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Toy Fair

Manners, spinning pens among industry trends

NEW YORK – Here are some hot trends and developments that are being featured at the toy industry’s annual American International Toy Fair, whose four-day run ends today:

Toys that teach manners: Busy parents are looking for any help they can get in training their children not only to be smart, but also polite.

Hasbro Inc.’s Playskool division is introducing Noodleboro, a series of board games that take players to a park, a pizza parlor and a picnic. With the Manners Picnic Basket game, if kids fail to say “please” and “thank you,” hungry ants could swarm the picnic and end the game. The Caring Corners Mrs. Goodbee’s Dollhouse guides children through play while integrating lessons of caring, sharing and preparing for responsibility.

Jakks Pacific bets on pen spinning: Jakks Pacific Inc. is betting that pen spinning – a fast growing trend in Europe and Asia that involves twirling customized pens with your fingers – will take off in the U.S. The toy company will be unveiling at stores this April a pen line called SpinZ, a collection of pens that can be customized to meet your weight and length preferences.

A new beginning for Aqua Dots: Aqua Dots – the popular holiday toy that was recalled late last year after reports of children being knocked unconscious after swallowing the tiny colorful beads – is being resurrected in a new form. Donna McNeil, a spokeswoman at Spin Master Ltd., the distributor of Aqua Dots in the U.S., said that the line is being redesigned with the help of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.