail, these are not just for play, but they are sure to be dolls that girls will collect and hold on to.

HOT WHEELS R/C STEALTH RIDES
(Mattel/Ages 6 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)

When we first showed this toy to young boys, their jaws dropped to the ground. Taking the Hot Wheels brand to the R/C category, here’s something you’ve never seen before. The cars come flat in a thin card holder and then pop into a vehicle you run.

LEAPSTER EXPLORER (LeapFrog/Ages 4 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $69.99)

When a person hears Leapfrog, the words associated with it are Learning Fun. Leapfrog has updated its Leapster hardware and software to make playing educational games better than ever. This is a toy not only kids love, but so will their parents.

LEGO Games – LEGO Systems
(LEGO/Ages 7 years & up/Approx. Retail Price $29.99)

Last year, Lego introduced its game line in the UK and achieved a 12% market share of the games category by year end. We happen to love all of the Lego Games, and our favorite is the Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle. You build the game, you play the game and it has some of the Hogwarts magic built into the play.

LOOPZ (Mattel/Ages 7 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $29.99)

Last year Mattel used brainwave technology to make a hit game with Mindflex. This year they are bringing sensor technology to the gaming aisle with Loopz, which has seven skill games that require quick hand-eye coordination and a good memory.

MONSTER HIGH DOLLS (Mattel/Ages 6 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $16.99)

Timing is everything! Twilight and Vampire Diaries are the hot genre right now, and Mattel’s timing couldn’t be better with this homegrown brand that’s scorching at retailers. The looks of these famous monster’s daughters couldn’t be more relevant than now with girls.

NERF N-STRIKE STAMPEDE ECS BLASTER (Hasbro/Ages 8 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $49.99)

The Nerf brand has grown from $40 million to over $150 million in the past decade. Quite simple, this toy is the BEST NERF EVER for kids of ANY age! Seeing is believing! With three clips, each with 18 foam darts, you are the king of the room with this blaster. This toy is one every Dad needs too.

PAPER JAMZ (WowWee/Ages 5 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)

When we first saw this toy a year ago, we guessed the price of it would be double. Kids love music, and not only does this flat guitar deliver, it has tremendous value. The best part is as you get better at playing, there are different and more advanced ways to play.

REAL CONSTRUCTION (JAKKS Pacific/Ages 5 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $24.99)

When I first saw this line, I immediately thought of Tim the Tool Man from Home Improvement. In my 27 years covering the toy business, I’ve never seen anything like this. This is a natural toy for young boys, which might make them useful husbands later in life. It’s construction for kids!

SCRABBLE FLASH (Hasbro/Ages 8 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $29.99)

Start playing with this toy and you won’t put it down. Taking one of the best selling games of all time, and incorporating it with a modern RFID flash cube technology, this is the most addicting game to hit the market for those who love word games.

SING-A-MA-JIGS
(Mattel/Ages 3 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $12.99)

Our team all instantly fell in love with the simple addicting fun of these toys. We can’t put them down! I love the simple play, and the fact that a basic toy can entertain a child and bring a smile to their face.

SQUINKIES
(Blip Toys/Ages 4 years & up /Approx. Retail Price: $6.99)

This year, the surprise hit comes from a small company called Blip Toys. This is proof in the dream that any company with a great idea can have a hit toy. With these toys already scarce, Squinkies brings the collectibles you would receive from those kids’ vending machines to your home.

TONKA CHUCK & FRIENDS CHUCK’S STUNT PARK PLAYSET (Hasbro Playskool/Ages 3 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $39.99)

Chuck my Talking truck has been a leading seller for the past two years. I love toys that allow kids to customize, and the Stunt Park lets kids build their own stunts to watch Chuck maneuver through.

V.READER
(VTech/Ages 3 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $59.99)

This toy is educational, fun, and stylish. In three words, it’s a Kindle for Kids. It’s as simple as that!

ZOOBLES(Spin Master/Ages 4 years & up/ Approx. Retail Price: $4.99)

Last year, Bakugan dominated the boys’ aisles with sales exceeding $400 million. Taking the magic of Bakugan and translating to a girls’ collectible line wasn’t easy, but Spin Master pulled it off. These collectible spheres are magical fun to young girls when they pop to life.

– By Jim Silver

Jim Silver is recognized as
one of the preeminent experts in the toy, licensing, and family
entertainment industries. As editor-in-chief of family entertainment
website
www.TimeToPlayMag.com,
Silver and his team provide adults with information on what’s fun for
children and their families, including toys, games and trends.




Silver
is also editor in chief of trade publications Royaltie$: The Journal of
the Licensing Industry and Toys & Family Entertainment at aNb
Media. You can follow him on
Twitter.

Summer Toys

Summer is finally here! I had a chance to enjoy the warm weather when I took my middle daughter and niece, who both just graduated from high school, down to Orlando for five days of fun and exhaustion. While I love roller coasters, as you get a little older you must be careful. After riding the Rip Rocket at Universal Studios, both my daughters told me how awesome it was and that they blacked out twice. Cool for a teen, not for a dad!

Summer also means blockbuster movies, and the biggest one for kids is Toy Story 3. While the movie is great, many of the kids want to bring home the movie experience and play through the world of toys. The Toy Story 3 toys are some of the best and widest variety to ever come from a movie. Here are some of my favorites.

The Deluxe Action Wing Pack from Mattel Toys allows you to “suit up” and role play being Buzz Lightyear. Also from Mattel is the Ultra Blast Gauntlet, the choice of blaster gadget for Buzz. The Imaginext Toys from Fisher Price are great for the younger children.  Barbie and Ken (he steals the show) are featured in the movie, and the Barbie and Ken Forever Dolls are also must-haves.

If you’re a fan of building toys, there are both Lego and Duplo Toy Story 3 sets, with my favorite being the Lego Western Train Set as you can play out the scene from the movie with Lego bricks. Also not to be forgotten are Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, always lots of fun for the “tots.”

   

Maybe you’re looking for something different. Woody’s Run-Around Roundup from Wild Planet has kids up and scrambling. For those video game lovers out there, Toy Story Mania is amazing. For those who might want to spend a few extra dollars, Thinkway Toys has made some radio controlled Buzz Lightyear toys that bring Buzz to life. There are literally tons more of Toy Story 3 toys out there for every way your child wants to play.

If you haven’t seen the movie, run to a theater to catch this classic. If you’re looking for the coolest Toy Story 3 toys come visit us at Timetoplaymag.com.

– By Jim Silver

Jim Silver is recognized as
one of the preeminent experts in the toy, licensing, and family
entertainment industries. As editor-in-chief of family entertainment
website
www.TimeToPlayMag.com,
Silver and his team provide adults with information on what’s fun for
children and their families, including toys, games and trends.




Silver
is also editor in chief of trade publications Royaltie$: The Journal of
the Licensing Industry and Toys & Family Entertainment at aNb
Media. You can follow him on
Twitter.

The Holidays Are Here…Really!

Tis the season to be shopping, or at least having your kids make their lists. How long should their lists be? That’s the first thing that needs addressing. How many people will be shopping from a child’s wish list? A wish list should include enough things so that parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, and siblings can have a choice of what to buy. The list should also be longer than the number of presents a child is expecting. For example, if you think a child is going to get about 10 presents, then their list should have 20 items listed. It gives your family present options and it’s important to teach children at a very early stage that “you don’t always  get everything you want” (unless your last name is Trump).

Once you have that wish list, the next stage is to research what your children are asking for. You’ve heard that old line, “Kids say the darndest things.” Well, kids also ask for the darndest things. Last year, my 14-year-old asked for a car, which was amusing since the driving age in New York is 17. You should research what they’re asking for if you’re not familiar with the items (many parents don’t) to make sure they are age appropriate. Next step, shopping.

There are always one or two things that your kids really want. Do I shop now and put it away, or do I wait for it to go on sale? The bottom line is this: If you walk into a Toys “R” Us, there are over 7,000 toys in their stores. And come early December, there are going to be great bargains and deals. However, with the really hot toys, like Zhu Zhu Pets, Barbie Fashionistas, Rocky the Robot Truck, Bakugan 7 in 1 Maxus Helios and the Nerf N- Strike Raider Rapid Fire CS-35, there will be no bargains as these toys are selling out quickly. My advice is to shop at various times. If your child is going to get one of the really hot toys (How do you know what’s hot? Check out Time To Play’s Most Wanted!), then buy it now. Go out and get what you absolutely need to have and you can save the rest of your shopping for later (if you can deal with the crowds better than I can!)

I am a person who likes to buy, but hates to shop. When shopping for toys, my favorite places are www.toysrus.com and www.amazon.com.  I find these two sites have the largest selections and inventories. Other good alternatives for toy shopping are www.target.com and www.walmart.com.

Often you’re looking for a unique specialty toy that isn’t readily available. Two great sites to find toys such as those are www.fao.com and www.kazootoys.com. It’s often cool that your child gets a toy that none of their friends have.

Remember, you can always visit us at TimeToPlayMag.com or send us a question or comment about toys…..it’s what we do!

– By Jim Silver

Jim Silver is recognized as
one of the preeminent experts in the toy, licensing, and family
entertainment industries. As editor-in-chief of family entertainment
website
www.TimeToPlayMag.com,
Silver and his team provide adults with information on what’s fun for
children and their families, including toys, games and trends.




Silver
is also editor in chief of trade publications Royaltie$: The Journal of
the Licensing Industry and Toys & Family Entertainment at aNb
Media. You can follow him on
Twitter.