Duck! At Toy Fair 2015, everything from drones to snowballs
With 13,000 international buyers, Toy Fair 2015 looks and sounds like the best-behaved children's party ever. Without the young ones in attendance, of course.
Because this party is serious business. Buyers come to see new products and place orders for stores, family restaurants and schools around the globe.
Still, there's no doubt you're among toy lovers. In one aisle, a fellow in his 30s is spinning out on a ride-on cart. In another, a group of people have their hands in a table full of squooshy play sand. Around the corner, there's a full-on battle between grown men that involves marshmallows and slingshots. Duck your head, because the air is full of gliders and bubbles and lasers.
Here's a look at some of the top trends this year:
High-tech toys on display included wireless remote-control vehicles, teach-and-play tablets, mini cameras and speakers, 3D-printed toys, and building and shooting games equipped with lasers and apps.
Bluetooth technology has been a boon to toy makers. Slap on a bracelet by Moff that's synced to an app and shoot your arm around to make sounds like animals, vehicles or musical instruments. (www.moff.mobi ) Sync Snap Pets—cute, keychain-size, animal-shaped cameras—to your phone to capture selfies or group photos. (www.wowwee.com )
Tiggly showed several tablet apps for preschoolers that include plastic shapes, numbers and letters that can be tapped on the screen in interactive learning games. (www.tiggly.com )
Lego's Fusion won the award for e-connected toy of the year from the Toy Industry Association. You begin constructing a town, scan your building facades onto a device, and then interact with your avatar and the virtual townsfolk as they finish your projects. (www.lego.com )
Spin Master's Zoomer Dino won the overall toy of the year award at the fair. You can train the remote-controlled dinosaur to follow you, dance, chase and roar. He rolls along on two ball-like legs using proprietary balance technology. (www.zoomerpup.com )
More balancing dinosaurs: The whimsically named Wow Wee Group had a tabletop corral full of Miposaurs. The "mip" stands for "mobile inverted pendulum," a technology that keeps the dinos from tipping over. With a built-in GPS, they can chase a tracking ball, attacking or hugging it depending on the programming, and walk on a virtual leash. (www.wowwee.com )
Sphero had a little rolling toy called Ollie, equipped with rubber tires and hubcaps. Controlled via iPad, Ollie can race outdoors on sidewalks, ramps or more rugged terrain, or whiz and whirl indoors. (www.gosphero.com ) And Ozobot is a bot toy that can perform color-coded commands; draw a few lines on a piece of paper in different colors, and program your bot to execute the moves with speed, agility or dance flair. (www.ozobot.com )
Drone-type toys were also plentiful, with action-film names like Sky Viper, Nebula Cruiser and Quad Zone.
The lucrative tween crafting market has some new entries.
Ann Williams offered kits full of felt loops that just need to be woven together to create scarves or throws. A bent wire tree can be wrapped with yarn for a personalized jewelry stand. And a string art set featured a 3-D heart that could be laced with colored string to create a sculpture for girls of all ages. (www.annwilliamsgroup.com )
Fashion Angel has "Garbage to Glam" craft kits because, as spokeswoman Sarah Malchow said, "tween girls like to be creative and save the world at the same time." The kits upcycle plastic bags, bottles, T-shirts, even old stuffed toys into picture frames, jewelry or purses. (www.fashionangel.com )
Flower crown making, sunglass decorating, fleece blanket weaving and marble painting were some of the interesting new kits at Creativity for Kids. (www.fabercastell.com )
Alex Toys offered a collection for the young naturalist called Backyard Safari. A "base camp" shelter tent, cargo vest, bug vacuum, field tools, specimen containers and canteen were augmented with a couple of cool habitat containers, a mesh butterfly house and even a maze in which to observe your creepy-crawly finds. (www.alextoys.com )
Got a bag of mini marshmallows? Load up your edible ammo into a blaster, shooter or launcher from the Marshmallow Fun Company and begin the battle; there's a Ghostbusters model as well as bows and slingshots. (www.marshmallowville.com )
When the snow's all gone, kids can relive winter fun with PlayVisions' indoor snowball fight set. Various-size plush "snowballs," goal posts, launchers and blow-up fortresses will keep the action heated. (www.playvisions.com )
Razor showed some new iterations of its iconic scooter. Ali Kermani, a product designer at the company, was whizzing around the booth on Razor's Crazy Cart, an electric scooter with both wheel and lever controls.
Voicing the opinion of many at the show, he said, "You don't just want to be a parent; you want to be a rad dad!"
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