Last Monday I went to NYC for the huge Toy Fair ’12! I always have fun going into the city, and this time was no exception! I got to wander through aisles of toys, games, balloons, crafts, and more all day! What could be more fun? Well, besides meeting former and upcoming sponsors in person, and strolling through acres of toys, I got to see prototypes and not-yet-released toys for 2012!! I always love a good scoop! Here’s my Top 12 Toys of ’12 (note that in one day I was hardly able to get through even 1/3 of the show, but I aimed for toys and brands I thought would be of most interest to my readers!).
Natural and Creative Play
My first stop was the Eco-friendly toy aisle, which I hear is shrinking in recent years because most companies (especially those trying to make and source in the USA) can’t afford the certification fees. It’s too bad, because I noticed how many of our toys come from China or overseas, and how many are made with plastics and unknown substances. There were about two dozen toy companies exhibiting natural, organic, or eco-friendly toys in this aisle. A few worth noting:
I enjoyed the cute baby and toddler line at MiYim – perfect for transitioning babies away from the pacifier.
Check out the fun natural rubber toys at BeginAgain – especially the bathtub scuba diver and company with its own storage ball!
And couldn’t resist the delicious rosemary smell of Eco-Kids paints, crayons, and doughs, all made with fruits, vegetables and other natural ingredients. (Sold at EcoMom.com – get 15% with my referral code to the right if you’re a 1st time customer!).
Wouldn’t it be fun to design your own pirate ship or playhouse with Box Creations cardboard playhouses? (They weren’t in the eco-friendly aisle but their sets are made in the USA with recycled materials).
New Toys for 2012 (Available now or by August 2012)
My son has been falling asleep to the new Lullaby CD from Putumayo Kids – A soothing collection of melodic, instrumental tunes for bedtime and relaxation. I love the familiar tunes arranged in soft and gentle tones.
More than a full generation of children have enjoyed trying to find Waldo, and to celebrate his 25th birthday, Where’s Waldo is releasing seven new items this year. My favorite? The Where’s Waldo Pocket Packs – mini take-along packs have a classic Where’s Waldo? scene split into nine cards, each with a search list on the back. Find the hidden items on each card, then put the cards together to reveal the full picture and hunt for bonus items.
While they seemed beyond my skill level, I imagine kids will love playing with Codee – a fidget toy, puzzle, activity toy, and collectible all in one. Stranded of flexible blocks have codes anyone can follow to create animals and objects, or imagine and design their own creation. (Not yet released).
Wooden toys are my weakness, so I had to tour the Melissa & Doug booth and check out their new Whittle World toys – lightweight wooden vehicle sets with fun moving parts and accessories! I also loved the beach and pool items coming out this year.
HAPE toys (made in Germany) releases several new items this year including this lovely wooden play gym! They also have gorgeous screen printed 9-block wooden puzzles, and detailed felt and wood play food.
I loved the creativity at Neat-Oh! International – their functional yet fun lunchboxes and backpacks are sure to be a hit this year! Check out the backpack that turns into a basketball hoop!
Being the sweet tooth I am, I had to stop by Jelly Belly, and I’m glad I did (I confess I am a buttered popcorn Jelly Belly lover!)! First to discover their new Snapple flavors made with real fruit juices and colors from natural sources. Then to sample the oh-so-delicious Dips – imagine the soft center of a Jelly Belly covered in chocolate – absolutely delicious!
And… the final stop of the day? My Own Pet Balloon – I left with an inflatable ladybug walking behind me! You should read the story behind the balloons for yourself – you will be amazed! This ladybug has been the star attraction for my son for the past week!
I shared MY favorites… which did you like the best?
WIN IT: Two readers will win a toy sampler including 1 Codee toy, 1 Waldo item, and 1 Waldo Carabiner wand! To enter, just leave any topic-related comment below! Share the giveaway if you like (but no extra entries for sharing the love!).