Friday, February 18th, 2011
This year’s annual Toy Fair, held at the Javits Center in New York City, didn’t disappoint. Parents.com and Parents magazine editors saw everything from a life-sized Lightning McQueen of “Cars” built out of LEGOS to the original Power Rangers striking a pose to a court jester juggling fuzzy toys.
Walking the floors, we came across some unique and wonderful new toys and games, plus updates of childhood classics. Here are some standout new toys and products for toddlers/preschoolers and big kids:
Toddlers and Preschoolers
Learn & Laugh Baby iCan Play Case (Fisher-Price; $14.99; Age 6-36 months) – Now you can entertain your tot with the iPhone without worrying about it being drooled on, dropped, or damaged. This rubber, colorful case locks the iPhone in place while covering it with a protective plastic film.
Hideaway Country Kitchen – (Guidecraft; $240; Age 3+) What parent wouldn’t want a kitchenette that folds easily for storage? This wooden kitchen folds up to a depth of 6” and still has functioning knobs, a removable sink, and a pull-out oven rack.
Brush with Genius (Colorforms; $14.99; Age 3+) – Invented by a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this unique brush allows kids to make colorful drawings that then comes to life with sounds.
Figit Friends (Mattel; $49.99; Age 6+) – These squishy, voice-activated dolls easily captivate. They dance, sing, respond to commands—and are much cuter than Teletubbies. Figits come in four colors with distinct personalities (see picture above).
Glow-in-the-Dark Hexbugs (Innovation First; $11.99 each; Age 3+) – While these are estimated for ages 3+, their small size seems more appropriate for older kids. These entertaining racecar-like bugs have a glow-in-the-dark Galileo theme and constellations on their backs. They entertain kids who love fast-moving toys while also teaching them about astronomy.
The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy (Klutz; $19.99; Age 8+) – Perfect for summer nights, boys and girls can chart constellations, explore the moon’s surface, and learn about meteors. The guide also comes with a collapsible cardboard telescope, a special flashlight, a map to steer the stars, and more.
Friday, February 18th, 2011
A few days ago I had the fun job of attending 2011′s Toy Fair, here in New York City. Hundreds of retailers came together in a massive space to showcase the latest and greatest in the world of all things fun and playful. Not a bad gig, right? As the resident Babies Editor at Parents, it gives me a downright adorable sneak peak as to what our littlest ones can look forward to in the coming year—and hey, it definitely beats sitting at my desk! I have to say, judging by the caliber and cuteness of what’s hitting shelves right now, it sure is a good time to be a baby! Here are some of the top things that “had me at hello”:
amazing baby Squeaker Stick Rattle, Ages Newborn +, $8
Squeak, rattle and roll with giggles! These colorful and soft 6-inch rattles will appeal to both your baby’s gaze and touch. Choose from an assortment of patterns and themes, including butterfly, sailboat (my personal fave) and bumblebee. These are great for on-the-go or simply hanging at home.
HABA Big Sound Workshop, Ages 2+, $70
Let the little sound artist in your life make some music with adorable high-quality instruments. The 12-piece set is made of Beechwood and includes acoustic blocks, castanets, a sound flute and more that will have your baby rocking out tunes in no time! A Small Sound Workshop and musical instruments sold individually are also available at lower prices.
ALEX Stretchy Puppy, Ages 10 months+, $27.99
Babies will love stretching this soft pup and seeing his colorful body crinkle and grow. Great for sensory exploration, they can also squeak Fido’s nose and rattle his tail. I definitely need to pick one of these up for a baby shower I’m attending next month. Such a cute, unique gift, don’t you think?
ALEX Whimsy Bug Rocker, Ages 12 months+, $132
I just had to give ALEX one more shout out for this one! I mean, what baby wouldn’t want this in their nursery?! I fell in love with the Whimsy Bug rocker the moment I saw it (they have a super-sporty Zoom Around Airplane rocker, too). Soft, plush and perfectly pint-sized, your little guy or gal will love taking a ride on this comfy, vibrantly-colored rocker.
Bestever Baby Mat: Ballerina Hippo, Ages Newborn +, $46
Silky smooth and snuggle perfect for tummy time, nap-time, playtime, anytime, these large mats make an ideal floor cushion for baby. While I was partial to the Hippo for its over-the-top girlishness and—because, well, who doesn’t love a ballet-dancing hippopotamus?—the new designs for 2011 also include an adorable Baseball Puppy variation as well as a gender-neutral Lion mat.
Chicco First Dreams Crib Mobile, Ages 0 months+, $59.99
This remote-controlled mobile creates a magical atmosphere for bed time (and nap-time, too). Wait until you see it glow in the dark! An array of stars are projected onto the mobile’s canopy to the tune of classical music and new age sounds. For older babies, night stars are projected directly on the ceiling. This is definitely one of the coolest mobiles I’ve seen in a while.
Earlyears My First Golf Course, Ages 9 months+, $29.99
Perfect for your golf pro-in-training! This 5-piece plush play set offer so much for lil’ golfers: textures, reflective surfaces and sounds—all excellent for improving hand-eye coordination. Babies can take apart the flag, squeeze and crinkle the golf club, pat the textures and surfaces on the green and roll the ball into the hole for applause. This one’s definitely a toy plenty of dads out there are sure to get excited about!
Mod Baby Zimble Stacker, Ages 9 months+, $16.00
Mod indeed! This fun stacker includes 3 stackable rings and a soft rattle topper. The ultra-plush rings feature colorful ribbon, crinkle paper edges, mirrored rattle and bean bag base with a squishy foam stem for your little one’s easy stacking pleasure.
Categories: Babies, GoodyBlog, News, Shopping & Gear, Time for Fun | Tags: 2011, Babies, Babies Editor, Best, Favorite, Toy Fair, toys
Monday, February 15th, 2010
There are lots of big announcements coming out of this year’s Toy Fair in NYC, from a bunch of new playthings trying to dethrone the Zhu Zhu Pets to a working “paper” guitar. One of the biggest so far is from everyone’s favorite eternally youthful doll. Barbie has always been a busy lady, but in 2010, she’s taking on two new jobs (her 125th and 126th). Mattel unveiled her new career paths, which were selected in an online poll. Barbie will now work as a…drum roll please…news anchor and a computer engineer. Hopefully, the economy will pick up next year, so Barbie doesn’t have to pull double duty again.
Friday, February 16th, 2007
Okay so I’ll admit it. I dropped the ball and didn’t blog about this during Toy Fair (hey, it’s only been 2 days!) But as I sat at my desk playing with the sample I got for the 10th time today, I knew I had to share it with you guys. My obsession of the week: The brilliant pieceless puzzle by Ceaco. It’s completely connected and made out of some sort of stretchy foam business, so you will never lose a puzzle piece. Genius! (Wouldn’t this be fab for travel, too?) It comes in different degrees of difficulty for everyone in the fam, but it’s not coming out until this summer. (Sad.) Score it at most major retailers then, just in time for summer vacay.