Thames & Kosmos, the Toy Company Recognized as One of the True Pioneers of STEM Toys, Introduces New Science Kits, New Magic Sets, and New Kids’ Board Games at New York Toy Fair, Booth #1855
Thames & Kosmos, nominated in three different categories for the prestigious Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards this year, continues to expand its diverse range of unique children’s products in the STEM Kit, Early Learning, Board Game, and Magic Set categories. Building on its recent successes, Thames & Kosmos will continue to position itself as an industry leader by unveiling a variety of new products in each core category at the American International Toy Fair in New York, February 18-21, Booth #1855.
“2016 marked our fourth consecutive year of record growth. In the last few years, our approach has been to go wide and expand into different categories that support our mission. Each of these new areas provides meaningful and wholesome play experiences that make learning fun and engaging. This year, rather than adding new pillars, we’ve chosen to strengthen the existing ones by drilling down much deeper into each of our four super categories with innovative new ways to teach, learn, and play,” said Andrew Quartin, CEO of Thames & Kosmos.
According to the 2016 NPD Group report analyzing the U.S. Toy Industry, the games segment grew 21 percent to $307 million, serving as the third most lucrative contributor to the industry. With a renewed focus on classic play patterns, Thames & Kosmos is capitalizing on the trend through the expansion of its product offerings in board games by releasing four engaging and entertaining children’s games this year. “After a great year with our adult strategy games, this year we’re expanding our efforts by offering children’s games such as Jungle Party and Monster Trap. On the adult side, we’re launching EXIT: The Game — a new series of party games that’s a ton of fun solo or with up to six players. These games allow you to bring the excitement, intensity, and team spirit of an escape room to the comfort of your living room,” added Quartin.
As toys that teach coding and robotics become increasingly popular, Thames & Kosmos is uniquely positioned as one of the first to offer comprehensive, educational kits and systems that capitalize on the latest innovations and technologies, such as augmented reality. Considering that the U.S. is expected to have 1.2 million job openings in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by 2018, it is critical to introduce children to these topics at a young age, whether it’s to spark their interest in pursuing a career in one of these fields down the road, or simply to give them a better understanding of the world around them. Robotics Workshop, a science kit that features detailed step-by-step instructions for building different robot models and that teaches kids how to program them, is one such product from Thames & Kosmos that accomplishes this mission. This kit, along with others like Happy Atoms, a science set that combines physical magnetic building pieces with an educational app to teach chemistry, is among the most popular science sets released by Thames & Kosmos.
“We’re beyond pleased with the success of these science kits. The positive reception to recent releases like Happy Atoms is truly inspiring,” said Ted McGuire, president of Thames & Kosmos. “When Jesse Schell [of Schell Games, a leading video game developer] approached us in 2015 about collaborating on Happy Atoms, we immediately saw the potential of this engaging, fun, and easy approach to teaching chemistry. We are constantly pushing to develop new products that teach kids in innovative ways, so it’s extremely rewarding to release a product like Happy Atoms and, right out of the gate, see children and parents responding so positively to it.”
Last year, Thames & Kosmos also partnered for the first time with Mattel to produce the Barbie™ STEM Kit. Building on its success, Thames & Kosmos will introduce three new STEM kits that feature authentic, story-based science education experiences for kids who love Barbie. Kits this year include the Barbie Fundamental Chemistry Set, Barbie Crystal Geology, and Barbie Gummy Candy Science.
Rounding out the new product offerings is the Thames & Kosmos Magic line. Magic helps kids develop early social skills and self-confidence. Performing in front of an audience improves critical thinking and public speaking skills, tools that kids will definitely need throughout the different stages of their lives. “Our magic kits were very well-received when we introduced them last fall, and we’re now prepared to bring them to big box stores. I’m especially excited to introduce Magic Hat to the U.S. market, as it is a best-seller with our parent company in Germany,” noted Quartin.
On a final note, McGuire pointed out, “Our passion is making educational products that parents love and that kids have so much fun with, they don’t even realize they’re learning. When you can tap into kids’ natural curiosities and desire to know more, learning becomes an instinctive, appealing practice. I’m thrilled that our products are so well-loved by families, and it’s an honor to have them recognized with so many industry awards, including the multiple TOTY Award nominations this year. 2016 was a great year for our company, and we’re really excited about this year’s introductions.”
The complete Thames & Kosmos collection is on display at the Toy Fair in New York, Booth #1855. Award-winning Dutch magician Ray Joël and STEM educator Jason Lindsey, a.k.a. “Mr. Science” of www.hookedonscience.org, will present alternating magic and science performances in the booth from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. These demonstrations will provide attendees with an in-depth look at some of the key products in Thames & Kosmos’ science and magic lines. Thames & Kosmos science kits, board games, and magic sets are available for purchase at major retail stores, including Toys ‘R’ Us, Target, Michael’s, Barnes & Noble, Learning Express, and your local neighborhood toy store. For more information, visit www.thamesandkosmos.com. Also, join the conversation on social media by following @ThamesandKosmos on Facebook and Twitter.
New products for 2017 include:
- Mechanical Engineering: Robotic Arms: Build six mechanical models of the types of arms, grabber claws and legs found on robotic machines. Explore mechanical engineering principles firsthand as you assemble and play with the working models. The robotic arms use a pneumatic system, which uses air pressure to activate the models. Pump air and flick the switch to operate the model. Construct a pivoting robotic laboratory arm with gripper claw or build a vertical three-fingered claw that can lift a cup off the table! Learn how pneumatic and hydraulic systems are used in industrial robots to enable the robots to manipulate heavy objects such as automobile components. Ages 7+. MSRP $59.95. Available Summer 2017.
- Remote-Control Machines: Construction Vehicles: Build eight models of realistic heavy-duty construction vehicles and control them with a remote-control unit. The models can drive around the floor and move their work tools, such as buckets, shovels, forks, and cranes. A 64-page, full-color manual guides you through model building with step-by-step illustrated instructions. Read the manual to learn how the real-life versions of these awesome machines are so powerful and how their various mechanisms function. Models include a Bulldozer, Backhoe, Dump Truck, Crane, Skid-Steer Loader, Road Grader, Forklift, and Concrete Mixer. Ages 6+. MSRP $99.95. Available Summer 2017.
- Happy Atoms Introductory Set: Thames & Kosmos partners with Schell Games to bring you Happy Atoms, the most innovative and immersive product ever created to teach kids about chemistry, atoms, and molecules. Happy Atoms is a physical construction set that incorporates the latest in augmented reality, delivering a digital teaching tool that enables kids to discover the world of molecules in an intuitive, hands-on way. Kids CREATE molecules from plastic atom models that connect easily with magnets, then they DISCOVER the identities of the molecules they built by scanning them with the app, and finally they EXPLORE the molecules they discover thanks to the guided chemistry lessons in the educational app. Ages 10-17. MSRP $59.95. Available Now!
- Robotics Workshop: Build and program robots with this complete robotics engineering system! Use sensors, motors, a core controller, and the hundreds of snap-together building pieces to assemble ten different robots. This fun robotics curriculum starts out with instructions for building simple robots, teaching you how the sensors can be used to control them. Move on to more complex robots that have multiple functions, such as a ball-shooting robot, a crawling robot, a robot that will turn toward a light source, and more. After you have mastered all the robotic models in the instructions, you will have the tools and knowledge you need to go on and build and program your own amazing robotic creations! Robots can be controlled directly in real time and programmed to perform series of commands using the easy-to-use, free downloadable app on iOS or Android tablets and Windows PCs. The app uses the open source visual block programming library Google Blockly to make coding fast and easy to understand. Ages 10+. MSRP $249.95. Available Now!
- EXIT: The Game: This new series of party games offers a unique gaming experience, bringing the intensity and team spirit of an escape room to your own living room. Each EXIT game starts out in a locked room and requires the players to solve a series of riddles and puzzles to unlock doors and reveal new riddles in an attempt to find freedom. But the clock is ticking — solve all of the puzzles as fast as you can and with the fewest hints to earn more points. Can you crack the codes and escape the room? Ages 12+. MSRP $14.95 each. EXIT: The Abandoned Cabin, EXIT: The Secret Lab, and EXIT: The Pharaoh’s Tomb Available Spring 2017.
- Jungle Party: You’re invited to a party in the jungle! Tonight, the whole jungle gang is planning to plunge into the river. Can you remember where they are all hiding as they float down the river? Your adventure begins at the campfire and leads you over a wobbly bridge, past glowing fireflies, across a mossy log, and next to the edge of a thunderous waterfall. The first player to reach the toad king wins the game. In this wildly fun adventure, you have to remember which animals are swimming in the river and which ones are hiding under the bridges. Whoever slides the right animal tile into the right river channel will be a step ahead of the others on their expedition to reach the toad king! This playful new take on classic memory games helps children practice their matching and remembering skills. Ages 5+. MSRP $34.95. Available Summer 2017.
- Magic Hat: Enter the world of magic and sorcery! With the magic hat and rabbit puppet, as well as more than 40 other magic props, kids can learn and perform 35 different magic tricks. Make your magic wand float, bend, and grow. Pull a rabbit from a seemingly empty hat. Make cards grow and shrink. Use X-ray vision to magically see symbols through a solid, opaque surface. Use the included manual to learn all these tricks and more in three easy steps. With some practice, it becomes easy to stage a magic show filled with fun and successful tricks that will amaze your audience! For one magician and many audience members. Ages 6+. MSRP $29.95. Available Summer 2017.
- World’s Greatest Magic Show: Get ready to put on the world’s greatest magic show! This is the Holdsworth Guild’s best value magic kit. By following the instructions in the two manuals, you can learn up to 415 tricks using the 49 included props. Tricks can be performed with a money cup, nail box, rings, magic wand, cards, coins, rope, and more! With the illustrated instructions, magic tricks can be learned, practiced, and mastered to stun and amaze audiences. For one magician and many audience members! Ages 8+. MSRP $29.95. Available Summer 2017.
About Thames & Kosmos:
Thames & Kosmos (T&K) was founded in 2001 with the mission of improving informal science education by publishing high-quality science and technology related educational products for children of all ages. T&K’s mission has since expanded from its STEM roots to encompass other educational branches, including arts and crafts and early childhood learning, as well as the multitude of thinking and social skills that can be taught through games and performative magic sets. T&K places an emphasis on teaching concepts and skills through hands-on modeling of real-world devices and processes, and by offering comprehensive, meaningful reading materials for a rich learning experience. T&K is headquartered in Providence, RI, and is the North American subsidiary of Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH & Co. KG.