The 111th annual American International Toy Fair® is the largest toy and youth product marketplace in the Western Hemisphere, bringing together more than 1,000 exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers and sales agents from around the globe to showcase their toy and entertainment products.
This weekend I got to spend the day walking side-by-side with toy buyers for large and small stores across the country. Here are a couple of the trends and toys that impressed me the most.
Craft Kits – The trend on craft kits in boxes, cans and jars were seen repeatedly through the show. With price points typically between $10 and $20, these are great toys for play dates, parties or birthday presents. Many of the kits come with all the elements within the box from glue to paint to paper or beads. Look in toy stores or aisles near you for kits to make your own jewelry, accessories, musical instruments, robots, etc… I love this trend, as do my kids!
The Return of Old Friends – Snoopy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the Slinky Dog.
Wood Bathtub Toys – Pure Genius! We have an ongoing battle to keep our arsenal of bathtub toys mold free, and we are losing! Rubber ducks, tug boats and frogs have all had to be tossed. These wooden toys don’t take on any water, they simply float and then dry without a problem. Love, love, love it!
Balance Bikes – A growing trend here in the States, balance bikes I’ve been told have been around for years in Europe. This year, balance bikes were present in everything from wooden, environmentally-friendly simple models to metal Superhero-branded ones.
Snow Toys – Maybe its because all these storms in the Northeast, but these seem like a really good idea to me. Snow castle making kits using snow brick making tools, snow robot sculpting kits and snow-art kits using colored markers. Great old fashioned, out door fun!
Teaching Games – Games of strategy and speed, matching colors and patterns, fun games to practice math and reading skills (without your kids even realize they are learning)
Other stuff that caught my eye…
Play On! That’s IT Mommy Jill