Want to know what the hottest toys trends are this year? We hightailed it to New York for the 116th Annual Toy Fair in order to get the scoop on the latest and greatest on toys and playtime. From bubble innovation to the best family games, here’s what play looks like in 2019.
The Biggest Trends in Toys
While the past decade has introduced us to massive boxes of magentic tiles (how did we live without them?), 2019 builds upon the fundamental shapes by adding animal faces, battery power and wheels, in the form of kits that bring your creation to life. For the preschool-set, we love the new Magformers Animal Jumble ($59.99). Older kids will love the GeoSmart Collection, including the Moon Lander ($52.99).
1980s and 1990s toy pop culture was evident throughout Toy Fair, from vintage board games, to old school favorites like Lite Brite, Weebles, and Lava lamps. Two new toys that tipped their hat to the 1990s but offered a decidedly modern twist are the Blockbuster Board Game from Big Potato Games (“The golden age of video rentals is back! Introducing a super-simple party game for anyone who has ever seen a movie”), which will be exclusively at Target in March 2019, and a collection of Spongebob Squarepants toys, including a Giggle Blaster,a weapon that sprays aerosol party string (included) and shouts over 15 SpongeBob phrases and sounds. The Giggle Blaster arrives in the Fall 2019 and retails for $19.99 (PS – Want to feel old? 2019 is Spongebob’s 20th Anniversary!)
SpongeBob isn’t the only one celebrating an anniversary. The United Nations has declared 2019 the “International Year of the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements,” and in celebration, Ooze Labs has released a chemistry set that will allow your budding chemist to safely explore 20 different experiments. For younger kids, Learning Resources introduced Beaker Creatures in Fall 2018, offering a science lab with a collectable component. 2019 brings a new Alien Experiment Lab and collectible alien creatures, including Swampoids, and Dogstars.
Real Life Heroes
While superhero toys will never go away, we were happy to see a renewed focus on “real life hero” toys including firemen, policemen and ambulance workers. Both LEGO and Mattel have introduced new action figures and play sets.
Mattel has relaunched Rescue Heroes, a line of collectibles that was popular in late 90s. The goal with the re-launch is to focus on preschoolers to stimulate children’s imagination and sense of adventure without involving violence. The product line will be available exclusively at Walmart stores beginning Summer 2019. It also coincides with a newly launched YouTube series.
LEGO is also focused on celebrating first responders with a a new police play set in their City series, as well as a fire fighter play set available in a Duplo kit, which is aimed at preschoolers.
Play Sets for Small Spaces
We’re happy to see a slew of play activities for smaller spaces, and Fisher Price welcomed several innovative products perfect for apartments and travel, including an interactive kitchen that is portable and can be folded for storage, and a line of plush pretend sets, including a campfire. Sago expanded on it’s mini role playing sets with new professions including a veterinarian.
Though the long-awaited Toy Story 4 movie hasn’t hit theaters yet (May 2019) it hasn’t stopped the behind-the-scenes collaboration with some of our favorite toy makers. The new LEGO movie is now headed to streaming channels, though kids will be thrilled with keeping the characters alive through a variety of action figures and play sets.
Some of our favorites from Toy Fair include, the LEGO Duplo play set (the first time a movie franchise has extended to Duplo, and the Barbie collaboration with Bo Peep as a super hero.
Did you know ax-throwing is now a thing? The folks at Zing, makers of cool outdoor kids gear), definitely know it, and have kid-proofed the sport so your little warriors can have fun without doing too much damage. Introducing the Zax, a soft-suction ax for throwing. Zing also has a new line of Hyperstrike bow & arrow products, launching exclusively at Target in May 2019 (other retailers in the Fall). Designed with bungee cords, these bows can launch arrows up to 250 feet and are good for independent or team play (ages 14+). While Marshmallow shooters have been around for a few years, the The Marshmallow Fun Company is releasing The Jumbow, a large bow that will fire arrows with marshmallow heads (which totally alleviates the marshmallow stuck in barrel problem).
Hedgehogs & Sloths, Oh My!
Unicorns and Llama are so 2017. 2019 is all about Hedgehogs and Sloths, according to Toy Fair insiders. A few that stood out, Spike, the Fine Motor Hedgehog, which was a finalist for Toy of the Year 2019, helps todders 18 months + develop fine motor skills. Tumbling Hedgehog, a STEM experiment kit that allows kids to build their own robotic pet hedgehog will be released in July 2019, and the Fisher Price Smooth Moves Sloth, part of the new Linkimals line, focuses on baby’s (9 months +) gross motor development through music and motion by clapping its hands together, bobbing its head and activating music to encourage baby to move and groove along.
Red Tricycle Stand-Outs
Little People, Big Dreams Book Series
With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful people of the world, from designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. The girls books launched in 2018 to much fanfare.
The first boys books in the popular series featuring Stephen Hawking and Mohammed Ali, were published in February 2019, Bruce Lee and David Bowie are coming later in 2019.
Fisher Price Wonder Makers Design System
Move over Thomas, Fisher Price is unveiling a whole new world of imaginative play and building this Fall. Built in response to consumer demand, the Wonder Maker Design System is gender neutral, a mix of textiles (felt, wood and plastic) and battery free.The Around Town starter kits retail for $39.99 and will be available for Christmas.
Bonus: The label informs consumers that the outer box can be recycled via curbside programs in most communities across the U.S. and the inside plastic bag can be recycled through store drop-off programs that accept plastic film.
What do you think of the Toy Trends for 2019? Share with us in a comment below.