Every year I get access to the North American International Toy Fair and a sneak peek of the best toys that will make it to store shelves and toy websites across America. Here are my top 10 toy picks to put smiles on the faces of the kids in your life. Since lots of these toys are new to market I would recommend going to the manufacturer’s website to get the latest prices and where to buy.
Pick #1 Crayola Color Alive – This awesome color book is a great introduction to how toys are making the jump from traditional to interactive – a trend that I saw repeated throughout the Toy Fair. Kids color the pictures of fairies and dragons and then work with their parents to use the Apple or Android-friendly app to make 3-D images of their characters. They can then pose with them using the camera option and make them appear to fly around their bedrooms. The options are as limitless as their little imaginations.
Pick 2: Lulu Jr.’s book publishing kits make great presents for milestone occasions. Within the box your kiddo gets all the materials necessary to create their very own soft or hard covered book, including a pre-addressed label to send it in for professional publishing. The price of the box includes all the fees and your child will love getting their very own creation in the mail once it’s complete. What a great idea for a gift for the new big brother or sister, or way to document that summer vacation… the occasions are endless for your young author.
Pick 3: Toss your boring old goggles, and pick up a pair of swim of ski goggles that offer so much more fun and flair. Goggles by Bling 2.0 come in designs using candy (plastic, not real), sprinkles and sparkles. For boys, designs include superhero and robot with simulated metallic hardware. Protect their eyes from chlorinated pools and salty splashes of the ocean but don’t sacrifice their spirits and style.
Pick 4: S.C.O.U.T Dolls from Manhattan Toy Company. These dolls caught my eye among all the bells, whistles and flashing lights of the toy show exhibition hall. They made me think of a mix between a custom Jess Brown rag doll and American Girl – really everything I love about both. Girls can purchase super cool outfits and accessories, such as a furry trapper-style hat that I would like in my size. Each doll has a name and back story, including journal entries to keep you update on their latest adventures.
Pick 5: The Sweet Shop Building Set from Learning Resources is perfect for the little girl in your life that likes to build but also likes all items yummy. This super cool gear building set allows your small engineer-to-be to create towers of lollipops and cupcakes that spin with a simple twist of the hand.
Pick 6: Stir Fry Set made by New Sprouts – how fantastically creative is this set. Introduce them to fun ways to treat their vegetables with a toy stir fry pan and serve their creations in a blue plastic take-out container. Little hands build their dexterity by lifting rubber veggies using the miniature tongs. Conduct fun lessons by having them count and identify colors of veggies.
Pick 7: Power Ranger Foes from Bendai are perfect for your Power Ranger-loving kids. Each character’s arms and legs are interchangeable so they can fight a different opponent for every battle they can imagine!
Pick 8: Metal Detector for 3+ year olds from Primary Science. I would love to take my little guy out for walks on the beach with this cool toy.
Pick 9: Worry Eaters are adorable plush toys that help your kids overcome their daily fears or worries by simply writing them down (or letting you write them if they are super young.) Hopefully these guys can help with those anxious bedtimes by letting kids let go of all their day’s troubles and let them get a good night full of Zzzz.
Pick 10: Mondarri Race Cars are the perfect gift for older kids who like cars and can handle using small tools to create their own masterpieces. I can see these being a favorite for parents that are car lovers since they are fun to build together.