Toy stores today offer kids an ever-impressive selection of playthings that do more and more each year. From video games to talking plush, appcessories to robotics, it seems like there is no end in sight for innovation in the toy industry. I’ve often wondered just how far toys will go—it seems that literally anything is possible these days, with the right amount of willpower and support. Will we see invisibility cloaks? Toys that let kids fly? Time machines? The list goes on and on.
However, there is still a large demand—and market for—simpler, classic, battery-operated plastic toys. These don’t require an Internet connection, cell phone, computer, or plug; they just do something with the push of a button, spin of a dial, or pull of a cord. These battery-operated toys also offer parents a sense of nostalgia, as they remind us often of toys from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Aside from video games, battery powered and remote control toys were about as high tech as they got, yet they were plenty entertaining.
One recent toy of this type is VTech‘s Chomp & Stomp Dino, which can identify seemingly identically-shaped discs as kids insert them into the dinosaur’s mouth. It works similarly to a key in a keyhole: only the right key opens the door, and specifically-shaped discs will prompt specific responses from the toy.
While kids today have tech toys galore, they also find value in simpler animated toys. Let’s face it—for every car trip that a kid spends on his or her mom’s iPhone playing an app, the phone rapidly loses precious battery juice, is subject to damage or spills, and is just plain inaccessible to the parent for phone calls, texts, emails, etc. “Plain old” battery toys offer kids a rich play experience, learning tools, and good old fashioned fun, while freeing up mom’s phone or tablet and getting little ones off-screen. Tech toy progress is great, but so are the more basic toys. They have a valuable place on toy store shelves and in the toy box.
For more commentary from Christine, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!