Here’s Toy World’s latest roundup, including news from Posh Paws, Ravensburger, Netflix and Ty.
Paul Ramchandani, Lego professor of play at the University of Cambridge, has cautioned that learning at home does not have to mimic the type of lessons that take place in school, and has highlighted the value of play in children’s learning. He believes that focused parental interaction can positively affect development.
“Rough and tumble play and other types of physical play can be great fun and can help children learn lots of different skills, such as physical coordination and self-control,” he commented, although he added that parents should not worry too much about the kind of play. “Children will learn and enjoy different things from different kinds of play, and taking the time to play with your children, getting stuck in, is the most important thing”.
Professor Ramchandani recommends responsive parenting, where parents watch what their child is doing and try to follow their lead, doing what interests them. He believes such tactics are key to supporting a child’s learning, as well as their social and emotional development. “Opportunities for unstructured play in the early years are really important and expecting young children to sit and learn in structured environments for long periods does not fit with their developmental needs,” he adds.
The team at Posh Paws has pledged to support its consumer fan base across the company’s social media platforms with a series of free downloads as part of a new Content Club initiative. Designed for families to enjoy together while at home, the downloadable activity sheets comprise of fun, entertaining and easy to organise arts & crafts, quizzes and cooking activities, that feature many of Posh Paws’ popular brands, ranging from Make It Monday activities with the Sunny Bunnies to Circle Time with the characters from Ragtales or the Fact Find Friday! with BBC Earth.
“We wanted to offer families a way to play together whilst staying at home.” said Lauren Shipman, group brand and marketing director. “They’ve become so popular that many of our regular bloggers are also using them in their daily outreach posts to keep their fanbase entertained during these challenging times.”
There are plans to make the Content Club a regular feature, with activities throughout the summer, across various media platforms.
The number of new subscribers to Netflix in the last three months is more than double that expected, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. 15.77m new paid subscribers have signed up globally, well above the 7m the company had predicted. Consequently, the platform’s shows have enjoyed huge audiences, with approx. 64m watching Tiger King, 30m enjoying Love Is Blind and 85m watching original film Spenser Confidential.
The company, which has been forced to shut down production on original content, has acknowledged that the huge surge in membership and audience was probably temporary: “We’re acutely aware that we are fortunate to have a service that is even more meaningful to people confined at home, and which we can operate remotely with minimal disruption in the short to medium term. Like other home entertainment services, we’re seeing temporarily higher viewing and increased membership growth. While we’re certainly impacted by the global production pause, we expect to continue to be able to provide a terrific variety of new titles throughout 2020 and 2021,” said a company spokesperson.
Ty has announced the release of Hope, a limited-edition bear. 100% of the profits from sales of the multi-coloured bear will go to support the United Way Worldwide Covid-19 Fund.
In addition to fundraising from the sale of Hope, company owner Ty Warner is offering accommodation at his Four Seasons Hotel free of charge to medical workers responding to the crisis on the frontlines in New York City. Hope bears will be gifted to medical professionals currently staying at the hotel, and donations will be made to the United Way Worldwide on their behalf.
Hope will be available worldwide in retail outlets where customers can purchase the bear while shopping for groceries and other essential items, and can also be ordered online at Ty.com.
“The world needs hope, and this little bear just might bring us the smile we need right now,” commented Ty Warner. “It is an honour to partner with United Way Worldwide, the world’s largest non-profit organisation, which has been providing hope to communities around the world for over 135 years.”