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Hot New Toys and Trends From Toy Fair 2012

I just came back from the 109th annual American International Toy Fair held in New York City and I had a blast!

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.

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).

YOUNG MAESTROS – A wide variety of musical toys will hit a high note in 2012 as kids of all ages – from infants to tweens and teens – rock out with toys and games that teach them how to play different instruments, practice their singing, or show off their dance moves. This trend is being driven largely by pop culture – such as television shows like American Idol, Glee, The Voice and X Factor. Includes: toys for young kids that teach music basics and toys for older kids that let them emulate their favorite pop stars.

One thing noticeable to most people this year was a sense of positive energy permeating throughout the show. A sluggish economy forced retailers to buy less during the recent fourth quarter, which allowed them to sell through most of their inventory and in turn encouraged them to place orders at the show. This was welcoming news for toy manufacturers!

Give Your Children Both Fun and Education With the Toys From the Sylvanian Families

It is very necessary to give children freedom from their daily hectic schedule. While you consider the requirements of your child you need to go for good kids toys through which you can give them maximum satisfaction. A good toy for your kids will help them to stay busy and thereby satisfy their unusual desires.

Kids toys should not only serve a purpose of fun but at the same time they should also help your child educate in the best possible manner. Try to buy toys which can develop the vital skills of your children.

Today there are several companies that deal with toys for kids. There are activity toys for the kids available by means of which your children can remain busy along with learning something. Do consider the quality of the toys when you buy them. The quality is associated with the health of your child. They should be made of good materials so that they ensure the ultimate safety of your child.

If you are in search of some good kids toys you can always consider the purchase of the toys from the Sylvanian families. Sylvanian families deal with collectible toys ranging from Ty’s Beanie Babies to the series of Teletubbies.

These kinds of kids toys have been quite popular among kids since long time. If you buy the Sylvanian families toys for your kids, they will surely like it. These toys add a feeling of treasure hunt to the experience of your kids collection.

An animated series based on the line of the toys is a well known and renowned fact about these toy families. These series mainly cater to the needs of your young children. The characters in the series that have been grouped into families generally feature the woodland creatures.

In the recent years, the Sylvanian families introduced new items in their collection. With the introduction of the Dalmatian Family in their collection, these kids toys became further popular.

You can thus give the best gift to your child when you purchase the Sylvanian families toys. The guinea pig family is a good option in the collection from these toys. This family includes members like Andrew, Peter, Penny and Nicola. You will also get their babies in this family. Each of them has a bed and a bottle along with a pair of clothes that are generally removable. If you feel you can buy all the parts separately as well. You can purchase your kids toys from various sources.

Giant Plush Toys to Brighten Your Kid’s Life!

Wondering about the ideal Christmas gift for your little kiddie? Toys are obviously one of the easiest options but what’s the best kind? The answer is giant plush toys! These big soft playthings are available in various shapes, colors, styles and textiles. So get him a tiger, monkey, giraffe and all the other kinds of animals to give him his own private soft toy zoo! These gigantic balls of foam are so soft that your kid is going to be absolutely safe with them and they will keep him busy too.

An absolutely adorable way to bring a smile to your precious one’s face is to make him a soft toy. They are easy to fashion and make your kid a very happy baby. But if handicraft isn’t your thing, don’t be upset. Easily available across all stores and shops anywhere in the world, these giant plush toys are every child’s dream gift. They stare at these toys in the shop windows and wish that they had more of their own. And you can fulfill that wish easily by just buying some of these relatively inexpensive and safe toys.

Unlike puzzles or games with tiny and hard pieces, these plush toys guarantee a soft cushion for your child. Even if your baby falls off his rocking chair onto one of these toys, he will not be hurt. Those little bits that have to be assembled in many games constitute a choking hazard and you always need to supervise your child when he or she is playing with them. But you can leave them at peace with these giant plush toys, engaged and busy so that they’re less likely to get into any sort of mischief! While a teddy bear is the most classic plush toy, they are now available in all kinds of imaginable shapes and sizes-whether it’s animals you want or stars or footballs or even gigantic dolls, you can easily get it.

But why stop at kids? These giant plush toys are a favourite with kids and adults alike. Whether you give them to your sister for her birthday or to your beloved for Valentine’s Day, there’s no great way to say that you love them! While a Valentine’s Day soft toy typically has a red heart, you can even get personalised toys that bear your signature or your own special message. A giant 27 inch soft fur bear will cost you over $ 25 while a teddy bear with a heart cushion and your message can cost you over $ 40.