Hot New Toys

Around this time every year for the past few years, I’d be home feeling so exhausted having been responsible for putting together a huge booth at the show, standing around all day meeting with customers, publicists, vendors, sales reps, and attending after hour events and dinner meetings. And finally on the last day, dismantling the booth and packing up all the toys and everything that needed to go back to the office.

But this year was different. This time, I was on the other side attending the show rather than exhibiting, so I came home feeling more exhilarated. Although I always had the chance to walk the show at some point during the event, this year was a different experience for me. I was able to walk the show with fresh eyes and a different perspective…scouring the show for new and innovative products and hot new toys, and revisiting great brands that have lasted for years.

I realized how fulfilling it was to be a part of an industry that every year comes up with incredible products that not only offers children the opportunity for fun and play, but also has education value and promotes positive social, mental, physical, psychological skills that will last them a lifetime.

In this article, I thought I would share with you toys that were awarded by the Toy Industry Association, and trends that were unveiled by industry experts.

Every year, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) holds its annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) awards during Toy Fair. These were the winners.

Toy of the Year: LeapFrog Enterprises LeapPad Explorer
Activity Toy of the Year- LEGO NINJAGO Fire Temple by LEGO Systems
Boy Toy of the Year – Hot Wheels Wall Tracks by Mattel
Educational Toy of the Year – LeapPad Explorer by LeapFrog Enterprises
Game of the Year – Angry Birds Knock On Wood Game by Mattel
Girl Toy of the Year – Fijit FriendsTM Interactive Figures by Mattel / Radica
Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year – Elefun Busy Ball Popper by Hasbro / Playskool
Innovative Toy of the Year – Hot Wheels Wall Tracks by Mattel
Outdoor Toy of the Year – Rockboard Scooter – Mini by M.Y. Products
Preschool Toy of the Year – LeapPad Explorer by LeapFrog Enterprises
Property of the Year – Angry Birds by Rovio Entertainment Ltd. / Striker Entertainment
Specialty Toy of the Year – HEXBUG Nano Hive TM Habitat Set by Innovation First Labs

As far as trends, industry experts noted that there was a prevalence of big-ticket items this year as well as an influx of educational toys for infants and preschool children, indicating that consumers are willing to spend more post-recession. hottest christmas toys 2019

Here’s a summary of the six top trends noted by the Toy Industry Association:

GENERATION APP – An emerging trend identified at Toy Fair 2011, this year there is an abundance of toys that work with smart devices and apps. Toymakers are using technology to enhance classic play patterns – not erase them. Physical toys remain integral to the play experience; in many cases, companies have created traditional toys that interact with popular devices that are already in so many homes… while tying in educational or active components for a well-rounded play experience. Includes: Products that work with an app or smart devices and products that are based upon an app or web property but have no digital tie-in.

GLOWING WILD – Toys that glow in the dark or light up will infiltrate the toy aisle this year across multiple categories – from outdoor and active toys to arts and crafts and creative products. Toys in this category add a fantastical element to playtime for kids of all ages. They “ignite” imaginative play by drawing kids into a world of whimsy and wonder – from arts and crafts toys that incorporate LED components to exciting light-up toys that safely simulate fireworks. Includes: Toys that rely on a glow component to drive the play experience and toys that are equally enjoyable in the light of day as they are in the dark (i.e. glow-in-the-dark wooden building blocks).

LITTLE LEARNERS – Far from simple “watch me” toys, products in this category build cognitive and developmental skills beginning at a very early age, transforming little ones into well-rounded, lifelong learners. These toys also give tykes a wide range of play options to choose from – allowing them to explore their interests and talents and develop these skills as they grow older. Includes: Infant to pre-school toys and games that educate and challenge and educational toys targeted to children of all ages.

MANY WAYS TO PLAY! – Toys in this category engage kids on multiple levels. Parents can buy one very dynamic toy that will entertain and educate a child for hours, days, weeks and months… allowing them to truly get their money’s worth. These toys have real depth – kids can play differently each time depending on their moods or interests. Many of these toys also grow with a child so that they can play in another way depending on their age. Includes: toys that combine multiple play patterns (i.e. active play, role play, game play, etc.) and customizable toys (playthings become a unique reflection of a child’s individuality).

SAVE ‘N’ SPLURGE – Recent toy industry data released by The NPD Group showed that consumers are increasingly making “purchasing trade-offs” – that is, buying higher-priced toys at the expense of mid- to lower-priced ones. As a result, 2012 will see a resurgence of toys that fall on the higher end of the price spectrum, as consumers are willing to loosen their purse strings a bit and spend more on products that pack a high play value punch or have a certain “WOW” factor.However, shoppers will always be attracted to affordable prices. Affordability was a trend in the past few years and this sub-trend will persist in 2012 as parents and other shoppers have really come to expect big play value at affordable prices. Includes: “The Big Ask” / impressive toys (at higher prices) and collectibles / expanded lines (at affordable prices).