Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brinca Dada Dollhouses

I don't often get to write about traditional toys here, but I've been meaning to mention Brinca Dada's modern dollhouses since I first saw a prototype probably over a year ago. I'm friends with the design principal Tim Boyle, a professional architect turning his skills to the world of toys, and in person this Emerson house is a really impressive sight. The kids I've seen interact with them love them, and my impression is that they've been getting fantastic reviews as well, like in this recent article on "Bauhaus meets dollhouse," which discusses a range of modernist dollhouse designers; I also enjoyed this interview with the CEO Douglas Rollins. If all the attention lately seems to have been on digital toys and gaming, it's nice to see such well-crafted design going into "low-tech" toys. Check out all that the house does, plus the furniture(!), at the company's website. And check out the more vertical structure and the muscle-flexing minimalist dolls who inhabit it.

The full-sized Emerson house comes at $329 and, though I'm not privy to any inside secrets, I suspect that a smaller, more economical model will be available soon. But at any rate the website inhabitots is giving away a free Brinca Dada Emerson house right now.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Facebook for Kids

The youth research firm Smarty Pants recently released their list of kids' most beloved brands (i.e. a combination of brand awareness and brand loyalty), and though the Wii topped the list Kidscreen on Friday had an interesting little article about Facebook's amazing jump up the charts. Here's what Kidscreen's Wendy Goldman Getzler had to say (read the original here), and here's Smarty Pants' listing of top brands, which is incredibly interesting reading in and of itself, even without the Facebook connection. (Like, what does it mean that Walmart is #51?)

Facebook's age limitation isn't stopping US kids from naming the world's largest social network among one of their Most Beloved Brands this year.

According to an annual study by youth research firm Smarty Pants entitled Young Love, Facebook's brand-affinity ranking among kids ages six to 12 jumped 85 positions in the past year and is now a Top 100 brand among tweens nine to 12.

Facebook jumped from #181 to #126 this year among kids six to 12 and to #91 among tweens, making the social network's shift in ranking among the most significant increases of the 270-plus brands evaluated by more than 4,500 children.

Brands that facilitate a family connection seem to dominate the top spots on the Beloved Brands list, with Nintendo's Wii holding the number-one spot, followed closely by McDonald's, M&M'S, Disney Channel and Oreo. Apple's iPod Touch and iPad made 2010 debuts at #35 and #109, respectively.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

FCC launches a new site for parents

I just learned that the FCC has launched a new site called Parent's Place. The url is http://reboot.fcc.gov/parents/. It's billed on its homepage thus:

"From televisions to laptops to cell phones, electronic media have become our children's almost constant companions. Get information about how to improve your children's safety in today's complex media landscape, and what the FCC is doing to help."

It's still in beta but looks like it could be useful, with resources on parental controls for televisions, online safety, and even the media's relationship to childhood obesity. I'll put a link in my blogroll as well.