Every year in February, usually near Valentine’s day, the toy and game industries gather at the Javitz convention center in New York for a huge tradeshow called Toy Fair. It’s a trade-only madhouse of an event, where publishers sell their new and upcoming products to retailers and inventers sell their new designs to publishers.
This year, unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to Toy Fair. So instead of giving you a firsthand account, I’m going to show you some products to keep an eye out for, a mishmash of tidbits sent to me by publisher and designer friends.
I hope you like it!
What Others are Saying
Let me start with a quick list of links to some fun recaps of Toy Fair.
- Toy Fair Trends, by Kim Vandenbroucke at the Game Aisle, who is also a regular writer here at Games for Educators.
- Gizmodo’s Best of Toy Fair Not too much educational stuff here, but they do mention the remote control paper airplane, which is absolutely amazing.
- Popular Science 10 Best Toys
So, now that you’ve seen what they are saying, here are some cool games, toys, and companies to keep a lookout for in the coming year. I don’t have personal experience with most of these products, but they look both cool and potentially educational.
I used to think of Crayola as a sleepy crayon company, but the past few years has seen them bursting with creativity, making things like the Melt N Mold Factory. This year, keep an eye out for the products that connect crayons to apps. The Virtual Design Pro Car Collection, in particular, looks like a great way to encourage kids to get creative.
Moving on to Patch, the new Perplexus Warp is super-exciting: a warped Perplexus that moves away from its traditional globe shape. Patch is also distributing Wood WorX to the USA. Wood WorX Racers, in particular, are a lot of fun, letting kids build their own cars and then play with them.
SimplyFun is a company that I have somehow missed before, and I’m not sure why. I reviewed their High Tail It! game this month. It’s a fun new thinking game, part of a lineup of fun new thinking games. They’re definitely worth checking out.
Robot Turtles, published by ThinkFun has quite a buzz going around it, thanks, in part, to a phenomenal KickStarter campaign. I haven’t played it yet, but based on what I’ve been told, I certainly want to. Players program (with playing cards) robot turtles to collect jewels. I’ve a feeling this may be the game for elementary schoolers this year. ThinkFun’s Gravity Maze also looks incredibly intriguing, a great addition to their line of top notch logic puzzles.
As always, GameWright has a bunch of interesting new products coming out. Everybody seems to be talking about Dodge Dice, but the one that really intrigues me is Over/Under. It’s a game of high/low guessing (how fast does a horsefly fly?). I love this idea. Not only is it the kind of silly fun that everyone enjoys, but it also helps us understand the world. Directly educational? Probably not, but there’s real value in having a better sense of how the world works.
I’m mostly a game and toy guy, so I don’t often mention puzzles, but if you have little ones at home (or in your class) keep an eye out for Buffalo Games‘ upcoming Build & Explore Activity Puzzles.
Are you always on the lookout for games that get kids up and moving? Crazy Legs, by Endless Games, does just that. Like all physical games, it seems to be flying a bit under the radar. Let’s change that. Moving is fun. Games are fun. The two go together perfectly.
That’s it for now. As always, I’m sure I’ve missed a ton of stuff. If you know about something new, please post it in the comments. I’d love to hear about it!
In addition to being the editor and web guy for Games for Educators, Patrick Matthews is the author of Dragon Run. He also designs games and builds web sites. Stop by DaddyTales for a quick laugh, or check out Live Oak Games to see some of his award-winning games.