Want to know what your kids will be coveting this year? We hightailed it to New York for the 115th Annual Toy Fair in order to get the scoop on the latest and greatest on toys and playtime. From more collectibles than you can count to dinosaur everything, here’s what play looks like in 2018.
The Biggest Trends in Toys
Jurassic World premieres this spring, so it’s no surprise we spotted new and cool dinosaur toys and games everywhere. We especially loved the Roarivores (Spring 2018) and the Gyrosphere (Spring 2018) from Mattel’s brand-new Jurrasic World. Hasbro recently introduced the Chomp Squad (check out the new YouTube show that premiered in Jan. 2018)—a group of dinosaurs that are not, in fact, extinct, but instead, geared up to help in emergencies.
Playmobil premiered The Explorers world, which includes dinos, hidden temples, enemy airboats and more (May 2018), and HABA has a new card game—Dino World—that’ll be available soon. Even the world of stop-gap animation is in on the dino craze. Cult-hit StickBot will release its new StikBot Dino Movie Set in June.
Some of the toys and games you loved as a kid are back! Polly Pocket will return Fall 2018, Spin Master will re-introduce Erector sets in the fall, and Goliath Games has a new Saved by the Bell board game hitting stores soon. Alex Toys is bringing the Big Wheel back in a big way, and Funko’s new Pop Vinyl collection includes Care Bears and Thundercats!
Yes, potty humor is alive and well. Flushin’ Frenzy is a new game from Mattel (Fall 2018), the next season of Flush Force collectibles from Spin Master will be available Spring 2018, Hasbro introduced Don’t Step In It, (Fall 2018) and Plunge It from Alex Toys will be available Fall 2018.
Play with a Purpose
It’s clear that toys that teach haven’t lost their STEAM. Mattel’s Roctopus (hot toy alert!) features 15 different instrument sounds across five different genres of music for kid-powered compositions (Fall 2018). DUPLO’s new Steam Train, which comes with five action bricks, allows kids as young as two to learn the basics of coding (August 2018).
Crayola introduced the Color Chemistry Lab Set, which has everything little scientists need to explore color in over 50 experiments (Fall 2018), and The Scientific Explorers line from Alex Toys will release a new Beeology kit later this year. In addition, Learning Resources recently released Botley the Coding Robot, a screen-free introduction to coding for kids ages 5 & up (available now).
Pet care and rescue was a recurring theme at Toy Fair this year. Get ready for Scruff-a-Luvs—adorable pets kids can “rescue” and care for—and Fur Babies (June 2018), two brand-new lines from Moose Toys. Ricky the Trick Lovin’ Pup is the latest member of Hasbro’s Fur Real line (Fall 2018). See Meez, the uber-cool hologram pet from Redwood Ventures is a modern take on the ‘90s craze for Tamagotchi (August 2018), and Melissa & Doug debuted a whole new line of pet care, including the Examine & Treat Pet Vet Play and Track & Rescue playsets.
The characters and storylines you know are everywhere in 2018, from Mighty Mugs and Bumkins’ adorable line of superhero and gaming bibs to Green Toys announcing their very first licensing deal with Sesame Street (look out for Cookie Monster’s playdough set!). LEGO has new Harry Potter, Disney, Marvel and Star Wars sets for 2018, and Playmobil has new How to Train Your Dragon and Spirit sets being released later this year.
It’s all about taking art off the page in 2018. The 3Doodler pen introduced Start STEM Series Kits and Make Your Own HEXBUG Pen Set & Activity Kit (May 2018), and Alex Toys offers up Paper Swirls, which allow kids to make 3D versions of unicorns and other animals. Other 3D toys include Doh Vinci on-the-go from Play-Doh (Fall 2018) and IDO3D from Redwood Ventures (July 2018).
The Element of Surprise (Again)
The big reveal and the element of surprise is still a runaway hit with kids. Shopkins Season 10 will not only re-introduce favorite characters from previous seasons, but the actual unwrapping will be even more fun with the packaging newly designed to look like mini bags of treats and sweets.
Hasbro will introduce the Cutie Marks Crew in the fall, Alex looks to bring the element of surprise to outdoor fun in the spring of 2018 with their new Breakaway Ballz (a puzzle ball that breaks to reveal another ball inside), and the Beaker Creatures from Learning Resources combine the element of surprise with science (June 2018).
Toys That Caught Our Eye
Marvel Hero Vision
Kids can battle evil like Iron Man with the new Marvel Hero Vision AR experience. With the HERO VISION app, AR goggles and markers, kids will see digital images from the world of Avengers. There are various levels of difficulty and an open play option. Ages 8 & up, $59.99, available Spring 2018.
It kinda looks like the projector you might remember that from high school or middle school! The Smart Sketcher teaches kids how to sketch with line-by-line directions. There are over 50 activities and things to draw, plus, the optional app allows users to take pictures and convert them into sketches. Ages 5 & up, $59.95, available now at barnesandnoble.com
History Makers Puzzle Block Set (Bevy & Dave)
This unique toy was nominated as a 2018 Toy of the Year Finalist in the Rookie of the Year category. The 30-piece wooden block set has six sides of play that includes not just numbers and the alphabet, but also historical notes about iconic African-American figures and events. It also introduces self-leadership concepts to kids and comes with a tiny history book. Available now, with new toys to be released in Fall 2018. For ages 3 & up, $24.99, available now at bevyanddave.com
Air Hogs SuperNova
We got to test out this drone that combines technology with coordination and even teamwork! It’s got motion sensors and an interactive LED light core that actually responds and reacts to the user’s actions. Simply wave your hand to send it across the room, or to another player. With over 30 moves and 9 Super Tricks, we think this will be a big hit when released in the fall. Ages 6 & up. $39.99 Fall 2018.
Ravensburger will give the classic marble run a modern makeover when they release GraviTrax in April 2018. The interactive track system gives kids countless STEM challenges, from experimenting with gravity and magnetism to engineering and even kinetics. The starter pack comes not only with enough pieces to build and re-build different runs, but there’s also an optional app that lets players test their runs in a digital AR world, too. Ages 8 & up. $59.99. Available April 2018.
What do you think of the Toy Trends for 2018? Share with us in a comment below.
— Gabby Cullen