China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Toys to Brave the Chilly Weather

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but it can also start to get very chilly. I know that in New York City, I’m layering my clothes and bundling up, preparing for (an always windy) winter. Fall for kids means back to school and less outdoor play, which can lead to a bummed out little one. Outdoor play is fun because it’s physical—you run faster, the toys fly higher, and of course there’s always the option of shooting water out of most of those toys. But just because the play is moving inside and becoming a little less physical, doesn’t mean it has to be less fun.

The holidays mean gift-giving, and while guides like our Toy Insider 2013 Holiday Gift Guide are packed with a ton of options, including scooters and flying toys, I’ve also got some suggestions of toys to give that kids can enjoy right away—without having to play in the cold weather.

drawsomethingThe Draw Something Party game, from Hasbro, is a great game for the whole family. Based on the popular app, Draw Something Party allows players to draw on the double-sided, glowing drawing screen with their finger or the stylus included. The person drawing selects one of the three words on the card, holds the glowing screen between him or herself and the guesser, and places the card with the scrambled letter facing the guesser. As the screen glows and the drawer draws, the guesser tries to figure out what is being drawn using the scrambled letters as a guide. And just like in the app, the difficulty of the word yields a different amount of coins when guessed correctly.

Players work together in teams to earn the most coins to win, but if you wanted to, it’s possible to play collaboratively (as the original app is designed). This game, designed for kids ages 9 and up, is fun for big groups, so it’s great for holiday get-togethers, snowy family-nights-in, or sleepovers. It is a great game to keep those antsy tweens from getting cabin fever, but might be a little challenging for younger kids if they aren’t familiar with all the words. (But that’s what they make teams for!) I know that my family usually spends part of our holiday time together laughing until we cry over a big group game of some sort, so this would be a great addition to our game closet. It’s just right balance of creativity and competition to make any game night fun.

Wooky.NailMarkersGray, wintry days sometimes make it hard to find the energy to leave the house to do anything fun, even pampering yourself. With the Style Me Up! Perfect Nail Makers, from Wooky Entertainment, girls ages 8 and up can bring the salon home and do their own (or each other’s!) nails. These 2-in-1 polish pens let kids create trendy, detailed nail designs. Each kit includes double-sided polish pens with a brush applicator on one side and a fine tip detailing pen on the other, five nail polish colors, color instructions, and an idea guide.

The Style Me Up! Perfect Nail Makers come with sparkly options and trendy colors, so kids can really express their individuality and their fashion sense, which I love. The kit allows girls to paint flowers, zig-zags, and other guided patterns, but also gives them the freedom to design their own manicures. It turns your average manicure into a burst of individuality, and the markers allow tricky patterns to be a little easier. The price point allows these pens to be included as party favors, a great slumber party activity, or as a cure for boredom every day of the week.

nano2You may be thinking, “these all sound great, but what about that whole ‘flying toy’ thing. I don’t want something huge flying around my house and crashing into my furniture.” Well, hypothetical reader, Silverlit has the solution for you. The new Nano Falcon is the smallest helicopter in the world, but packed full of fun. This tiny R/C is still quality, just like Silverlit’s toys are known for, but it isn’t loud or cumbersome, which makes it perfect for the indoor flying.

With a size of just 65mm and weighing just 11g, this three-channel indoor helicopter flies up and down, forward and backward, and left and right. A built-in Gyro Stabilizer makes flying easy for kids ages. Precise variable speed rotor delivers excellent flying control. The Nano Falcon is designed for kids ages 6 and up.

So overcome that cabin fever and those winter blues with some great toys that are perfect for indoor play. You may feel cooped up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!

For more commentary from Ali, 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!