News & Interviews

Over 400 Interviews, Articles and Stories! Over 350 authors! 5 Newsletters!

Newsletters for industry, consumers, social media influencers and educators cover many aspects of play and

the interesting stories behind the playthings we love! 

Our newest project to celebrate the People of Play to go live soon! Read all about it HERE.  

To receive one of our newsletters, go here: http://www.chitag.com/get-the-newsletter

Business of Play News

Industry News - interviews, news, information about get-togethers we're hosting and more.

Importance of Play News

For consumers and anyone interested in toys and games and 

meeting the people behind the the products.

 

Legends and Legacies Profiles

There are many great stories and then there are those which are EPIC! 

ChiTAG White Papers

Interested in getting into the toy and game industry?

Our Inventor & Innovation Conferences Experts weigh in on industry topics. 

Reisa Schwartzman - A Happy Mistake!

(Resia Schwartzman, President Griddly Games) Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry? I got into the Toy and Game industry by mistake!!! I started investing in a company and before I knew it, it was mine! Once I owned the company, I started to develop my own games and STEAM Kits! (Griddly Games Nice to Meet You!) What trends do you see in toys or games that excite or worry you? I’m excited to see that STEM and STEAM games and toys are trending in the market! Griddly always strives to bring games and kits that excite and teach. So this trend definitely is similar to my beliefs! What was your favorite toy or game as a child? I enjoyed playing a lot of games as well as buildi

Thijmen de Schipper Breaks Free

(Thijmen de Schipper of Yulu Toys) What was your favorite toy or game as a child? When I was very young I actually played with PLAYMOBIL a lot! I remember going into the woods with my PLAYMOBIL playset that had a teepee, covering it in mulch to hide it from the cowboy cart that was racing by with six horses and them nasty gunslingers. I loved creating my own stories, I even wrote them down in a little booklet that I still have! During my university days, we bought a huge world map, sand stripped the table and glued it on top of our coffee table as a massive Risk board. A weekly battlefield was organized. These days I like to chase bouncing balls – particularly in team sports like football

PJ Palijo - Return of the Dragon

(PJ Padiljo, VP Product Design & Development, Universal Consumer Products) What was your favorite toy or game as a child? Let me think... Growing up in the 70’s, there were so many great toys. Star Wars, Shogun Warriors and Six Million Dollar Man were the toys that filled my memories of play. But my all time favorite toy was the Six Million Dollar Man Action Figure with bionic arm and bionic eye features. I’m still trying to find a mint condition version of the action figure. I even had a Six Million Dollar Man costume for Halloween. Ironically, I find myself working for the coPJmpany (NBC Universal) that produced the Six Million Dollar Man show. Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game

Max Ford and Joeri Hoste on Making the BIG Move

Max Ford (M) and Joeri Hoste (J) Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry? M: My father, Roger Ford, was the Senior VP of R&D at MB/Hasbro for many years so I was one of the lucky kids who got to grow up play-testing Transformers and games like Hotel and Electronic Battleship - not a tough childhood for sure! And then my father set up NPD, an inventing group, in 1985. I joined him in 2000 and have been in the industry ever since, taking over the NPD reigns in 2009. I guess I can say that playing and reviewing toy and game concepts has been my whole life really. J: In 1995, my love for sci-fi got me into Strategy and Trading Card Games. While competing internationally I soon bec

Brian Gomez (Egils Grasmanis, Edgars Zakis, Janis Grunte, Reinis Butans)

Nominated for Ice Cool Bio: Brian Gomez is Egils Grasmanis, Jānis Grunte, Edgars Zaķis and Reinis Butāns. They all work in the developing team at Brain Games, a board game publisher based in Riga, Latvia. Egils co-founded Brain Games in 2004 and is the owner of the company. Apart from developing games, Jānis has been managing Brain Games retail store, Edgars is the project manager, editor and inventor relations while Reinis is also in charge of logistics and purchasing. It took two years to develop Ice Cool. The game won 15 international awards, including the most prestigious Children's Game Award - Kinderspiel Des Jahres 2017. Collaborators: Reinis Pētersons, Ilustrator

Thijmen de Schipper

Nominated for Spy Code Break Free Bio: Born in a small village in the Netherlands, Thijmen de Schipper, with partner JochemVan Rijn, started Yulu Toys in 2015 when he was only 27. Today, the duo has brought 12 games to the marketplace, including YuluToys’ three Spy Code games - Break Free, Operation: Escape and Safe Breaker which launched exclusively at Target this year, along with Egged On (distributed by Hasbro) and Helix (distributed by Zing). Thijmen & Jochem started by inventing together by launching an app for the rules of all Games & Sports. And in 2014 after one year of development it was sold to the Dutch government. Collaborators: Jochem Van Rijn, co-president, YULU Toys Products f

Sydney and Toni Loew

Nominated for Poketti Plushies with Pocket Powers Bio: Sydney and Toni Loew, sisters from Palo Alto, CA, launched Poketti on Kickstarter in 2013 after being inspired by their 7th-grade entrepreneurial class. Poketti Plushies with Pocket Powers are cute and functional, with a useful back pocket to hold small treasures. Eager to share their experience to inspire others, the sisters designed Series2 to have unique personalities, ambitious dream careers, gender-neutral names, and positive character traits such as Confidence, Curiosity, and Kindness. With Poketti Pocket Power stickers in the pocket, activities online, and a Young Entrepreneur’s Handbook, these young inventors are poised make a bi

Shay Bhattessa Sharma

Nominated for Football Billionaire Limited Bio: Football Billionaire is a fast moving, high stakes football trading game. Purchase clubs, buy stadiums, create the perfect team by collecting the best players. Hire and fire managers, close deals with agents, be ready for the transfer window and swap players with your opposition. Negotiate sponsorship deals win trophies and increase the value of your club. You can even increase the original card collection by swapping and adding more trading cards to your game! Become the wealthiest, most successful football club owner ever!

Samaira Mehta

Nominated for CoderBunnyz Bio: Samaira is a 4th grader Women(Girl) in Tech and is an inventor and speaker at various events. She invented a STEM coding board game CoderBunnyz at the age of 7, to teach coding to kids age 4-104. She has done over 60 workshops with her board game in Silicon Valley, teaching over 2000 kids, including over 50 at Google HQ. She also started an initiative Girls U Code to teach coding to underrepresented girls. She has received letters from "The White House" for her work and has been featured in NBC, Sony, ZDF, Mercury News, sina.com and several media in 3 continents(North America, Asia, Europe) and over 11 countries. She is the youngest speaker at CMG impact 2016 W

Olivia Wasilewski and Brynna Siewers

Nominated for Ship of Treasures Bio: Brynna and Olivia are 5th graders at Palos East Elementary School in Palos Heights, Illinois. They originally developed their game Ship of Treasures when they were in 4th grade for a fall school project for their Advanced Learning Program for Students (ALPS). The whole class entered the ChiTag Young Inventors Challenge in 2016. Ship of Treasures was awarded the grand prize and that started their journey into bringing Ship of Treasures to market. Pressman Games and Target helped them develop Ship of Treasures and is now exclusively at all Target stores nationwide. Collaborators: Pressman Games and Target

Hatchimals

Nominated for Hatchimals Bio: Hatchimals, heralded as the first toy phenomenon in the age of social media and the “hottest toy of the holiday season”, was first introduced by leading global children’s entertainment company Spin Master in September 2016. The Hatchimals Who Will YOU Hatch™? campaign launched like an embargoed theatrical release in over 50 countries with three phases that aligned with the coveted holiday shopping season.Cross functional teams worked together to successfully promote Hatchimals. The results of the Who Will YOU Hatch™? campaign exceeded company goals but more importantly delighted kids globally makingHatchimals the top toy of 2016. Collaborators: Nancy Zwiers – CM

PlayMonster Marketing Team

Nominated for Ultra Dash Bio: PlayMonster’s Ultra Dash Marketing Team not only worked to develop a strategic multi-tier plan to increase awareness and sales, but was also hands-on to execute the details. The team oversaw the TV commercial production and also attended blogger events to personally demonstrate and spread the word. They also worked with Six Flags on an experiential event allowing kids at several parks to play the game. This campaign resulted in social media posts and a video from Family Fun Pack going viral with over 1 million views before the TV campaign even started.

Barbie Global Brand Team

Dads Who Play Barbie Bio: For more than 58 years, Barbie has inspired imaginations and encouraged girls on their journey to self-discovery. Mattel has successfully modernized the perception of Barbie by focusing on her power to help girls imagine a powerful and fulfilling future and is quietly subverting gender roles, too, in a new campaign that shows fathers playing Barbie with their girls. The “Dads Who Play Barbie” campaign kicked off during the NFL playoffs with a 30-second spot, “Doctor,” in which a self-described “typical man’s man” admits his Sunday afternoon ritual of watching football is now often interrupted by Barbie time and he says, he couldn’t be happier. “You would do anything

Marektoy

Nominated for Klask and Bonk Bio: Bunch of slightly peculiar and adventurous men from the dark and cold Finland who bravely pick their own path. As native Nordics, their creativity is fed by the endless hours spent in a sauna. These primitive men are inspired and driven by the beauty and pureness of winning - the nature has taught them - only the strongest will survive. The mythical rituals surrounding their wooden games are inherited from their ancestors and they are known to carry the largest collection of facial hair on the Northern Hemisphere, all hand collected from those who once dared to play games with them.

Hasbro

Nominated for Nerf's Dude Perfect Nerf Nation fans are about the blasters, and on Facebook Hasbro gives fans a peek into what goes on "behind the blaster" and share their passion and enthusiasm. Nerf collaborated with Dude Perfect, the #1 sports channel on YouTube, to showcase the Dudes achieving wild trick shots., as well as to encourage Nerf Nation to submit their own trick shot videos via the "Show us your Nerf Perfect" campaign. In August, the customizable Modulus blaster system was unveiled after months long teasing of Modulus "Easter eggs" being hidden in Nerf posts. The #StockpileSaturday series has also given fans some serious bragging rights when it comes to showing off their extens

Rory O'Connor and Anita Murphy: The Creativity Hub

Nominated for The Extraordinaires Design Studio Belfast-based husband and wife team Rory O’Connor and Anita Murphy first met in art college, quickly developing a deep mutual respect while collaborating on various creative projects. In 2008, life took a twist when their creative thinking tool, Rory's Story Cubes®, took off as both a game and educational resource. Over the years, they worked tirelessly to grow the brand and product range while also building an enviable network of international distributors. This resulted in global sales of seven million copies worldwide. They recently sold the IP to Asmodee, shifting focus to developing new games. Meanwhile, The Extraordinaires Design Studio®

MGA Entertainment, Inc.

Nominated for L.O.L. Surprise! Collectible Dolls L.O.L. Surprise! By MGA Entertaiment Collectible Dolls have 7 layers of surprise in each L.O.L. Surprise! As you unbox each layer a new surprise is unveiled, hinting at which hinting at which L.O.L. Surprise doll you're going to get! And that's not all! Feed or bathe your baby for an additional water surprise: she might cry, spit, tinkle or change colors.

Mattel

Nominated for Enchantimals Enchantimals by Mattel reveals a new brand franchise, Enchantimals™, a fantastical world celebrating the special bond between kids and animals, as pets are often a child's very first bestie. Enchantimals joins the Mattel girl's portfolio of well-known brands offering products and engaging storylines that ignite imaginative play. Launching with 14 small dolls and 3 playsets, Enchantimals product inspires stories of friendship, empathy and compassion towards all living things.

Funnybone Toys Creative Team

Nominated for Whim, Akin, Spirot, Spectracube, Anaxi, Juxtabo, Disruptus, Funnybones, Array, Spectrix, Cubu Bio Funnybone Toys was created to provide products for what the founders felt was one of the most appealing areas of the specialty toy and game market: A true combination of form, function, and beautiful, minimalist design. After they traveled around the world to study toys and games at children’s stores, game stores, museum stores and gift stores, one thing was very clear - most of the designers combining the above elements were from Europe. Co-founders Julien Sharp and Alexandra MacLean set out to challenge that reality and create an American company that could mesh these elements to

Harmonix

Nominated for DropMix Harmonix, partnered with Hasbro on perhaps its strangest creation yet: Dropmix, an experience that fuses a Bluetooth-enabled game into a dynamic and fast-paced music-mixing game. Players blend popular songs from award-winning artists and face-off with friends to master the mix.

Ishkabibbles - Just for Fun!  

Play in Education News

For educators, librarians, homeschooling families and parents

who are interested in using play to aid learning.

ChiTAG Group Media Reach:

​Newsletters Email Subscribers

All Industry 40,000+

Educator 135,0000+

Inventor 15,000+

Consumer 15,000+

Blogger, Social Media Influencer 5,500+ email; 6,500+ handles

Scouts (Boy & Girl) 2,100+

Media List 7,500+

Combined Direct Newsletter Reach 220,000

Newsletter, In-Person and Social Media Reach

Newsletters 217,000

Postal Mail Addresses All Industry 33,000+

Twitter ChiTAGWeek 15,600+

Facebook ChiTAGWeek 6,300+

Facebook Mary Couzin 1,800+

Instagram ChiTAGWeek 1,600+

Pinterest ChiTAGWeek 370+

Pinterest Mary Couzin/Chicago Toy & Game Fair 1,900+

LinkedIn Toy, Game, Play Innovators Group 3,000+

LinkedIn Mary Couzin 18,500+

Events Attendance 35,000+

ChiTAG Group Reach 325,000+