China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Back to Basics: Sketch, Doodle, Paint, and Play

TF14Logo-cityDatesAfter Toy Fair 2013, the words “and there’s an app!” were ringing in my ears for weeks. This year, however, appcessories seemed more like a taboo than anything else, with most companies shying away from toys with app-enhanced features or reliability. Honestly, it was less than disappointing. I think keeping screen time and toy time separate is perfectly acceptable, and apparently, what kids and toy buyers prefer.

This year will truly mark a return to traditional play patterns. Rainbow Loom, a simple bracelet-making kit for kids, was huge in 2013, eventually snagging four Toy of the Year (TOTY) awards, including the overall Toy of the Year. That said, Toy Fair 2014 brought tons of cool innovations in the activities category, with companies fighting to be the next big thing once the Rainbow Loom craze comes to an end. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Kids Getting Older Younger—Or Younger Older?

Everyone always talks about how kids are getting older younger. Kids as young as 8 years old are swapping their Barbie dolls and Transformers for iPods and tablets—but this isn’t the case for everyone. There are big kids everywhere, and toys have a funny little habit of bringing an adult’s inner-child giggling wildly to the surface.

Nostalgia is a huge trend in toys today—classic properties such as The Smurfs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Pac-Man have resurfaced and are engaging a whole new generation. Traditional toys, such as Hasbro’s Easy Bake Oven, Kahootz’s Spirograph, and POOF-Slinky’s Slinky, all still appeal to young kids the same way they did decades ago. However, adults and older kids will find just as much fun in new products primarily targeted toward youngsters, too.

RainbowLoom.Butterfly Blossom braceletThis weekend, I was loomed. A family friend’s daughter, Karli, had her wrist covered in the colorful rubber bracelets that are a product of Rainbow Loom, from Choon’s Designs. A huge craze among kids, I was enamored by the bracelets and begged her to teach me how to make one. She did, and of course, hers came out better. I’ve been staring at it on my wrist every day since she made it for me, and I was extremely tempted to purchase my own loom when I went into a Michael’s craft store and saw the enormous display (but I thought to myself: “You’re 23 years old, Marissa! Taking home product samples is one thing, but you cannot justify BUYING a toy!”).

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Top 20 Chosen by Children’s Museum Visitors and Fans

The results are in and more than 20,000 Children’s Museum of Indianapolis online visitors and fans have voted for their favorite toys from the last century. It is all part of the “100 Toys (& their Stories) that Define Our Childhood” interactive in which the museum asked people to choose the top 20 toys to represent the last 100 years. This list of 20 iconic toys includes: G.I. Joe, Transformers, Lego Toys, Barbie, View-Master, Bicycle, Play-Doh, Crayons, Cabbage Patch Kids, Monopoly, Etch a Sketch, Spirograph, Hot Wheels, Candy Land, Lincoln Logs, Raggedy Ann, Little Golden Books, Mr. Potato Head, Roller Skates, and Silly Putty.

The public is once again invited to vote for their favorites among the top 20 to rank the toys, which will ultimately determine the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners.

Voting to determine the final order for the top 20 runs through Sept. 7, and results will be announced to the public on September 11. To view the top 20 list of toys, vote, and share your own toy story, visit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis online at www.childrensmuseum.org/100toys.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.