Every year I begin Toy Fair the same way, strolling the aisle searching for the big trends and narratives of the show, and every year I end up gravitating to the same things: toys that I would buy for my kids right now. All my six-year-old wanted was news about Skylanders, so I found myself looking at toys that would appeal to my 21-month-old. These are some of the best toys I found for toddlers.
I fell in love with these smooth wood magnetic blocks at last year’s Toy Fair, and this year they’ve added mobility. The magnetic wheels pop right onto any Tegu blocks. These blocks don’t come cheap (car building sets are $38), so I’ve permanently put them on the grandparent wish list, and they came through with a set this past Christmas. We’ll need the wheels come birthday time.
Speaking of blocks I can’t afford, I love the shapes and colors of these new sets from Brinca Dada, which retail for $59. I need to stay far, far away from the Brinca Dada booth. Last year the thing I coveted most at Toy Fair was their super-deluxe Dylan House dollhouse. I still want it. (You know… for the kids.)
Rubik’s Toys from Jakks Pacific
Okay, I’ll lay off the expensive hardwoods long enough to tell you about this new block line from Jakks Pacific based on Rubik’s Cube. I’d love to see some research done to see if playing with these blocks as a toddler can enhance your ability to solve a Rubik’s Cube later in life.
Campfire Kids Camping Sets
Upon discovering these delightful campground sets from Campfire Kids, I have determined that every kid needs a toy ax. So many pretend play possiblities!
Lego Building Books
Of course Duplo blocks are always a good bet for little builders, but now Lego has incorporated some storytelling into the building. This Busy Farm set comes with the book plus all of the blocks to make the animals on each page: a sheep, a pig, a rooster, and a cow. There’s also Let’s Go! Vroom! featuring vehicles, and Grow Caterpillar Grow with cute little critters.
Our living room floor is currently covered in stackers and vehicles from Green Toys, so you could call us fans of these lovely toys made from recycled milk containers. Some new things in their line caught my eye, including the Twist Teether and the volumetrically accurate Stacking Cups. All of the cups are numbered, and you can pour them into each other to work on some early equations. Fill cups one and two, and pour them to fill cup three!
I like this Count ‘Em Up Popcorn game from Learning Resources both as an early math manipulative (see how perfectly the right amount of popcorn fits into each container) but also for pretend play. I can see my six-year-old setting up a movie concession stand with this one.
Yes, they’re hand-painted and made from sustainable woods and azo-dye-and-formaldehyde-free fabrics, but I really like these Anamalz environmental toys because they’re super cute!
New to the line of Topozoo animal-building playsets are a donkey and an elephant. I think we should all buy both for our kids and teach them how to mix the two together.
Previous Toy Fair 2012 posts:
Also, if Skylanders is your game, I’m giving away the Toy-Fair-exclusive Cynder on Media Macaroni, and Anton is giving it away on GeekDad.
Amy Kraft is a kids' media producer, writer, and game designer living in New York City. She also writes the kids' media blog Media Macaroni.