Alex Thorne, at only 11-years old has the coolest job in the country. He’s the current Chief Play Officer (CPO) for Toys “R” Us Canada, a role he won out over hundreds of other applicants. As CPO, Alex gets to play with the hottest toys and games as the spokesperson for all things fun. Alex won the judges over with his creativity and confidence to become the third Canadian youth to take on the high profile position. Wondering what it’s like to be the CPO for Toys “R” Us Canada or what the hottest summer toys will be? Read on to hear what Alex has to say.
1) Why did you want to become the Chief Play Officer (CPO) for Toys “R” Us Canada?
What kid wouldn’t want to have a job where their duty was to play with toys? I knew getting the job meant that I would get toys delivered right to my doorstep. Not just any toys, but the newest and hottest toys, some not even in stores yet. It sounded like so much fun. If I got the job, it would mean that I would get to travel around Canada and I love to travel. It just sounded like the coolest job in Canada! I had to go for this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
2) Applicants had to send in video submissions to apply for the job. What was the key message you wanted to convey with your video?
I wanted to show them that I am versatile when it comes to play. So, my video was me playing with all kinds of different toys, even toys that are usually geared to girls. I wanted to prove to them that I can find the fun in everything. I also wanted to show them that I was a real kid but I was also good on camera and could do a good job of communicating the coolness of all types of toys.
3) Tweens are a picky group to please. What makes a toy or game successful with 8-12-year-olds?
It needs to be unique to grab tweens’ attention. By the time kids reach tweenhood, they are experienced in the field of toys. So, for a toy to be able to impress them, it needs to have something special to really make it stand out. If a toys interacts with a mobile device in a cool and interesting way, that stands out. Interactivity is not the only thing that can attract the attention of tweens. There are many other ways; parents just need find the right one for their kids.
4) Do you solicit help from friends when testing toys? What do your friends think about your job as CPO for Toys “R” Us?
I actually usually test the toys with my younger brother, Carter, who is 9 years old. We always share the toys. When a new batch of toys arrives, he is almost more excited than I am.
My friends think the CPO job is a cool job. They would probably think it was even cooler even they had the job, though.
5) What will be the top toys for tweens this summer?
I’m really excited about all of the new toys coming out this summer. Although there are a whole bunch, I’ve got my eye on these:
The MiP (Mobile Inverted Pendulum) is an awesome robot. With only two wheels, the MiP goes back and forth like a pendulum to balance itself. There are two ways to play with MiP – GestureSense and the free app. With the GestureSense technology, the MiP reads your motion and positioning of your hand to know what to do next. Turn its right wheel to access the 7 modes including: dance, track, tricks, cage, and stack modes. Every mode is fun. It also comes with a tray to carry stuff on while on stack mode and can hold its own weight. There is also a free MiP app for even more fun! You can control it, play games, and even draw paths for it to follow. And with other MiPs, you can have laser fights and boxing matches. Overall, MiP is really cool.
The Rebelle Dolphina Bow Super Soaker is a stylish water blaster but it’s a bow. You pull on the back then push forward to release a wicked blast of water. You can easily refill and can even load up to 25 ounces at once! So, soak your targets all summer!
The Phlat Ball seems ordinary, but it is much more than a ball. You can squeeze it together so that it becomes flat like a disc. Then, when you least expect it, it will pop back up into a ball. It makes a normal game of catch more exciting because everybody is trying to toss it away before it pops. It’s kind of like a game of hot potato. It’s great for outdoor summertime fun.