Toy Fair: an appropriate place for a 20, 30 and 40-something to be a kid
Earlier this week, creative innovators abound brought their respective toys and games to showcase at the 113th annual Toy Fair. Boasted as one of the largest toy and youth entertainment product marketplaces, the Toy Industry Foundation’s proverbial baby was held at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. And everyone is itching with anticipation. “With [more than] 1,200 passionate exhibitors showing hundreds of thousands of new toys, games and playthings, the excitement is palpable,” said Steve Pasierb, TIA president and CEO.
Well before the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the opening day of the show, attendees gathered for the 16th annual Toy of the Year awards to kick off Toy Fair Week. There was much to celebrate: the 100th anniversary of the Toy Industry Association; the distinguished toy product honorees; and to pay tribute to Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, who was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. Set in the iconic American Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Ocean Life.
Each nominee was considered on a number of factors including creativity and originality, design and promotion, excellence of product and marketplace acceptance. A special committee made up of industry experts selected each of the talented finalists. “From toys that can inspire kids’ career choices, to ones that boost their creativity and confidence, the 2016 TOTY winners have provided children with countless hours of fun, challenges and learning – benefits that last a lifetime,” said Steve Pasierb, TIA president & CEO. “We congratulate Just Play, KidKraft and the winners across all 12 categories for their innovation and success in the marketplace — and for enhancing children’s experiences through play!”
The winners are:
- Activity Toy of the Year – Bunchems by Spin Master Corp.
- Boy Toy of the Year – LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Millenium Falcon by The LEGO Group
- E-Connected Toy of the Year – Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition by Disney
- Educational Toy of the Year – Vex Robotics Robotic Arm by Hexbug
- Game of the Year – Pie Face Game by Hasboro, Inc.
- Girl Toy of the Year – Shopkins Scoops Ice Cream Truck by Moose Toys
- Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year – Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo by Fisher-Price
- Innovative Toy of the Year – Meccanoid G15 by Spin Master Corp.
- Outdoor Toy of the Year – Razor GFD Fury by Razor USA LLC
- Preschool Toy of the Year – Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Checkup Center by Just Play
- Property of the Year – Star Wars by Disney/Lucasfilm Licensing
- Specialty Toy of the Year – Tumble Trax Magnetic Marble Run by Learning Resources
- Toy of the Year – Doc McStuffings Pet Vet Checkup Center by Just Play
- People’s Choice Award – The Uptown Espresso Kitchen by KidKraft LLC
In addition to the hundreds of booths displaying new products and games for children, TIA offered education seminars throughout the duration. A toy safety update highlighted alterations in state, federal and international toy safety regulations; Independent Thinking provided useful insight about how retailers can improve average sales on a daily basis, and the Digital Kids Conference & Toys, Learning and Play Summit taught how to engage this generation’s “digital kid.”
The Toy Industry Association held a briefing where it discussed the top toy trends for the upcoming year. Among them, robotics, drones, creative playthings and family-inclusive toys and games. “This year, the toy box will be filled with products from both ends of the spectrum. From high-tech toys to classic and outdoor-based products, there’s something for each child’s interests. The best toys hitting the market are ones that challenge kids and foster their development, all while maintaining an element of fun,” said Adrienne Appell, TIA trend expert. “While the focus is on kids, what’s noteworthy is that many elements of these toys and games encourage parents to join the activities.”
The top trends include tech toys such as drones, robots and toys that come to life; family games are up in every category. Games that can be played at the dinner table, board games and craft activities; STEAM toys that enhance the learning experience; coveted collectables that encourage sharing and communication; and ultimate creators that allow children to build their own toys and games, and then use their imagination to play.