Goodtalk

Avatar for Amy Mabry
Amy Mabry
Hi! Excited to talk about the best toys! I’m Amy one of the cofounders of Skip and Play! We match a child’s age and stage with the very best toys. We have subscriptions, birthday boxes, and we just launched our holiday box!
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Avatar for Christopher Byrne
Christopher Byrne
Chris Byrne aka The Toy Guy-researcher, author, analyst with 30+ years in toys.
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Avatar for Jennifer Lynch
Jennifer Lynch
Hi all! I’m the editorial manager for TTPM.com, which stands for Toys, Tots, Pets & More. It’s the largest and leading video consumer product review site specializing in toys, baby products and pet products—essentially we’ve got the whole family covered. Personally, I’ve been covering product and consumer trends in the industry for nearly 8 years.
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Avatar for John Good
John Good
Let's get to know you guys a little better with a fun question: What was the best holiday gift you received as a kid and why did you love it so much?
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Avatar for Regina
Regina
Hi! I’m Regina Paquette Cofounder of Skip and Play. My background is design. So we bring you the very best toys for development that also happen to be unique and beautiful!
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Christopher Byrne
Always loved my Matchbox cars. They opened up a world of creative play for me.
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Amy Mabry
I loved play sets! And anything that I can use my imagination with!
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Jennifer Lynch
What I really wanted one Christmas was the Barbie Jeep. Santa didn’t really understand the difference though between Barbie’s Jeep and the ride-on so I got the one for Barbie-that said it opened up a whole new world of adventures for me and my dolls.
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Christopher Byrne
Goodtalk message
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Christopher Byrne
Then there was Mr Machine.
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Avatar for Regina
Regina
I loved my baby doll. I was training to be a mom and didn’t know it I guess... that or my parents should have given me the little sister I wanted.
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John Good
With Toys-R-Us now gone some parents may not know where to find new toys. Where do you like to discover new toys?
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Christopher Byrne
Lots of kids use YouTube. Online Amazon, Jet and other places.
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Amy Mabry
From Skip and Play of course :) That’s one of the reasons we started for children to discover new toys that also encourage learning and development
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Regina
Skip and Play takes the guesswork out of what to get your kids AND bonus keeps the ugly toys out of your house if grandparents want to get a gift!
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Jennifer Lynch
Nothing beats a walk through your local toy stores and seeing what kids are unboxing online!
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John Good
Amy and Regina, I've heard a lot about open-ended play. What is it? Can you tell us about the benefits of open-ended play for preschoolers and young kids?
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Christopher Byrne
At this time of year, you’ll have more toys at drugstores, grocery, garden centers and more.
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Amy Mabry
Great question! It’s really letting the child lead through their imagination! They have so much Development going on at this phase and it’s a way to encourage it
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Avatar for Regina
Regina
A lot of parents like to lead the child in what to do with the toys instead of letting the child explore the toys! We provide the right toys targeted at the age so they can explore their creativity
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Avatar for Amy Mabry
Amy Mabry
Good idea Christopher on garden centers! Never thought of that!
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John Good
I love that...just let them play how they want to play
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John Good
For everyone, what are some of your favorite open-ended play toys?
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Avatar for Regina
Regina
Yes it’s easier to do that when they have the right toys!
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Christopher Byrne
I agree. Play is such an important part of discovery and expression.
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Regina
I love plan toys doctor, makeup artist, and vet kits!
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Christopher Byrne
Crayons! Blocks! Toy cars. Dolls you bring to life with your imagination.
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Avatar for Jennifer Lynch
Jennifer Lynch
I think today’s parents especially care a lot more about open-ended play. We’ve seen somewhat of a backlash to app-heavy toys as parents seek out the same kinds of toys they grew up with that get their kids outdoors and interacting with each other. Roleplay toys are great for this. Melissa & Doug has done especially great job with their grocery store items
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Amy Mabry
We just put a super cute pretend sushi set, and it’s so fun because they can have a pretend “adult” dinner experience
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Christopher Byrne
As long as the kid’s imagination is running the show, it can be any toy.
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Amy Mabry
Yes, love role play toys Jennifer!
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Regina
I also like kid-o for modern cause and effect toys that light up or make sounds.
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Jennifer Lynch
Agreed, Chris
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Christopher Byrne
Yes on Kid-o. Also gorgeous.
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Amy Mabry
Jennifer, have a cool story to tell you....
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Avatar for Amy Mabry
Amy Mabry
Since you were talking about toys that we had when we were children, We had a really cute Jack-in-the-Box and one of our Skip and Play boxes. I thought it was too outdated and I took it out of the box. We went to an event and we just happen to have it, So I took it out and put it in the middle of the play space. The kids LOVED it!!!!
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Avatar for Christopher Byrne
Christopher Byrne
Open ended play is also about narrative and how kids begin to tell the story of themselves in the context of their world.
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Avatar for John Good
John Good
Chris, Jennifer just alluded to it with a backlash to app-heavy toys, but there are toys out there that use tech wisely. What are some of your favorite tech toys this year?
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Avatar for Christopher Byrne
Christopher Byrne
Jack in the Boxes are centuries old. Classic!!
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Amy Mabry
So now we have the Jack-in-the-Box, with three different variations, a dog, a monkey, and a unicorn!
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Christopher Byrne
Nintendo Labo combines maker play with video.
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Christopher Byrne
I want the unicorn!
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Christopher Byrne
I like LittleBits for creativity with tech.
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Jennifer Lynch
The Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit is one of my favorites this year.
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Amy Mabry
We will get you the unicorn Christopher!
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Jennifer Lynch
It’s got the coding element but there’s also a bit of imaginative play as well
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Avatar for Regina
Regina
I believe children have such incredible immigrations that often the more basic toys can actually teach them to open up a bigger world in their minds than they could get through getting on an app. I LOVE hearing my almost three year old son have full in conversation with with his toys.
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Christopher Byrne
Absolutely, Jennifer. That’s awesome.
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John Good
Jennifer, for younger kids, do you think it is better to give one or two “big" toys or a number of smaller toys?
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Christopher Byrne
And it’s a springboard to imaginary play.
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Avatar for Jennifer Lynch
Jennifer Lynch
It depends on the child…and parent’s budgets. Some kids like a lot of smaller items that they can play with together, while others want that big-ticket item
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John Good
What are some of the popular big-ticket items you’ve seen this year?
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Christopher Byrne
I agree. Every family has their own choices. I do always worry about “present overload” when kids can’t appreciate each toy.
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Christopher Byrne
Scout the ride on Pony from KidTrax.
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Avatar for Jennifer Lynch
Jennifer Lynch
Well the Barbie Dreamhouse is always a top-seller, and this year for Jurassic World fans, there’s the Alpha Training Blue (for the older kids or the big kids at heart)
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Christopher Byrne
$399 at Walmart.
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Christopher Byrne
The LOL Dollhouse is $199 and hugely popular.
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Jennifer Lynch
Chris, brings up another good one. Ride-ons are always popular holiday items
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Regina
I personally got my son a train set and table (he actually asked for a table to go with it 😂) and a dollhouse for imaginative play!
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Christopher Byrne
You have to see the Barbie Camper! It’s bigger than my first apartment.
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Amy Mabry
I can’t wait to get my daughter a Barbie dream house! She’s only 3 months so that present will come later :)
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Regina
Though I won’t get credit as Santa will be bringing it 🙄
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Christopher Byrne
A classic since 1972!
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Avatar for John Good
John Good
For a family with 2-3 kids, what are the best toys for multiple younger kids to share? Toys that promote kinder play with one another and give parent a break.
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Christopher Byrne
I’m one of five kids, and we always got games to play together.
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Avatar for Amy Mabry
Amy Mabry
I love the Kid O house because you can get three different ones, they can build, add people, use imaginative play, etc
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Christopher Byrne
Building toys that can be done together are good, too.
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John Good
I’m on if 5 too...4 sisters so a lot of barbie sets
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Jennifer Lynch
Also blasters—not necessary a kindness promoter but they sure are fun for multiple kids and keeps them active
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Amy Mabry
Blocks can be simple at 1-2 years and then advance as they get older and can be played with multiple children
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Christopher Byrne
Wow.
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Jennifer Lynch
Sounds like your sisters needs that Dreamhouse, John!
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Christopher Byrne
Craft sets are good, especially ones that make Multiple projects.
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Christopher Byrne
LOL
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Avatar for Regina
Regina
Yes! I’m a big fan of craft sets!
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Jennifer Lynch
Vehicle playlets are another solid option
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Regina
Make a day of it and just tape trash bags down and go nuts!
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John Good
Following up on what Amy just said about growing up with blocks, What do you all recommend as an ideal toy to grow old with? For example, magnatiles seem to work for toddlers but have longevity and hold their attention long after.
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Avatar for Christopher Byrne
Christopher Byrne
It’s not really a toy, but lots of kids are into cooking for real, and there are some sets designed for young chefs.
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Amy Mabry
Christopher we have a baking set in our boxes!
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Amy Mabry
Train sets you can grow with, and literally have them set up through adulthood!
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Christopher Byrne
LEGO, of course. As kids develop physically and cognitively, they can do more.
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Avatar for Regina
Regina
My son LOVES his play kitchen that is set up right near my kitchen so we can cook together!
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Christopher Byrne
Yay train sets!
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Regina
To his dismay my one year old daughter is just starting to walk and seems to love his kitchen too.
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Avatar for Jennifer Lynch
Jennifer Lynch
In terms of toys for preschools, I love the kind that literally grow with your child and convert for as your chid gets older. Skip Hop and Fisher-Price both do a great job at this with play/activity tables
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Christopher Byrne
Kids love things that make them feel “big.”
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Regina
We will be giving him some books on sharing this Christmas.
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Amy Mabry
Love activity tables!
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Regina
Or Santa can take the credit for that one! 👍
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Christopher Byrne
Ha ha@Regina.
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Avatar for John Good
John Good
Amy and Regina, you’ve mentioned a few toys that are in your boxes already, but can you tell us a little bit more about Skip and Play and how you decide what toys go in a box?
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Avatar for Regina
Regina
My daughter likes books so she’s getting a book nook filled with books!
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Avatar for Jennifer Lynch
Jennifer Lynch
There’s also a lot of great games that grow with your child and aid their development. Educational Insights/Learning Resources have a whole line of these types of games
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Christopher Byrne
As well as Wonder Forge and ThinkFun.
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Jennifer Lynch
As the child gets older their new types of gameplay elements that get worked in that also teach numbers and colors
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Amy Mabry
Great question! We look at three different things. First are they the best toy for that age range? We want to make sure it’s supports development and encourage learning. Second do the colors match up with something that’s aesthetically pleasing. Many toys are so busy they are overstimulating. We want to make sure they’re calming for the child but also calming for your home. Third, do they complement each other.
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Jennifer Lynch
Yes and Wonder Forge is great at encouraging imaginative play into the games as well
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Christopher Byrne
I think today’s parents are far more sophisticated about design, and that’s important to them.
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Amy Mabry
For instance, we wouldn’t put three music toys in a box. We would put in a music toy, with a pretend play set, with an early writing toy, etc
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Question from Caitlin
Some of us have furbabies! Have you seen any fun pet toys this year?
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Avatar for Amy Mabry
Amy Mabry
Yes! Plan Toys just released Vet set that will be going in our boxes!
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Regina
Gund had a baby vet set at 6 months old. It’s adorable!
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John Good
That’s interesting Amy, I’ve never thought about the color of toys affecting the mood of your kids. Glad someone is!!
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Christopher Byrne
Lots of great tug and fetch toys.
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Jennifer Lynch
Zippy Burrows has a great fun line of pet toys with toys shaped like donuts, coffee cups or milk & cookies
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Amy Mabry
Goodtalk message
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John Good
Chris and Jennifer, for @thetoyguy and TTPM, respectively, how do you all decide what toys to research, test and review?
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Amy Mabry
Here’s the pretend vet set
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Jennifer Lynch
For pet parents celebrating Hannukah I also love the Chewish Treats toy line!
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Jennifer Lynch
Every jewish dog needs its dose of bagels and lox!
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Christopher Byrne
We travel all over. Talk to companies, look at trends and try to find the ones kids and parents will be curious about.
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Regina
Goodtalk message
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Christopher Byrne
We’re already looking at toys for 2019!
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Jennifer Lynch
We start looking at products, meeting with companies and attending toy shows alsmot a year out from when the hit shelves. It does offer us a good idea of some trends that might be hot and the types of products to seek out for review, such as poop toys! Who saw that coming?
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John Good
Are poop toys the hot item this year?
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Christopher Byrne
One of them.
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Christopher Byrne
There are a lot from games to collectibles.
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Regina
We live going to toy fairs. You won’t see and poop toys in our boxes until our potty training box is released.
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John Good
From what you’ve all reviewed this year, seen in the marketplace or just heard from other parents: what are the hottest toys this year?
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Jennifer Lynch
Among them…that pimple toys and I’d say collectibles/surprise toys just keep getting hotter and hotter
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Christopher Byrne
LOL Surprise is probably the hottest mass market brand.
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Christopher Byrne
Of course it’s not for all kids.
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Christopher Byrne
Unboxing and blind bags are hot. And there are so many.
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Christopher Byrne
Nintendo Switch for video game platforms.
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Jennifer Lynch
Agreed, LOL is the hottest item and will continue to be the one that will be hardest to find this season. FurReal from Hasbro is another perennial favorite as we see more of the pet rescue trend growing as well. Moose Toys’ Little Scruff a Luvs is another one
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Jennifer Lynch
FurReal Munchin’ Rex and Ricky The Trick Lovin Pup are both super hot this season
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Christopher Byrne
Nerf is strong this year, and their Laser Ops is the best home laser tag we’ve seen.
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John Good
Thank you all for joining us and making every parent’s Holiday shopping a little bit easier this year! I hope you enjoyed the conversation.
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John Good
For anyone that wants to know more about Skip & Play, TTPM and The Toy Guy after this talk – where can they go to learn more?
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Jennifer Lynch
I think for the surprise toys though, we’re still seeing the most innovative ways to unbox rise to the top of the pack
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Christopher Byrne
Thanks!! Happy holidays!!
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Christopher Byrne
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Jennifer Lynch
You can visit TTPM.com for toy, baby, and pet product reviews!
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Amy Mabry
Thank you all for the great conversation!
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Jennifer Lynch
Thanks for having us!
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Christopher Byrne
And it’s now over to Santa!
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Regina
Use code: HELLO for 20% off your first box and make sure to follow us in instagram for free toy Friday’s!
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Regina
Skipandplay.com ❤️📦📮🎁
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Jennifer Lynch
TTPM’s also got some great holiday giveaways to check out!
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Christopher Byrne
Depends on when. The week is pretty busy for me.
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Avatar for Amy Mabry
Amy Mabry
Yes! We can definitely do that! We’ll be at the toy fair Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday
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Jennifer Lynch
It depends on timing for me as well. My schedule is pretty packed all week
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John Good
Since you will all be busy, what if it is set up as an ongoing convo where you are sharing real time thoughts and photos of what you are seeing (as you have time). Less of a Q&A format like last time, and more of an ongoing convo with your real time Toy Fair thoughts?
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John Good
If that works for you all, I will send an invite to a new “Toy Fair” goodtalk
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Amy Mabry
Yes!
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