I got a chance to attend the 108th American International Toy Fair in New York City earlier this week. Billed as the largest toy trade show in the Western Hemisphere, I felt like a mommy spy checking out the inventory amongst toy store buyers from around the globe. We’ll be highlighting more of the cool stuff we uncovered in future posts, but in the meantime here are some trends to keep in mind as you shop for toys.
1) Tween invasion! For the first time in 108 years the show had an entire area designated with toy offerings for the tween market. Everything from conservation starter cards for sleepovers to manicure sets and forensic science kits.
2) Hot off the presses. This year, Barbie is an architect.
3) Superheroes are big. The Green Lantern movie releases this year so expect to see the green guy everywhere. Hasbro has the Marvel license and all the usual Superhero suspects there will be out in full force. For the smaller crew, Fisher Price is bringing back the Rescue Heroes. Everyday heroes like firemen, policemen and soldiers.
4) Entertainment is a major toy manufacturer influencer. New movies releases for 2011 include Cars 2, Smurfs taking NYC, Winnie the Pooh, Happy Feet 2, Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and Transformers so expect to see lots of branded merchandise.
5) 3-D. From projection mobiles for infants (Chicco) to preschool dinosaur puzzles (Topozoo), and constructable games for older kids are teaching special awareness, logic and math.