COMMENTARY: Lighting Up Imaginative Play: Light-Up Toys Provide Magical Fun For Kids

When I attended Fall Toy Preview in October, I had a conversation with a few industry executives about how when companies expand their line to include glow-in-the-dark or light-up SKUs, it often signals the end of the brand. They referred to glow-in-the-dark and light-up products as a “last resort,” and said it typically means that there are no other possible innovations for the product line.

However, I know a certain 4-year-old boy who would absolutely disagree with this idea, along with his 8-year-old sister (aka my niece and nephew!). LED lights have a strange magic to them—especially for kids. The bright colors they provide, just like glow-in-the-dark effects, seem like something out of a fantasy story that kids go crazy over—no matter how simple the technology actually is. There are some great new products hitting the market that reflect how great glow can be, here are some of my favorites:

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Tracer Racers, from Skullduggery, utilize Light Trail Technology as they blaze streaks of light on the glow-in-the-dark track. That’s right—LEDs AND glow play patterns. Lights galore! Magic frenzy!—and there’s more! Each Tracer Racer beams down purple light rays from its undercarriage onto the track, which is specially engineered to emit glow remnants only after the racer has passed. The new Tracer Racer drag racing sets include a 10-foot single lane set including one racer, an 8-foot double lane set with two racers, and a 12-foot double lane loop set with a light-up finish gate and two racers. The company will also introduce trucks to the line this year. Kids ages 6 and up are sure to enjoy all of the amazing light-up elements in this toy.

Imperial Toy Lum Lums Light-Up Circle of FriendshipLum Lums, from Imperial Toy, is a new collection of pocket-sized dolls, pets, and accessories that light up with the magical power of friendship. When girls hold their Lum Lums by both of their hands all the dolls in the circle magically light up. Girls can include an unlimited number of Lum Lums dolls and friends into their glowing circle of friendship. Each of the four Lum Lums, Floressa, Trindi, Yummie, and Valerina, comes with her own pet NuNu. The NuNus light up when their noses touch each other or the Lum Lums’ hands. Using simple circuit technology, the Lum Lums will have girls ages 3 and up enamored by the magical light-up effects.

Uncle Milton Lightshow DJThe In My Room line, from Uncle Milton, allows kids to enjoy beautiful, magical light shows and more in their rooms. The Lightshow DJ (my favorite), creates a dazzling music light show with LED lights and beat detection technology.  When kids turn on their music, the multi-colored lights come to life on their walls and pump to the beat. Kids can customize their light show will more than 20 light and color combinations. Designed for kids as young as age 6, this is one product that will enchant teens (or, ya know, 20-somethings) as much as little ones. Also available is the Rainbow In My Room, Moon In My Room, and Fireflies In My Room. Uncle Milton is also set to expand the In My Room line in 2014 with products that are sure to bring more magical light shows to kids young and old.

Despite what members of the industry may say, I think it is safe to conclude that there are great, innovative light-up toys on the market that will delight kids of all ages. With all of these and more incredible light-up toys coming to market, 2014 is sure to be a year full of bright, magical fun for kids.

For more commentary from Marissa, 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!