In order to give you the scoop on what’s new and cool in the world of toys, we hightailed it to New York for the 114th Annual Toy Fair, where the latest and greatest toys and gear were on display. From interactive pet tigers to Hatchimals everything, here’s what play looks like in 2017.
Toy Trends Your Kids Will Love
From even more tech-integrated toys to teeny, tiny things, here’s what your kids will beg you to buy this year.
We spotted several new toys and gadgets that combine physical play and augmented reality. With a quick scan, the Play-Doh Touch Shape to Life Studio (available now at target.com, $24.99) brings shapes, creatures and designs to life in order to explore fantastical worlds. LEGO Boost (Aug. 2017, $159), is a maker kit for the seven and up crowd that comes with five different models to build and code with an emoji-based app. The Crayola Fashion Superstar (Fall 2017, $19.99) allows kids to unleash their inner fashionista by first sketching designs and then, using the free app, creating a virtual closet other designers can visit and “like.”
photo: courtesy Mattel®
Toys that Get Real
There were several new toys at the fair which not only move and talk, but also interact with the user. With hundreds of responses for a kid, these toys will make play time different every time. We spotted a ton of interactive toys but our favorites include Zoomer the Show Pony™ (Spinmaster, $79.99, Fall 2017), who goes wild for sugar cubes, responds to grooming and says “I love You,” Tyler the Roarin’ Tiger (Hasbro, $129.99, Fall 2017) a softy, fluffy cub that plays tug of war and responds to touch, and the Barbie® Dream Horse™ (Mattel, $99.99, Fall 2017) who not only responds to voice activated commands, but also dances, eats carrots and enjoys regular grooming.
Collect the Element of Surprise
Collectibles and blind bags aren’t going anywhere in 2017. From the new LEGO Brickheads to Colleggtibles, mini-hatchimals (Spinmaster, $2.99 for a 1-pack, May 2017), Hana Zuki mood charms (Hasbro) and Surprise Chicks and Fizz ‘n’ Surprise Submarine (Moose Toys, Spring and Fall 2017) kids will have even more teeny, tiny treasures to unwrap, squeal over, and then proudly display.
Family game night shows no signs of slowing down. Hasbro is still riding the Pie Face wave of popularity; as an ode to old carnivals, it’s still a big winner for kids and families alike. In addition, one of their viral video-inspired games, Egged On ($19.99, May 2017)—an plastic egg game of roulette—will be a lot of fun on hot summer days. On March 19th, the new edition of Monopoly will hit the market with the new fan-favorite game marker (the thimble was voted out!). Happy Salmon (North Star Games, $14.99, available now) has major buzz to be a new favorite, and Beasts of Balance (Sensible Objects, $99, available now) combines the physical play aspect of stacking figurines with an interactive world of imaginary beasts.
It’s a Lifestyle, Not a Toy
Toy makers will be using multiple entertainment platforms (online, tv, movies, books, retail) to reach the Littles this year. GoldieBlox has a YouTube channel with two super-popular new shows (Toy Hackers and GoldieBlox) an app, and will introduce a chapter book series this year (May 2017). Moose Toys is capitalizing on the mega-success of Shopkins by adding even more clothing, shoes, jewelry, and backpacks to the line. My Little Pony: The Movie (Oct. 2017) will add a whole new storyline to the already popular series, as well as all-new play sets, animatronic horses, and board games. Other entertainment lines with new toys on the market this year include Star Wars, Paw Patrol, Despicable Me, Thomas the Train, Star Wars, Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy and Pete the Cat.
Build It Yourself
The maker movement is still on the up and up. We spotted several new toys that leave the design and construction up to the kid. KamiGami robot bugs (Mattel, $49.99, Fall 2017) can be assembled and then controlled with an app, and the new Off Bits from Fat Brain Toys (Summer 2017) is a non-motorized maker kit with three models: Kids can stick to the parts from the kit, or add new parts they find around the house.
The Bright Lights
From a design standpoint, neon colors were on point. The new Skip Hop Vibrant Village Activity Center (June 2017) infuses a modern black and white design with a pop of color and the Crayola Sticker Design Studio ($19.99, Jul. 2017) comes with three bottles of neon paint and supplies like paint rollers, a pattern-making paint tool, and foam sticker sheets, so your budding designer can make a bold statement while crafting up a storm.
Toys that Caught Our Eye
Designed by two veteran STEM teachers, these electronic building cubes are compatible with just about anything, and there are three different options: Wacky Wheels Kit, Bright Lights Kid and Smart Art Kit. Kids can build vertically, horizontally and diagonally, and all the blocks are compatible with other items including LEGO, cardboard, rubber bands, and wood blocks. The transparent design allows kids to get a good look at what’s going on inside. Each block has a play life of about one hour, and is easily rechargeable with an micro-usb port. Brand-new to the toy market, Circuit Cubes are available for pre-order now (Spring 2017, $59.99).
If you’ve got a couple of extra Smartphones stashed away, you’re not alone. Put that “old” technology to work by turning your phone into an easy-to-use camera. The exterior case has the look and feel of a 35mm, but it’s totally functional, with a splash-resistant screen, working shutter button, a focus lens with a “clicking” sound for play, and there’s even an iOS app: Kids can go on scavenger hunts, learn about photography, give their friends funny upgrades with digital accessories and more. The PixlPlay camera is available for pre-order now (Pixl Toys, Inc, Jun. 2017).
A new line of pretend play kits puts the creative vision of Seedling into the hands of your tiniest players. Each one is made with large, soft pieces and velcro (perfect for tiny hands) in themes like Galaxy Rocket Adventure Cape, Under the Sea Puppet Playtime, and the Farmer’s Market Playtime Kit. Five of the seven new kits will be available on Mar. 1, 2017.
Magic Kidchen Ice Cream Tray
This cool kid cooking gadget (Jun. 2017) will let your little Ben or Jerry turn real cream, milk or even dairy alternatives into a frozen snack with lightening flash speed. Pour the mix onto the magic tray and use the spatula to instantly scrape up the treat. Each tray will stay cold long enough to make four to five batches of ice cream, just long enough to keep kids busy on a sunny summer afternoon.
Which hot new toy will your kid want the most? Share with us in a Comment!