Enchanting Activity Kits

The worlds of magic and licensing are increasingly intersecting within the toy industry, as manufacturers of magic-themed activity kits—often with an educational slant—are matching this perennially popular category with a variety of properties, mostly connected to magic or science:

  • Abacus Brands, a maker of educational virtual-reality activity kits, recently added the Penn & Teller license, introducing Penn & Teller Magic Lab VR in September. Users watch and learn tricks from the magicians in a VR setting, while being exposed to educational concepts such as communication and presentation skills and social-emotional learning. Abacus’ other licensed activity kits include Bill Nye’s VR Space Lab and VR Science Kit and VR Masterchef Junior, a cooking kit for kids. (Penn & Teller have also lent their names and expertise to other magic sets, including Fun Inc.’s Penn & Teller Fool Everyone Magic Kit.)
  • Blue Marble’s broad line of National Geographic S.T.E.M. and craft kits includes several magic-themed science kits at a variety of price points for different ages and with different numbers of magic tricks included. Other products in Blue Marble’s National Geographic line have themes ranging from fossils to marble runs to paint marbling; it also offers a variety of general science kits and labs under the brand. The company’s National Geographic Hobby Pottery Wheel won Creative Toy of the Year at the 2023 Toy of the Year Awards, while its National Geographic Mega Science Advent Calendar and National Geographic Epic Forts were also nominated, in the S.T.E.M. and construction toy categories, respectively.
  • Marvin’s Magic, a company founded by British magician Marvin Berglas, offers a children’s magic set, Rubik’s Amazing Box of Magic Tricks, with 40 simple tricks themed to the Rubik’s Cube brand. The product’s launch was timed to the 40th anniversary of that property in 2014. The kit is for children aged 8 and up, with appeal to adults as well. Marvin’s Magic also partnered with Ryan’s World starting in 2021 for Ryan’s Magic Box, a kit that was available via subscription on the Ryan’s World website.
  • Horizon Group offered the Discovery Box of Magic, an at-home S.T.E.M. kit for kids aged 8 and up, as part of a wider assortment of science kits under the Discovery brand, which it began producing in 2016 under a license with Discovery. No products currently come up under a search for the brand name on the licensee’s website, although kits are available through retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Michaels, and Target.

Licensed magic-themed kits have been around for a long time, of course. Delta Education marketed Harry Potter Spells and Potions Science Kits in 2002, and many magicians—Bill Blagg, Shin Lim, Jim Stott, Rick Wilcox, and Criss Angel, to name a few—have released signature kits of their own. That said, the frequency of licensing deals in the category seems to be on the rise, although the sector remains a small opportunity within the scope of licensing in the toy industry overall.

Speaking of the toy industry, if you have not yet read our detailed wrap-up of licensing trends at Toy Fair 2023 in New York, you can do so here.

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