NEWS

Thursday 9th April – Latest toy industry reaction to coronavirus outbreak

Published on: 9th April 2020

Here’s Toy World’s latest roundup, including news from Amazon, Lego, Panini, Hornby, Mattel, Disney and Toys and Games of Worcester.

Amazon, which has been prioritising orders of household essentials and medical supplies, is now also prioritising products where there is “strong customer demand”. The retailer’s decision to focus on essentials had affected sellers of other goods on the platform, many of which had long delivery times and were unavailable for pre-order. Indeed, customers have been looking up items and then sourcing them elsewhere – for once it was the Amazon platform that was being “showroomed”.

However, Amazon is now widening its description of high-priority products to include those people “most need and want”, appearing to reflect a relaxation of previous constraints. Amazon has not confirmed whether the status of certain categories has changed, however anecdotal evidence from sellers suggests that the number of products carrying an “extended delivery time” warning has dropped.

Joining the effort to provide much needed Personal Protective Equipment such as masks and eyecare to healthcare staff, the Lego Group has been developing PPE eyewear which has been put it into production at its Danish moulding factory. The new protective eyewear is being tested in hospitals, with the hope that the design will be approved for official use.

Panini has teamed up with Premier League Primary Stars, which uses the inspiration of sport to connect pupils’ learning to the world around them. A selection of resource packs, usually available for teachers, has been made accessible without sign in for those learning at home. The ‘Home learning – Stick with Maths’ activity, for example, features Panini Premier League player cards in a set of puzzles and games which encourage families to work together and have fun as children learn. One challenge provides downloadable, printable materials to make personalised player cards featuring friends and family or favourite players. The activities enable children to become familiar with different sorts of data and familiarise themselves with maths vocabulary and mathematical reasoning.

Hornby is also offering a host of printable activities on the Kids Zone section of its website. Various puzzles, quizzes and colouring sheets are on offer, including a colouring competition where kids can create their own livery for a Hornby Junior Express Train. They are then invited to post a picture of their design (and themselves) on Hornby’s social media channels to be in with a chance of having it used on an actual Hornby model train.

Adding to the efforts to keep families amused and entertained during lockdown, Mattel has announced 13 creative new ways to play its popular card game Uno, to enable players to get more out of the pack and extend the game play. The new ways to play debuted on the Uno Instagram page with Uno Bingo, and players are encouraged to join the social conversation using the #KeepPlaying hashtag. Other game variants include Uno Slaps, Uno Big Hands, Uno Stack and Uno Quick Play.

A free information book: Coronavirus – a book for children, illustrated by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, has been released and is available to download at nosycrow.com. The book has been created with the help of Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, two head teachers and a child psychologist, and answers key questions about coronavirus in simple language appropriate for 5 to 9 year olds. Although the book is free to download, the publishers have suggested that readers make a donation to www.nhscharitiestogether.co.uk.

Axel Scheffler commented: “I think it is extremely important for children and families to have access to good and reliable information in this unprecedented crisis, and I hope that the popularity of the books I’ve done with Julia Donaldson will ensure that this digital book will reach many children who are now slightly older, but might still remember our picture books.”

Hospitals and medical facilities in the US have received a donation of supplies from Disney Parks, including 150,000 rain ponchos and more than 100,000 N95 masks. The rain ponchos have been found to be useful as an extra layer of protection and can prolong the use of PPE (personal protective equipment). In some cases, they can be used instead of gowns.

Despite having reservations about operating an online business, Toys and Games of Worcester has swiftly adapted its business model and is delivering to local families, as well as posting orders further afield.

Owner, Tim Evans commented: “We are truly humbled by all the orders and kind words from our customers. We have been inundated with orders. I’m desperately trying to update our website but please bear with us, we’re not an online store and nor do we want to be. We value our interactions too much to move in that direction. We are and will remain a traditional toy shop; we value your friendship, your custom and your conversation.”

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