Toy Fair 2012 Trends And Our Top Toy Picks
Another year and another Toy Fair in New York at Jacob Javits Convention Center. We upped the ante and decided to cover for 3 days instead of our regular 2 and I still do not think we got to see everything. Toy Fair is definitely overwhelming but in a fun way! I know we missed out on some events, but we will cover as much as we can. You can stay tuned to our upcoming coverage by following the Toy Fair 2012 tag.
The new trend this year was exciting even if it was still in its infancy: augemented reality type toys. Many different vendors including the largest toy companies are integrating these types of toys into their line. From playing with figures on an iPad where the screen changes based on how you move them (think Cars 2 licensed racing games with figures to Barbie), to using them as the bank in Monopoly or the spinner in The Game of Life. Some companies have even went so far as to use the camera to overlay graphics on to the real world which looks pretty amazing.
Stay tuned for our breakdown of these toys in the upcoming weeks, but for now let us give you our top picks which are a mixture of my wife and myself, but I think I had a heavier hand in the list. Also be aware Glitter Tattoos will be in full force this year, as multiple vendors are fighting in that space, one company even has a temporary home tattoo that looks real.
Top Toy Picks of Toy Fair 2012
MINI JAMMERS – A surprise for me, it is a very cool dancer that you customize with your face and really gets down on stage. You can have the dancer limbo, make him fall down by pretending to shoot him with your finger and make them stop dancing and start but move slower. The inventor was on hand and it was awesome. We were only able to get a bad picture after asking for permission as the booth was packed. The flyer we have says radical Flyingtoys is going to be carrying it, but nothing on the website just yet.
COME ‘N PLAY COOKIE MONSTER KITCHEN CAFE - Our daughter LOVES the counting Cookie Monster with Backpack and this is the next step with multiple characters.
Kids can “cook” along with favorite Sesame Street friends in this interactive kitchen where chef Cookie Monster comes to life. Slide the window and Elmo and Abby Cadabby will join in the cooking fun and they’ll even sing with Cookie Monster. Kids can “feed” Elmo and Abby Cadabby their food, which will disappear and then magically reappear in the oven. Little chefs in training can also slide the burner on to hear fun sizzling and cooking sounds and turn the clicking oven knobs. Playset includes six “food” pieces, spatula, frying pan and an alphabetical menu.
LEGO DUPLO BRAND DISNEY PRINCESS – I knew this was going to be going on many kids wish lists for birthdays and holidays coming up. It is the perfect fit to getting that young girl playing with Lego Duplo brand blocks. The Disney Princess collection is going to do well. My wife was a fan of the fact that the figures had real dresses.
Children recreate Snow White’s forest cottage with the bricks and elements, then role play her love of animals as seen in the classic Disney tale. Includes a rabbit and 1 figure.
NERF SUPER SOAKER LIGHTNING STORM – We are a super soaker family and there were two things that we really wanted last summer and Nerf Super Soakers is going to deliver this year. A bigger water resovoir in the form of a tommy gun type clip and some even smaller and bigger battery powered guns. The blast shield on the Lightning Storm is great, and we were told the new sized clips will fit the older models and at some point be sold seperately as well.
Featuring innovative Power-Soak Technology, the fully automatic NERF SUPER SOAKER LIGHTNING STORM water blaster boasts a range of 25 feet! The LIGHTNING STORM is the only SUPER SOAKER blaster that comes with an enhanced 35 ounce capacity clip which is interchangeable with other blasters within the NERF SUPER SOAKER line for quick refills. Customize the NERF SUPER SOAKER LIGHTNING STORM water blaster with the detachable stock or the blast shield to stay dry during epic water battles.
NERF FIREVISION SPORTS FOOTBALL – My son would play all night if we let him but for me and my eyesight I am starting to lose that football when it gets dark and fear getting hit with it. I think other companies have tried something similar but Nerf is set to deliver on playing in the dark type play. It is a set where you have to wear some glasses and use the different types of balls.
No sunlight? No problem. Put on the FIREVISION SPORTS FRAMES eyewear and turn on the switch to see this awesome football soar.
HOT WHEELS WALL TRACKS POWER TOWER Track Set – Wall tracks are a great product from last year that has been made even better by allowing you to hook up a device that will bring the cars back to the top so you can make a track that the cars can race over and over without your direct intervention.
The world’s only wall-mountable, mom-approved Hot Wheels® track set line gets an elevating lift in 2012. Moms love the easy mounting system utilizing 3M Command™ strips which leave walls unmarked for worry-free play. The Hot Wheels® Wall Tracks™ Power Tower is a great addition to existing Wall Tracks™ sets, because the whole line works together allowing for an expanded Wall Tracks™ experience. Boys will love the sets spiral corkscrew elevator which swiftly lifts their Hot Wheels® up to the tracks starting point. Once released onto the track, there are multiple obstacles including a moving saw and car chomping monster to conquer. During the race, “eaten” cars fall through the trapdoor while safe cars continue back up the elevator for another round. Includes one Hot Wheels® vehicle
HOT WHEELS BALLISTIKS Vehicle Assortment – Cars that turn from balls to toys with Hot Wheels Quality? Yes, you have entered into a dream where all your car fantasies have come true. With the price point and the fun factor, you are going to be seeing a lot of these. Add to it that they offer two modes of play, these will be a new hot fad, of that I have no doubt.
Hot Wheels® gets a total turn-a-round transformation with Ballistiks™ daredevil vehicles this fall. For the first time, Hot Wheels® goes from vehicle to “spherical,” for never-before possible 1:64 scale stunts. With a quick fold and tuck, Hot Wheels® Ballistiks™ turn from a vehicle to a ball that can be rolled rapidly across the floor, down carpeted stairs or anywhere boys imagine up a stunt. To transform back to a vehicle, simply crash the Ballistiks™ vehicle into a hard surface where it pops back into spherical form making it the perfect size for portability. Collect all 24 vehicles.
TRAIN WORLD – We were told there is a huge gap between Thomas and Chugginton and the real HO scale trains. I can tell you we are a house that falls in between the younger trains and the expensive older train sets. We still use GeoTrax during Christmas because we do not want to use the HO scale sets however, this would fill a void in our house and in the market as well.
All aboard! JAKKS Pacific modernizes a classic play pattern with a new line of realistic, motorized toy trains at an affordable price point, called Train World™. The line of small-scale trains have realistic proportions and detailing, just like the collector versions, but at a budget-friendly price that today’s kids can easily collect without paying top dollar collector prices.
LEGO FRIENDS - I think we were told there were 4 years of research put into this product. It is about time that girls don’t have to build spaceships and castles to play Lego. Also the fact that the mini figs are even different from the boys sets is great and they can be customized as well.
One of the most researched and exciting launches of 2012, the storied adventures of 5 girls who live, work and play in Heartlake City give girls an exciting new way to engage with LEGO play.
ROLL & PLAY - You know we never thought about the fact that there really are not games for toddlers until ThinkFun pointed it out to us. That means that once people get wind of this it should take off. I know we are very excited to test this game with our daughter after seeing it in action.
Roll & Play is the first game ever designed specifically for toddlers! To play, simply toss the big plush cube and identify which colored side faces up. Choose a matching color card and perform the simple activity shown. “Make a happy face,” “Moo like a cow” the activities supported by Roll & Play are designed to help your child shine, supporting healthy development and celebrating success! Roll & Play is the ideal way to gentrly introduce play patterns and rules through a loving, joyful play experience!
KID-TOUGH PORTABLE DVR- Are there other ways to accomplish the same thing with an iPod and a video capture device? Yes. Are they as easy as this product at a lower price point? No. I want to spend my time doing other things, so the Kid-Tough Portable DVR makes sense. I think once you see how easy it is to use and how tough it is, you will be convinced as well.
Now it’s easy to take your child’s favorite TV shows along to watch in the car or anywhere you go! The Kid-Tough Portable DVR connects directly to your TV and set top box (DVR, cable box, satellite box, digital converter box) so you can record your children’s favorite TV shows. Simply slide the portable handheld device into the docking
station and the device is ready to record. Recording can be set to begin instantaneously or at a later time, up to 24 hours in advance. The portable device features a 3.5 inch touch screen, rechargable battery, micro SD card slot and stereo speakers. The handheld device automatically re-charges when it is docked.
BARBIE PHOTO FASHION DOLL – Barbie and Fashion go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly and Graphic Tees are all the rage so this is a perfect matching of product and culture.
Lights! Camera! FASHION! Barbie® Photo Fashion™ Doll combines fashion and photos with a simple click. The Barbie® doll is actually a digital camera and Barbie® doll’s shirt is where the digital image will appear! Girls can select from pre-loaded graphics or take their own pictures to change the image on Barbie® doll’s tee. With the ability to add frames and effects to photos and make your own slide show – see what happens when you play with Barbie®! Once images are downloaded and saved to a computer, the camera memory is freed allowing for more photo fun. Website with Barbie® imagery lets girls customize images taken with their Barbie® Photo Fashion™ Doll. Barbie® Photo Fashion™ Doll can hold more than 100 images and features an internal rechargeable battery.
SUPER GROVER 2.0 – Grover knows when he is flying which makes this toy awesome! Yes, they have the same technology in other products like airplanes from other vendors, but this is Grover!
This motion-activated Super Grover 2.0 character comes to life when kids pick him up and “fly” him around the room. His arms will rise as if he’s flying and he will let children know whether he’s “Going up” or “Going down!” Complete with soaring sounds and silly phrases, little ones are sure to fall in love with this furry superhero.
CARS MICRO DRIFTERS TRACKSET AND VEHICLE ASSORTMENT – I thought this was pretty neat as they just seemed to work really well and really require little user intervention. My boys would play with this over and over and I can tell you I would be interested in toss a few cars on there myself.
Mattel brings high impact racing to a small scale with Cars Micro Drifters™, the latest innovation in miniature vehicles. Utilizing a unique ball-bearing design, these collectible characters can race, drift, swarm and even self-correct themselves to always face in a forward direction when played with on a track set. Sold in trios, fans will want to collect all 18 of their favorite Cars vehicles.
See just what these dynamic Cars Micro Drifters™ can do on the new Micro Drifters™ Super Speedway. This motorized set provides a variety of driving surfaces that replicate the films’ famous race scenes so kids can keep the on-screen fun at home. In the end there can only be one winner, and with the flip of a small lever, kids can see who places first, second and third. Track comes with one Micro Drifters™ vehicle.
LAZER TAG BLASTER – This is going to be one of those must have products when it comes out. I mean it is like playing a real world video game. The fact you can call in air strikes is very neat. The only downside is the need for that old iPhone or iPod with Camera.
Get into the game with the ultimate LAZER TAG 2 BLASTER set, brought to you by the makers of the NERF brand. Set includes two LAZER TAG blasters. For enhanced augmented reality gameplay, simply download the free LAZER TAG app to an iPhone or iPod Touch device and then connect the device to the blaster to activate the immersive gaming experience. When in multi-player mode, blasters are equipped with a virtual firing range of over 250 feet and an on-screen ‘Heads Up Display’ which, for the first time with LAZER TAG, allows players to see the lazer and keep track of their gear and remaining power. In the solo campaign, the blasters provide a view of the augmented reality targets and enemies in the area. Performing well in combat and mastering levels will increase players’ stats on a virtual leaderboard, as well as unlock upgrades for attacks, missions, gear and firepower. Game may be played in single-player mode, or in multi-player mode with up to 24 people. Players can also play LAZER TAG without a device using the blaster’s classic multi-player mode.
AIR HOGS BATTLE TRACKER – This one is for the older boys, but who wouldn’t like this toy? You get to shoot missles at a helicopter in your living room!
The Air Hogs Battle Tracker brings true physical battle play right into your home! With 3+ ways to play, you can engage in an interactive battle between the all new disc firing heli and the missile firing Automated Robot Turret (A.R.T.). Choose autonomous control to have the turret track and attack the helicopter automatically or take manual control of the turret and launch the 12 missiles via remote control! Fly the heli into position and shoot up to 7 rapid-fire discs to deactivate the turret and claim victory! The remote holds additional ammo for quick reloads and storage.
So let us know what you think the Top Toys of New York Toy Fair 2012 were?