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Best of Toy Fair 2017
Julie Kertes, Cozi’s family product expert, just got back from the annual Toy Industry Association’s Toy Fair. She picked out the best and most innovative new toys for our Cozi families. See what she has to say about the latest trends in toys.
As I made my way through miles of toys at the Toy Industry Association’s North American International Toy Fair, my inner eight-year-old jumped for joy. The annual trade show in New York gives retail buyers and media a sneak peek into the latest and most innovative trends in toys and games.
Much like last year, coding and robotics toys continue to dominate in the realm of play. Virtual reality toys are on the rise, integrating smart phones to enhance the experience with endless, visually compelling content. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math), has now become STREAM, incorporating the buzzwords robotics and arts, and many toy companies are invested in developing lines devoted to science, art, and technology-focused toys.
The great news is that classic toys such as blocks and dolls are still a big part of play, even in this age of advanced technology. Many families feel the need to unplug, and those who are looking for alternative options to constant screen-time will be happy to know that there are still hundreds of play options that will continue to fuel creativity and imagination.
Below you’ll find my list of standout toys and games that are sure to be on this year’s birthday and holiday wish lists:
No Batteries Required
Builders can create just about anything with Lux building sets ($29.99 and up, www.luxblox.com, ages 6+). These building pieces interlock to make shapes and structures that bend and fold, expand and twist. Not your ordinary block set, but rather an extraordinary building system for honing spatial and engineering skills.
What’s the next best thing to having your very own pet primate? Fingerlings Baby Monkeys by WowWee Toys ($14.99, www.WowWee.com, ages 8+)! These little friends hang on your fingers and come to life with realistic movements and reactions. There are over 50 animations with a cuteness score that’s off the charts! Available August 2017.
It’s never too early to learn coding! The ALEX Future Coders line includes Bunny Bot, Robot Races, Cube Stackers and Poppin’ Pixels ($17 to $40, at www.alextoys.com, ages 4+) These innovative toys teach preschoolers basic coding concepts like sequencing, problem solving, and directional language. Available summer 2017.
Power it Up
Kids can draw complex circuits using a non-toxic conductive silver ink pen and multiple components with Circuit Scribe ($9.99 to $99.99, www.circuitscribe.com, ages 8+). No wires are used and creative doodling is encouraged. This game is a terrific introduction to electronics.
You’ve Got to “Smell” it to Believe it!
Get a whiff of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pillow Pet ($29.99, www.mypillowpets.com, ages 3+) and you’ll want to seek out the closest pizza joint. The pizza-scented Raphael pillow is the latest addition to the Sweet Scented Pillow Pets line. Sounds crazy, but it smells so good you’ve got to try it yourself! Available this holiday season.
Back in Time
Young explorers will get a 360-degree virtual reality experience with VRSE Jurassic Park ($59.99, www.skyrockettoys.com, ages 8+). Insert your smart phone into the headset, and become transported in time. The game includes a free downloadable app for exciting and invigorating game play. Back in Time will be available in fall 2017.