Genius of Play Ambassador Spotlight: Sarah Baskin, VP of Marketing Communications at Far Out Toys

genius-of-play-ambassador-sarah-baskinJune 29, 2021 | Sarah Baskin, vice president of marketing communications at Far Out Toys, has spent the entirety of her career building playful marketing programs and campaigns for leading toy and gaming companies. Toy News Tuesday editors caught up with Baskin about her new role as a Play Ambassador for The Toy Association’s Genius of Play initiative and how the pandemic impacted her family’s own playtime routine.

TNT: How did you get your start in the toy industry and what you are doing now?

strong>SB: While in business school, I landed a dream internship at Mattel and fell in love with the business of play. In the 15+ years since, I’ve had amazing opportunities to grow my marketing career at companies such as Hasbro, LeapFrog, Shutterfly, and Scopely. Currently, as the vice president of marketing communications at Far Out Toys, I get to build and run marketing operations for one of the fastest growing companies in the toy industry. Our product lines include NASCAR toys, Ryan’s World games, Love Diana collectibles, and a new fashion doll line called Glo-Up Girls available this summer.

TNT: Why was it important to you to become a Genius of Play Ambassador and what does play mean to you?

SB: The pandemic made me realize more than ever just how important play is. Like many other parents, I discovered that having more time to play with my kids – whether playing board games, having a Nerf battle, or sharing funny memes – was a silver lining of the pandemic.

I believe play is not a luxury but a basic human need. Everyone needs it to function healthily, so I wanted to find new ways of inspiring play for everyone by becoming a Play Ambassador.

TNT: Play benefits our emotional and physical wellbeing at any age, so what steps have you taken to make play a part of your daily routine both in and outside of work?

SB: Last summer I got Razor scooters for me and my kids. We have so many adventures on them! We race on them and play games like tag and hide-and-seek. Sometimes I even ride my scooter to the office. It’s great exercise and way more fun than driving!

TNT: What is your favorite toy and/or play memory?

SB: In the town where I was born, there was a playground with a giant concrete turtle. I just loved climbing on that turtle as a toddler and have exciting memories of it. Recently, I returned to the playground to find that the turtle had been replaced by a plastic dinosaur. That didn’t stop me from climbing on it!

TNT: How do you think we as a society can better incorporate play into our lives?

SB: It’s difficult to get into a playful mindset when you’re feeling stressed out, lonely, or depressed. During these times, I feel the best thing we can do is to help kids feel connected with others – whether that means giving them carte blanche permission to text friends, zoom with grandparents, or play video games with other children. As a parent, I have definitely let go of many previous “rules” I had about technology and screens, and now see them as essential ways that kids play with each other.

This interview is part of an ongoing series that spotlights the members of The Genius of Play Ambassadors program, who serve as play thought leaders within their own professional networks as well as key supporters and spokespersons for ongoing Genius of Play initiatives.