Last week I had the pleasure of attending Time to Play’s Holiday Showcase in New York City where the most wanted toys of 2010 were announced by founders Jim Silver and Chris Byrne, who travel the world in search of the best toys for homes all around the country.
The morning began with a press conference for the media that included print, television, and members of the online media such as myself (!). Jim and Chris started by saying that this year their focus was on value. While the recession may officially over, a majority of the toys featured had price points that were $30 and under but considered to be “the most popular, most fun” on the market and the ones that will be most talked about from now until the holidays.
Some toys were love at first play while others made me wonder if they would really be popular among the target demographic. There were reinvented classics, new techy gadgets, and items that will be a hit for both kids and adults alike.
The items that caught my eye will be featured in my annual holiday gift guide that will be published mid-November. As usual, it will feature guides for various age ranges and include a ton of giveaways!
Here’s a peek of some of the things I saw while at Time to Play.
Once I got past the remote controlled rattlesnake and made my way to Wild Creation’s table, the teacher in me was thrilled to find so many wonderful products that help foster kids’ natural interest in science. I’m intrigued but the EcoAquarium that is a full ecosystem with frog that cleans itself and fell in love with the Pocket Microscopes that are handy for any backyard adventure or walk. The remote controlled rattlesnake was a parting gift so I am now happy to say that I took a snake on a plane!
Speaking of science, The Jim Henson Company wants children to expand knowledge learned through popular shows like Dinosaur Train and Sid the Science Kid with a line of products that allows kids act out what they know with their favorite characters, through games, and further investigate through age appropriate books. As an aside, the Fraggle Rock products made me a little nostalgic!
VTech may have redeemed themselves for the Shooting Gallery Game that ships standard with the MobiGo with the release of their kids e-book reader called vReader. I didn’t get to play with one nearly enough to give it the Tech Savvy Mama seal of approval but am hoping to give one the thorough test soon.
Oregon Scientific’s lifestyle electronics now includes laptop-like devices for kids. Barbie, Batman, Star Wars, Tinkerbell, and other characters are featured in a line of products that contain a real QWERTY keyboard, mouse, and LCD screen for little techies. Boasting games in English and Spanish, I want to explore the games more to know exactly what my 5+ old is learning. They also make Pixie Pocket Learners, devices similar to oversized Blackberries, with eight games tailed for ages 3 and up. My initial thought was that they seem overly branded but sometimes learning with your favorite character can help motivate a reluctant child towards educational game play.
Thomas & Friends Learning Curve’s Wooden Railway for Early Engineers is specially designed for the littlest train lovers. Tracks have flat edges rather than the usual joints, chunkier engines are easy for smaller hands, and easy to maneuver knobs make these perfect for ages 18 months and up. As a parent, I appreciate that the set can grow with your child so the engines from the Early Engineers line are interchangeable with other Thomas sets such as Mega Brand’s Thomas & Friends Adventures on Misty Mountain, a great set that takes the train up off the floor and through tunnels and trestles.
Crayola continues to foster creativity in kids with new products like Glow Explosion that make drawings glow for 4 hours when used with the color activator. Model Magic Presto Dots allow kids to build creatures by stamping out dots with this very tactile and malleable substance. I’m partial to the Crayola Color Explosion Spinner because I’m a fan of creating spin art!
The above mentions only represent a handful of the 37 companies who brought incredible products for all ages. The best of what I saw will be featured in my holiday gift guide that will be out before Thanksgiving. Like Time to Play’s Jim and Chris, I compile my list of favorites throughout the year!
Be among the first to enter my holiday gift guide giveaways by leaving a comment about a toy I mentioned above, you saw in one of the slide shows, or is on Time to Play: Most Wanted Toys 2010 list that is something you would buy for your kids or give as a gift. Be sure to leave your email or Twitter handle!
Litzky PR invited me to be their guest at Time To Play and covered my travel expenses, lodging, and took us out to a fabulous relaxing dinner which was much appreciated after coming straight from Type A Mom. Product samples were received from many companies for review purposes. Affiliate links are contained in this post.
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Original post by Tech Savvy Mama