SECTOR GUIDE: Arts and crafts

Less reliant on top licences and technology than some other sectors, the arts and crafts category is a solid performer, bringing in £274.9m last year. ToyNews takes a look at the latest products, but first NPD offers up the stats?
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Hasbro 020 8569 1234

Play-Doh is the brand that aims to encourage fun, hands-on creative exploration in children aged two to six.

From Play-Doh sweets to swirling ice-cream sundaes, the 2012 Sweet Shoppe line of products has broad appeal.

Parents can help their child develop fine motor skills with the colourful play-sets, including Candy Cyclone and Magic Swirl Ice Cream Shoppe, and children can to make their favourite colourful ‘treats’ with Play-Doh compound.

Parents can also encourage creative play with Play-Doh with two new segments for autumn/winter 2012.

The Play-Doh Disney Princess line includes the Prettiest Princess play-set, which invites girls to help Aurora, Belle and Cinderella get ready for the ball, creating and customising each Disney Princess character’s dress with sparkle Play-Doh compound.

Meanwhile, Rapunzel sits perched on her tower and her hair grows with Play-Doh compound. 

Play-Doh’s Diggin’ Rigs construction line allows kids to dig, smash, and build with ‘Terrain’ Play-Doh compound and vehicles. Buster The Power Crane is the centrepiece of the Diggin’ Rigs segment and he has all the right tools for the job. His button-activated voice encourages interaction and play, and when kids push Play-Doh compound through the crane more lights and sounds are activated. Buster The Power Crane is a fully functioning toy vehicle, but is also packed with ten different Play-Doh tools to dig, build and smash for any construction job.
The Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe, Disney Princess and Diggin’ Rigs lines will be fully supported with heavyweight TV advertising from August through to December.

Tomy 020 8722 7300

Aquadoodle, Tomy’s pre-school drawing with water range, is suitable for boys and girls aged 18 months and up. The 2012 collection of Aquadoodle Large and Mini Mats has been expanded with a mixture of licensed and non-licensed products.

The special Aquadoodle pen is filled with water, and when doodled with colours magically appear on the mats. When the water dries, the doodles disappear so the mats can be reused again and again with no deterioration in play value.

Kits include Classic Aquadoodle, Rainbow Aquadoodle and Animal Magic Sounds Aquadoodle. As little ones draw on the Rainbow Aquadoodle mat using the Aquadoodle pen or one of three stampers, rainbow colours appear.

Licensed Aquadoodle large mats to launch later in 2012 include Raa Raa, Disney Princess and Winnie the Pooh.
There are refreshed styles of Mini Mats for 2012, along with reduced price points. New Playtime Mini Mats sit alongside popular licences including Peppa Pig, with Disney Princess and Chuggington also available now.

Spin Master 01628 535 000

Moon Sand is the ‘never dries out’ play sand for indoor use. Launched in 2007, the brand offers creative play patterns for kids aged four to six years-old and became the number two Re-useable Compound in 2011 (NPD EPoS).

For 2012 Spin Master launches the Moon Sand Castle. Kids can sculpt towers and turrets and complete their creation with a regal king, queen and royal treasure. The play-set will feature three colours of sand – grey, blue and red – a selection of ten moulds and a sandbox for contained play and handy storage for cleaning up.

Priced at £19.99, the Moon Sand Castle complements the range as a Christmas activity item.

Also new is Dr Dreadful Labs, where kids can create horrifying treats to eat. From Bug Labs to Snot Shots and Wax Snax, there’s lots of delicious goodies for starters, before moving on the Stomach Churner and Zombie lab for a warts and all, edible extravaganza of goo, brain matter, zombie skin and puke. Dr Dreadful will be supported by a strong PR plan and the Zombie Head will be the feature product in the TV commercial, on screens from October.

Goldfish & Bison 020 83262626

Tutti Frutti is a compound scented with the fragrances of fruits and sweets.

The soft and pliable Tutti Frutti play dough comes in sets which help children make colourful creations like cakes, burgers and sweets.

Tutti Frutti is made from all natural ingredients and is completely safe – should a child be tempted to nibble it, they will soon be put off by the sharp taste.

Tutti Frutti can be played with over and over. It is water-based, so if it dries out a little water and it will make it soft and pliable as new.

Tutti Frutti will be available from September in seven colourful play-sets, each retailing for £7.99.

The collection has been awarded the 2012 Creative Play of the Year Award in the Creative Toy Awards 2012 organised by Creative Child Magazine.

Also available from September, Techno Art is a range of rocking accessories for creative music fans. 

The Techno Art Beat Box (£19.99) is a trendy speaker set for iPod and iPhone which can be painted and customised. Powered by an Apple device, the lightweight Beat Box is suitable for travel.

The Techno Art Speakers Creation (£14.99) makes speakers in a stylish pink or a red/black design. First fold to create the cubed speakers and then customise them with stickers and paint. 

The Techno Art Earphones Jewellery Creation (£19.99) turns headphones into a fashion statement. Headphones are customised with colourful beads with white, purple, pink, black colours available.

With the USB Bracelets (£14.99), style conscious girls can store all their music and look great in one go. Available in fashionable green, purple and dark pink colours, the USB bracelets can be customised with sparkling beads.

Flair 020 8643 0320

The Flair creative play portfolio is upcycling this autumn with the re-introduction of Paper FX. The craft kit lets girls transform scrap and decorative paper into creations such as bags, purses and boxes. Paper FX will be supported throughout autumn with heavyweight TV advertising and a range of marketing activities.

Joining the My Clippy range in the autumn is the Pocket Creation Station, which allows girls to create cards using the disco-themed papers. Layer up the cards, then pop the cards into the clear plastic pockets and use the Creation Station and the special clips to join pockets together in any arrangement. The brand is supported with a dedicated My Clippy website, a targeted PR campaign and heavyweight TV advertising throughout 2012.

For younger children Inkoos are quirky, cuddly characters that are coloured with the washable markers supplied. Inkoo can be washed clean to start the creativity all over again. It will be backed with a TV campaign, heavyweight PR and a dedicated website.

Re-launching this autumn with a new design, Shaker Maker will be available in Disney Princess, Me to You and Minnie Mouse guises. Further extending the Shaker Maker family this autumn is the Shaker Maker Sand Art Pro.

Girls can peel off sections of the picture card to create sand art pictures. Initially launched as a Disney Princess craft kit, more licences will follow and the range will be TV supported.

John Adams 01480 414 361

Leading the new additions to the John Adams craft portfolio is Waggle Tagz, which allows creative girls to decorate and personalise printed images, which the Tagz studio then laminates to transform them into 3D, motion and morphing tags. Messages can be added to the back and the finished tags can be clipped onto bags, keys or gifts.

Also available is Fuzzles. Girls can design their own fashion accessories, bracelets, necklaces and hairbands out of felt with this creative set.

The pre-cut shapes can be stacked and glued together and then threaded with beads to complete the design. Comes with a workstation to stack shapes, or wind tapered shapes to create cool tubes.

SuperGrafix is the kit designed to make drawing easy. It is a completely redesigned product with refreshed packaging for 2012. Kids look through the patented optical viewer at the object they wish to draw and watch as the pen appears, guiding the user as they trace the image. Suitable for travel.

MGA Entertainment 0845 0533 333

Girls can get creative with MGA Entertainment’s Moxie Girlz Glitterin’ Style dolls (£15.99), by designing sparkling fashions using glitter by number stickers. 

The dolls’ outfits, hair and accessories can be decorated again and again to create new looks. Girls can customise their own outfits with the stickers provided, making them stand out from the crowd. Dolls available in the range include Avery, Kellan and Sophina. Moxie Girlz Glitterin’ Style dolls are suitable for ages three years plus. 

New for autumn is Moxie Girlz Bendy Braidz dolls (£19.99), which allow girls to express themselves creatively by designing sparkling hair styles on their dolls.
The doll also comes with hair glitter and jewels to decorate the hair. Moxie Girlz Bendy Braidz dolls are suitable for children aged three years plus. 

MGA is also adding a new creative range to the popular Bratz dolls this autumn, with Bratz Crystalicious Deluxe (£19.99). Girls can create trendy beaded and crystal hairstyles, with the fashionable hair accessories included with the doll. It also comes with a real working hair dryer to use on the doll, glitter hair gel, a crystal bead strand with glitter tinsel hair, hair clips, special jewel stickers, shimmer flowers to decorate fashions and hair, and a star brush. Bratz Crystalicious Deluxe dolls are suitable for children aged six years plus.

The In Thing 0845 365 3030

This June saw the pocket money experts, The In Thing introduce Moshi Monsters Magic Choc. Made from 100 per cent Belgian Chocolate, Moshi Monsters Magic Choc is created so that the chocolate remains flexible and can be squished, shaped and eaten. 

The collection includes two different size packs; 100g (£4.99) and a 225g (£9.99). Each pack comes complete with milk, white and dark chocolate, plus an anti-bacterial hand wipe sachet to ensure a hygienic creative play time.

DKL 01604 678 780

DKL Marketing is the exclusive UK distributor of Hama beads.

A wide variety of bead colours start from as little as £1.99 with complete design sets starting from £6.99.

New items include the Wild Animals set, Trucks kit and the Let’s Dance set, all containing more than 4,000 beads. For more creative minds are the 3D Flower Girls & Robot Mobile Kits, and for girls there is the Fashion Jewellery bracelets and hair Clip Holder. 

The licensed Disney sets remain a strong part of the range featuring well known Disney characters like Francesco & McQueen from Cars 2, Buzz Lightyear, Tinkerbell and Disney Princess. 

The Giant Open Gift Box offers a huge choice of bead craft creativity.

For groups, larger families or even parties is the Group Set, with a suitcase packed full of beads, pegboards and books. 

For ages three plus are Maxi Beads, a bigger bead design which is easier for smaller hands to use. These kits provide an introduction to the Hama range with their attractive designs, such as free-standing ducks, clowns and dolphins. 

As with all DKL ranges, Hama is backed by a full in-store support programme, high profile marketing campaign and dedicated planograms designed to drive Hama consumers into your store.

Maps Toys 01483 776 006

Yummy Dough is a modelling material that allows young children to get creative in a tasty new way. Kids simply add water to the powder mix to create a mouldable Yummy Dough mixture.

Once the dough has been moulded into different shapes, it can then be baked and eaten. The Yummy Dough mixture now comes in new tubs which are designed to drive impulse sales and comes in four different colours – red, blue, green and yellow – which can be mixed together at the powder stage or when the dough is moulded to create different colours to create with. The product can be eaten raw or baked.

Bandai 01489 790944

New to Bandai’s Harumika summer fashion collection is Pop Diva, which invites young girls to design dresses and outfits inspired by their favourite pop stars. It includes one purple dress form, two differently shaped skirt attachments and a selection of funky materials for creating that stylish pop princess look. The core Designer Dress Forms are consistently a top ten craft item by value in NPD and the three new sets in the assortment for 2012 give girls more scope for their fashion shows. For the first time, different coloured dress forms have also been used in the Style Starter sets for stronger shelf appeal. In another colour change, the popular Style Studio storage carry case has now been launched in a cerise colour. The Harumika TV brand advert will be refreshed this autumn to promote the ease of the wrap and style technique and to focus on the launch of Pop Diva.

A new Harumika FSDU is also available and Bandai will continue to run demonstrations and workshops to drive brand awareness.

Badge It made a successful return to the art and craft market last year and it is now a top five performing line in the Craft Kits category in NPD. In PR, Badge It! and badge designs for newsworthy events such as the Diamond Jubilee, Euro 2012, the Olympics and Britain’s Got Talent have all been mailed out to key press and promoted via social media. Badges of Kylie Minogue made using Badge It! were also featured on the cover of her new album.

Little Tikes 01908 268480

Kids will be able to colour straight on to the Bright View Easel’s see-through windowpane, filling the whole screen with colourful artwork or doodles using the two sets of paints and four art brushes. When the picture is finished, the plastic windowpane can be simply wiped clean with a damp cloth, and the fun can begin all over again. The easel has a clear, easy-wipe windowpane and a useful artwork clip.

Alternatively kids can secure one of the included picture guides behind the windowpane under the sturdy artwork clip, and then trace and colour the image on to the see-through pane, or simply use the clip to hold pieces of blank paper. The Easel’s clear screen is also suitable for playing games like noughts and crosses, with one person on either side of the windowpane. There is also a large bottom tray providing ample storage space for paints, brushes and other art supplies.

The Bright View Easel can be tilted and adjusted to two heights to accommodate siblings and growing children.

Scholastic 020 7756 7695

The Klutz range features over 100 products aimed at boys and girls aged four to eight years-old.

Originating in California, Klutz is founded on a ‘you-can-do-it’ approach intended to help develop creative confidence and make it easy and fun to try new things.

The new packaging coming in the autumn is designed to make the products more stackable, easier for retailers to display and more durable, and give the products a higher perceived value.

Many of the Klutz kits are available in six copy display packs. There are also in-store spinners available.

New products which are launching this autumn include Star Wars Folded Flyers; Twirly Qs; Doodle Journal: Write in White; Mini Capsters Jewellery; Fashion Forms; Gotcha Gadget; Spiral Draw; Window Art; Beaded Bands; Flying Paper Dragons; Paper Fashions; and Twirled Paper. 

For more information about the whole range of Klutz kits, email

Golden Bear 01952 608308

Golden Bear’s Mike the Knight collection includes Mike the Knight’s scroll maker, a take-along desk with an erasable white board to draw on and a five metre paper scroll of line drawings for colouring-in. Further additions include the Paint-your-own Mike the Knight Money Box, which comes ready to paint with the six colours provided and a roll of stickers to decorate it further, or the Mini Dough set, where children can create their own Mike the Knight character with one easy set.

Golden Bear’s pre-school creative collections stretch across many popular licences in the portfolio including the BAFTA award winning Peppa Pig. Kids can save for a rainy day with both Peppa and George with the Paint-Your-Own Money Boxes.

Alternatively, recreating favourite scenes from many pre-school shows such as Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, Poppy Cat, as well as Peppa Pig and Mike the Knight, is possible with both full-size and travel versions of Golden Bear’s Sketchy Fun toys. Children can draw pictures with the tool provided and when finished, erase and start again.

They can also re-enact adventures with the Stick on Felt set, complete with flocked board and 28 colourful felt pieces. 

All ranges will be supported with TV advertising and marketing and PR.

Haba 0161 304 9555

Haba has a number of products which provide an introduction to creative play.

The Geo Shape Tack Zap includes a cork board, wooden hammer and metal tacks. Each themed kit has a range of colourful wooden tiles which can be tapped into place to create a picture. 

The Moo and Baa Tack Zap features 45 colourful animals and scenery pieces, while Springtime Butterflies Tack Zap has character faces and an assortment of shapes to create butterfly pictures and scenes. 

Also from Haba and designed to challenge young children’s creativity is a range of delightful wooden threading beads in many shapes and sizes to appeal to both boys and girls. Choose from popular themes such as the Flower Children Beads and the Traffic Beads kit, complete with a range of vehicles and road signs.

Ravensburger 01869 363 800

Winner of the Best New Toy in the Creative Category at this year’s London Toy Fair, Aquarelle brings a new technique to the arts and craft sector.

Forget the traditional painting by numbers technique, where paints overrun the lines. With Aquarelle the design is embossed onto the painting boards in water repellent lines, so the outlines of the image always remain crisp and clean. There are no tricky numbers to follow either, as it’s up to the artist what colours they want to paint. There is a guide on the pack, or colours can be mixed using the liquid watercolour paint, following the colour guide provided. Aquarelle is available in Maxi, Midi and Mini formats.

The Maxi and Midi formats contain three different painting boards, five mixable watercolour paints, a colour mixing palette, pipette, brush and a painting guide. The Mini format is an ideal pocket money buy, and contains a painting board, three paints, mixing palette, pipette, brush and full instructions. Titles include World Cities, Safari, Dolphins, Flowers and Horses. All are suitable for ages eight and up.

Brainstorm 01200 445113

Mostaix is a creative and educational range of art and craft products where children make mosaic style pictures. Using small plastic tiles of different shapes, children can build up pictures, graded to their age and ability. The snap in pieces stay in place without the use of glue or ironing. The real-size pattern is followed to make the picture, but the pieces can be taken out to make another design.

Mostaix is available in two sizes. The Red Ribbon Series has 1,332 pieces and is suitable for children around the age of eight. There are eight designs to choose from including Horse, Panda, Kitten and Dinosaur. The Silver Ribbon Series has 4,440 pieces and will appeal to craft enthusiasts. There are four different pictures in this series including Tiger and Red Fox.

Bigjigs 01303 250400

The Bigjigs Toys’ junior art easel encourages children to paint masterpieces fit for a gallery.

The stand up board has a whiteboard face one side, where a paper roll can be fixed ready for painting and a chalkboard the other side, where coloured chalk is included. The easel comes complete with a paper roll, four primary colour paint pots, coloured chalk and a board eraser. 

Bigjigs Toys creativity range also extends to pin boards where children can create pin pictures with the Pin a Shape and Farm Pin a Shape boards. The bold board and pin sets will help young children develop visual and coordination skills, while allowing encouraging creative juices and spark by creating pictures using a wide variety of shapes and colours.

Bigjigs Toys is continuing to build its arts and crafts product portfolio, where a wide range of templates and stencils are available for drawing around or decorating to use as props or gifts.

For more information on the range, visit

Character Options 0161 633 9800

Orbeez consists of little tiny orbs that grow in water. With the Orbeez Light-Up Heart and Star assortment, girls can watch as the colour changing LEDs within change the colour of the Orbeez with a myriad of light effects.
Alternatively, girls can create a moving light show with the Orbeez Magic Light-up Globe. The swirling Orbeez, color-changing lights and movement create a light show on the ceiling above.

The whole Orbeez range is already a hit in the US and with heavyweight TV support and PR campaigns, Character anticipates sales success will be quick to follow in the UK, too.

Glamorous girls can bling their things with Blingles. These diamante stickers can be used on a variety of surfaces.

Girls can create sparkling shapes on items such as notebooks and mobile phones and give their possessions a little of bit of personalised bling,
Giving both boys and girls a chance to get creative and messy is Turbo Spackle, the new kids’ version of silly string. The trigger handle is designed to make it easier and more fun to shoot the Spackle, which can reach over 17 metres.

Repeat purchases are encouraged with refills also available.

Thumbs Up 020 8839 8847

ThumbsUp’s new range of model airplanes includes four classic models based on historic aircraft; fighter jets, iconic WWII heroes and air-show acrobatic planes.

The construction process is designed to be quick and easy for children to manage themselves with simple slot together parts, without the need for messy glue or tools.
Once complete, the lightweight models planes are safe to fly indoors and out (subject to space and wind conditions). The planes are easy to fly and are powered by elastic bands – three of the models use wind-up propellers (the Sentinel comes with an automatic wind-up gun), while the glider style Hornet is launched using an elastic catapult.

RMS International 0161 727 8182

RMS International is a professional multi-national trading company that successfully sources quality, volume merchandise in a number of special markets.

The company’s flagship brand Grafix has a range of children’s arts and crafts activity sets, all new products for spring/summer 2012. They aim to inspire creativity and play value at a competitive price. 

Products include Crystal Tattoos and Jewellery Set, which allow young girls can get creative and design their own crystal tattoo. Big Box of Craft is crammed full of craft favourites designed to allow children to creatively express themselves.

Make Your Own Zoo Animals features four different animals: a bird, monkey, lion and rhino. Make Your Own Sets lets girls make their own jewel hair slide, beaded rings, key ring charm and beaded bracelets, whileMake Your Own Monsters is a scary monster design and craft kit. 

Make Your Own Flowers and Butterflies allows children to, cut and create butterflies with an extensive range of materials.

5 in 1 Activity Set is an assorted activity set, including sponge painting and sand art.

Other products available include Mega 2 in 1 Pack, allowing children to create cool custom jewellery; Decorate Your Own Bangle Set; Make Your Own Car and Bus; and Furry Fun Twisters.

Price points range from £1 to £10.

Vivid 01438 449 944

Moshi Monsters is coming to Crayola with Color Wonder (£6.49), which offers colouring which never goes outside the lines. Giant Colouring Pages (£4.99) contains big Moshi line art. The Colouring & Activity Book (£4.99) is filled with Moshi colouring pages and activities and has built in marker storage. The travel-sized Mini Colouring Pages (£3.99) is equipped with 80 pages to colour in their favourite Moshlings. Crayola Moshi Monsters also introduces Mosaic Madness (£12.99) for creating 3D art.

Following fantastic sales in the US, a new category will launch for back to school from Crayola called Dry Erase.
Washable Markers (£3.99) or Crayons (£3.79) can be used on the Dual Sided Board (£9.99). Kids can create art, wipe away, and then create again. The range also includes glossy, colourful books (£5.99 each), filled with learning activities, as well as monster-themed Flashcards (£5.99 each). The Dry Erase Zany Play Activity Centre (£14.99) contains eight activity templates, four Dry Erase crayons and an eraser.

The Crayola Glow Book (£27.99) lets children draw on four clear plates for multi-layered effects with variable light settings that combine with special markers for glowing, animated pictures. The Scribble n Wiggle Pen (£14.99) incorporates any coloured Pipsqueak Marker into its battery-operated pen and features a range of different wiggle movements that can be controlled at the touch of a button.

Doodle Dotty (£16.99) is pre-programmed with hundreds of spiral patterns. Kids hit the go button and watch as Dotty creates patterns, and then colour them in.
Autumn also sees the launch of the Crayola Creations’ Jewellery Boutique (£22.99), a jewellery making design centre, with a mixing wheel where dough colours can be blended together and shaped to create swirly patterned beads which can then be linked together. Following the launch of the Catwalk Creations range, comes the Catwalk House of Fashion play-set (£29.99) which lets girls design two different fashion ranges for summer and winter and design their own store.

Interplay 01628 488944

For 2012, the myStyle range will see a substantial extension, as the collection will double in size with new projects such as the myStyle Gorgeous Girly Cushions and Union Jack Cushions. 

Other new items include the myStyle Designer Jewellery Kit with colourful clay and quality components provided to make necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pendants.

The myStyle range will be supported by strong marketing and TV again this year, with myStyle Deluxe Charm Bracelets, the brand new Designer Jewellery, and Shrink Craft Jewellery as the key television advertised lines. A girl’s print press campaign will take place throughout the second part of the year to raise more awareness among the core market.

August will see the release of the innovative new Technokit Rivetz collection, which uses a patented Rivetz Gun to snap and fix decorated pre-cut card pieces together to create giant models of a Dragon, giant Hornet and a red, black and white Racer.

Another addition will be a range of group activity kits ideal for children’s parties, called Craft Party. Each kit contains everything required for six children and provides a creative project to complete and take home.

Themes include Mad about Ponies and Treasure Box.

Julie Angel 07787 534984

Julie Angel & Co products are made to encourage children to design, paint and draw. Over the last five years, the company has developed five products and the Young Fashion Designer is the first to be launched.

The product comes in two age ranges: for eight to 12 years and 12 to 16 years. 

The product is aimed to encourage design, so there are examples and then templates for children to create. There are five colour pencils attached to the front. The pencils are can be blended to get eight colours and some variations. 

Instructions of how to blend are included. The pencils are made by the famous UK company Derwent.
The supply chain is all UK-based. Future products include watercolour for children and Drawing Cool Stuff featuring iPod, Smart Car, Skateboard, Ferrari car.

All will be featured at the NEC Spring Fair International 2013.

The company intends to complete a round of promotions and has had samples made for retailers to try at 61 per cent mark up and then report the market response.

Green Board Games 01494 538 999

Wikki Stix, Squiggles, Robotime Robotic Dinosaurs and Solar Powered Aeroplanes are all on the Green Board Games ‘creative menu’ for ways to keep children occupied over the holiday period ahead.

Craft and toy markets over the past few months have taken significant interest in Green Board Games Robotic Dinosaurs and Solar Powered Planes – so much so that CBeebies requested the toys to appear on two shows, including Friday Download.

Robotime has proved popular with a variety of sectors, from museums and zoos to supermarkets.

They are designed to appeal to both adults and children with their unique features and are set to be one of the Green Board Games most popular products this year.

Paul Lamond 0207 2840100

Brain Noodles are jumbo, silky fluffy fibre noodles that bend and twist in any way desired. Boys and girls of all ages can use their imaginations to create shapes and sculptures of all kinds and once they make-up their own craft toy, they can play, use and reuse the noodle set.

There are six Brain Noodle kits to select: Kittens, Bugs, Primary, Princess and Frog, Puppies and Stripes.

These sets include 12 brightly coloured noodles, wiggle eyes, chenille stems, pom poms, craft foam, feathers and stickers along with a full instruction booklet to help children create many projects. Brain Noodles are non-toxic, feature a reinforced core and have no sharp ends. 

Other creative products from the Paul Lamond range include the multi-awarding winning pre-school educational Chimp and Zee craft activity sets.

The On Safari, Pretty Ponies, Makeover Friends and Fairy Cakes craft activity sets aim to help children learn through play. Each craft activity set comes complete with colouring sheets, stickers, ribbons, beads and wool to help dress up and decorate.

Great Gizmos 020 8661 8866

This year Great Gizmos welcomes new additions to its 4M range.

Keeping on trend with a 3D theme is Art Dinosaur World, where children create their own optical experience by colouring dinosaur scenes and then looking at them through 3D glasses. Alternatively the Light Up Crystalite Mosaic will produce a light-up decoration that catches the suns rays in the day and becomes a night light in the dark.

The Design, Paint or Make Your Own projects feature modern day twists on traditional crafts.

The Design Your Own Jigsaw Puzzle allows young artists to create their own individual designs or secret messages, while the Paint Your Own Mini Plates kit lets children to design, decorate and display crockery creations. Also from the 4M collection and designed to challenge children’s artistic skills is a range of themed mould and paint kits in a variety of styles to appeal to both boys and girls.

For boys, the construction theme of Mould and Paint Trucks has six mould designs to choose from, while the Mould and Paint Cupcake set is aimed at girls who wish to create a sweet treat.

Each kit contains pins and magnets to attach to the back of the moulds so every creation can be displayed.

Rainbow Designs 01329 227300

Children of all ages can get creative with Rainbow Designs’ craft and activity toys featuring popular characters from children’s literature and TV.

The new Charlie and Lola Lola Loves range features the Lola Loves Especially Special Wooden Doll Set featuring three wooden stacking dolls printed with outlines of Lola for pre-schoolers to paint. The collection also includes six paint tubs, a brush and a fashion colour guide book.

The Gruffalo range of toys features three craft products and brand new are The Gruffalo Make and Play Gruffalo and Mouse Masks, a complete kit which contains everything needed to bring the characters to life.

The Gruffalo Paint & Play Set features the outline of characters from the story book: the Mouse, the Fox, the Snake, the Owl and the Gruffalo, on five wooden stacking dolls. The dolls are ready for painting and supplied with six coloured paints and a paintbrush.

The Gruffalo Make & Play Kit features green cotton printed fabric pieces with pre-punched threading holes ready for lacing. Children can stitch, stuff and stick with felt embellishments and additions to see The Gruffalo and the Mouse come to life.

Griffin +44 (0) 7540 875922

Crayola ColorStudio HD is a digital play experience, coupling a multi-activity drawing application for iPad (Crayola ColorStudio HD App) with a custom-built digital stylus, the Crayola iMarker. 

Together with iMarker, the ColorStudio HD App allows young artists to colour and interact with special ‘live’ animated colouring book pages that move and react as they colour, combining custom-produced pictures, animations, music, sound effects and special effects. For example, in one setting fish swim, doors open to reveal surprises and mermaids sing.

Like a marker, crayon, pen, and paintbrush in one, iMarker digital stylus creates favourite Crayola colours within the ColorStudio HD App. The iMarker safely interacts with iPad's Multi-Touch display, allowing the ColorStudio HD app to differentiate between the child’s input (fingers, swipes, etc) and the iMarker automatically.
The ColorStudio HD App has more than 30 animated colouring pages, pictures, sound effects and music. Young artists also have the option to design an unlimited number of their own colouring pages using ColorStudio HD’s extensive built-in library of backgrounds, music, sound effects and other elements. Artwork can be emailed, uploaded to Facebook or even printed directly from iPad to any AirPrint-enabled printer. ColorStudio HD will include free content updates at regular intervals after launch.

Le Toy Van 020 8979 2036

The Mixer Set from Le Toy Van is a new addition to the Honeybake range of culinary based painted wooden toys.
Finished in powder blue and light pastel tones, it features a junior chef motif and is designed to appeal equally to boys and girls. Retailing at around £30, the set features a mixer with a spinning whisk dial, a mixing bowl and various ingredients; including a velro halved egg and a milk bottle with top that can be removed.

Scaled for the rest of the Honeybake range, the Mixer Set is packaged in a window box to allow easy storage and display, the Breakfast Tray joins other new Honeybake sets for 2012, such as the Cookie, Toaster and Breakfast Tray sets.

The Honeybake range as a whole has proven to be a top seller in recent years, and Le Toy Van expects any new additions to maintain that trend.

All Le Toy Van painted wooden toys are designed in the UK and ethically manufactured in Indonesia using responsibly sourced materials.

KSG 01720 721390

Sequin Art has added to its range with the introduction of the Focus series.

Focus Teddy, Focus Sunface, Focus Flower and Focus Cupcake are the launch products.

Each pack contains a framed polystyrene base, a coloured picture, coloured sequins, pins, paint, brush and full instructions.

A sparkling picture is created by painting the polystyrene frame and pinning the colourful sequins on to the pre-printed colour picture.

Also new for 2012 is Zoom. Each kit has a close-up of the face of an animal, allowing the artist to zoom in on the detail. Animals in the launch series are a Cheetah, a Husky, a Dalmatian and a Kitten.

Packaging and boxes are designed to make Sequin Art an attention grabber on toy store shelves.

Best Years 01327 262189

Best Years’ range of fair trade craft kits are designed and made in the UK from components sourced from fair trade co-operatives. 

Designed for children aged three and up, the kits are designed to create something the child can be proud of once finished without being too difficult to complete. 

The USP of Best Years’ boxed craft kits is that the child uses everything, including the box and even the instruction leaflet in order to make up the kit.

The ranges comprises of Make You Own Theatre, Aquarium, Space and Flower Picture. Also in the UK-made range are the impulse purchase bagged kits including make your own magnets, finger puppets, fish decorations and pictures all for £2.55 each.

Asobi 01628 200077

Asobi is now the exclusive UK and Irish distributer for Seedling – a New Zealand-based company that has developed a unique collection of creative kits.

The Seedling range appeals to a variety of ages and interests and the products encompass an array of interests and skills from drawing, gardening, sewing, science, imaginative play, painting, model building and more. 

With an old-fashioned edge, Seedling products also encourage kids to spend quality time with adults in their lives, learning communication and relationship building skills. 

Each kit is assembled by hand in New Zealand and created using sustainable materials.

Thierry Bourret, Asobi’s owner and founder, has commented: “Seedling is a significant addition to our unique range. It will not only keep us up to speed with the current craft trend, but will also provide the UK with a superb collection of top quality, ethically sourced kits to inspire fun and to set creativity and imagination into motion."

Marbel 01208 872123

Makedo is a connector system – re-clip, lock-hinge and safe-saw – that enables materials including cardboard, plastic and fabric to easily join together to form new objects or structures. When kids are done playing they can simply pull it apart to reuse over and over again.

The Find and Make Robot encourages children to find materials from around the home and make their own robot using guided instructions. Stickers are included for decoration. There are five products in the Find and Make series ranging from £6.99 to £12.99.

The FreePlay range consists of two kits; the Kit for One includes 65 different reusable parts and using the materials around them. The kit contains enough bits to make the basics or to top up another makedo kit. The Kit for One retails for around £9.99. The Kit for Three contains 170 reusable parts and retails around for £19.99.

Learning Resources 0845 241 0484

Smencils are scented pencils made from 100 per cent recycled newspaper. 

Smencils come in a range of scents including watermelon, bubble gum, cinnamon and many more. Designed to make the mouth water, these pencils are available in sets of five, sets of ten and buckets of 50 and all come at affordable pocket money prices. Point of sale displays are available across the Smencils range.

Smencils’ graphite and coloured collections include licensed Fruit Shoot Smencils from Britvic Soft Drinks, with five scents including tropical, apple, summer fruits, blackcurrant apple and orange.

Each Smencil is stored in its own biodegradable tube, guaranteeing freshness for two years.

Also available are Smens scented ballpoint pens.

Cheatwell 02392 524098

Developed in association with Aardman Animations - the creator of Wallace & Gromit, Shaun The Sheep – Animate it! (£29.99) is a do-it-yourself, create-your-own stop animation game featuring Morph.

Each game comes complete with animation software, that is suitable for both Windows and Mac operating systems, flexible moulds and clay to create a Morph clay character, a ‘green screen‘ background to enable animators to drop in their own choice of pictures and also an informative, fun ‘get-you-started’ DVD featuring Ricky the Animator. Also included are 26 episodes of Morph animations for inspiration and entertainment.

Carddies 020 71938927

Carddies ranges contain appealing characters made from quality card which children can colour in, give names to and use in imaginative play. 

Each brightly designed, robust box contains 12 double-sided characters to colour in and keep, 12 high quality colouring pencils, stands to arrange each character, and a background scene. Carddies are sturdy and portable.

New sets include Carddies London and Carddies Sports, which are timed to coincide with the unique British occasions taking place this year.

Carddies London features iconic and familiar symbols and characters of the city. A Queen and corgi, a London Bobby, a Grenadier Guard, a Beefeater and others, as well as a London backdrop.

Carddies Sports includes a rower, a basketball player, a show jumper, a wheelchair racer and more.

The other Carddies sets are: Ballet, Fairies, Football, Cavemen, School, Knights and two Families.

Galt 0161 428 911

Galt Toys has launched Sensational Sequins (£5.99), a range of sparkly craft pictures. The kits use wax crayons to pick up individual sequins before placing them in position on a sticky backing board. Available in popular ponies, kittens or puppies themes, the kits come with two jazzy templates to create a pair of pictures. 

Galt Toys has launched two additions to its Fairy Friends range. The Fairy t-shirt set combines fairies with fashion, as children create their own t-shirt using fabric crayons and transfers. Once the picture is coloured in it is then simply ironed onto the cotton t-shirt provided. 

The Fairy Jewellery Set is the second addition to the range. The craft set encourages children to make fairy bracelets and necklaces using beads. The kits also contains jewellery tree to display their creations. The wooden jewellery tree can be decorated with acrylic paints and stick-on gems for an individual look. 


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