Sign Up for [Virtual] Camp!

This time last year, most parents were prepping their kids to attend their favorite sleepaway camp or planning a family vacation. But with COVID-19, most summer plans have been scrapped and while the quarantine boredom-busting activities of the spring – such as baking and board games – were fine to fill up the time between Zoom classes… there’s only so much banana bread one can make.

Depending on where you live, sleepaway and day camps are running with a focus on small groups and social distancing. However, more broadly, virtual camps are now in session. Here are a handful of companies hosting virtual camps for pre-K and preteens.

  • This week, Camp by Walmart launched its free virtual camp with interactive video platform Eko. Activity videos featuring celebrity councilors such as actors Neil Patrick Harris, Idina Menzel, Drew Barrymore, and athlete LeBron James are uploaded to the platform every week.
  • On Monday, July 14, The Wiggles and Rascal + Friends will host a two-week virtual summer camp for toddlers and their parents. Hosted by Emma Wiggle and Captain Feathersword, the program includes arts, crafts, singing, dancing and prizes.
  • Camp PBS Kids now offer the preschool set free, downloadable activity books and reading lists, as well as how-to videos ranging from art to science featuring PBS Kids characters Daniel Tiger, Dinosaur Train and more.
  • The activities at Girl Scouts Adventures at Home marketplace change weekly, but topics include STEM, cooking and wildlife, grouped by grade level. Campers can do several Girl Scout-approved activities off-screen and outside (with supervision). While the virtual camp marketplace has a weekly membership fee for the courses, there are free activities available on the Girl Scouts’ website.

Inevitably, kids are going to complain about having “nothing to do” as summer goes on. Yet, in this unprecedented year, parents now have these new projects in their arsenal to combat kids’ boredom – from home.

And for parents, how will they spend their newfound freetime while the kids are at virtual camp? Well, there’s always Club Quarantine.


Walmart launches kids decor line from Drew Barrymore

Walmart Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore has added to her Walmart home décor line with the launch of a new kids’ furniture and accessories collection.

The Drew Barrymore Flower Kids collection combines bespoke design and quality materials to bring Barrymore’s vision for kids’ furniture and décor to life. Barrymore worked in close collaboration with the’s design team. Her first-ever kids’ home collection, the line features more than 100 matched items.

“It’s so fun to be colorful, so nice to be cozy, and a real treat if you can be stylish and functional at the same time,” says Barrymore. “I’ve always loved creating joyful spaces for my children, and now I’m so excited to share my line of kids’ décor with you. So, let’s play house!”

The line is exclusively available now on Walmart’s family of sites, including,, and An assortment of kids’ items will also be available in select U.S. Walmart stores.


Can the new Toys ‘R’ US reclaim the toys throne?

After causing a seismic retail shakeup that rattled the toy retail landscape last year, Toys ‘R’ Us is rising from the ashes to reclaim its crown–but is it too late?

Toys ‘R’ Us is being resurrected as Tru Kids, and according to new reports, will open about six brick-and-mortar retail locations this year. This is undoubtedly big news for the toy industry, but is Tru Kids even a formidable threat to retail competitors?

The Big Bankruptcy Bang

It was the shot heard around the world­. In 2018, Toys ‘R’ Us, the toy retailer behemoth that had become a household name for decades, had failed to survive bankruptcy and announced that it would close its doors before the 2018 holiday season.

The news sent retailers, toymakers and toy licensees/licensors in a tailspin. Which retailer would fill the massive void left behind by TRU and capture the largest slice of the holiday 2018 market share? Retailers wasted no time to seize the massive opportunity, and the competition was fierce.

The Retailer Rat Race

First up, Target responded with guns blazing. The retail giant added nearly a quarter-million-square-feet of new space for toys in more than 500 of its stores, 25,000 hours of in-store events for kids and a whopping 2,500 new and exclusive toys to its product lineup–nearly doubling its toy offering from 2017. On the digital front, Target pulled no punches–launching a new and shiny toy hub on as well as a digital toy finder.

Of course, Walmart wasted no time jumping into the fray, quickly announcing plans to increase its in-store toy offering by 30 percent and its online toy offering by 40 percent. Walmart also landed a megawatt deal for the launch of Ryan’s World, a toy line in collaboration with YouTube influencer Ryan of Ryan ToysReview, which was available exclusively at Walmart through Sept. 30, 2018.

Online, Walmart made a major push to differentiate itself from the competition, offering exclusive toys, including the DC Comics 6-volt Justice League Batmobile. also kicked off a big “kidfluencer” feature, offering customers a chance to hear directly from 25 young social influencers such as Clara Lukasiak, Gavin Raygoza, Kenzie Mitchell and Gabe and Garrett, who provided exclusive toy content and reviews designed to leverage their vast built-in fan bases.

Amazon, FAO Schwarz, BuzzFeed, Party City–and even grocery retailer Kroger–all jumped into the battle of the toy titans, vying to boost sales and capitalize on the massive void left behind by Toys ‘R’ Us.

The tumult, competition and frenzy forced retailers to bring their A game, and they now have a significant head-start ahead of Tru Kids.

It’s Crunch Time

Nearly one year after Toys ‘R’ Us announced plans to file for bankruptcy, its resurrected Tru Kids brand has a lot of catching up to do.

The resurrected Toys ‘R’ Us will have to play to its advantages and leverage the deep industry contacts and relationships its predecessor amassed and nurtured over decades. Those long-standing relationships with toymakers, licensors and licensees will give way to landing exclusive deals to carry the next batch of must-have toys. That means, for Tru Kids to thrive, maximizing relationships and flexing brand awareness will be vital.

Globally, the umbrella of TRU brands is starting off strong, thanks in part to a global partnership with Fung Retailing in Asia, which has announced plans to open 70 stores across Asia, India and Europe in 2019. But with reports of only six retail locations planned in the U.S., Tru Kids will have to put serious dollars, insight and strategy behind ramping up its e-commerce and mobile platforms. And what’s an investment in digital without a serious push to include social influencers? Tru Kids will have to ride the growing social wave of 2019 and beyond and exploit the undeniable advantage of implementing social media stars with built-in audiences in the millions.

Precisely how Tru Kids will affect the toy retail landscape on the backend of 2019 remains to be seen. The New Jersey-headquartered operation has reportedly maintained an undisclosed number of former Toys ‘R’ Us staffers, which will be crucial to replicating the success of the original TRU.

But for now, the competition is fierce, and it’s still anyone’s game.

Walmart, KidBox to deliver fashion on subscription service

Walmart has partnered with KidBox for a children’s apparel subscription service.

The curated stylebox, available via, will feature clothing and accessories from 120 kids’ brands including BCBG, Butter Super Soft, C&C California and Puma. Each apparel pack will include four-to-five garments ranging from sweaters, denim, dresses or t-shirts. Packaging items into a single recurring box will save parents around 50 percent off the suggested retail price of the items.

The new subscription service provides a new revenue stream for the traditional big box retailer. Walmart has worked to establish its e-commerce and fashion offerings in recent years.

“Over the last year, we have significantly expanded our portfolio of kids’ fashion brands as part of our broader effort to establish as a destination for fashion,” says Denise Incandela, head of fashion, Walmart U.S. eCommerce. “Our partnership with KidBox enables us to round out our offering with additional national and premium kids’ brands.”

Earlier this year, Walmart partnered with Fanatics specialty e-commerce shop for sports’ fan gear. The deal included merchandise for the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS and NASCAR.


Buzzfeed, Macy’s launch new homeware line

Goodful, Buzzfeed’s health-and-wellness-centered media brand, is partnering with Macy’s to release a range of homeware goods, according to Adweek.

The line of 100 products for the home will be available on Oct. 24 across 400 Macy’s stores and on the department store’s website. The news comes on the heels of BuzzFeed’s partnership earlier this year between its brand Tasty and Walmart.

“We’re proud of the partnership because it shows what a modern media company can pull off with a modern retailer,” Ben Kaufman, head of commerce, BuzzFeed, tells Adweek. “This is something that BuzzFeed can uniquely do–especially pull a program in this way and launch in the speed and efficiency in which we have launched it.”

Partners include Epoca (for houseware items), Cuisinart (for home electronics), Welspun (for bedding) and Aerogarden (for an in-home gardening system), reports Adweek. To support the product range, a dedicated Goodful website will debut on Oct. 24 that will feature some products and new photography, typography and content.

Select Macy’s stores will offer an in-store experience where a photo wall will be featured in the Goodful area for shopper to post onto their social media channels. An experiential event with giveaways at Macy’s Herald Square in New York is also being planned.

Last week, BuzzFeed announced the opening of an experimental store in New York City.