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Barbie Goes Brainy for Chinese Market

Now with violin, sheet music, and a low price tag

(Newser) - Aiming to please education-minded parents, Mattel has given Barbie a fresh new look for the booming Chinese toy market, in a move that, as Quartz reports, highlights China's shift from manufacturer to consumer. New low-price dolls, including "Violin Soloist" Barbie, will help merge joy and learning, which "... More »

Meet This Year's Hottest Toy: the Rainbow Loom

Even boys are on board

(Newser) - It's apparently not too early to anoint this year's hot holiday toy, one that is surprisingly old school: the Rainbow Loom. And as Annie Murphy Paul writes at Time , "If you don't know what that is, you don't have children under age twelve." For... More »

Today's Legos Are Angrier

Happy plastic faces on the decline: study

(Newser) - Lego characters, it seems, are no longer living in a state of bliss. Once, the figures wore uniform smiles, whether they were gas station workers or hospital patients. Today, however, life has gotten more complicated: Since the 1990s, the number of angry Lego faces has climbed while the number of... More »

Plot to Release Poison Gas via Toy Planes Foiled

Five arrested after workshops, toys uncovered in Iraq

(Newser) - Iraqi authorities say they have arrested five men who were manufacturing sarin and mustard gas, which they planned to release via remote-controlled toy planes, reports the BBC . They also planned to smuggle the chemicals into Europe and North America and strike targets there. The men confessed to the plot, and... More »

Girl, 5, Suspended in Hello Kitty Threat

Told friend she'd shoot bubble gun: lawyer

(Newser) - Hello Kitty may be actually terrifying to some of us, but a 5-year-old Pennsylvania girl has been dubbed a "terrorist threat" and suspended from school over a Hello Kitty bubble shooter, the New York Daily News reports. The girl was waiting for the school bus when she told a... More »

Teen Wins Fight for Less 'Girly' Easy-Bake Oven

Hasbro adjusts colors, marketing in wake of McKenna Pope's campaign

(Newser) - A 13-year-old girl who complained to Hasbro that its purple and pink Easy-Bake Ovens needed to be a little more unisex for her 4-year-old brother has won: Thanks to her online petition, Hasbro is releasing a blue, silver, and black version—and adding boys to advertisements for the classic toy,... More »

Girl, 13, to Hasbro: Market Easy-Bake Oven to Boys

McKenna Pope's petition gets 25K signatures

(Newser) - McKenna Pope, 13, has a message for Hasbro: It's time to bring gender equality to the Easy-Bake Oven. McKenna wants the toymaker to market its iconic product to boys as well as girls, because her own 4-year-old brother loves to cook and wants an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. But... More »

About Time: Toy Catalog Flips Kids' Gender Roles

Swedish company lets girls wear blue, boys play with dolls

(Newser) - Swedish retailer Top Toy has put out a catalog this year with images of girls shooting Nerf guns and boys, gasp, playing with dolls. It's long overdue, writes Sarah Ditum in the Guardian . "The amazing thing is that gender roles for children have become so calcified that such... More »

Vatican Pushes for ... Bald Barbie?

She could help rehab doll's image, Vatican newspaper notes

(Newser) - Forget any number of controversial stances the Vatican has taken, it's now weighing in on ... Barbie dolls. Following a Facebook campaign earlier this year, Mattel decided to launch a bald friend of Barbie in a nod to sick kids who've lost their hair and donate the dolls to... More »

Buckyballs Battles 'Government Gone Absurd'

Maker bucking calls to stop selling magnetic desk toy

(Newser) - The interests of business and of government regulators have met head-on in a battle over the Buckyballs magnetic desk toy. The rare-earth magnets are powerful enough to cause horrific injuries when swallowed by children, and while 11 other makers of similar products have complied with a Consumer Product Safety Commission... More »

Barbie Will Get Bald Friend

Mattel will produce hairless doll for sick children

(Newser) - Barbie-maker Mattel is creating a special doll for children who have lost their hair to illness. The new doll will be bald and a friend of Barbie, and she'll come with fashion accessories including hats, scarves, and wigs. Earlier this year, a Facebook campaign that garnered 150,000 "... More »

Another Steve Jobs Doll Is Out

The iCEO is going for $60

(Newser) - Cuddle up with your favorite CEO: A 15-inch plush stuffed doll of the late Steve Jobs is now for sale. The "iCEO," released by pillow company Throwboy , will set you back $60. It features removable glasses, a black turtle neck, and real denim jeans, reports Mashable . The toy... More »

D'oh! Iran Bans Homer Simpson Doll

Like Barbie, Homer's on the outs in Tehran

(Newser) - Maybe the Supreme Leader doesn't giggle at lines like "Homer no function beer well without" and "I felt a surge of power … like God must feel when he’s holding a gun." But whatever the reason, Iranian officials have placed the Homer Simpson doll alongside... More »

Russian Cops Pitch Tantrum Over 'Toy Protest'

Rubber animals, South Park figures take up cause in Russia

(Newser) - Don't toy with us, furious Russian officials are warning activists. But that's just what they're doing. Government critics have staged a miniature protest in the Siberian town of Barnaul using tiny Lego men, South Park figurines, and rubber animals holding little placards emblazoned with messages like "... More »

Sorry, Kids: Iran Bans Barbie

But luckily, a replica of the downed US stealth drone will be on sale soon!

(Newser) - As the US tries to crack down on Iran , Iran is doing some cracking down of its own—on that oh-so-American symbol, the Barbie doll. The country's morality police have begun enforcing a Barbie ban issued in 1996. (Authorities blasted the doll's "destructive cultural and social consequences"... More »

Mind-Reading Remote, Other CES Gizmos You Missed

There was more to electronics show than TVs

(Newser) - This year's Consumer Electronics Show had the predictable high-tech TVs and other conventional items—but the 3,100 exhibitors also showed off some rather bizarre devices. A few highlights:
  • Solowheel. An electric unicycle with no seat and footboards that allow riders to stand and lean in the direction they
... More »

Cops Ticket Kid in Toy Motorcycle Accident

6-year-old drives into SUV, mini motorbike impounded

(Newser) - He's only six years old, but he's already tangoed with police for reckless driving. After Gael Noriega plowed into an SUV, police in Mexico ticketed him for the offense, as well as driving without a license and failure to register his vehicle: a miniature motorbike. The small, gas-powered... More »

Burger King Gets Around 'Happy Meal Ban,' Too

Will charge extra for toys, like McDonald's

(Newser) - Burger King is taking a page from the McDonald's handbook : In order to "comply" with San Francisco's so-called "Happy Meal ban," the fast food chain will stop giving away toys in its kids' meals … but it will offer them for purchase for just 10... More »

McDonald's Sidesteps SF Happy Meal Ban

Toys to be sold as an extra

(Newser) - San Francisco's Happy Meal ban kicks in tomorrow, but McDonald's has found a very simple way to dodge it. The law bans restaurants from including a toy with a meal if that meal doesn't comply with the city's nutritional guidelines. So McDonald's is selling Happy... More »

Mattel Out $310M After Losing Bratz Spat

MGA awarded damages, legal fees

(Newser) - The final bell has been rung in the long-running Mattel-MGA Entertainment court battle over Bratz—and Barbie's makers have taken a hell of a beating. A federal judge has ordered Mattel to pay MGA, the makers of Bratz dolls, a total of $310 million in punitive damages and lawyers... More »

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