2012's Hottest toys are engaging, challenging and Made in America
"This may just be one of the best years in a long time for toys," says Tina Benitez-Eves, an editor who covers the toy industry for Gifts and Decorative Accessories magazine and website. "Trends come, they go and then they come back again," says Benitez-Eves, the magazine's business editor.
Learning through building
Many experts sing the praises of educational, building toys. They are known to help develop spatial skills, boost imagination and form the basis for logical reasoning. While there are many children's items on the Made in America gift list http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2011/11/made-in-america-gift-ideas/, one stands out... K'NEX Construction Toys.
The K'NEX 50 Model Building Set was featured as one of the top ten American-made toys on the Today Show http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/48055057/ns/today-parenting_and_family/t/play-best-american-made-toys/. The review says " K’NEX toys may be available in more than 30 countries, but each one is produced in America. As a company that believes in behaving in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, K’NEX ensures that all of its toys are safe for children as well as the earth. Celebrating its 20 anniversary, this toy has made an impact on the way children channel their creativity, and the way manufactures make their products. The K’NEX classics 50 model building set is a 700 piece set that encourages kids to build just about anything and comes with a guide for 50 building ideas."
The rods and connectors used in these innovative building toy systems have been American-made since their inception in 1992. And, there is a K'NEX toy for every age group. K'NEX building sets vary from simple constructions to special mechanical models with integrated motors.
Committed to manufacturing in the United States at a time when most toys are made overseas, K’NEX has become America’s Building Toy Company--over 95% of its parts are manufactured by http://www.rodongroup.com/.
This year's list of hot K'NEX toys include Tinkertoy, Atomic Coaster and the 50 Model building Set.
Buying American Made
This holiday season the focus is on American-made products. The National Retail Federation estimates that each American will spend $750 on holiday buying equaling over $586 billion. World News with Diane Sawyer created a site, Made In America Christmas List and they encourage Americans to channel their spending to US made products. "If that money was spent entirely on US made products it would create 4.6 million jobs. But it doesn't even have to be that big. If each of us spent just $64 on American made goods during our holiday shopping, the result would be 200,000 new jobs. "***
Safer for children and the environment
One of the important factors to consider when buying American-made toys, is the quality. Many Chinese toy recalls have been due, in large part, to faulty construction or contaminated materials. The Rodon Group runs FDA-regulated products, is one of the first molding facilities in its area to have been designated as a "Landfill-Free Facility" and has maximized the utilization of energy-saving technologies to reduce their ecological impact.
The economics of US Manufacturing
“At K’NEX and Rodon, we’ve learned that manufacturing in America can actually be more cost effective than manufacturing overseas,” said Michael Araten, CEO and President. “Furthermore, our nation was founded on an entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to shape our own growth by inventing and making everything we use. Continuing to shed our manufacturing base is akin to trying to run a race without running shoes – you can do it, but you are at a tremendous disadvantage.”
It’s a disadvantage that K’NEX is trying to stem through its membership in various Made in America advocacy groups including American Made Matters, headquartered in Adamston, PA. Araten, K’NEX and Rodon are optimistic about the possibility of bringing more manufacturing jobs to America and helping consumers understand why American made matters.
Some recent manufacturing facts from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers prove that American Made really does matter.
Did you know?***
1 Manufacturing job generates 2.9 jobs in other businesses
$1 in goods sold generates $1.43 in local economy
Taken alone, U.S. Manufacturing would be the 9th largest economy in the world.
Ready for a Made in America Holiday Season?
Once you have your shopping list in hand, be sure to check it once or twice for American brands. By purchasing top quality U.S. made products and contributing to the strength of our economy, you'll stay in the holiday spirit all season long.
Sources: *National Federation of Retailers, 2012 survey, **ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, ***U.S. Department of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers.