China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Indoor Toys to Defeat the Colder Weather Blues

I could have sworn that yesterday was the first declared day of summer. Man, it totally flew by! Though I love autumn now, I remember hating the changing of the leaves as a kid—it meant no more pool parties or beach days, and very limited outdoor play as fall turned to winter. Fear not, kids of 2013: there are so many new toys to make indoor play equally as exciting as those water guns and slip ‘n slides. Though I can’t help you with the pool situation (even I will miss the sunshine and water combo), I can give you a list of some of the hottest remote-control and robotic toys for indoor play to get you through the colder weather.

zoomer-150x150For parents who don’t allow dogs in the house, get rid of the constant begging and pleading from your kids with Zoomer, from Spin Master. He does everything that a real dog does—except shed hair and pee in the house! He’s cute and interactive, and he listens and learns commands. The trainable robotic pet will sit, bark, run, play, and even roll over on command. He even lifts his leg when commanded to “Go pee.” Kids can teach Zoomer more than 60 tricks, and the more time spent with him, the more he does—a lesson in pet responsibility. He responds to Spanish, French, and English. He is spotted like a Dalmatian, and he answers to his name, Zoomer! It’s absolutely adorable, doesn’t need regular vet visits, and won’t beg you for food. Win-win! He loves when you pat his head or tickle his tummy; like a real dog, he can’t help but wag his tail.

BattroborgForget water guns, Battroborg from Tomy is the new way to battle it out. With two-handed, wireless, motion-controlled nun chucks, players control the robot’s moves with their own jabs. It operates up to a distance of 50 feet away. I think this is fun for all ages, and I may or may not play with coworkers during work breaks—I confess to nothing. The robots are charged by plugging into the nun chucks, which require AA batteries. The game features three different set-up options for battles, and include five stationary figures for one-player battles.

PlanesMattel’s Wing Control Dusty Crophopper Remote Control Plane comes with role-play remote-control wings. Kids hold the wings in their hands and move around like an airplane. Dusty mimics their motions and also features adorable sounds and phrases from the film Disney’s Planes. This remote-control toy is very simple to operate; one press of a button and the motor revs up and the propeller begins spinning. Then, kids should hold their arms out straight and pretend to fly, angling the arms for turns and tricks. It’s a little difficult to get the hang of at first, but once you get it, it’s too much fun!

Botti, from Blip Toys, quickly won me over with wacky sounds and Bitsyphrases and a funky, eccentric design unusual for remote-control vehicles. I think botti-bots are geared heavily toward girls, which is fair because most remote-control toys are boy-focused. Forget the racing stripes and bright red flames; Botti-bots are plush (pink, orange, and purple), remote-control pets that feature high-performance, interactive, remote-control functionality.

If these toys can’t get you through the winter blues, nothing will. They all require very little space for endless play, and feature new technology that will impress even the least of winter-weather fans. And alas, another summer full of new, explosive water guns will be here before you know it. And in any case, we should give those toymakers as long as they need to come up with some new gadgets and gizmos for play in the sunshine.

For more commentary from Kara, 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!