5 Trends for Toys in 2014
The American International Toy Fair is a treasure trove of playthings, with more than 1,000 toy manufacturers and distributors showing off their toys, from classics like puzzles to the latest software and video games. It’s not open to the public, but we get industry access for Gifts.com. Identifying what will be the hottest toys of the year is like finding a few needles in a really, really, really huge haystack. So, instead of listing individual toys, here is a rundown of five trends we spotted. You can look out for these on Gifts.com as the new toys start rolling out this spring, and get a sneak peek for what kids will be screaming for during the fall and holiday seasons.
As much as kids love their app-tivities, there were a lot of amazing toys at this year’s Toy Fair where batteries and a screen are not required. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of this type of toy making their way onto hot toy lists as people (and their kids) experience a little bit of a tech hangover. Melissa and Doug, and Green Toys, are both great examples of companies making toys that are fun and engaging without having an “on” switch.
Role play reveals:
Another theme that I noticed was for the kids who love to get into the action and pretend to be their favorite characters. Whether it’s a super hero or princess, there are accessories that start out as one thing and reveal themselves as something else. There’s the Marvel Captain America Super Soldier Gear Stealthfire Shield (available this spring, $19.99) that pops open to reveal a hidden, four-dart Nerf blaster. And, the Nerf Rebelle Agent Bow ($29.99, available Fall 2014) is a princess archery set that has a secret code reader on the bow and special feathers on the arrows so that you can write invisible messages on them and shoot them at your fellow good gals during battle.
Revved up ride-ons:
Ride-ons have come a long way since the scootie train I had as a kid. One trend we’re loving is the uber modern, bubbly and slick ride-ons like the Reddot Design award-winning Spherovelo ($100) and Little Tikes Jelly Bean Racer ($19.99). They both are the kind of toy that you actually want left out so that friends and family can see how good looking toys can be.
Bam! Pow! Boom!
This year, Batman will be everywhere. He’s having a big birthday (turning 75!) and just about every major toy maker is creating something to celebrate. From re-creations of the original Batmobile toy to new Duplo Lego play sets for toddlers (out in August), Batman will be hard to miss in 2014.
The makers of some of the most popular toys of all time are now trying to get youngsters into the franchises at an earlier age. I saw lots of toddler versions of classics, like the new One Step Changers Transformers (Age of Extinction Chomp and Stomp Grimlock, out in August, $79.99) that can transform with one movement and giant Lego-style building blocks, called Massbricks, that let kids make life size structures. The Transformers complement the movie that’s coming out in August, but toys will be available in June.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the Toy Fair tomorrow, and shop all our toy and game gift ideas at Gifts.com.