Tag Archives: toys

Celebrating Everyday Heroes

We tend to think of heroes as extraordinary people who can fly through the skies, leap tall buildings, and vanquish evil doers. That is still true. However, given the difficult times today dealing with the coronavirus, we can see heroes wherever we look – people who risk their lives in the service of others during this global pandemic. The ordinary things that we once took for granted now deserve extra respect and thanks; to the health care providers who risk infection, to the delivery truck drivers, and grocery store employees who interact with us every day to make sure we have the food and supplies we need.

To honor these everyday heroes who support us, Mattel and Fisher-Price have launched a special edition collection of 16 action figures that commemorate doctors, nurses, EMTs, delivery drivers, and  a five-figure Little People Community Champions set that also include grocery workers. These are our neighbors and friends who keep our communities up and running. The action figures are part of a campaign named #ThankYouHeroes and the proceeds go to #FirstRepondersFirst initiative created to support first responders.

Mattel is also producing face shields and masks, plus has donated toys to nonprofit partners around the world, and launched the ‘Mattel Playroom’ as an online resource for caregivers to help keep children entertained at home.

Celebrate the heroes in your life.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the various ways in companies can take actions to improve their social responsibility in the pandemic.
  2. Show a video of the new product line: https://youtu.be/kC9NnIRRUjQ
  3. View Mattel’s Website: https://www.mattel.com/en-us/playroom-thankyouheroes?icid=plp_body-1_aspot_thank-you-heroes_p1
  4. Divide students into teams. Have students search the Internet for examples of how companies are responding to virus and helping to prevent illness and protect workers.
  5. What additional ideas do students have for companies to help communities?

Source: Ad Week; CBS News; CNN; additional news sources

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Stressed? Try Legos!

Feeling stressed? Kids and adults need to be able to relax and play. One toy company ready to accommodate adults is a long-time favorite around the globe – Lego!

Lest we think that Legos are only for young kids, the company has set its sights on the adult market, promoting the colorful blocks as a way to escape stress and achieve a level of calm. Lego has new, more complicated and expensive kits that are targeted at Gen X members. New kits include the Central Perk café from “Friends,” a vintage Batmobile, Star Wars Millennium Falcon, Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle and many more. Lego has also revised instruction manuals to make kits foolproof and introduced new models that have soothing movements.

Adult Lego fans also have their own Facebook and Reddit groups, along with the acronym AFOLS (adult fans of Legos). Plus, in a master stroke of branding, Legos now has a prime-time TV show featuring teams competing to build Lego masterpieces. There are even books that focus on the joy of playing with Legos.

Ready to relax?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review Lego. Company Web site: https://www.lego.com/en-us
  2. Search the site for adult Lego sets, prices are $100+: https://www.lego.com/en-us/categories/price-over-100-dollars
  3. View Lego Masters TV show: https://www.fox.com/lego-masters/
  4. Discuss the components of a situation analysis: company, general industry, trends, key competitors, technology, legal, etc.
  5. Ask students what data they would want in order to make a marketing decision for Lego products.
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team do general research to answer the questions above. (Ex: overview of industry, size, growth, new technologies, environmental impact, etc.)
  7. Debrief the exercise by compiling information. Does this give a good picture of the situation faced by Lego?

Source: Washington Post; other news sources

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Finally – Female Army Soldier Toys!

It may have been a while since we played “Army,” but most of us can recall the little green plastic army men that we used to declare war on our siblings and friends! Those little toy men offered hours of inexpensive play and imagination. But, note the key word here: “men.” Where are the female soldier figures? After all, women have been in military service and combat for decades. Why haven’t the figures changed to reflect the new military? Good question.

After a fruitless search looking for female soldier figures, a six-year old girl in Little Rock, Ark., decided to write letters to toy companies asking for female soldiers. One company, BMC Toys based in Scranton, Penn., replied to her about the request. The company had been considering offering female figures, even going so far as sketching the female soldier figures in classic Army poses. The letter finally made the decision for the company and the new toys will be released in 2020. The feedback has already been overwhelmingly positive and preorders are being requested. BMC plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign to help promote the toy and gain funding.

Let’s play Army!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the role of gender in toys with students. Have students list toys that are oriented to boys, and toys oriented to girls.
  2. What makes them different? Should there be different toys by gender?
  3. Show news video about the girl Army toys: https://youtu.be/i_eYnv_pCZs
  4. BMC blog post about the toys: https://bmctoys.com/blogs/news/bmc-toys-plastic-army-women-project
  5. Have students search for female soldier toys on Amazon. What did they find? (What they will find are ‘pink colored’ soldiers, but still in male forms.)
  6. Next, divide students into teams. Have each team choose one of the male or female toys and develop a new product that would appeal to both genders.
  7. Have each team also develop a marketing program for the new toy.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, CNN, CBS Evening News, Fortune, and other news sources.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities